business loans with bad credit

Finding business loans with bad credit is difficult, but doable. Arm yourself with knowledge and prepare in advance to increase your odds of success.

business loans with bad credit
Bad credit is a common predicament for new and younger business. Business owners are often surprised to discover that their initial funding is gone after the company is established, leaving little or no capital to sustain the firm until it generates a profit. Even then, it can be a constant struggle to maintain operations, let alone grow, so finding additional funding suddenly is a crucial issue. All too often, newer businesses owners reach this point having damaged their chances for additional financing by overextending their personal credit – perhaps paying late or even missing payments as the business gets off the ground. Unfortunately, they learn too late that most commercial lenders look at both personal and business credit – usually non-existent for newer companies – when evaluating loan requests.

Business financing is challenging enough in the best of circumstances. When entrepreneurs and business owners are faced with having to search for business loans with bad credit, constant rejection takes its toll, leading to frustration, anxiety and hopelessness.

Fortunately, there are solutions to this confounding problem.

What Is Bad Credit, Anyway?

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Business Credit

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The term bad credit in business financing is used to describe one or both of the following situations: A company has little or no credit or its credit history contains significant derogatory information.

Little or no credit is viewed negatively because a lender has insufficient historical data to use in evaluating a credit request. Without a record of consistent and on-time payments to other creditors, the company seeking financing is automatically placed in a high risk category.

Bad credit that is based on derogatory information on a company’s credit history is the truly bad credit. If an applicant has a poor record of paying bills on time or has defaulted on its obligations, then a lender is naturally going to view any new financing requests as risky.

Bad Credit Business Loans: Preparation Is Key

For business owners with bad or no credit, the chances for obtaining financing are vastly improved by following a methodical plan to build business credit that is separate from their personal credit. The process of establishing business credit is neither a quick nor easy one, and in situations where owners have poor or non-existent personal credit, it is especially important to do it well.

The basic steps for establishing and building business credit are:

  • Apply for a federal tax ID number (FEIN) and establish a legal entity, such as a corporation or LLC.
  • Establish business credit through securing business loans or business credit cards.
  • Be sure to pay back all bills and loans on time to establish good credit.
  • Generate consistent cash flow to demonstrate the company’s capacity to repay business credit lines and loans.
Business credit services firms can provide the expertise to guide owners through the steps of creating and building business credit much faster and more reliably than is possible if attempted on their own.

While you are working to build business credit, there are steps you can take to make your company more attractive to commercial lenders. Your goal is not simply to obtain business loans with bad credit, but to optimize the interest rates and loan terms of any financing that you are ultimately offered.

  • Thoroughly review your personal credit history (all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to ensure there are no mistakes.
  • To the extent possible, clean up any outstanding collections, charge-offs and judgments.
  • Develop a well-written business plan that clearly explains your financing requirements and how your business will be able to meet its repayment obligation. You should also be able to give lenders a good overall verbal description of your business within a few sentences or less.
By following these steps, you will be increasing your chances of finding suitable business financing now and improving your prospects for obtaining the cheaper, more traditional financing in the future.

Finding Business Loans With Bad Credit

If your financing needs are immediate, you may have no choice but to begin searching for business loans with bad credit. Generally, expect them to be more expensive because commercial lenders will consider the risk of default to be high, particularly in tight economy.

The Non-Conforming Market For Business Financing

Fortunately, increasing competition in the lending industry has given rise to a number of specialized lenders and finance companies, firms that have created a variety of so-called ‘non-conforming” products for borrowers who cannot qualify for traditional financing.

The good news is that with many of the asset-based options touched on here and discussed in more depth throughout the pages of, your personal and business credit ratings will have little or no relevance in the decision to grant your company’s financing request.

On the other hand, finding unsecured business loans with bad credit is going to be a more challenging – and, unfortunately, a  more expensive – proposition. Bad credit means you can expect to have a more rigorous screening process when applying for credit. If your company needs unsecured financing, be prepared to explain how and why your personal or business credit ratings are blemished and what steps you are taking to restore them. In addition, be ready with a clear and concise plan outlining how the funds will be used to make the business more successful – and, therefore, profitable enough to generate the healthy cash flow required to easily repay your loan.

