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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
I do not know how we could be in the position we are today without factoring.
Freight Broker Factoring
The majority of factoring companies purchase invoices and advance cash within 24 hours, although the terms and nature of factoring can differ between industries and different financial service providers. -Freight Broker Factoring
HOW I IMPROVED MY CASH FLOW IN ONE EVENING
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
"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?
I do not know how we could be in the position we are today without factoring.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
Why Do Companies Choose Factoring?
We know that factoring is the ideal way for a business to access instant cash on their company's receivables, but there are other important benefits as well. Factoring can be a very handy financial instrument for many businesses.
Listed below Are Six Key Benefits of Factoring
No. 1: Back Office Solutions
Anyone running a business knows just how time consuming and expensiveit can be collecting payments from customers. When you employ a factoring company they'll take over that role for you using their own collection specialists: it's their job to follow up with customers until such time as your account has been paid in full. In addition, some factoring companies use online accounts, which means that you'll have the ability to track your customers' payments in real time.
Handing this time consuming part of your business over to the factoring company frees up your time to do what you do best - running your business, looking for new business opportunities, and providing your customers with excellent customer service.
No. 2: Better Quality Customers
Some factoring companies have their own rating systems for companies involved in your industry, in addition to having access to credit data on companies that could well become your new customers, and days pay information. Others create their own rating systems for companies working in your industry, which allows you to make calculated, informed decisions about both existing and new customers.
No. 3: Instant Access to Cash
When a company provides goods or services on credit it usually has to wait somewhere between 30 and 90 days for customers to pay on their invoice, and this very often leads to cash flow problems for the business. And that's the beauty of factoring! When you use a factoring company you'll typically receive an advance on an invoice within 24 hours. This immediate injection of cash allows businesses to purchase additional equipment, employ new staff, and cover other business expenses.
No. 4: Growing Your Business
Because factoring provides instant access to cash, it offers you the flexibility to grow your business at a faster pace. In addition, factoring is very simple to set up. A factoring account can be created within a matter of days, whereas a traditional bank loan can take weeks. And, there's no limit to the amount of funding a factoring company can provide, unlike bank loans. Of course, this is assuming the factoring company you choose to work with has a strong capital structure. Over a period of time, the volume of factoring can increase within months - from thousands to millions of dollars.
No. 5: Funding for Start Ups
Start Ups quite often require financing to get their business up and running; but because they have no cash flow statements or balance sheets, and no business history, they're highly unlikely to qualify for cash flow or asset based lending.
Factoring is not concerned about these requirements because it's main interest is in the credit history of your customers. Before a factoring company offers you financial assistance it will examine your customers' credit scores, their payment patterns, and general financial health. Typically, the factoring company will not be interested in how long your company has been operating.
No. 6: Factoring Is Not a Debt
Factoring does not become a debt to your business because it's not a loan. Your business receives financial support from the factoring company as and when you accumulate invoices, and the matter is settled once your customers have paid in full. It's true that if you're utilizing recourse factoring, you, as the factoring client, assume the risk if your customers default on payment; however, factoring companies usually allow businesses to work off that amount by retaining a portion of reserve payments or future cash payments.
Freight Broker Factoring 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.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
Important Points to Remember When Choosing Your Factoring Company
Now that you've decided that factoring would be a solid business decision for your company, the next step is to find the perfect factoring company for you. Once you start looking you'll discover that there are many factoring companies (or 'factors') in the marketplace, and this is the perfect situation for you as a potential factoring client.
But it can also be confusing, because now you have to find the right factoring company to suit your business's needs. To assist you in making the right decision we've listed below the main issues that should be considered when choosing a factoring company.
Factoring Fees and Terms
Before making your final decision and entering into a factoring agreement, check out the fees applicable and the terms of the contract. Both of these can vary a lot, depending on the factoring company and the industry it's serving. When you start your research you'll discover that some factoring companies charge a flat fee: this fee is, in effect, a certain percentage of the total value of the customer invoices you sell to them; whilst others have additional charges to cover the general costs of doing business - such as, money transfers, shipping, collateral, and so on.
Ensure that the factoring company you're considering working with is transparent and upfront with you about its fee structure. In addition, you may want to consider a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. If you're receiving competitive offers from other factoring companies or you have increased factoring volume, you'll discover that many factoring companies will be prepared to adjust their rates. A one year contract is the industry standard for most factoring agreements. Generally, unless you give your factor a 60 or 90 day notice, your factoring contract will automatically renew.
What's the Difference between Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
It's important that you understand the difference between recourse and non recourse factoring prior to choosing your factoring company, because you need to know what the best fit would be for your company and your customers. So, with non recourse factoring, all of the credit risks for the collection of the invoice belong to the factoring company; while recourse factoring means that, with you being the client, you'll ultimately be responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect payment on your customers' invoices.
