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The Logistics and Transportation Industry in the United States
The logistics and transportation industry in the United States is highly competitive. By investing in this sector, multinational firms position themselves to better facilitate the flow of goods throughout the largest consumer market in the world.. International and domestic companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs and regulatory burdens.
Spending in the U.S. logistics and transportation industry totaled $1.33 trillion in 2012, and represented 8.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Analysts expect industry investment to correlate with growth in the U.S. economy.
A highly integrated supply chain network in the United States links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport. To serve customers efficiently, multinational and domestic firms provide tailored logistics and transportation solutions that ensure coordinated goods movement from origin to end user through each supply chain network segment.
This subsector includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.
Air and express delivery services (EDS):
Firms offer expedited, time-sensitive, and end-to-end services for documents, small parcels, and high-value items. EDS firms also provide the export infrastructure for many exporters, particularly small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to operate their own supply chain.
High volumes of heavy cargo and products are transported long distances via the U.S. rail tracking network. Freight rail moves more than 70 percent of the coal, 58 percent of its raw metal ores, and more than 30 percent of its grain for the nation. This subsector accounted for approximately one third of all U.S. exports.
This subsector includes carriers, seaports, terminals, and labor involved in the movement of cargo and passengers by water. Water transportation carries about 78 percent of U.S. exports by tonnage, via both foreign-flag and U.S.-flag carriers.
Trucking: Over-the-road transportation of cargo is provided by motor vehicles over short and medium distances. The American Trucking Associations reports that in 2012, trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight, or about 68.5 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically. Motor carriers collected $642 billion in revenues, or about 81 percent of total revenue earned by all domestic transport modes.
American Association of Port Authorities
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
American Trucking Associations
Association of American Railroads
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
Express Delivery and Logistics Association Industry Publications:
Journal of Commerce
Material Handling & Logistics
North American Industry Classification System For Transportation
The Transportation and Warehousing sector includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline.
The Transportation and Warehousing sector distinguishes three basic types of activities: subsectors for each mode of transportation, a subsector for warehousing and storage, and a subsector for establishments providing support activities for transportation. In addition, there are subsectors for establishments that provide passenger transportation for scenic and sightseeing purposes, postal services, and courier services.
A separate subsector for support activities is established in the sector because, first, support activities for transportation are inherently multimodal, such as freight transportation arrangement, or have multimodal aspects. Secondly, there are production process similarities among the support activity industries.
One of the support activities identified in the support activity subsector is the routine repair and maintenance of transportation equipment (e.g., aircraft at an airport, railroad rolling stock at a railroad terminal, or ships at a harbor or port facility). Such establishments do not perform complete overhauling or rebuilding of transportation equipment (i.e., periodic restoration of transportation equipment to original design specifications) or transportation equipment conversion (i.e., major modification tosystems). An establishment that primarily performs factory (or shipyard) overhauls, rebuilding, or conversions of aircraft, railroad rolling stock, or a ship is classified in Subsector 336, Transportation Equipment Manufacturing according to the type of equipment.
Many of the establishments in this sector often operate on networks, with physical facilities, labor forces, and equipment spread over an extensive geographic area.
Industries in the Truck Transportation subsector provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using motor vehicles, such as trucks and tractor trailers. The subsector is subdivided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking. This distinction reflects differences in equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a containeror van trailer. Specialized freight transportation is the transportation of cargo that, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics require specialized equipment for transportation.
Each of these industry groups is further subdivided based on distance traveled. Local trucking establishments primarily carry goods within a single metropolitan area and its adjacent nonurban areas. Long distance trucking establishments carry goods between metropolitan areas.
The Specialized Freight Trucking industry group includes a separate industry for Used Household and Office Goods Moving. The household and office goods movers are separated because of the substantial network of establishments that has developed to deal with local and long-distance moving and the associated storage. In this area, the same establishment provides both local and long-distance services, while other specialized freight establishments generally limit their services to either local or long-distance hauling.
General Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer. The establishments of this industry group provide a combination of the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
General Freight Trucking, Local
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Local general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking within a metropolitan area which may cross state lines. Generally the trips are same-day return.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Long-distance general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking between metropolitan areas which may cross North American country borders. Included in this industry are establishments operating as truckload (TL) or less than truckload (LTL) carriers.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight truckload (TL) trucking. These long-distance general freight truckload carrier establishments provide full truck movement of freight from origin to destination. The shipment of freight on a truck is characterized as a full single load not combined with other shipments.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Less Than Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance, general freight, less than truckload (LTL) trucking. LTL carriage is characterized as multiple shipments combined onto a single truck for multiple deliveries within a network. These establishments are generally characterized by the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
Specialized Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance specialized freight trucking. The establishments of this industry are primarily engaged in the transportation of freight which, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics, requires specialized equipment, such as flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers. This industry includes the transportation of used household, institutional, and commercial furniture and equipment.
Used Household and Office Goods Moving
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance trucking of used household, used institutional, or used commercial furniture and equipment. Incidental packing and storage activities are often provided by these establishments. Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Local
Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance specialized trucking. These establishments provide trucking between metropolitan areas that may cross North American country borders.
A freight broker is an individual or company that serves as a liaison between another individual or company that needs shipping services and an authorized motor carrier. Though a freight broker plays an important role in the movement of cargo, the broker doesn't function as a shipper or a carrier.To operate as a freight broker, a business or individual must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Freight brokers are required to carry surety bonds as well.
Freight broker services are valuable to both shippers and motor carriers. Freight brokers help shippers find reliable carriers that might otherwise be difficult to locate. They assist motor carriers in filling their trucks and earning money for transporting a wide variety of items. For their efforts, freight brokers earn commissions.
Freight brokers use their knowledge of the shipping industry and technological resources to help shippers and carriers accomplish their goals. Many companies find the services provided by freight brokers indispensable. In fact, some companies hire brokers to coordinate all of their shipping needs.
Often, freight brokers are confused with forwarders. Though a freight forwarder performs some of the same tasks as a freight broker, the two are not the same. A forwarder takes possession of the items being shipped, consolidates smaller shipments, and arranges for the transportation of the consolidated shipments. By contrast, a freight broker never takes possession of items being shipped thus in the absence of negligent entrustment, a freight broker is not normally involved as a party litigant in a cargo claimdispute, although as an accommodation, the freight broker may assist the shipper at their request and expense with filing freight claims.
