Finding The Best Retail Business Loans

In an ideal world, a small business would always be able to finance itself, there would be enough cash in the bank to enable growth and cover any emergencies. But as we all know, life simply isn’t like that. All businesses need some extra cash to help them move up to the next level, and the best way to do this is often with a retail business loan.

So, what kinds of retail business loans are available to you? Below, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know to move forward with your decision.

What Are The Best Loans For a Retail Business?

Essentially there are six types of business loans you should know about before making a choice. They all differ and which is best often depends on what you need the money for.

SBA Loans

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are justifiably popular because these government-backed loans offer arguably the lowest rates and most generous terms out there. Banks love them because up to 85% of the capital advanced is covered by the government, if you fail to repay the money the government steps in, so they are low risk for the lender.

There are two types of SBA loans a retail business is interested in:

SBA 7(a) loans are catch-all loans with few restrictions on what you can spend the money on. If there is a problem with this choice, it is that because of their popularity, they are difficult to get. Your business needs to be doing well, your credit record excellent, and your finances in order to stand any chance of getting one of these. It is certainly not for anyone trying to hold up a struggling business.

SBA 504/CDC loans are all about providing capital for expansion and job creation, i.e., buying real estate and fixed assets. They have the same advantageous rates and terms as the 7(a) loans and offer funding up to $5 million. The fact that there is now a 25-year term option has made these loans even more sought after. As with the 7(a) program, applicants need to meet stringent requirements to qualify.

Learn More About SBA Loans

Term Loans

Term loans, both medium and short, can be attractive options. Medium-term loans are a great option if you’re looking for a lump-sum to pay back over 1-10 years (typically 2-5 years). These can be used for anything you need in the business, and are unsecured. You often need a good credit score and reasonable revenue to qualify for these, though obviously lender requirements vary.

Short-term loans are not the cheapest option but may be perfect for an emergency when you have an unexpected drain on your bank balance and still need to pay your staff or find a deal you need to jump on. Online lenders usually have remarkably short approval times, and the money can be available in hours or a couple of days at most. You pay for this convenience and have less than 18 months to return the money, but they can be a life-saver.

Learn More About Business Loans

Lines of Credit

Simply put, a business line of credit is like a credit card for your business. Once a limit has been agreed with the provider, you can borrow up to that limit, only paying interest on what you actually borrow. They are usually rolling agreements so that as you pay the advance back so that money is available to borrow once again.

Cash flow can be a small business’s single biggest problem, and a rolling line of credit can ease that considerably.

Compare Line of Credit Options

Inventory Financing

The retail business has to respond rapidly to changing customer demands, and with the rise of social media, those changes can take place in the blink of an eye. To take advantage of these trends, you need that hot item on your shelves now if your retail store is to keep pace with the market. But if you haven’t got the cash, how can you respond?

The great thing about inventory financing is that the stock you buy acts as its own collateral, the lender can sell it if you were to default. Without having to tie up your capital, you can have the stock on your shelves (or in your warehouse) as soon as possible. Traditional banks are unlikely to be of help to the small business, and you are better off looking at online loan providers for your inventory financing.

Compare Inventory Financing Options

Merchant Cash Advance

Technically, a merchant cash advance (MCA) is not a loan but a cash advance against your future takings. The provider then takes a predetermined amount from your credit and debit card sales plus a fee. Some MCA lenders accept cash as well, using an automated clearing house (ACH) to do so.

On the upside, the application for an MCA is fast and simple (since they already have proof of your income) and once approved, you receive the cash quickly. The downside is the cost, the APR equivalent is often way more than for alternative forms of borrowing.

Compare Merchant Cash Advance Options

Equipment Financing

The retail sector may not be equipment centered like manufacturing or construction, for example, but you would be hard put to operate without computers, cash registers and lighting. This is where equipment financing might be for you.

Like inventory financing, the equipment provides its own collateral. You work out what equipment you need and how much it will cost, and the loan company gives you most of the money to pay the invoice (usually around 85%). Interest runs at 8-30%, depending on what you are buying and your credit score.

Compare Equipment Financing Options

Best SBA Loans for Retailers

SmartBiz makes SBA loan application straightforward and comparatively fast, a long way from the long, drawn-out process of most traditional banks. They will guide you through the steps and try and match you with the most appropriate lender. Should you fail to qualify for an SBA loan, they have many alternative products that might suit you.

Loan Amount:$30,000 – $350,000
APR Range:9.7% – 11.04%
Time To Fund:Typically take several weeks to fund, but can fund as quickly as within seven days.
Loan Term:Maximum loan term is 10 years.
Origination Fee:4.00%
How To Qualify:675+ Personal credit score
$50,000+ Annual revenue
Great Option For:Borrowers with good credit
SBA loans
Funding real estate purchases
Refinancing debt
Credit Check?Soft credit check and hard pull
Co-Applicants Accepted?No cosigners
Direct Pay-Off To Creditors?No
Click “Check Rates” to apply to SmartBiz

Fundera, like SmartBiz, allows you to access a large pool of lenders for SBA loans and other financing options, rather than having to apply separately, saving you time and allowing you to compare what’s on offer. Not only does this make the whole process simpler, but Fundera is helpful and has set terms and fees.