There are benefits to recourse factoring, and perhaps the main benefit is that it's less expensive than non recourse factoring. If you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment, it doesn't automatically mean that you'll be asked to settle the debt out of pocket. Generally, what happens is that the factor will hold back a portion of either future cash advances or payments being held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account awaiting settlement of the debt.
Our suggestion is that you find a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, because not all of your customers will be good candidates for recourse factoring. An experienced factoring company working with a strong credit team can also behelpful in ensuring you're working with good customers: this will relieve some of the pressure of being stuck with bad debt.
Experience and Capital: The Two PreRequisites
Your company should be looking for a factoring company with experience in your industry, including the capital structure to fund your business as it continues to grow. Once you start researching factoring companies you'll discover that there are a lot to choose from; however, many of these are recent start ups with limited experience. Prior to signing any factoring agreement, do your research and look into the history and background of the factoring company concerned, especially its ability to provide financial services in your area of expertise.
The idea with factoring is that, as your company grows, the funding of your customer invoices will grow with you.Research the factoring company's client base and their capital structure. What's a typical account size? What's the factoring volume of their largest client? Is the factoring company limited to how many debtors it can handle? In general, factoring companies that have been serving your industry for many years will usually be able to offer your business the best deal.
Additional Factoring Services
There are many more benefits to factoring than simply increasing your company's cash flow. Because the factoring company will be handling the collection of your customer's invoices, your company will be saving time and resources. A good factoring company will also be able to evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. In short, your factor will ensure that you experience excellent customer service. You'll be matched with your own representative who'll be able to address any questions or concerns you may have about your factoring account.
So, when researching factoring companies, look for a factor who not only offers additional products but provides a high level of customer service that will help your business grow by assisting you in making smart business decisions.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
The benefits of using a Factoring company versus a bank loan
If you are looking for a convenient way to obtain business capital, factoring is one of the best options available out there. From a recent study, it has been identified that many people go for bank financing in such instances, considering that it is the least expensive method of investing. However, factoring is associated with many other advantages and we will let you know about them through this article.
A proper cash flow is something that every business in the present world should have. In addition, they need to speed up their cash flows along with time. Otherwise, it will not be possible for them to get banks for financing. Unfortunately, banks are not in a position to accommodate all the financial requirements of a company, due to tough credit standards. That is where factoring comes into play. It happens when a company sells its accounts receivable to a bank or a factoring company. The amount that can be taken depends on value of the invoice.
Key benefits associated with factoring
' A company can get large amounts of capital through factoring. It is because this method is entirely based upon accounts receivable. It has impressed many small scale businesses out there since they can obtain a bigger line from their accounts receivable for services or goods. They will not be able to get such a big amount of capital from any conventional bank lender out there. Factoring is something that is based on the credit strength of your potential customers. If your company has more potential customers with healthy credit strengths, you can easily enjoy the benefits of factoring.
' Factoring is quicker than traditional bank loans. Since most of the accounts receivable factoring lines are in a position to be set up, approved and actively funded within a matter of few weeks, you can go through a hassle free process. However, banks will take more time to engage with their credit reviewing activities about your company. They might even wait for audit results or fiscal period closes. Therefore, if you are in need of quick business capital, factoring is the number one option available out there to consider.
' Factoring is something that expands quickly along with the growth of your company. Almost all the factoring companies out there support it. Your company doesn't need to have an excellent track recording of business. You just need to select a factoring company that is big enough to accommodate all your business development ambitions.
' A factoring company does not offer loans to their clients. Therefore, you cannot find many similarities between a loan and factoring. A factoring company will purchase your accounts receivables along with cash. Therefore, it can be considered as a similar process to increasing the working capital, while showing it as a liability in the account balance sheets. This will even reduce debt in the balance sheet, when compared to borrowing. At the end of the day, your company will get the opportunity to enjoy a lower debt to equity ratio.
' Factoring is less expensive than equity. Most of the businesses approach equity investors to cater their financing requirements. However, there isn't any substitute for equity capital in some expansion purposes and business investments. Almost all the equity investors expect a higher return from the accounts receivable than the cost. When it comes to factoring arrangements, you won't be able to find any dilutive effect on shareholders. This will assist you a lot to stay away from hassle.
' Factoring is also recognized as one of the best options available to improve your turn. In the present world, many factoring companies will verify invoices with your customers and check whether they are being paid on time. This will motivate your customers to pay the invoices on time through a gentle reminder. This will result in a better service delivery from your end as well.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
About Invoice Factoring
Perhaps you've heard about Invoice Factoring but you're not sure how it works or how it might help your business. The purpose of this post is to provide a clear explanation of what Invoice Factoring is and how it works.Basically, Invoice Factoring is a viable alternative to traditional financing methods, providing your company with fast access to working capital. There's no large debt to repay and there are no strings attached. It probably sounds too good to be true, but we can assure you it's not! Invoice Factoring has become a lifesaver to many businesses, so let's go into this a little further to see how Invoice Factoring might help your business go from just so-so to really great!
