The transportation industry is essential to the U.S. economy. As we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s almost impossible to have fully stocked grocery stores and other establishments without hardworking trucking companies bringing the products we love from point A to point B.
In other words, interstate commerce can’t happen without the transportation industry, so it’s important for every entrepreneur in this space to take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way.
What Is a Business Line of Credit, and How Does It Work?
A business line of credit is a type of financing that provides access to capital on a flexible basis. Unlike a loan, which you must repay in full with interest, you can use your line of credit on an as-needed basis, and only the borrowed amount will accrue interest.
Most lines of credit are revolving, too, which means you can draw the same funds you took previously after paying down your existing balance.
Although this type of financing may sound similar to a business credit card, the two are very different in their application. Business credit cards work exactly like a personal credit card does, whereas a business line of credit allows you to draw physical cash at a moment’s notice.
A business line of credit is more difficult to secure compared to a business credit card, but the benefits are worth the effort.
Trucking businesses often use lines of credit to cover the cost of fuel and other expenses, but you aren’t limited to these expenses. You can use your business line of credit for payroll, rent, and marketing if you’d prefer.
As long as you manage your repayments and don’t overload your credit line, you’ll find it much easier to handle your monthly expenses once you have a trucking business line of credit behind you.
The Importance of Trucking Financing
Trucking businesses are different than most, but they aren’t immune to the entrepreneurial challenges that other industries face, like cash flow constraints. Not only will you need to purchase equipment and supplies, but you’ll have to have the proper licenses and insurance coverage whenever you’re up and running.
With fuel and vehicle costs fluctuating dramatically on a monthly and annual basis, it’s difficult for these businesses to forecast for the future. You won’t know how much your expenses will be in 6 months or next year, nor will you be able to anticipate a sudden repair expense to get one of your vehicles back on the road.
This lack of predictability forces many entrepreneurs in this industry to adopt a cautious business model—one where they have to forgo growth opportunities to ensure their operations can cover future expenses.
While it’s an understandable decision, you can’t stay stagnant for long. You’ll need to grow if you want to maintain your place in the industry, which is why many trucking companies leverage business lines of credit to help them stay one step ahead of the latest challenge.
Why Do You Need a Trucking Business Line of Credit?
A business line of credit is an important financial tool for businesses of all sizes. For trucking businesses, a trucking business line of credit can be used for a variety of purposes, such as purchasing new trucks, making repairs to existing trucks, or covering unexpected expenses.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of having a business line of credit.
Business lines of credit are one of the most flexible financing options available to entrepreneurs. The revolving nature of lines of credit allows you to stay one step ahead of the latest challenge and, more importantly, gives you an opportunity to forecast for the future.
You won’t have to worry if a growth opportunity will leave you without the funds to pay for more costly expenses down the line; You’ll have your line of credit behind you to help you account for the fluctuating costs.
Another benefit of a business line of credit is that they are relatively easy to qualify for. As long as you have good personal and business credit, you should be able to qualify for a business line of credit from most lenders, but it’s a little more complicated if you’re seeking a higher limit.
For example, if you’re seeking to secure a credit line of $750,000+, you’ll need to have a higher credit score, a lengthy time in business, and solid annual revenue.
Revolving credit allows you to borrow money again after paying back what you owe. It usually has a limit on how much you can borrow at one time, and it may also have a grace period (usually between 20-25 days) during which you do not have to pay any interest on the borrowed amount.
Most business lines of credit are revolving, which is perfect for an entrepreneur who wants to stay vigilant against unforeseen expenses. It is also a great option when it comes to trucking business line of credit.
Forecast for the Future
The trucking industry relies heavily on commodities with unstable costs. The price of fuel and vehicles fluctuates dramatically both monthly and annually, which adds a degree of challenge to forecasting.
For example, let’s say you have an opportunity to take over some of your competitor’s routes. You know you’ll need extra vehicles and staff to handle the work, but with the price of fuel rising again, there’s no telling if you can afford to take on these extra routes and pay for your expenses in a few months.
If you’ve secured a business line of credit, you’ll have more assurance that your business can handle price fluctuations and sudden expenses, allowing you to take on new routes and grow with confidence.
How to Qualify for a Trucking Business Line of Credit
Qualifications will vary from lender to lender, but there are three main criteria that most lenders rely on – time in business, annual revenue, and credit score.
Your time in business demonstrates your experience, annual revenue shows your profitability, and your credit score provides lenders with a detailed history of how you’ve handled credit in the past.
|Banks and Credit Unions
Those are just the basic qualifications to reach an approval at a bank, meaning you’ll need to exceed those criteria to secure better terms. Non-bank lenders, on the other hand, are much more accessible.
However, while non-bank lenders come with lower qualifications, they carry higher interest rates than banks and credit unions. This may sound problematic initially, but consider how your opportunity will drive further revenue in your business. If the opportunity makes sense for the cost of capital, then the choice is easy, regardless of the type of lender you work with.
How to Apply for a Trucking Business Line of Credit
Now that you know why you need a business line of credit for your trucking business, it’s time to apply. Here are a few of the most important steps:
1. Understand Your Business Needs
First, you’ll want to evaluate the needs of your operation from both a macro and micro perspective. You don’t want to simply “throw money” at a problem; Instead, you should focus on finding the root cause of the issue you’re experiencing.