NAICS Index Description
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, local 484110
Container trucking services, local 484110
General freight trucking, local 484110
Motor freight carrier, general, local 484110
Transfer (trucking) services, general freight, local 484110
Trucking, general freight, local 484121
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, long-distance (TL) 484121
Container trucking services, long-distance (TL) 484121
General freight trucking, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484122
General freight trucking, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
LTL (less-than-truckload) long-distance freight trucking 484122
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484210
Furniture moving, used 484210
Motor freight carrier, used household goods 484210
Trucking used household, office, or institutional furniture and equipment 484210
Used household and office goods moving 484210
Van lines, moving and storage services 484220
Agricultural products trucking, local 484220
Automobile carrier trucking, local 484220
Boat hauling, truck, local 484220
Bulk liquids trucking, local 484220
Coal hauling, truck, local 484220
Dry bulk trucking (except garbage collection, garbage hauling), local 484220
Dump trucking (e.g., gravel, sand, top soil) 484220
Farm products hauling, local 484220
Flatbed trucking, local 484220
Grain hauling, local 484220
Gravel hauling, local 484220
Livestock trucking, local 484220
Log hauling, local 484220
Milk hauling, local 484220
Mobile home towing services, local 484220
Refrigerated products trucking, local 484220
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, local 484220
Sand hauling, local 484220
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), local 484220
Top-soil hauling, local 484220
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, local 484220
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local 484230
Automobile carrier trucking, long-distance 484230
Boat hauling, truck, long-distance 484230
Bulk liquids trucking, long-distance 484230
Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance 484230
Farm products trucking, long-distance 484230
Flatbed trucking, long-distance 484230
Forest products trucking, long-distance 484230
Grain hauling, long-distance 484230
Gravel hauling, long-distance 484230
Livestock trucking, long-distance 484230
Log hauling, long-distance 484230
Mobile home towing services, long-distance 484230
Radioactive waste hauling, long-distance 484230
Recyclable material hauling, long-distance 484230
Refrigerated products trucking, long-distance 484230
Refuse hauling, long-distance 484230
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, long-distance 484230
Sand hauling, long-distance 484230
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), long-distance 484230
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, long-distance 484230
Trash hauling, long-distance 484230
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, hazardous, long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, nonhazardous, long-distance
Information for the state of
You no longer have to waste time in collecting on invoices.
Freight Factoring Brokers
Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use Truck Factoring; and today Truck Factoring has become common business practice across many industries. -Freight Factoring Brokers
THE CRIMES WE COMMIT AGAINST OUR CASH FLOW
Freight Factoring Brokers Articles
Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Avoid Cash Flow Problems
Without steady cash flow most businesses will fail to thrive, especially small businesses and start-ups. We've all heard the phrase "Cash Is King" and that's certainly true for established businesses, but for new businesses just getting started cash flow is even more important. Sadly, many new businesses fail to realize just how devastating cash flow problems can be to a business trying to establish themselves in the market. In fact, many businesses die a sad and lonely death simply because of bad cash management, and these are businesses that would otherwise have survived had they not experienced cash flow problems. Statistics show that 82% of businesses fail because they were unable to manage their cash. That's a tragic figure, especially when there are effective ways for new, small, and even large businesses to avoid these problems.
So, let's take a look at some important rules that small businesses should be aware of to ensure they never have to face liquidity.
No. 1: It's Cash That Sustains Business Growth
So many businesses don't consider cash flow an issue because they see the orders flooding in; however, many growing companies do experience cash flow problems. Increased sales generally mean increased costs to deliver orders; plus, in order to support the new volume of business other sections of a business typically need to grow. Your business may appear to be highly successful as orders continue coming in, but keep in mind that the faster your business grows the more financing it will need.
No. 2: Margins Are Just Accounting - They're Not Cash!
We know that accounting, and accountants, can be pretty creative with figures because there's nothing shareholders and board members love more than hearing about the industry-leading margins you're achieving; but your board members and shareholders are not the ones who have to find the money to meet payroll and pay your landlord. Margins don't pay your employees. Your sales may be booked down when your customer's order is delivered, but how long will it be before you receive payment? 30, 60, 90 days, or even longer? If your customers are not paying you and you're struggling to pay your expenses, your business is now in survival mode. Keep in mind that you may have great accounting margins but still have an empty bank account.
No. 3: When You're Selling B2B (Business-to-Business) Cash Flow Problems Will Likely Be Your First Issue
The more sales you make the more money you make, but when you're selling B2B it's not always that simple. Yes, you sell and deliver goods or services to another business and provide them with an invoice, and your customer will pay the invoice at a later date. But how much later? If you chase the business too hard for payment they'll probably never work with you again, so you could receive payment months later. You're not going to pass up businesses who buy with high volume, so you have no choice but to wait. So, you end up with a cash flow problem.
No. 4: Cash Flow Problems Can Occur Very Quickly
It doesn't take much for cash flow management to become a serious problem, so monitor your cash flow very carefully. Determine how much of your working capital is locked into receivables, inventories, raw materials, and so on; and know exactly how much money is required to meet both your sales targets and operating expenses. You may have made the sales but that doesn't mean you have the cash, and you may have paid for inventory but that doesn't mean it's automatically a cost of goods sold.
No. 5: Your Inventory Ties up Cash
You can't sell your goods until you've purchased or built them and, whether your goods are sold or not, your vendor still expects to be paid. This means that your inventory is locking up your cash. You could eventually make two times or even three times your money on your inventory, but margins do not equal cash.
No. 6: You Must Be Practical About Working Capital
Working capital is the figure left over when current liabilities are deducted from current assets, which means it's the money you have in your bank account available for meeting operating costs, paying vendors, and buying inventory - all the while waiting for your business customers to pay your invoices. Understanding and grasping the concept of working capital is a very necessary survival skill in business because being able to maintain sufficient cash to pay your own financial responsibilities whilst dealing with all the unknowns in business can be very tricky.
No. 7: Be Clear on What "Accounts Receivable" Actually Are
The money owed to you by your customers is called accounts receivable, which means the money that's sitting in your customer's bank account that belongs to you is called receivables. Just like inventory, the amount of money in your accounts receivable column is money you don't have. Certainly, you've done the deal and you've sent the invoice, but now you're waiting to be paid. You must remain very vigilant until such time as the invoice has been settled and the money is physically in your bank account.
8. Monitor the Health of Your Business Very Closely
Three aspects of your business that require close monitoring include -
-Inventory Turnover: Measure how long your inventory stays on your balance sheet without being converted to cash;
-Collection Days: Measure how long it takes to receive payment for services rendered or goods sold;
-Payment Days: Keep a record of how long you wait before paying suppliers.
Now, make a plan. Project these figures out to 12 or 18 months ahead then compare your plan to what actually occurs. This is a really great way of gaining some insight into your own business.
No. 9: Prepare for Financing before You Actually Need It
Don't wait until you need financing to start reaching out to finance companies. Contact companies who provide financing, especially credit line financing, and look for products where interest is not payable if the money is not used. Don't wait for your business to have cash flow issues. Waiting until you urgently need cash or a loan will subject you to higher interest rates and dodgy terms. Start the process while your business is healthy, which will allow you to negotiate finance terms from a position of strength. We strongly suggest you be proactive and find a partner ready to finance your business; a partner that's prepared to grow with you.
You no longer have to waste time in collecting on invoices.
Freight Factoring Brokers Articles
How Medical Staffing Helps The Medical Industry
Mary Henderson sat in her office, waiting for the phone to ring. Her job was a busy one, and she had stopped all her calls and shut her door five minutes before the phone conference was set to begin just to get some time for herself. The truth was she was stressed to her breaking point. Her company Med Staff needed to hire three new people to cover the demand of their clients. The problem was, they couldn't. They were short on funds.
Med Staff did temporary medical staffing. They employed LPN's, RN's, and a few others of the same ilk. Companies that needed nursing for a short amount of time paid Med Staff, and the nurses were sent over on short term contracts. Then they came back, and they were sent somewhere else.
