Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at May 6th, 2018
Do you know how to establish business credit? We break down just what you need to know and show you what will work.
Establishing business credit means that your firm gets opportunities you never felt you would. You can get cutting-edge equipment, bid on buildings, and deal with the company payroll, even when times are a bit lean.
This is especially helpful in holiday companies, where you can go for several months with simply very little sales.
As a result of this, you really should focus on how to establish business 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 business owner wants that.
You will need to know what affects your company credit before you can make it better.
This is essentially how long your small business has been working with company credit. Naturally newer small businesses will have brief credit histories. Though there is not a lot you can specifically do about that, do not stress.
Credit reporting agencies will also check your personal credit score and your background of payments. If your individual credit is good, and especially if you have a fairly lengthy credit history, then your individual credit can come to the rescue of your company.
That is, you did not just get your first credit card fairly recently.
Obviously the converse is also true. Hence if your individual credit history is poor, then it will have an effect on your business credit scores. And it will do so until your business and individual credit can be separated.
Late repayments will impact your business credit score for a good seven years. Pay your business (and personal) debts off, as quickly as possible and as fully as possible. And then you can make a very real difference when it relates to your credit scores.
See to it that you pay on schedule. And you will reap the rewards of punctuality.
An unsatisfactory business year could land on your individual credit score. And just in case your firm has not been in existence for too long, it will directly affect your business credit.
Nonetheless, you can unlink both by taking steps to uncouple them. As an example, get credit cards solely for your firm, or you open up business checking accounts and other bank accounts. Or maybe get a business loan.
And then the credit reporting agencies will start to treat your consumer and small business credit separately.
Also, make certain to incorporate. Or at least file a DBA (doing business as) status—but never look at a DBA filing as being anything more than a steppingstone to incorporating. You can also pay for your company’s bills with your small business credit card or checking account. And make certain it is the company’s full name on the bill and not yours.
Just like every company around, credit reporting agencies just like Equifax and Experian are only as good as their files. If your company’s name resembles another’s, or your name is a lot like another company owner’s, there can possibly be some oversights.
So monitor those reports. And monitor your small business report at Dun & Bradstreet, PAYDEX.
Stay on top of these reports and question charges with documentation and clear communications. Do not just let them stay wrong! You can repair this! And while you’re at, it you should also be monitoring the credit reporting agency which solely handles personal and not business credit.
So that is TransUnion. If you do not know exactly how to pull a credit report, do not worry. It’s simple.
Small business credit is credit in a small business’s name. It doesn’t tie to an entrepreneur’s consumer credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the business.
Thus, a business owner’s business and personal credit scores can be very different.
Because small business credit is separate from consumer, it helps to secure an entrepreneur’s personal assets, in the event of legal action or business bankruptcy.
Also, with two separate credit scores, a small business owner can get two different cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles buying power.
Another benefit is that even startup businesses can do this. Heading to a bank for a business loan can be a formula for frustration. But building company credit, when done right, is a plan for success.
Consumer credit scores depend upon payments but also various other factors like credit utilization percentages.
But for business credit, the scores actually only depend on if a business pays its bills punctually.
The way how to establish business credit is a process, and it does not happen automatically. A business must actively work to establish business credit.
Having said that, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much faster than developing personal credit scores.
Vendors are a big part of this process.
Undertaking the steps out of sequence will result in repetitive denials. No one can start at the top with business credit.
A business must be Fundable to loan providers and merchants.
For that reason, a business will need a professional-looking web site and email address. And it needs to have site hosting bought from a merchant such as GoDaddy.
Also company phone numbers must have a listing on ListYourself.net.
In addition the company telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the equivalent).
A company will also need a bank account dedicated solely to it, and it must have every one of the licenses necessary for running.
These licenses all must be in the perfect, appropriate name of the company. And they need to have the same small business address and telephone numbers.
So keep in mind that this means not just state licenses, but potentially also city licenses.
Visit the Internal Revenue Service website and get an EIN for the business. They’re totally free. Pick a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.
A small business can begin as a sole proprietor. But they should change to a sort of corporation or partnership.
This is in order to decrease risk. And it will make the most of tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it comes to tax obligations and liability in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the owner is it when it comes to liability and taxes. No one else is responsible.
If you operate a small business as a sole proprietor, then at the very 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. Because of this, you can end up being directly responsible for all company debts.
But don’t look at a DBA filing as being anything but a steppingstone to incorporating.
Start at the D&B web site and get a free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a small business into their system, to produce 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 small 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.
In this manner, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.
First you need to build trade lines that report. This is also known as 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 begin getting more credit.
These kinds of accounts have the tendency to be for the things bought all the time, like shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, and office furniture.
But first of all, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you preliminary credit when you have none now. Terms are in most cases Net 30, instead of revolving.
Hence if you get approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you will need to 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 need to be paid fully within 60 days. Unlike with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you made use of.
To kick off your business credit profile the right way, you should get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. When that’s done, you can then make use of 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 vendors that will grant an approval with nominal 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.
Uline Shipping Supplies is a true starter vendor. You can find them online at https://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 prepaid to initially get approval for Net 30 terms.
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 https://www.grainger.com. They sell safety equipment, plumbing supplies, and more, and they report to D&B. You will need a business license, EIN, and a D-U-N-S number.
For under a $1000 credit limit they will approve almost anyone 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 still be of some value.
You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. Additionally credit accounts of any sort should help you to better even out business expenditures, therefore making budgeting simpler. These are companies like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.
Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and address any errors ASAP. Get in the practice of checking credit reports. Dig into the particulars, not just the scores.
Update the data 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: https://www.equifax.com/business/small-business.
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any inaccuracies in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be fixed. But the CRAs typically want you to dispute in a particular way.
Get your company’s PAYDEX report at: https://www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: https://www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: https://www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.
Disputing credit report inaccuracies usually means you specifically itemize any charges you challenge.
Dispute your or your company’s Equifax report by following the instructions here: https://www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.
You can dispute mistakes on your or your business’s Experian report by following the instructions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.
And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service phone number is here: https://www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.
Always use credit smartly! Don’t borrow more than what you can pay off. Keep an eye on balances and deadlines for payments. Paying promptly and in full will do more to elevate business credit scores than almost anything else.
Growing small business credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a company get loans. Your lending institution knows the small business can pay its financial obligations. They know the company is for real.
The company’s EIN links to high scores and loan providers won’t feel the need to require a personal guarantee.
Business credit is an asset which can help your small business in years to come.
Once you understand what has an effect on your business credit score, you are that much nearer to establishing improved business credit.