Loan Amounts$5,000 to $500,000
APR RangeTerm Loans: 7% – 30%
Startup Loans: 7.9% – 19.9%
Repayment TermsTerm Loans: Up to 10 Years
SBA Loans: Up to 25 Years
Time to FundingVaries
Click “Check Rates” to apply to Fundera

Top Small Business Retail Term Loans

BlueVine offers term loans as one of its financing options. Your business receives the funds, and you pay it back either weekly or monthly, the terms usually running from 6-12 months. Loans of up to $250,000 are available, and interest rates start at 15%.

Loan Amounts$5,000 to $250,000
APR Range15% to 78%
Repayment Terms6 or 12 months
Time to FundingAs fast as 24 hours
Click “Check Rates” to apply to Blue Vine

Kabbage also offers loans of up to $250,000, which can be used for investing in new technologies, marketing, hiring employees and inventory purchase, among other things. They utilize a fully automated online application process, which speeds up the entire procedure, giving you the money quickly.

Loan Amounts$2,000 to $250,000
APR Range24% to 99%
Repayment Terms6, 12 or 18 months
Time to FundingA few minutes to several days
Credit Score560+
Click “Check Rates” to apply to Kabbage

OnDeck offers same day funding, loans of $5,000-$500,000 with 3-36 month terms plus 100% prepayment benefit if you pay off the loan early. Your repayments are made weekly or monthly, and there are loyalty benefits too.

Loan Amounts$5,000 to $500,000
APR RangeAs low as 9.99%
Repayment TermsTerm loans up to 3 years
Time to FundingAs fast as 1 day
Click “Check Rates” to apply to OnDeck

What Are The Top Lines of Credit for Retail Stores?

BlueVine has business lines of credit of up to $250,000, with rates starting at 15% and boasts of approvals in as little as five minutes. You pay back with fixed monthly or weekly payments over six or 12 months.

Fundbox specializes in lines of credit. The application won’t affect your credit score, and a decision will be made quickly; funds will be transferred as early as the next business day. They have an easy to use dashboard for their customers, allowing you to keep track of what you’ve borrowed and what you have repaid.

Kabbage Funding will make a decision in 10 minutes, but you won’t have to make any payments until you start using the facility. They have transparent terms and offer a personal service. And you can use your computer or their mobile app to withdraw money, and they also provide a swipeable Kabbage Card.

Costs for Retail Business Loans

So, how much can you expect your loan to cost you? While, of course, specific amounts will differ depending on how much you want to borrow, for how long, your credit score, and other circumstances, there are average figures and costs associated. For most, the costs will be included in the APR, but there are sometimes additional fees and down payments.

SBA Loan

SBA loans are difficult to get, but are worth pursuing if you’ve been in business for at least 3 years, have good credit, and good annual revenue. SBA loans typically cost 7-8% APR and are paid back over 5-25 years. You will also need a downpayment of 10-20% of your overall loan.

Term Loans

Short-term loans have high interest by nature, and if you’re looking to borrow for just a short time (up to 18 months), you should do your research and find one that won’t take advantage of you. Short-term loans typically have 10-110% APR, so try to get the best deal you can.

Medium-term loans are much better, and if you’re looking for a loan for 1-5 years, are a great choice. They generally cost 7-30% APR, so while they are more expensive than SBA loans, they are also easier and faster to get.

A Business Line of Credit

For most lenders, you’ll need a personal credit score of over 600, to have been in business for a year, and have annual revenue of over $100,000, though some will consider over $50,000.

The costs associated will usually be a $20 monthly fee for maintenance (though this is often waived if you use a certain amount) and APR of 7-80%, so you’ll need to do your research and find a lender that will give you good terms, especially if you plan to take out a lump sum early.

However, a line of credit is a great way to build your credit rating and have flexible cash flow.

Other Loan Costs

The other types of business loan financing – equipment loans, merchant cash advances, and invoice factoring – have varying costs, depending on each business’s individual circumstances. Due to the nature of retail, you’ll likely only be interested in merchant cash advances, which have relatively high costs. You’ll typically see APR of 40-350%, so you need to be sure it’s worth it before agreeing to their terms.

Should you qualify for an equipment loan, you can expect to pay a downpayment of around 10%.

Remember to always read the terms of any potential lender carefully to find out any additional fees. These can add to the overall cost of your loan, so it’s worth spending an additional 10 minutes double-checking if you’re happy with them.

Learn More About Business Loans

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