Confronting Your Credit Problems

When preparing to give details about why your credit history is less than perfect, you will want to briefly describe what happened, but spend more time on how you have learned from the experience and what you might have done differently.

Your goal is to convince your lender that you have since become more knowledgeable about running your business and responsible in managing your company’s finances. Always remember that commercial lenders profit by lending money, so they are positively motivated to give you what you want. If you can embrace your past credit mistakes, present a well-justified funding request, and show that you are moving forward, your chances of walking away with a fatter bank account and smile on your face increase dramatically!

Think Local: Talk To Your Bank First

If you’ve already established good history with a local bank, it should be the first place you visit.

Although it is true that most banks consider business loans with bad credit to be mutually exclusive terms, there is a possibility that your bank will be willing to loan you at least some portion of the financing your company requires, particularly if you’ve enjoyed a positive relationship with them. If they offer you financing, chances are it will be cheaper and the terms better than funds you can find in the non-conforming market. If your bank cannot help you, they may be able to refer you to other sources willing to work with you.

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More often than not, banks turn down business loans with bad credit, so locally based private lenders can be another source of financing to explore. In many larger U.S. markets, there will be individuals and small groups of investors looking for good opportunities to invest their money. Because the decision making is local, private loans can provide business owners the flexibility than is not possible with an institutional lender, and the terms can compare favorably with those offered by commercial lenders.

Some effort is required to locate private lenders because they typically don’t market in conventional ways. Start by asking everyone you can if they know someone who might be interested in investing in a local business. Check the classified ads in your newspaper under the “Money To Lend” or “Loans” headings. You may even want to consider placing your own ad under the “Business Opportunities” or “Financial” headings, announcing an attractive investment opportunity in a local business venture.

"Local search" is a fairly new capability of the major internet search engines that limits the results to the area where the search originates. Try searching terms such as business loans with bad credit, bad credit business loans, etc. to locate private lenders in your region.

Common Strategies For Business Loans With Bad Credit

Short-Term Loans

In the lending industry, short-term loans are generally viewed as more desirable than those with longer terms, since the lender recovers its original principal and earns its profit more quickly – money that is then available to lend again to earn even more profit. Because their money is at risk for a shorter period of time, commercial lenders can be more lenient when evaluating the credit quality and other characteristics of their borrowers. Consequently, if you can meet your needs with short-term financing, your chances of obtaining business loans with bad credit are much better. Typically, shorter-term interest rates are lower and monthly payments are higher than with long-term financing, but with bad credit, be prepared to pay above-market rates until you’re able to build your business credit.

Credit Card Factoring

For businesses that accept credit cards, bad credit business loans are available using the technique known as credit card factoring, sometimes refereed to as a business cash advance. Credit card factoring companies will extend a lump sum payment to your company against future credit card payments. Credit card factoring fees can be quite and vary widely, but for a company in search of business loans with bad credit, factoring companies provide a quick solution, and in most cases, your business credit won’t even be a consideration.

Secured Loans

The best and surest ways to obtain business financing when credit is an issue is to offer collateral, or hard assets, as a guarantee to the lender that in the event of default, it will receive something of value.

The pages of are filled with information on different secured, or asset-based finance techniques – accounts receivable financing, business equipment financing, commercial real estate financing, to name a few – all of which allow a business to leverage assets to obtain business capital. In return for placing its assets at risk, a business can obtain cash at lower interest rates than is possible with unsecured loans.

Brokers Can Really Shine In Bad Credit Situations  

Because their professions require them to know and be connected with multiple sources of financing, business brokers and commercial mortgage brokers in your community can help you find business loans with bad credit quickly. Their job is to find lenders willing to work with borrowers through the entire gamut of circumstances – such as business size, type, industry, credit quality, and so on – offering properly structured business financing with acceptable terms. If you decide to work with a broker, be prepared to pay a finder’s fee in exchange for saving yourself a lot of time and stress in trying to find financing on your own.

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