A retirement home had contacted Mary two weeks ago, they were undergoing an expansion, and they would need temporary staffing until they could appoint permanent nurses to the shifts. Mary had known she didn't have enough people for this, but she took the contract on anyways, figuring she could hire people. There were always a number of nurses and technicians applying for work at Med Staff, and she knew it wouldn't be a problem to hire a few new people.
There had been a problem though. There simply wasn't enough money in the books to do it. The company was doing fine, but a quick expansion, even as small as three people, simply wasn't going to happen, not without help.
She had gone to the bank for a loan, but they had denied her. It seemed to Mary that the only people who could get loan money from a bank were the people who didn't need to do so. And then she had found something different, a website online about factoring. She had looked the site over, and set up the conference call.
The phone rang, she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi, is this Mrs. Henderson?" a cheery woman's voice asked over the phone."
"Great! My name is Stacy, I'm going to help you today."
"Okay great." Mary said.
"I'm looking over the form you filled out, it looks like your company temporarily staffs medical professionals?"
"Yes," Mary said. "Nurses mostly."
"Great," Stacy said. "And if you called me, it means you ran into a snag."
"I took a contract to fill five places in an expanding retirement community. I have two people available but needed to hire three more. Unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of money in the books right now. We have a few outstanding invoices yet to be paid, but until they come in, there's nothing I can do."
"Do you know how factoring works?" Stacy asked.
"Not really," Mary admitted.
"Okay, well we don't look at your business credit, we look at your clients' credit. We know they have some time to pay bills, and we're interested to see if they can pay those bills. If they can, we become interested in helping you out, because we think all businesses should have a fair shot to make it, and sometimes things just don't work out."
"This is the first time it hasn't worked out," Mary said. "And it's hard."
"I know. I hear about it every day. The cool thing about my job is I get to help fix it. So what we do, if we feel secure in our ability to help you, is we buy a piece of your accounts receivable. We aren't just loaning you money, we're basically becoming active in your business. That is you get the money you need right now, but we have an assurance that we get our money back, later down the road."
Mary nodded behind her desk, even though the other woman couldn't see her. She had never heard of factoring before she came across the site on the internet, but the way Stacy explained it certainly made sense.
The call continued, with Mary giving the information that Stacy would need. She promised to get back to her within a couple of days, and then they hung up. Mary went on with her work, and a day and a half passed.
Mary was at her desk when he phone rang then. It was Stacy.
"Good news," she said as soon as Mary said hello. Mary couldn't help but smile as Stacy went on. "We're going to be able to help you out."
"You don't know how great it is to hear you say that," Mary said.
"Believe me, I do," Stacy said. "I get to say it more often than not, and I know that we're really helping good people, and good businesses."
"The bank, they couldn't do anything," Mary said, she felt salty tears stinging her eyes as they welled there.
"They aren't built to help people like we are. They just want as much money as they can get. We want money too, because it's a business, but if you don't succeed, we don't succeed, and it's also important to us that we help people."
"So what's next?" Mary asked.
"Well the real answer is I fax some stuff over for you to fill out and sign, but the fun answer is your business gets the help it needs, and you keep going to work each day. Well, not the weekends."
Mary couldn't help but laugh. "Believe me," she said. "I work plenty of weekends."
Stacy laughed as well, and then got the fax number she would need. Once again the women hung up and Mary let out a long breath as she sat back in her chair. She used a tissue to dab the tears from her eyes. She knew everything was going to be okay.
Freight Factoring Brokers Articles
Everything You Need to Know about Invoice Factoring
You've probably heard about invoice factoring, but like many business owners you may not be entirely sure how it works or whether it could help your own business. In this article we'll try to answer all your questions about what invoice factoring is, how it works, and whether it could help you grow your business.The following definition of invoice factoring may sound too good to be true, but let's look anyway! "Invoice factoring is a viable alternative to bank financing and other traditional types of financing, but it's not a debt, and there are no strings attached." For anyone who's approached traditional lending sources for financing and been refused or left hanging for weeks or months, yes, this probably does sound too good to be true, but it's actually not! Invoice factoring can provide the working capital you need to help your business grow and prosper, so read on then decide for yourself.
How Invoice Factoring Works
With invoice factoring you no longer need to wait 60, 90, or even 120 days to receive payment from your customers, because invoice factoring converts these invoices into immediate cash in-hand. It's up to you to determine which invoices, and how many invoices, you wish to factor, following this simple process -
- Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring by your factoring company, you can begin submitting your unpaid invoices. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or work that's been completed. The process to follow is to fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to the factor, while at the same time invoicing your customer as usual.- Within 24 hours you'll receive a cash advance from your factoring company. Your invoices will be verified by the factor and you'll receive a cash advance of up to 95% of the invoice, which will be paid directly into your bank account.- Now that you've received this cash advance, you continue on with your work while the factoring company works to collect on the invoice on your behalf. Your factor will be highly experienced in collecting on invoices, thus allowing you to do what you do best, which is to continue providing excellent customer service and focusing on other important aspects of growing your business.- It's entirely up to you how many invoices you factor and how many clients you choose for the factoring process. You may decide to factor all your invoices, or it may be that you have one client that's always late in paying and you'd prefer the factoring company to only collect on that one invoice. It's your decision!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
The major benefit of invoice factoring is that, as the business owner, you're controlling your cash flow. Of course, there are other advantages of using a factoring company which can help your business grow and prosper.
No. 1: Your Factoring Company Will Provide Background and Credit Verification
It's very important to the viability of your business that you work with reliable customers in fact, it's the only way to turn your sales into revenues and to develop a solid payment history. But, we all know just how expensive it can be to run background and credit checks, and this simple exercise can dig deep into your working capital.
No problem! These checks will be provided to you by your invoice factoring company at no additional charge to you, which will provide reassurance that you are in fact working with quality customers. It also means that any issues that may arise can be addressed before they negatively affect your company.
No. 2: Your Factoring Company Can Assist with Credit Building and Repair
Perhaps your business credit is not ideal, but the good news is that you could still qualify for an invoice factoring program. The benefit of invoice factoring for a business with less-than-perfect credit is that, not only will you have available cash to meet your daily operating costs, you'll also be able to rebuild your credit rating by paying down current debt. Factoring companies are also well-equipped to assist start-ups, so if you're just getting your business up-and-running, invoice factoring is the perfect way to maintain regular cash flow.
No. 3: Invoice Factoring Opens Your Business to Great Money-Saving Opportunities
With invoice factoring, your business can utilize this rejuvenated cash flow to not only save money by offering competitive rates, but you'll now be able to negotiate early pay discounts and other incentives with your suppliers. And, depending on how many invoices you decide to factor, you could eventually qualify for a reduction in rates by receiving a volume discount.
No. 4: Invoice Factoring Provides Steady Cash Flow
In order for any business to grow and prosper it's vitally important to have a steady cash flow. And that's the beauty of invoice factoring: instead of late-paying customers controlling cash flow, the business owner regains control of the working capital. Perhaps you're simply tired of waiting for invoices to be paid, or maybe you're in an industry with seasonal fluctuations; whatever the reason you're struggling with cash flow, invoice factoring can help you regulate and take control of your business once again.
No. 5: Invoice Factoring Allows You to Dream Big Again!