If it’s cash flow constraints, you should ask yourself, “What expenses are the most strenuous?” and “How much will I need to adequately accomplish my goals?” to get yourself in the right headspace. You should also consider your ability to repay the amount you borrow.
By asking yourself these important questions before you start the process, you ensure that you won’t borrow too little or too much and, more importantly, ensure you’re using your cash wisely.
2. Prepare Your Documentation
You’ll want to prepare all your business documents, including your business bank statements and credit information.
Having this close by speeds up the process considerably, especially if you’re applying to more than one lender at a time.
3. Research Lenders
You can secure a trucking business line of credit through your bank, credit union, online lender, or marketplace. Banks and credit unions tend to have the strictest eligibility requirements and lowest interest rates, with online lenders being the opposite.
Marketplaces encompass all these lenders into one platform, which will allow you to apply to more than one with one application.
4. Compare Their Programs
Every lender is different, with each having its own unique eligibility requirements that differ from one another. One may see your business as inherently risky and refuse to finance you, whereas another might view your operation as financially trustworthy and offer you favorable rates and terms.
The only way to secure the best deal is to shop around, but this isn’t easy to do as you manage your trucking business. Fortunately, FinTech marketplaces, like National Business Capital, streamline your search for financing by sending your application to multiple lenders at once, saving you both time and effort.
Why Choose National Business Capital for Trucking Business Line of Credit?
If you’re a trucking business owner, you know that having access to capital is essential to keeping your business running smoothly. Unexpected repairs, replacement tires, and other unexpected expenses can put a strain on your cash flow, which is why it’s important to have a line of credit to rely on when you need it.
That’s where National Business Capital comes in. Our expert Business Finance Advisors understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to business financing.
We learn everything we can about you, your business, and your challenges, starting from the first phone call to ensure that we can connect you with the RIGHT lender for your specific circumstances.
Our team specializes in providing business lines of credit for trucking businesses, too, so you can rest assured that we understand the unique needs of your business.
With National, you can get the funding you need to reach your full potential without putting your business in jeopardy. We’ll never shackle you with an offer that doesn’t fit your needs, and we’re always available after you receive your funds for any future financing needs.
We’ve secured $2 billion through 27,000+ transactions, making us uniquely capable of helping you secure the funds you need to grow. Complete our digital application to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is a Trucking Line of Credit Important to Small Business Owners?
A trucking business lines of credit provide access to short-term capital on an as-needed basis, which allows for enhanced forecasting, greater purchasing power, and streamlined cash flow.
With a line of credit, you can focus on the bigger picture rather than getting tied up in the micro expenses of your business. Small business owners leverage this financing option for various business expenses, including payroll, rent, inventory, marketing initiatives, and more.
Can I Get a Small Business Loan to Start a Trucking Company?
Yes, but keep in mind that most business financing options are limited to existing businesses. Fortunately, the SBA microloan program provides funding (up to $50,000) to start-up trucking companies.
As you continue to grow your business, you can qualify for additional options, like term loans, lines of credit, equipment financing, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Line of Credit?
One of the most prominent benefits of a business line of credit is the ability to draw physical cash at a moment’s notice. Entrepreneurs will typically leverage this financing option to help support their business as it grows, using the funds to pay for minor expenses that distract them from the big picture.
If your credit line is revolving, you can draw the same funds once you’ve repaid your existing balance, which allows you to always stay one step ahead of the latest challenge or opportunity.
What Are the Cons of a Line of Credit?
Trucking business lines of credit often carry high-interest rates, some of which are variable. If the prime rate rises for one reason or another, so will your line of credit interest rate, which can force entrepreneurs to pay more than they should in interest payments.
Some lenders will also include fees or stipulations in their contracts that complicate your use, such as a “zero balance” clause, which requires you to hold a zero balance on your line for a set period of time.
It’s important to work with a transparent lender for this very reason, as you don’t want to find out about these fees months into your contract.
What Are the Typical Interest Rates and Repayment Terms for a Trucking Business Line of Credit?
Interest rates depend on your business, the lender you’re working with, and the economic conditions surrounding your transaction, so there’s no straightforward answer. However, if you’re looking to secure the lowest interest rates, make sure you exceed the lender’s minimum eligibility requirements as much as possible.
As for repayment terms, most business lines of credit are revolving. This means that there’s no set end date; Instead, borrowers can draw and repay funds as needed until either they or their lender choose to end the contract.
How Can I Best Utilize a Line of Credit to Manage Cash Flow and Meet the Financial Needs of My Trucking Business?
Use your line of credit for expenses or opportunities that would otherwise strain your cash flow and make it difficult to operate at full capacity. For example, if you need to repair trucks to start a new job and using your cash flow for the expense would leave you without funds for gas and other expenses, it’s best to leverage your line of credit for the repairs.
You can also leverage it for more expensive purchases you’d prefer to manage over a longer schedule. However, if you do, make sure it won’t overload your credit line.
You shouldn’t use a line of credit for every purchase in your business. It’s recommended to keep your balance far enough away from your total credit limit to account for emergency expenses.