Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at January 2nd, 2018
Building corporate credit means that your small business attains chances you never believed you would. You can get new equipment, bid on real estate, and deal with the company payroll, even when times are a bit lean.
This is especially helpful in holiday businesses, where you can go for calendar months with merely negligible sales.
Given this, you should work on building your company credit. Enhance 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 business owner wants that.
You must recognize what affects your business credit before you can make it better.
Your credit utilization rate just shows the amount of cash you have on credit which is then divided by your total available credit. Lenders in general do not wish to see this exceed 30%. So for each $100 in credit, do not borrow on more than $30 of that.
If this percent is rising, you’ll have to spend down and work off your financial obligations prior to borrowing more.
This is generally how long your company has been utilizing business credit. Needless to say newer companies will have brief credit histories. Though there is not so much you can specifically do about that, do not stress.
Credit reporting agencies will also scrutinize your personal credit score and your personal history of payments.
If your own personal credit is excellent, and in particular if you have a somewhat extensive credit history, then your personal credit can come to the rescue of your business. That is, you did not just get your very first credit card a short while ago.
Of course the reverse is also right. So if your individual credit history is bad, then it will have a bearing on your company credit scores until your business and personal credit can be separated.
Late payments will have an effect on your business credit score for a good seven years. If you pay your small business debts off, as speedily as possible and completely as possible, then you can make a very real difference in your credit scores.
See to it that to pay on schedule and you will experience the rewards of punctuality.
Are you having a bad business year? Then it could wind up on your personal credit score. And if your firm has not been in existence for too long, it will directly influence your corporate credit. Fortunately, you can separate the two by taking steps to split up them.
Say, if you get credit cards exclusively for your small business, or open up business checking accounts, then the credit reporting bureaus will begin to treat your individual and corporate credit independently.
Also, make sure to incorporate, or at the very least file a DBA (doing business as) status. Also, pay for your company’s invoices with your company credit card or checking account, and ensure it is the business’s full name on the bill and not yours.
Just as for any company, credit reporting bureaus such as Equifax and Experian are only as good as their information. If your business’s name is like another’s, or your name is a lot like another business owner’s, there could be oversights.
So keep an eye on those reports, and your company report at Dun & Bradstreet, PAYDEX.
Stay on top of these reports and contest charges with paperwork and transparent communications. Do not just allow them to stay wrong! You can correct this!
And while you’re at, also monitor the credit reporting agency which just handles individual and not corporate credit, TransUnion. If you do not know exactly how to pull a credit report, do not fret. It’s simple.
Because business credit is independent from personal, it helps to protect a small business owner’s personal assets, in the event of litigation or business insolvency. Also, with two distinct credit scores, a business owner 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 disappointment. But building corporate credit, when done correctly, is a plan for success.
Consumer credit scores rely on payments but also various other considerations like credit use percentages. But for corporate credit, the scores actually only depend on if a company pays its invoices timely.
Establishing small business credit is a process, and it does not occur without effort. A company must proactively work to establish corporate credit. However, it can be done easily and quickly, and it is much swifter than establishing individual credit scores.
Merchants are a big aspect of this process.
Carrying out the steps out of sequence will lead to repetitive denials. Nobody can start at the top with company credit. For example, 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 company needs to be bona fide to creditors and merchants. That is why, a company will need a professional-looking web site and email address, with website hosting bought from a supplier like GoDaddy.
Additionally business telephone and fax numbers should have a listing on ListYourself.net.
Likewise the company telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or comparable).
A corporation will also need a bank account dedicated strictly to it, and it must have every one of the licenses essential for operating. These licenses all have to be in the exact, accurate name of the company, with the same company address and telephone numbers.
Note that this means not just state licenses, but potentially also city licenses.
Visit the Internal Revenue Service web site and get an EIN for the small business. They’re free. Pick a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.
A business can begin as a sole proprietor but will probably wish to change to a kind of corporation or partnership to diminish risk and maximize tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it involves taxes and liability in the event of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the entrepreneur is it when it comes to liability and taxes. Nobody else is responsible.
If you are a sole proprietor at least file for a DBA (‘doing business as’) status. If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the business name. Hence, you can end up being directly liable for all small business debts.
Plus, according to the Internal Revenue Service, with this arrangement there is a 1 in 7 probability of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 possibility for corporations! Avoid confusion and substantially decrease the odds of an Internal Revenue Service audit at the same time.
Begin at the D&B website and obtain a totally free DUNS number. A DUNS number is how D&B gets a company into their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no DUNS number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.
Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s sites for the business. You can do this at https://www.creditsuite.com/reports/. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness.
If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process. By doing this, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.
First you should establish trade lines that report. This is also called vendor accounts. 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 revolving store and cash credit.
These types of accounts often 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 creditors who will give you preliminary credit when you have none now. Terms are ordinarily Net 30, instead of revolving.
Net 30 accounts need to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts need to be paid fully within 60 days. Unlike with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you must pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.
To kick off your business credit profile properly, you need to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting bureaus. 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 minimal 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 revolving store credit.
Non-Reporting Trade Accounts can also be helpful. While you do want trade accounts to report to at least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can still be of some worth. You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. And also credit accounts of any sort should help you to better even out business expenses, thereby making budgeting 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 revolving store credit. These are companies which include Office Depot and Staples. These companies are likelier to have things you need.
Use the corporation’s EIN on these credit applications.
Are there more accounts reporting? Then progress to fleet credit. These are businesses such as BP and Conoco. Use this credit to purchase fuel, and to repair and take care of vehicles. Make sure to apply using the company’s EIN.
Have you been sensibly handling the credit you’ve up to this point? Then progress to more universal cash credit. These are service providers like 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 take care of any mistakes ASAP. Get in the habit of taking a look at credit reports. Dig into the particulars, not just the scores.
We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less. Update the info if there are inaccuracies or the relevant information is incomplete.
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to challenge any mistakes in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be taken care of. But the CRAs usually want you to dispute in a particular way.
Disputing credit report mistakes commonly means you mail a paper letter with duplicates of any evidence of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the original copies. Always send copies and keep the original copies.
Disputing credit report errors also means you specifically itemize any charges you dispute. Make your dispute letter as crystal clear as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.
Always use credit sensibly! Don’t borrow beyond what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying off in a timely manner and completely will do more to boost business credit scores than almost anything else.
Building corporate credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a corporation get loans. Your lender knows the company can pay its debts. They understand the company is bona fide. The small business’s EIN links to high scores.
And then lenders won’t feel the need to request a personal guarantee.
Business credit is an asset which can help your corporation for many years to come.
Understand what has an effect on your corporate credit score. You can learn more here and get started toward easy corporate credit building.