Having a steady business is one thing, but having a growing business is what every business owner dreams of. Now that you've been accepted for invoice factoring and you have a steady cash flow, there are many ways you can use this cash to grow your business.
- You can increase your marketing efforts and get your name out there;
- You can negotiate bigger and better contracts with bigger clients;
- You can invest in technology upgrades;
- You can employ experienced personnel, or provide training programs for existing staff;
- You can upgrade or replace outdated equipment; and
- You can relocate your business or invest in expansion.
No. 6: Invoice Factoring Is Not a Debt to Your Business
It's very important to note that invoice factoring is not a debt, so there will be no more debt added to your balance sheet. In fact, it's exactly the opposite, because invoice factoring provides cash in-hand, so you can pay off old debts. The money is already yours, so there's no money to pay back or interest to add on. All invoice factoring does is get money that's owed to you into your bank account - faster.
I've Never Heard of Invoice Factoring
Many businesses know very little, or nothing at all, about invoice factoring, which is strange because invoice factoring is certainly not new. Perhaps it's because we typically think of bank loans and other traditional types of lending when looking to grow our business; however, factoring goes right back to the Roman Empire. Back then, businessmen, particularly farmers, used factors to grow their business, and in more modern times factoring was used to finance transactions in the clothing and textile industry, helping businesses accept larger purchase orders and pay for raw materials. Today, invoice factoring is used by almost every industry you can think of, like -- Construction
- Staffing, HR
- Media and Marketing.
Understanding the Language of Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring does appear to have its own language, so let's clarify some of the terminology -
- Your customers are known as Account Debtors.
- The report showing the total amount of unpaid receivables in addition to the amount of time they've remained unpaid is known as an Accounts Receivable Ageing Report.
- The two terms Invoice Factoring and Accounts Receivable Factoring can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing.
- The percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds is known as the Discount Rate.
- When your factor conducts background research to assess potential customers this is known as Due Diligence.
- The cash that's advanced to the business, typically within 24 hours and usually ranging between 80% and 95% of the total invoice amount, is known as the Factoring Advance Rate.
- The third party who connects a business with the right factoring company, to meet their business goals and needs is known as a Factoring Broker.
- The right to maintain possession of property until such time as a debt has been discharged is known as a Lien.
- It can occur that a customer fails to pay their invoice on time, or they may never pay their invoice. Non-Recourse Funding is where the factor assumes full responsibility for funds lost. Because the factoring company accepts this responsibility, non-recourse funding is therefore more expensive.- With Recourse Funding, your business will be required to buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed-upon terms.
- The amount of money withheld by the factor until full payment has been received from your customer is known as the Reserve.
- Staffing companies may choose to enter a one-time agreement in order to factor a single invoice. This is known as Spot Factoring.
How Does Invoice Factoring Affect Your Customers?
It's important to point out here that your factoring company is not a collection agency and that factoring is not a bad thing. The aim of your factoring company is to maintain a good working relationship with both you and your customers, which means that your customers will receive great customer service. Both you and your factoring company have one common goal, and that is to ensure the payment process of your invoices is as seamless as possible. See below for how factoring typically works -
- You've decided to start factoring, so the first step is for your Account Manager to verify with your debtors that they are indeed your customers and to inform them of a change of address for remittances.
- Your customers must pay their invoices anyway, so a change of remittance address should not affect them in any way.
- Your account manager is a professional when it comes to collecting on invoices, so they will simply advise your clients that they will be managing your invoices in future and taking over your accounts receivable.
- And that's all there is to it! Nothing should change between you and your customers. They'll still receive an invoice from you; but their payment will now be sent to a new Post Office box. Your Account Manager will always be on hand to resolve any issues that may arise.
How Do I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
When you start looking for factoring companies you'll discover that there are many different companies out there, but they're certainly not all the same.
When making comparisons we suggest you consider the following points -
1: Factoring Fees
It's true that factoring fees can be more expensive than traditional bank loans, but sometimes the decision businesses are faced with is to simply have access to some working capital or have no working capital at all. What should you be aware of? You need to know the overall factoring cost, in addition to any smaller (or hidden) fees your factor may charge. These fees might include -
- Account Setup Fees
- Application Costs
- Credit Reports
- Costs to Research Liens
- Money Transfer Fees, or
- Last-Minute Funding.
Choose a factor that you believe you can trust and one that you feel completely comfortable with; because you're also looking for great customer service. Remember also that factors may charge for different things, and there may be hidden fees.
2: You Need Flexibility, so Carefully Check Your Proposed Contract
It's very important that you carefully read the fine print of your contract, prior to signing on the dotted line. It would be so disappointing to sign a factoring contract only to realize that you didn't completely understand the terms and now you're locked into a contract that's not clear on how the factoring company charges or how many invoices you can factor per month - or even worse - that you're now legally bound to this factoring company for the long term. Yes, long-term factoring contracts do exist, but be prepared to pay a lot of money if you try and break the contract. Make sure you know exactly how long you're signing up for, which of your clients are eligible for factoring, and how much per month you can factor.
3: With Invoice Factoring, Communication Is Key
Great customer service is very important with any business, and the most important part of great customer service is good and easy communication. And now we're talking about dealing with a company that's handling your money, so you can see how important good communication is! The last thing you need from a factoring company who's handling your money is being forced to wait for days for someone to respond to your phone call or email communication. Any factoring company you talk to is going to say their communication and customer service is really great - but be very cautious. How well did your potential factoring company respond to your initial queries? Then ask yourself: is that how you'd want them to deal with your customers? Remember there are plenty of factoring companies out there, so if the answer to these questions is not an unequivocal â€˜yes', then find someone else.
4: Look for a Factoring Company That Has Industry Expertise
Yes, there are factoring companies out there that cover general factoring, but ideally, you'll choose someone who specializes in your own industry; someone who has a good working knowledge of the type of business you're running. Once you start looking for the right factoring company for your business you'll see that there are many factoring companies that specialize in specific industries, which means they already know a lot about your business model. And, if they have a lot of expertise, they'll probably be able to offer specific programs that relate to your industry, like fuel cards, or back-office support. These little extras can be just what you need when deciding whether or not to factor your invoices.
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"How a Factoring Company Saved This Owner of a Trucking Company Business"
Transportation industry plays a vital role in the economic scene. As people's lives become more and more sophisticated as time goes by, making the most out of the limited resources is the concern of all. Say for example the proper use of land to get optimum profit and convenience or what is known as the zoning. It is defined as the process of planning for land use to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. This method separates the manufacturing sites from the sources of its raw materials, the employees and employers to their respective offices. This made the transportation industry play a vital role in the economic scene. It is a primary necessity for businesses of any size and of any type. It does not just transport raw materials to the manufacturers but also bring finished products into our every door.
Investing in a business which plays a vital role in the current economic scene is a thing that every investor should not think twice about. But business does not work that easy. The big question is, how you are going to survive the most challenging phase of establishing a business - the start. Starting a business requires a capital. If you now have enough money for capital, you can now start your business and since you are investing in a very promising type of business, finding customers is not a problem. The problem is, what if you found bad ones. Even if your customers are also managing a business and expecting cashflow, which does not guarantee that they would pay you up to date because some businesses are just ill-managed. For the business to survive, the most important thing that you would be doing is funding your operational cost - make payrolls, fuel, maintenance - it should rely on cashflow, but since things like mentioned above is very common, some business owners would resort for a loan. But that does not solve the problem of getting your receivables paid on time. As a business owner, you cannot afford the time it takes to collect the receivables, while trying to make your business grow.
