Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at April 11, 2018
By Janet Gershen-Siegel
Do you know why you need a business credit program? Building business credit means that your company gets chances you never felt that you would. You can get all-new equipment, bid on realty, and cover the company payroll, even when times are a bit lean. This is especially helpful in seasonal businesses, where you can go for calendar months with just hardly any sales.
Given this, you should really tackle building your business credit. Enhance and maintain your scores and you will have these possibilities. Do not, and either you do not get these chances, or they will cost you a lot more. And no entrepreneur wants that. You need to understand what affects your company credit before you can make it better.
This is generally the length of time your small business has been using business credit. Of course newer small businesses will have very short credit histories. Though there is not so much you can specifically do about that, do not fret. Credit reporting agencies will also inspect your personal credit score and your very own history of payments. If your personal credit is good, and in particular if you have a somewhat long credit history, then your consumer credit can come to the rescue of your business. That is, you did not just get your first credit card a short time ago.
Of course the opposite is also true. So if your consumer credit history is poor, then it will have an effect on your business credit scores until your company and individual credit can be separated.
Your credit utilization rate just signifies the amount of cash you have on credit which is then divided by your total available credit. Lenders in general do not like to see this exceed 30%. So for each $100 in credit, do not borrow on over $30 of that. If this percent is increasing, you’ll have to spend down and work off your financial obligations ahead of borrowing more.
Overdue payments will have an effect on your company credit score for a good seven years. If you pay your small business financial obligations off, as quickly as possible and as fully as possible, then you can make a very real difference when it pertains to your credit scores. Make sure to pay in a timely manner and you will experience the benefits of promptness.
Are you having an unsatisfactory business year? Then it could wind up on your individual credit score. And in case your firm has not been around for too long, it will directly affect your business credit. Fortunately, you can separate the two by taking measures to split up them.
Say, if you get credit cards only for your business, or you open business checking accounts and other bank account, then the credit reporting bureaus will start to address your private and corporate credit separately. Also, ensure to incorporate, or at the very least file a DBA. You can also pay for your company’s statements with your firm credit card or checking account, and insure it is the small business’s name on the bill and not your own.
Just the same as every single company out there, credit reporting bureaus such as Equifax and Experian are only as good as their files. If your firm’s name is similar to another’s, or your name is a lot like another business owner’s, there can possibly be some mistakes. So keep track of those reports, and your company report at Dun & Bradstreet, PAYDEX. Remain on top of these reports and dispute charges with records and clear-cut communications. Do not just allow them to stay wrong! You can fix this!
And while you’re at, it you should also be monitoring the credit reporting bureau which exclusively handles personal and not company credit, TransUnion. If you do not know exactly how to pull a credit report, do not fret. It’s easy.
Given that small business credit is separate from individual, it helps to protect an entrepreneur’s personal assets, in the event of a lawsuit or business insolvency. Also, with two separate credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two different cards from the same merchant. This effectively doubles buying power.
Another advantage is that even new ventures can do this. Going to a bank for a business loan can be a formula for disappointment. But building small business credit, when done right, is a plan for success.
Consumer credit scores are dependent on payments but also other factors like credit usage percentages. But for small business credit, the scores really just hinge on if a company pays its bills on a timely basis.
Using a business credit program is a process, and it does not happen automatically. A business must actively work to build corporate credit. Nonetheless, it can be accomplished readily and quickly, and it is much faster than establishing individual credit scores. Vendors are a big component of this process.
Performing the steps out of order will lead to repetitive rejections. No one can start at the top with business credit. For example, you can’t start with store or cash credit from your bank. If you do you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.
A corporation has to be bona fide to creditors and vendors. That’s why, a business will need a professional-looking web site and e-mail address, with site hosting bought from a company like GoDaddy. And company phone and fax numbers must have a listing on 411.com.
In addition the business telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or comparable).
A company will also need a bank account devoted strictly to it, and it needs to have every one of the licenses needed for operation. These licenses all must be in the exact, correct name of the business, with the same company address and phone numbers. Note that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.
Visit the IRS web site and obtain an EIN for the business – they’re free of charge. Pick a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc. A business can start off as a sole proprietor but will most likely want to switch to a kind of corporation or partnership to minimize risk and optimize tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it pertains to taxes and liability in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the entrepreneur is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. Nobody else is responsible.
If you are a sole proprietor, at least file for a DBA. If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the company name. Because of this, you can find yourself being directly responsible for all business debts.
Additionally, per the Internal Revenue Service, with this structure there is a 1 in 7 probability of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 probability for corporations! Prevent confusion and considerably reduce the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit as well.
Start at the D&B website and get a totally free DUNS number. A DUNS number is how D&B gets a small business in 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 websites for the business. You can do this at https://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 way, Experian and Equifax will have activity to report on.
First you ought to 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 begin acquiring revolving store and cash credit.
These sorts of accounts have the tendency 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 starter credit when you have none now. Terms are in most cases Net 30, instead of revolving.
Hence 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, such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.
Net 30 accounts need to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts have to be paid in full within 60 days. In contrast to with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.
To begin your business credit profile the right way, you ought to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. When 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 vendors that will grant an approval with minimal effort. You also want them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.
You want 5 – 8 of these to move onto the next step, which is revolving store credit. But you may need to apply more than once to these vendors, and you may need to purchase some items you do not need to have, to confirm you are reliable and will pay punctually. Consider donating nonessential things to charity.
Once there are 5 – 8 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, move onto revolving store credit. These are service providers such as Office Depot and Staples. These companies are likelier to have supplies you need.
Use the corporation’s EIN on these credit applications.
Are there 8 – 10 accounts reporting? Then move to fleet credit. These are companies like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to purchase, fix, and maintain vehicles. Make sure to apply using the business’s EIN.
Have you been sensibly managing the credit you’ve gotten up to this point? Then progress to cash credit. These are companies like Visa and MasterCard. Keep your SSN off these applications; use your EIN instead.
These are companies such as Walmart and Dell, and also Home Depot, BP, and Racetrac. These are typically MasterCard credit cards. If you have 14 trade accounts reporting, then these are feasible.
Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and attend to any inaccuracies as soon as possible. Get in the practice of checking credit reports and digging into the particulars, and not just the scores.
We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for only $24/month. See: https://www.creditsuite.com/business-credit-monitoring. Update the details if there are mistakes or the relevant information is incomplete.
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to challenge any inaccuracies in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be fixed. But the CRAs usually want you to dispute in a particular way.
Disputing credit report errors generally means you send a paper letter with copies of any evidence of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the original copies. Always mail copies and keep the originals.
Disputing credit report mistakes also means you precisely itemize any charges you challenge. Make your dispute letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the problems with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.
Always use credit sensibly! Don’t borrow more than what you can pay back. Monitor balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying promptly and fully will do more to elevate business credit scores than nearly anything else.
Building company credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a company get loans. Your lender knows the business can pay its financial obligations. They know the corporation is authentic. The small business’s EIN connects to high scores, and creditors won’t feel the need to call for a personal guarantee.
Business credit is an asset which can help your small business in years to come.
Once you find out what influences your small business credit score, you are that much nearer to building better corporate credit. Please share this and tell your friends what you think of working with a business credit program.