Operating a business often entails being responsible for delivering valuable services or products to many clients. Additionally, your employees may rely on your business as their primary income source, which allows them to earn a livelihood and support their families.

Many business owners face challenges in aligning their accounts receivable with accounts payable, potentially leading to concerns about meeting payroll or managing ongoing expenses. Utilizing an operating line of credit can effectively bridge this gap, ensuring operational continuity when others rely on your business.

If managed properly, an operating line of credit can be a beneficial tool to maintain your business’s momentum. Continue reading for what you need to know about this flexible financing option.

operating line of credit

How an Operating Line of Credit Works

An operating line of credit serves to assist with short-term financial needs. It’s particularly beneficial for businesses experiencing seasonal fluctuations in cash flow. For example, during months with lower income but unchanged expenses, a line of credit can be invaluable.

Businesses in industries like construction, landscaping, accounting, and outdoor recreation, which rely on seasonal conditions, often find lines of credit helpful for managing their cash flow.

Key advantages of a line of credit include:

  1. Flexible Access to Funds: You can draw from your line of credit as needed, offering flexibility, especially in unexpected financial situations requiring quick cash.
  2. No Fixed Repayment Schedule: As long as minimum payments are met, you can repay the borrowed amount on your own terms within the loan’s agreed period.
  3. Potentially Lower Interest Rates: Lines of credit might offer lower interest rates compared to traditional fixed loans, although rates depend on various factors. It’s advisable to check with your bank for specific rates applicable to your business.
  4. Control Over Fund Usage: Unlike specific-purpose business loans, a line of credit allows you to use the funds for a variety of business needs, whether for operational costs, maintaining cash flow, or other purposes, without needing a predefined reason.

Should I Get a Line of Credit?

Lines of credit are particularly useful for imminent large expenses where the total cost is uncertain. Home repairs, which often involve unforeseen costs, are a prime example. Additionally, you might consider a line of credit linked to your checking account to avoid overdraft fees.

It’s crucial to be aware of the fees and interest rates associated with a line of credit. Common fees include late charges, account access fees, and application fees. You might also encounter closing costs when finalizing the arrangement. Typically, interest rates for lines of credit are higher and can increase further if your credit rating is not strong. These terms vary between financial institutions, so it’s important to thoroughly review the contract or speak with a representative.

Most importantly, always ensure you borrow only what you can afford to repay, considering not just the principal amount but also any additional fees and interest. Overborrowing can lead to significant financial distress and debt.

Looking to explore line of credit options for your business? Complete our easy application to unlock the offers you qualify for within our diverse lender platform.

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About the Author

Phil Fernandes

Phil Fernandes serves as Chief Operating Officer for National Business Capital. He boasts 15 years of experience in sales and 10+ years of management experience as National’s VP of Financing/Analytics. Phil is also an excellent writer who's completed the Applied Business Analytics executive program at MIT and regularly contributes articles to National Business Capital’s blog.

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