Mr. Paul, an owner of a small trucking company experienced the same kinds of problems and shared how he managed to survive. "I just released my head from the stress of how am I going to get my receivables, and focused on making the business grow"¦"
Mr. Paul just got his retirement fee from a big trucking company for almost forty years and was thinking on how to double his money in the shortest time possible. Seeing a small trucking company as a business of great potential and is a business that he knows. When he was still driving a truck, he was fascinated by how much money the company is making. He has also never experienced a delay in his salary. When he decided to invest his retirement fee in establishing a small trucking company, everything was just according to what he expected. He started with a single truck from his home. He started with just a few clients, the ones he knew already and never missed one deadline and kept freight damage as minimal as possible. Because of his outstanding services he started to get referrals and had more work than he can handle. From then, he started to expand, bought more trucks, hired more personnel. Using the knowledge he acquired from the company that he had served for a very long time, and dedication to his work, his little business grew in a rate that he had never imagined. The business is now requiring a more strategic plan and when Mr. Paul thought that everything was going very well, he encountered problems that he failed to foresee.
He had customers that made him wait for weeks or even months before paying. Since his little business is rapidly growing, his operational cost is also growing . This is a problem that he never knew and never observed in his entire career as a driver of a trucking company since he was never in an administration role. He was at the verge of breaking down, his business is losing money, growing too fast, not big enough has to rely cashflow to keep up to his fast growing business. He had to make his payroll, pay his suppliers, maintenance and fill his orders. Mr. Paul thought of going to bank and apply for a loan but was denied. "Maybe because I had a bad personal credit...haha"
Mr. Paul thought of declaring bankruptcy because of the stress that he never imagined he will be handling. He had to think of how to manage his business and at the same time, how will he keep the business alive by thinking of a solution on how is he going to deal with his receivables.
"You know that time, I, I, I just don't know what to do... I felt that as the business kept growing and growing, I become more and more incompetent. Then suddenly, a hero came along... Just at the nick of time. "
Then a close friend of his introduced him to a factoring company and everything turned out just fine. So what is this factoring company then? What does it do? How did it save Mr. Paul's business?
Well, this is how it works, Mr. Paul sells his invoices or receivables to a factoring company at a discount and not in an amount where he can no longer make a profit. The factoring company will then be the one collecting the invoices of Mr. Paul's business from his customers. Say for example, Paul still has 100 dollars to collect from one of his customers. He then sells it to the factoring company at a lesser price, say 90 dollars. The factoring company will now be the one who is going to get the 100 dollars collectible from Paul's customer.
The factoring company immediately gave Mr. Paul the cashflow he needed. He now has instant customer credit checks. He can rest well and likes doing business with companies that pay their bills on time. Save him from the stress of thinking how to deal with his collectibles, thus saving time and money. He can now focus on growing his business and keeping his customers happy. Increase his sales and cashflow.
The Factoring Company not just saved Mr. Paul's start-up business but made it a big company now. It has helped Mr. Paul's business, why don't you let it help yours?
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Medical Factoring: Healthcare Professionals Choose Medical Factoring As Their Preferred Financing Option
Healthcare professionals are finding that business loans and commercial lines-of-credit are becoming more difficult to qualify for, so today we're seeing more healthcare professionals looking to medical factoring to alleviate cash flow problems. All types of medical and healthcare practices can benefit greatly by choosing to factor their receivables and thus receive immediate cash payments.
In the past, healthcare has typically been a resilient industry, but today we see this industry facing financial challenges that leave practices struggling to meet their own financial commitments. Cash flow was virtually a non-issue for medical facilities, professionals, and their suppliers, but today with Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies working with strict reimbursement guidelines, professionals are forced to wait much longer than they previously waited to receive payment on their invoices. In addition, complicated documentation and billing requirements are resulting in fewer dollars and longer waiting periods.
Financial Difficulties Experienced by Healthcare Professionals
The above issues are creating serious problems for a large number of medical providers who not only must wait longer to get paid less money, but who are also forced to deal with growing operating expenses, including salaries and other benefits. Operating under these unsure conditions means that the viability of these businesses is being threatened and it's become almost impossible for them to pursue new growth opportunities. Today, a medical practitioner operating a relatively small practice could have receivables of up to $1 million tied up!
Any business that's confronted with cash flow problems will typically look to banks or other lenders for a loan. Offering the business a loan or line-of-credit can certainly be very helpful in the short term, but unfortunately neither of these products are an ideal financing solution because neither will permanently solve the real problem.
A business loan may be ideal for fixed capital purchases, but it's no solution at all for handling recurring business expenses. A line-of-credit can certainly be very helpful, but because it will have a credit limit and a fixed term it won't provide a renewable source of business capital. Once the credit limit has been reached or the term of the line-of-credit expires, the lender may either increase the credit limit or perhaps not renew it at all. It's a sad fact that, today, many healthcare professionals are finding themselves in this unfortunate situation.
Finding the Ideal Medical Financing Solution
The perfect financing solution would be one that's flexible and one that would provide a steady and reliable source of working capital. It would grow with the healthcare business, without the need to re-apply or having to approach a bank for an increase in the credit limit. In short, this perfect financing solution would provide working capital to finance both the current and future growth of the business. So, is there such a solution? Fortunately, yes there is! It's called medical factoring.
Explaining Medical Factoring
Medical factoring is a receivables factoring program designed exclusively for medical invoices. Because factoring medical receivables can be quite challenging, many factoring companies today are specializing only in the healthcare industry. It does require a certain amount of expertise to manage the medical claims process; plus, it becomes even more challenging when many healthcare receivables are either reduced or denied altogether by insurance providers.
What Types of Business Can Use Medical Factoring?
Many business owners are surprised to learn that factoring in general has been around for a long time. Medical service providers, in particular, seem to be completely unaware of the existence of factoring. The truth is that invoice factoring has become one of the most flexible and powerful business financing tools available today.
Many healthcare providers can benefit greatly from choosing medical factoring. Below we've listed just some of the healthcare service providers who can achieve huge benefits from a medical factoring program.
- Medical Centers
- Physicians: Both Specialists and General Practitioners
- Outpatient Clinics and Facilities
- Medical Staffing Services
- Medical Labs
- Dialysis Facilities
- Home Healthcare Providers
- Physical Therapy Clinics and Groups
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Medical Equipment Providers
- Medical Labs, and
- Many More
What Are the Benefits of Factoring Medical Receivables
The benefits to healthcare professionals are very similar to the benefits enjoyed by many businesses in many other industries. They include -
- Faster (almost immediate) payment;
- Increased percentage of billings collected;
- Consistent cash flow;
- Access to debt-free working capital;
- Stress-free outsourced accounting and collection; and
- Being able to improve your business credit.
