Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at May 27th, 2018
Do you need credit for a new business? Even startups can get credit.
Establishing biz credit means that your firm attains opportunities you never believed you would. You can get cutting-edge equipment, or bid on real estate. And you can deal with the company payroll, even when times are a bit lean. This is specifically helpful in seasonal enterprises, where you can go for several months with hardly any sales.
Given this, you really should tackle building your company credit. Improve and maintain your scores and you will have these opportunities. Do not, and either you do not get these opportunities, or they will cost you a lot more. And no entrepreneur wants that. You will need to know what affects your business credit before you can make it better.
This is in a nutshell how long your firm has been working with credit. Obviously newer firms will have short credit histories. Although there is not so much you can particularly do about that, do not fret. Credit reporting bureaus will also inspect your personal credit score and your history of payments.
If your own personal credit is excellent, and especially if you have a fairly lengthy credit history, then your consumer credit can come to the rescue of your biz. So, that is, you did not just get your very first credit card recently.
Naturally the converse is also true. Hence if your personal credit history is bad, then it will impact your company credit scores until your company and consumer credit can be separated.
Overdue payments will impact your business credit score for a good seven years. Pay your company (and personal) debts off, as speedily as possible and as fully as possible. And then you can make a very real difference when it concerns your credit scores.
See to it to pay punctually and you will enjoy the rewards of promptness.
Are you having a bad business year? Then it could wind up on your individual credit score. And in the event your business has not been in existence for too long, guess what? It will directly impact your business credit.
Fortunately, you can unlink both by taking steps to separate them. Say, you could get credit cards only for your small business, or you open business checking accounts and other bank accounts (and even get a business loan). And then the credit reporting bureaus will begin to treat your consumer and small business credit on an individual basis.
Also, make sure to incorporate, or at least file a DBA (doing business as) status. You can also pay for your company’s statements with your business credit card or checking account. And make certain it is the small business’s name on the bill and not yours.
Credit utilization rate just means the amount of money you have on credit which is then divided by your total available credit. Lenders ordinarily do not like to see this exceed 30% (so for each $100 in credit, do not borrow on in excess of $30 of that). If this percent is increasing, you’ll have to spend down and pay off your debts ahead of borrowing more.
Just the same as every company around, credit reporting bureaus like Equifax and Experian are only as good as their data. If your business’s name resembles another’s, or your name is a lot like another company owner’s, there can possibly be some mistakes. So keep an eye on those reports, and your business report at Dun & Bradstreet, PAYDEX.
Stay on top of these reports and question charges with documentation and transparent communications. Do not just let them stay incorrect! You can fix this! And while you’re at, it you should also be monitoring the credit reporting bureau which only handles consumer and not business credit, TransUnion. If you do not know the way to pull a credit report, do not stress. It is simple, really.
Small business credit is credit in a company’s name. It doesn’t link to an owner’s personal credit, not even when the owner is a sole proprietor and the sole employee of the business.
Thus, an entrepreneur’s business and consumer credit scores can be very different.
Because new business credit is distinct from individual, it helps to protect a small business owner’s personal assets, in case of a lawsuit or business bankruptcy.
Also, with two separate credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two different cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles purchasing power.
Another advantage is that even startup ventures can do this. Visiting a bank for a business loan can be a formula for frustration. But building business credit, when done correctly, is a plan for success.
Individual credit scores depend upon payments but also other elements like credit use percentages.
But for company credit, the scores really only hinge on whether a business pays its debts timely.
Growing new business credit is a process, and it does not happen automatically. A small business needs to proactively work to build company credit.
That being said, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much swifter than developing personal credit scores.
Vendors are a big component of this process.
Carrying out the steps out of sequence will cause repetitive rejections. No one can start at the top with company credit. For instance, you can’t start with store or cash credit from your bank. If you do you’ll get a denial 100% of the time.
A business has to be credible to credit issuers and vendors.
Hence, a company will need a professional-looking web site and email address. And it needs to have website hosting bought from a merchant such as GoDaddy.
In addition, business phone and fax numbers must have a listing on ListYourself.net.
Also, the company telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).
A business will also need a bank account devoted strictly to it, and it must have every one of the licenses necessary for running.
These licenses all have to be in the identical, appropriate name of the company. And they must have the same company address and phone numbers.
So, bear in mind, that this means not just state licenses, but potentially also city licenses.
Learn more here and get started toward building company credit.
Visit the IRS website and get an EIN for the small business. They’re free. Select a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.
A business can start off as a sole proprietor. But they will most likely wish to switch to a kind of corporation or partnership.
This is in order to diminish risk. And it will optimize tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it involves taxes and liability in the event of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. No one else is responsible.
