Owning a franchise has unique advantages over other small businesses. However, franchise owners must still juggle time and money for their company to thrive.
Franchise loans are leverage that can be used to grow or start your business in a time efficient way. Access to capital also makes your franchise more profitable in direct and indirect ways.
So how can business loans maximize some advantages of a franchise:
Loans as Leverage to Grow Your Franchise:
Franchise owners realize supplier discounts on inventory and technology. You piggyback on the purchases of corporate stores and other franchisees for better prices on common needs.
A non-franchised restaurant or carpet cleaning business would not have the same leverage with suppliers. In many cases, the franchisor is also the supplier.
Short term financing allows you to maximize these benefits: Here’s how:
- Bulk Purchase Discounts: How about an easy way to boost profit margins? You can enjoy added savings on inventory by buying in bulk. A line of credit or business credit card gives you the capital to do so.
- Upgrade Technology: New technologies make production more effective. You can use financing to upgrade POS software for better inventory control. A new pizza oven helps you serve more customers at reduced cost. You should consider equipment loans for easier approvals with fast turnarounds. The equipment serves as collateral and credit is less of a factor.
Best Practice: The ROI of replacing old equipment has indirect benefits, as well. Food ovens, work trucks and computers are depreciated over a ‘useful life’, in accounting terms. The depreciation expense may be a tax write off. Your old machinery may no longer have a useful life. Be proactive and work with your CPA to understand the total return on buying equipment.
Maintain Your Brand Name:
It takes time for a business to establish an identity. A franchise instantly gives you brand name equity, which otherwise takes years to build.
Parent companies are particular about their brand image. Most franchisors require that you maintain services to certain standards. For food franchises, this may include the appearance of restaurants. In some cases, franchisees are asked to make upgrades for rebranding efforts. You may issue uniforms with new corporate colors or change signs for an updated logo.
How Franchise Loans Help:
Have you seen franchise locations that look better or worse than others? Perhaps the familiar logo is faded or the property is not well maintained? The franchisee may lack liquidity to upgrade the location.
A business line of credit (LOC) allows you to quickly replace business signage or make facility improvements and still pay overhead. You can also meet time frames for upgrades or changes from the franchisor.
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In case of surprises, a line of credit enables you to repair restaurant seating or property damage without affecting cash flow.
Preparing to Apply for a Business Loan:
Buying or expanding a franchise? Expect banks to ask for:
- 2 years of Business and Personal Tax Returns
- Current Income Statement and Balance Sheet
- Business and Personal Credit Check
- Quality Collateral (For instance, heavy machinery is preferred to office desks or chairs).
- Own an existing franchise? Apply for a business LOC or credit card BEFORE you need it. Your odds for approval are higher when financials don’t reflect the need for loans. Unlike term loans, you only pay interest expense on an LOC if the credit is used.
- Applying for an SBA loan? Please remember, SBA loans do not necessarily mean easier approval. It’s more an indication that a bank has certain resources and expertise approved by the SBA.
Stated Income Loans: (Startups or Existing Franchises) Business owners with strong personal credit may consider stated income franchise loans. The lender extends an unsecured line of credit based on personal credit score.
This financing is also ideal for funding shortfalls when buying a franchise. Franchises with lower startup costs, in the 75k-150k range, may be fully funded. Make sure to confirm the line of credit is unsecured. If there is a no interest rate period, confirm what the rate will be afterwards.
For Existing Franchise Owners….
A/R Financing: You can sell receivables at a discount % for quick cash. Medical offices, construction contractors and any business with invoice delays may consider factoring.
Consider how selling particular A/R affects the profit margin on that account. For instance, if a factor offers you 75% for a receivable with a 15% margin, you are losing money in two ways. Focus on selling high margin receivables, if possible.
Merchant Loans: Do you accept credit cards? A lender will advance you money in exchange for a % of daily credit card sales. You will repay the advance plus a premium. Repayment can be spread out up to 1 year.
Equipment Loans: Upgrade or buy specific equipment. Collateral is easy to determine and credit is less of a factor. (Described earlier)
Loans help grow your franchise in ways not otherwise possible. Money has time value, which means a dollar is more valuable today than in the future. You should evaluate how and why the money will be used to make wise decisions.