Medical Practices Can Depend on Factoring for Reliable Cash Flow
Medical factoring is an excellent financing alternative for medical practices because practices receive consistent and flexible financing which is directly tied to their insurance claims. This means that the financing will increase as more claims are filed. It's highly desirable for all medical practices to achieve a scalable and reliable cash flow, thus ensuring sufficient liquid business capital to cover operating expenses.
And with medical supply companies the situation is very similar. Depending on the volume of sales these companies can achieve fast and predictable business financing by signing up for a medical factoring program. And, as sales continue to grow so does the amount of financing, providing the much-needed working capital required to both grow and maintain business operations.
Medical Receivables Factoring for Smaller Medical Offices
Medical factoring is especially beneficial for smaller medical offices. Office overheads and staffing expenses can be dramatically reduced because the factoring company will take control of the more tedious and time-consuming administrative work involved in collections and processing claims. This frees up remaining staff members to concentrate on delivering excellent medical care. If you're a small medical practice and you have good growth prospects but a slow cash flow, receivables factoring could well be the ideal tool to assist in financing the growth of your business. You'll find that many factoring companies have minimums, and there are factoring companies prepared to finance a medical office billing just $50,000 per month.
Explaining How Medical Factoring Works
In simple terms, if a healthcare business is dependent on third-party payors, those payments will be accelerated with medical factoring. Within just days of the initial billing, the majority of the amount billed will be deposited directly to the business's bank account. The instant rewards are a dramatic shortening of the collection cycle and the elimination of cash flow problems for the business concerned.
Importantly, receivables factoring is not a loan, so there are no credit or financial requirements; there will be no impact to your balance sheet and there are no arbitrary limits. Medical factoring is the ideal financing tool for business growth because you can factor as much billing as your business is capable of generating.
How Long before My Business Is Accepted for Factoring?
With medical factoring there are no lengthy delays, certainly not like when applying for bank finance! A medical factoring program will usually take around two weeks to set up. This timeframe allows the factor to determine the stability of the medical practice and to ensure the reliability of its third-party payors. Then, once a medical factoring program is in operation, the financing will be predictable and constant. Once claims have been submitted to the medical factoring company, claims are typically funded within 48 hours.
The process of medical factoring is very simple, as follows -
- Your medical practice periodically submits billings to Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies. At the same time, copies of these billings should be forwarded to your factor.
- Within 48 hours of receiving a copy of these billings, the factor will deposit an advance of up to 85% of net collectables into your bank account. The balance will be held by the factor until such time as the account has been paid in full.
- Once the factoring company has received payment in full, the balance of the billings - less the agreed-upon factoring fee - will be remitted to you.
Medical Factoring Fees
Medical factoring fees vary depending upon the size and types of claims generated by the medical practice. It's not known why medical factoring today is not as widely known as it is in other industries; however, interest in this type of financing is now becoming more popular and widespread as business owners are beginning to understand the many financial and other benefits of medical factoring.
Medical factoring in the healthcare industry is fast becoming a widely accepted tool to resolve shortfalls in working capital financing and as a long-term solution for patient accounting support and medical financing. It's certainly a tool that healthcare businesses should give careful consideration to because cash flow problems can stall growth and prosperity in businesses of all sizes and types.
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Benefits Of A Factoring Company Over A Traditional Bank Loan
Anyone who owns a business knows that there are times when the money goes out of your business much faster than it is coming in. This can put a company in a financial bind, making it difficult to purchase raw materials, pay their employees, or even keep the utilities on. The simple truth is that every company needs to have ready cash in order to keep their business running on an even keel and in order for it to grow. There are a number of different ways that a company can get the money they need to keep their business running and moving forward, but not all of these ways offer businesses the same freedom and benefits. This article will talk about two popular, but different types of financing available to business. The Traditional bank loan, and getting your financing through a factoring company.
Bank loans are an extremely traditional way for a business to get financing. While these loans are handy they are not available to every business. For example, a fairly newly established business simply may not have the assets to readily get a loan from a bank, even if they do, the standard collateral for a business loan is the business itself, which means that if you cannot make your loan payment, you risk losing your entire business. In addition, while you apply for a certain loan amount, that is all the financing you are entitled to. Once the loan is paid off, you can then apply for another loan if the need arises.
Factoring companies do not give loans, and the money you get from the factoring company does not put you in debt. Rather the financing you receive from a factoring company is based on money your business has all ready earned, but have not yet received. Factoring companies actually purchase your account's receivable or at least part of them for a percentage of their total worth, Normally around 80%-95%. The amount of money you can receive is based on the amount of money you have earned and the accounts receivable you are willing to "sell." Once you have set up factoring account it continues as long as you wish it too and the amount of money available to you even can grow as your business grows, giving you the ready cash you need to meet your own obligations.
Benefits of a Factoring Company Vs. A Bank Loan
While not every business can take advantage of factoring account financing (you have to have a business that has account receivables) for those that can use this type of financing there are several distinct benefits.
1. You Won't Incur Debt.
Since the factoring company actually buys your accounts receivable you don't actually incur debt like you do with a bank loan. This has many benefits including the fact, that this type of financing won't affect either your business credit rating or your personal credit rating. Should the unforeseeable happen and your business fails, you won't have to worry about anyone coming after your personal as well as your business assets to pay off a loan. With a bank loan, the debt goes onto your credit report, and even one late payment can adversely affect your businesses credit, and even the ability to get insurance and may even reflect upon your personal credit rating.
2. No Collateral Required.
Another benefit of using a factoring company instead of a traditional loan is that you aren't required to provide collateral to the factoring company in order to secure financing, because the company "buys" the accounts receivables; not loans you money based on them. In addition, while the factoring company does run a credit check on your customers whose accounts receivables are offered for financing, the state of your credit is not an issue. This makes it easier for fledgling businesses to get the financing they need through a factoring company (as long as their accounts receivables are in good order) then from a bank, who may not feel that you have been in business long enough to be worth the risk of issuing you a loan.
3. Receive Your Money Faster.
With a Factoring company you can actually get the money you need faster. Once the Factoring company assures itself that the customers in your accounts receivable are likely to pay their debt, the money is usually in the account within 24 hours. With a bank, there are vasts amounts of paperwork, then the loan has to be underwritten, which can take months before you actually see the loan if it is approved.
4. Interest is Paid Up Front.
Unlike a bank loan that continues to build interest that you have to pay the entire time you have your business loan with a factoring company, you don't have to continue to pay interest as they take it right off the top, deducting it from the total amount of accounts receivable. So not only are you relieved of those monthly loan payments, but you also don't have to worry about the building up of interest, as every penny in the account is yours to spend on the business.
As you can see, there are several benefits that makes considering financing through a factoring company over a traditional bank worthwhile. However, there are also a couple of other benefits that a factory company can offer your business is far beyond the scope of the bank. The most important benefits is that once you sell your accounts receivable to the factory company, you don't have to take time away from running your business to collect the money owed from reluctant to pay customers. The factoring company takes over that chore, since it is now their money to collect. Factoring companies are very good at collecting these debts, saving you the time and effort that you need to devote to your growing company.
In addition, since the factoring company evaluates the credit quality of your customers prior to purchasing the accounts receivable you gain valuable information into which customers are likely to pay and which ones are not so likely to pay.