If you run a business as a sole proprietor, then at least be sure to file for a DBA. This is ‘doing business as’ status.
If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the business name. Therefore, you can wind up being directly liable for all business debts.
And also, per the IRS, using this structure there is a 1 in 7 possibility of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 chance for corporations! Prevent confusion and dramatically reduce the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit as well.
But don’t look at a DBA filing as being anything more than a steppingstone to incorporating.
Begin at the D&B website and get a free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a business into their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.
Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s sites for the company. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for correctness and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.
In this manner, Experian and Equifax will have activity to report on.
First you must establish trade lines that report. This is also called vendor credit. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.
And with an established business credit profile and score you can start getting retail store and cash credit for a new business.
These types of accounts tend to be for the things bought all the time, like coffee, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.
But first of all, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you starter credit when you have none now. Terms are ordinarily Net 30, rather than revolving.
So, if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you must pay that money back in a set term, like within 30 days on a Net 30 account.
Net 30 accounts have to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid completely within 60 days. In comparison with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you must pay back what you borrowed or the credit you made use of.
To begin your business credit profile the proper way, you need to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. As soon as that’s done, you can then use the credit.
Then pay back what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.
Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are merchants that will grant an approval with a minimum of effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.
You want 3 of these to move onto the next step, which is retail credit.
Uline Shipping Supplies is a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.uline.com. They sell shipping, packing, and industrial supplies, and they report to D&B and Experian.
You have to have a D-U-N-S number. They will ask for 2 references and a bank reference. The first few orders may need to be paid in advance to first get approval for Net 30 terms. Also, you may need to purchase some items you don’t need.
Check out starter vendor Marathon. Marathon Petroleum Company provides transportation fuels, asphalt, and specialty products throughout the United States. Their comprehensive product line supports commercial, industrial, and retail operations. This card reports to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. Before applying for multiple accounts with WEX Fleet cards, make sure to have enough time in between applying so they don’t red-flag your account for fraud.
Your SSN is required for informational purposes. If concerned they will pull your personal credit talk to their credit department before applying. You can give a $500 deposit instead of using a personal guarantee, if in business less than a year. Apply online. Terms are Net 15. Get it here: www.marathonbrand.com.
Grainger Industrial Supply is likewise a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.grainger.com. They sell safety equipment, plumbing supplies, and more, and they report to D&B. You will need to have a business license, EIN, and a D-U-N-S number.
For under a $1000 credit limit they will approve nearly anybody with a business license.
Non-Reporting Trade Accounts can also be helpful. While you do want trade accounts to report to at the very least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can yet be of some value.
You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. Additionally, credit accounts of any sort will help you to better even out expenditures, consequently making financial planning simpler. These are companies like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.
Once there are 3 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then move onto retail credit. Use the company’s EIN on these credit applications.
Are there more accounts reporting? Then move to fleet credit. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to repair and maintain vehicles. Make certain to apply using the EIN.
Learn more here and get started toward growing company credit.
Have you been responsibly managing the credit you’ve gotten up to this point? Then progress to more universal cash credit. These are service providers such as Visa and MasterCard. Keep your SSN off these applications; use your EIN instead.
These are usually MasterCard credit cards. If you have more trade accounts reporting, then these are doable.
Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and address any mistakes as soon as possible. Get in the habit of checking credit reports. Dig into the particulars, not just the scores.
At Equifax, you can monitor your account at: www.equifax.com/business/business-credit-monitor-small-business.
Update the details if there are inaccuracies or the information is incomplete. At D&B, you can do this at: https://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/viewiUpdateHome.htm. For Experian, go here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information
. And for Equifax, go here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business.
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any inaccuracies in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be corrected. But the CRAs often want you to dispute in a particular way.
Get your PAYDEX report at: www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.
Disputing credit report mistakes usually means you send a paper letter with copies of any proofs of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the originals. Always send copies and retain the original copies.
Fixing credit report inaccuracies also means you precisely itemize any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as crystal clear as possible. Be specific about the concerns with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.
Dispute your or your company Equifax report by following the instructions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.
You can dispute errors on your or your company Experian report by following the directions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information
And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service contact number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.
Always use credit responsibly! Never borrow more than what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying promptly and completely will do more to increase credit scores than nearly anything else.
Growing small biz credit pays off. Good scores help a company get loans. Your loan provider knows the company can pay its debts. They understand the company is authentic.
The company EIN connects to high scores and lending institutions won’t feel the need to call for a personal guarantee.
Credit is an asset which can help your company for many years to come. Learn more here and get started toward growing biz credit.
Once you find out what impacts your company credit scores, you are that much closer to building improved business credit. Learn more here and get started toward building business credit for a new business.