By Bruce Hurta
SBA financing assists many small business owners year after year. While the application and approval process for financing can be overwhelming for any entrepreneur, a small business lender is happy to walk every single prospective business owner through each step.
Consider this example of Zoom Car Wash, a brand new small business located in Houston, Texas. Although Zoom Car Wash has only been in business for the last six months, the company has exceeded projected goals and has serviced over 40,000 people.
Zoom Car Wash needed to acquire financing for the purchase of land, construction, new equipment, and start-up working capital. Although the partners of Zoom Car Wash were denied lending through traditional banks, the business was able to finance the entirety of the project through SBA lending.
The SBA government-guaranteed loan program for small business is a suitable alternative for small businesses seeking the best financing for their start-up business including commercial real estate. Since an SBA loan is classified as a business loan and not a real estate loan, the lender relies on the financial performance of the business and the credentials of the owner(s). Zoom Car Wash owner Mark Dost expressed, “The SBA process was a little more challenging but we would not have been able to do this project without their financial support. Although our three business partners all had auto mechanical backgrounds, being first time car wash owners was a risk traditional banks did not want to take on.”
One major factor that often causes traditional or conventional bank lenders to deny a business loan application is insufficient industry experience of one or more of the owners. Sometimes, as was likely the case with Zoom, banks avoid lending to particular industries or sectors with a high failure rate. “Traditional banks seem to have preconceived beliefs that start-up car wash businesses are too risky,” reflected Dost.
A traditional or conventional loan is not guaranteed or insured by the government. For this reason, there are higher risks involved for the lender. This forces banks to keep stringent lending criteria and to require nonrefundable application processing fees and higher down payments from their borrowers. What’s more, prepayment penalties required with many traditional bank loans can stifle the overall growth of a business, especially a brand new start-up. While SBA 7(a) loans do have prepayment penalties for the first three years, during this time, a business owner may pay ahead on the loan principal up to 25 percent of the loan balance without incurring the penalty. Later down the road, a good payment track record can help the business qualify for even more attractive refinancing terms after two to three years. SBA lenders also have the ability to take a personalized look into each individual SBA loan application.
An SBA preferred lender can:
- Have the ability to process, close, serve, and liquidate loans in house
- Develop and analyze complete loan packages
- Maintain a satisfactory relationship and history with the SBA
With these abilities, preferred SBA lenders are not required to send applications away for federal approval. Instead, lending managers can review an application and carefully consider every detail to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of the application including:
- Business cash flow
- Business owner’s management experience
- Business and owner’s credit record
- Amount of owner’s equity in the business
- Collateral offered for the loan
Why SBA financing is anything but conventional:
Through careful, personal consideration based on individual criteria and circumstances, Zoom Car Wash was granted the financing that they were withheld through traditional lenders with conventional bank loans.
After experiencing their first few months of exceptional financial success, Zoom Car Wash was able to focus on future plans. They now have plans to open their second location within the next two years and create a brand that will continue to resonate as well as it has for their first location.
You can learn more about SBA lending and small business finance on Bruce’s blog at brucehurta.wordpress.com. For more information about SBA real estate loans for small businesses, contact Bruce Hurta, Business Lending Manager at Members Choice Credit Union at 281-384-2595 or by email at [email protected].