While a Factoring company is not the only way for your business to obtain the money it needs to keep growing, it does offer a type of financing well worth considering.
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Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
"Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?"
Joy Reed (JR), "Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started."
"So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?"JR: "I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn't have the cash on hand to take advantage."
"I'm a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn't have the ability to expand your business?"
JR: "That's right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn't because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced."
"Tell us a bit more about factoring companies."
JR: "Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in."
"I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?"
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn't take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand."
"Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?"
JR: "Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I've been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service."
"What's the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?"
JR: "It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we've earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I'm no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately."
"I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?"
JR: "You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I'd recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly."
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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The Basics of Invoice Factoring: Choosing a Factoring Company
Probably the biggest frustration for business to business (B2B) companies is waiting to get paid.Anyone involved in a seasonal business, long payment cycle, or lumpy cash flow will be able to relate to this statement. Some customers are very slow payers (of course corporate clients and governments come to mind!) and other customers demand generous terms.
Explaining Invoice Factoring
Basically, with invoice factoring your current but unpaid invoices are turned into cash - it's a financing solution for businesses. Other terms used for factoring are 'Accounts Receivable Financing', 'Invoice Financing 'and 'Receivables Financing'. Because many clients demand generous terms, it means that invoices can remain unpaid for anywhere between 30 and 90 days; while in the meantime you're left without cash and falling behind on important expenses, such as payroll, and missing opportunities to grow your business. And this is where factoring comes in: factoring reduces, and sometimes eliminates the frustration of unpaid accounts.
A receivable financing transaction usually involves three parties, and these are the company that initially issues the invoice, the customer who is required to pay the invoice (otherwise known as the account debtor), and the 'factor', which is the financing company prepared to supply the cash.
Explaining Invoice Financing
An invoice is issued to a customer after a company has delivered a service or product. This invoice will now be sold to the factor and, in return, the company will receive a cash advance: this will usually be between 70% and 90% of the invoice's value. With this cash the company finds it easier to pay employees; plus, it can now purchase supplies, materials, and inventory, and it can take on more work. Once the debtor pays their invoice the business will receive a rebate for the rest of the funds, less a fee which will be based on the value of the invoice and the term. This type of financial agreement benefits all three parties: the customer receives cash almost immediately, the debtor gets favorable payment terms, and the factoring company collects a fee.
Explaining the Difference between Traditional Bank Financing and Invoice Financing
There are, of course, both drawbacks and benefits to this type of financing for businesses. The obvious benefits of factoring are a simpler application process, quicker funding, and higher approval rates when compared to bank lending. Having access to cash allows a business to grow, to meet payroll, achieve supplier discounts for bulk purchases or early payment, and to purchase equipment in order to improve productivity.
Factoring has a very simple application process which eliminates some of the main hurdles placed on small businesses by banks. The speed of funding with factoring offers businesses the opportunity to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. In addition, the high approval rates with factoring means that many more businesses qualify, even though they may have previously been declined by a bank. Another bonus is that funds received from factoring invoices can be used to supplement bank credit, if necessary.
On the other hand, when it comes to cost, a line of credit at a bank is less expensive than factoring; this is assuming that the business will be successful in their application to the bank and that they'll have access to the finance within a reasonable timeframe. Unfortunately, these applications are not always successful (four out of five companies are refused bank loans), while others find the whole process too discouraging.
Another possible issue with working with traditional factoring companies is that some of these companies will advise your customers that their invoices have been financed: this information can cause issues for some small businesses because they prefer to maintain control over all correspondence with their clients. Other factoring companies actually take control of your account receivables. Our advice is that you look for a factoring company that's prepared to work on a non notification basis.
Receivables Financing Has Become Good Business Sense
Today we see factoring becoming quite commonplace in many industries, such as IT companies, professional services, wholesale trade, marketing, manufacturing companies and so on. Many, many industries are discovering the benefits of receivables financing.
Invoice factoring is an ideal solution for business to business companies who issue invoices payable within 15 to 90 days. Any B2B company who's experiencing rapid growth, long payment cycles, or lumpy cash flow, will benefit the most from accounts receivable factoring. On the other hand, businesses and business to consumer (B2C) companies that are paid on delivery and don't issue invoices would have no need of factoring services.
If you're interested in invoice financing and believe it may be an option for your business, see below for our tips on how to approach working with a factoring company.
How to Work with an Invoice Factoring Company
There are many advantages to invoice financing, but it can be tricky working with some traditional factoring companies. Some factoring companies don't have excellent customer service, and between confusing terms, long term contracts, monthly minimums, and hidden penalties, the experience can be quite daunting. Our aim is to ensure that you get a fair deal when working with a factoring company, and please remember that, as always, if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
You're Looking for Transparent Factoring Fees and Rates
Companies that make it difficult to work out their all inclusive fees are companies who are working for their own advantage, so when determining pricing, transparency is key. If you're getting frustrated and not receiving direct answers, we suggest you move on to another factoring company that will be respectful of your time.
Another Word of Caution: Beware of receivables factoring companies who advertise low rates, which then increase when all their hidden fees come to light. We've heard of factoring companies who charge low monthly factoring rates, but you'll be charged for two months' even if the invoice was paid in one month and one day. We also know that some factors require monthly minimums, which means that you pay for financing even if it's not required. We strongly suggest that you read our article on factoring rates and tricks so that you approach factoring with knowledge and awareness.
Understanding Penalties, and How to Avoid Them
Be aware that some invoice factoring companies out there have hidden penalties. In order to avoid these penalties, you need to know why they occur. If you believe these penalties are out of proportion or unfair, then move on to another factor. It won't be long before you'll understand what fair and reasonable terms look like.
Read the Fine Print in Your Contract
In order to guarantee their profits, most factoring companies will try to lock you into a long term contract. Obviously this is good business for the factoring company, but it may not be so good for your business. You need to know what you're signing up for, so be aware of long term contracts where you'll be charged exorbitant cancellation fees if you should decide to leave.
Also, be aware that some long term contracts include minimums, so consider this carefully: you may find yourself paying for something you're not using when you only needed the factoring company to meet occasional cash flow needs. You shouldn't be forced to remain with a service that's not meeting your needs, so it's vitally important that you carefully read the fine print.
Once you start your research on factoring you'll discover that most factoring companies operate on a notification basis, which means that when you sell your invoices to the factor, they notify your customers. They'll also ask that the funds be routed directly to the factoring company's bank account, instead of your account. This can be an issue for business owners who prefer to have control of all communications with their customers. If discretion is important to you and your business,
we strongly suggest that your accounts receivable financing company provides non notification factoring, meaning that you retain control over customer communications. If this is not an option for your factoring company, then you need to move to a companythat will provide non notification factoring.
How Much Cash Will You Receive Upfront?
You'll receive an advance upfront, which is a percentage of the face value of the invoice. This advance will probably be somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice's face value. For example, let's say your customer owes you $1000: your advance payment should be somewhere between $700 and $900.
Factoring Minimums Compared with Single Invoice Discounting
You'll also notice in your research that many factors require small businesses to submit all invoices from certain customers. On the other hand, 'single invoice discounting', also known as 'spot factoring', means that the business concerned determines which invoices will be sent to the factoring company for advance payment. Make sure you understand your factoring company's terms before you sign anything. Single invoice discounting or spot factoring is generally the preferred method for small businesses because it enables you to retain control over your financing by determining which invoices will be sent for factoring.
Choosing Your Factoring Company
Think about all the above criteria, and look for a business partner who will provide your business with the best combination of flexibility, features, and terms that you require. By doing a little research you'll soon find a partner and an agreement that offers you the flexibility, funds, terms, and transparency that work best for you. Your aim is to find a partner that you'll be happy to work with long term, so don't settle for anything less.
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Medical Invoice Factoring: A Viable Financing Option for Healthcare Professionals
Many healthcare professionals will attest to the fact that qualifying for a business loan or commercial line of credit is becoming harder and harder. Fortunately, there is a viable option, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical factoring is available for all types of healthcare businesses, including medical practices, and is the ideal financing option for businesses experiencing cash flow problems.
The Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry
Generally, the healthcare industry has excellent growth prospects and is quite resilient to economic turbulence, but it's also an industry facing more financial challenges than ever before. In years gone by, healthcare professionals, medical facilities, and medical suppliers found it reasonably easy to manage their cash flow, but today Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies have laid down strict guidelines for reimbursement, including onerous documentation and billing requirements, so-much-so that businesses not only receive less money, but must wait longer to receive it.
This situation can, and does, create financial issues for many medical providers who, while dealing with increasing operating expenses, salaries, and benefits, must also accept less and wait longer to receive their money. In many cases, the health provider's long-term viability is placed in jeopardy, and because of cash flow problems the business is unable to pursue new opportunities for growth. A physician running a relatively small practice could well have $1 million tied up in receivables!
The Problem with Bank Loans
When any business confronts a cash flow crisis their first port of call is usually a bank or other commercial lender, and a Line of Credit or business loan can certainly help in the short term; however, neither will permanently solve the problem and are therefore not optimal financing solutions. Bank loans are more suited to large fixed capital purchases, but they're not designed to cover short-term recurring business expenses. On the other hand, a Line of Credit is somewhat better, but because they have credit limits and fixed terms they're not able to provide the assurance a business needs of an unlimited, renewable source of business capital. Once the credit limit has been reached or the term of credit line ends, the lender has the right to not renew or increase the credit limit. And, unfortunately, this is the situation that many healthcare professionals find themselves in today.
The Perfect Medical Financing Solution
So, what's the ideal solution for medical financing? The perfect solution would be one that's flexible enough to grow and expand with the healthcare business; one where the business owner is not required to re-apply to a bank or other lender for credit limit increases. The ideal solution would provide a reliable and steady source of working capital, capable of financing both the current and future operations of the business.
Fortunately, there is a solution for healthcare professionals, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical Factoring, or Medical Receivables Factoring is an area of receivables factoring that deals exclusively with accounts that are medical in nature. Due to the fact that many healthcare receivables are either reduced or denied by insurance providers, and because of the expertise required to manage the claims process, factoring companies who factor medical receivables face significant challenges, so-much-so that it's almost a necessity for these companies to specialize in medical factoring. In fact, there are many factoring companies out there that do nothing else!
What Types of Business Use Medical Factoring?
Factoring has been around for hundreds of years and many industries have discovered the benefits of invoice factoring. However, many medical service providers are completely unaware of the existence of factoring and therefore don't realize that it's one of the most flexible and powerful business financing tools available today. Almost any healthcare provider can benefit from Medical Factoring, including -
- Medical Centers and Hospitals;
- Physicians - General Practitioners and Specialists;
- Outpatient Facilities and Clinics;
- Medical Staffing Services;
- Medical Labs;
- Dialysis Facilities;
- Physical Therapy Groups and Clinics;
- Rehabilitation Centers;
- Home Healthcare Providers;
- Providers of Durable Medical Equipment.
The Benefits of Medical Factoring
The benefits of medical factoring are many, and are similar to those enjoyed by businesses in other industries. They include -
- Fast payment;
- Consistent cash flow;
- Outsourced accounting and invoice collection;
- An increase in percentage of billings collected;
- Working capital finance that's debt free;
- Building business credit.
Receivables Factoring offers medical practices an excellent financing alternative to loans: the medical practice will have consistent and flexible financing tied directly to its insurance claims. This means that the amount of available financing increases as more claims are filed. Having a reliable cash flow in a growing medical practice ensures that there will always be sufficient liquid business capital to cover expenses.
Medical Supply Companies
In the same way, medical factoring offers medical supply companies quick and predictable business financing, directly tied to the volume of sales. The amount of financing grows as sales grow, automatically providing the working capital needed to both operate and grow the business.
Generally, medical factoring is particularly well suited for smaller medical offices. Because your chosen factoring company will be handling most of the administrative work involved in collections and claims processing, overhead expenses and office staffing can be kept at a minimum, thus allowing you to focus on what you do best - delivering the best medical care possible!
If you have a small practice with good growth prospects, but you also have slow cash flow, then you'll soon discover that medical factoring could well be the ideal financing tool to help you finance the growth of your business. It's true that most factoring companies have minimums, but there are factoring companies out there who will finance an office billing as little as $50,000 per month.
How Medical Receivables Factoring Works
Medical Factoring is quite simple: Basically, medical factoring accelerates payments for any healthcare business that depends on third-party payors. This means that within days of the initial billing (instead of weeks) most of the business's billed amount will be deposited directly into that business's bank account, thus drastically shortening the collection cycle and eliminating the constant headache of cash flow problems.
The added bonus of medical factoring is that it's not a loan, and as such, has no impact whatsoever on the business's balance sheet. There are no arbitrary limits, no credit limits, and no stringent financial requirements. The healthcare professional can factor as much of the billing as is generated by the business, thus making factoring the ideal financing tool for business growth.
How to Create a Factoring Program
Setting up a factoring program will typically take a couple of weeks at most. Obviously, the factoring company will need reassurance that the third-party payors are reliable and that their clients' practices are stable. However, once the factoring program has been established, medical financing is predictable and continuous. Claims will typically be funded within 48 hours after being submitted to the medical factoring company.
The Factoring Process
Medical Factoring is a very simple process -
- Periodically, your practice submits billings to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies (note that certain medical factoring companies will do this for you), with copies forwarded to your factoring company;
- Within 48 hoursthe advance, or up to 85% of net collectables, will be deposited into your business bank account. The balance will be held in reserve to settle billing discrepancies;
- The factoring fee will be collected once a factoring company has been paid, with the balance of the billings being remitted to you. The fee charged by the medical factoring company will vary according to the size and types of claims generated by the practice.
The Future of Medical Factoring
It's true that medical factoring covers a relatively small portion of factoring activity overall; however, more healthcare professionals are learning about factoring and, today, we're seeing an increase in interest in medical factoring throughout the healthcare industry. As the benefits of this type of medical financing become more widely known, it's anticipated that medical receivables factoring will become more widely used.
Medical factoring provides a short-term solution for shortfalls in working capital financing, plus a long-term solution for medical financing and patient accounting support, and it's for these reasons that medical factoring as a financing tool deserves careful consideration by healthcare businesses.
You Can Find More Information at http://freightinvoicefactoring.org
and at www.receivablesfactoringcompany.com