How Invoice Factoring Works
A very brief definition of invoice factoring is that it converts your open invoices into immediate cash, which of course sounds perfect if you're experiencing a cash flow problem. Factoring saves you from having to wait the 60 or 90 days (sometimes even more) for payment by your customers. With invoice factoring you have the flexibility to factor whichever invoices you want and however many invoices you need, to ensure you have enough cash on hand to grow your business.
The following is a short description of how the process works -
Once you and your chosen factoring company have reached an agreement and set up your account, you're now free to begin submitting copies of your unpaid invoices to the factoring company. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or for work that's been completed. With invoice factoring you simply continue invoicing your customers as usual, then fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to your factoring company.
Now here's the good part! You'll receive a cash advance within 24 hours! Once the factor has verified your invoices, a deposit of as much as 95% of the value of the invoices will be deposited directly into your bank account.
You continue working as per usual, and the factoring company works to collect on your accounts. It's now your factor's responsibility to engage in the active collection of these accounts, thus allowing you more time to focus on the big stuff, like providing your customers with excellent service and continuing to grow your business.
As a customer of the factoring company you can repeat this process with as many different clients as you want and as many times as you want. You may choose to factor all of your clients, or just the clients that are known for being slow-paying clients. The choice is yours!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
Once you're working with an invoice factoring company you'll have control over your cash flow, and more importantly, you'll have a working relationship with your factor that will help your business grow in lots more ways. Let's take a closer look at some of the ways a factoring company can help you grow your business -Credit Checks and Background Verification
It's important to all businesses that they work with honest, reliable customers; customers who have a solid payment history. Sales must be turned into revenue as quickly as possible. However, we know that credit checks and background verifications can be very expensive and these costs very quickly eat away at your working capital. Now, it will be your invoice factoring company who provides these checks for you, at no additional charge. This means that any issues will be addressed before they affect your business, thus ensuring that you're working with top-quality customers.
Credit Repair and Credit Building
Even if your business credit is less than perfect, you can still apply for a competitive invoice factoring program. The benefit of this to the business owner is that, not only will factoring your open invoices cover your daily operating costs, it will also help pay down any current debt in order to rebuild your credit rating. The good news is that start-ups also qualify for invoice factoring so, if you're just getting your business off the ground, factoring is the ideal financing alternative to help you hit the ground running.
Other Money Saving Opportunities
Invoice factoring can certainly save your company money, and it's not only with competitive rates. By negotiating with your suppliers for early-pay discounts or other payment incentives, you'll soon discover new ways of putting your rejuvenated cash flow to good use. And don't forget that, depending on how much you factor, you could well qualify for a volume discount, and this will further reduce your rates.
Steady and Consistent Cash Flow
When you begin factoring your invoices you'll be able to regain complete control of your working capital. Whether you're simply tired of waiting up to 90 days for money that's owed to you, or perhaps your business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, either way, invoice factoring is the ideal method for regulating your cash flow.
Now You Can Start Dreaming Big!
You may have become used to business being steady, but with invoice factoring you'll have the opportunity for business growth in many new ways .
o You'll be able to attract larger clients, with better contracts;
o Increased business marketing efforts;
o New technology investments, or upgrades;
o The ability to employ more staff;
o Training and further education programs for existing staff;
o Relocation of your business, or site expansion.
Finally, No More Debt!
One of the most attractive things about invoice factoring is that it's not like a traditional loan: it won't add additional debt to your balance sheet. In fact, it's actually the opposite; because Invoice Factoring provides you with the extra cash you need to be able to settle old debts. With factoring, it's already your money so there's no money to pay back and no interest to pay. All factoring does is help you get your money into your bank account - quicker!
Why Haven't I Heard of Invoice Factoring Before?
This is a question a lot of business owners ask. Invoice factoring certainly isn't new, but maybe it's just been overshadowed in the past by bank loans and other types of business investments. The fact is that factoring goes right back to the days of the Roman Empire, where factors assisted businessmen (usually farmers) in growing their business. Then, later, it was used in the textile and clothing industry to help pay for raw materials, to finance transactions, and accept larger purchase orders. Today, invoice factoring is used by many different types of industries, such as:
' Staffing, HR
Becoming Familiar with Factoring Terminology
Don't be discouraged because you don't understand factoring terminology. See below for an explanation of general factoring terms :
' Account Debtor:
An account debt or is your customer.
' Accounts Receivable Ageing Report:
This is the name given to a report which shows the financial figure of unpaid receivables, in addition to how long they've remained unpaid.
' Accounts Receivable Factoring; also known as Invoice Factoring:
These two terms can be used interchangeably because they mean exactly the same thing.
' Discount Rate:
This refers to the percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds.
' Due Diligence:
This refers to the background research carried out by the factor to determine potential customers.
' Factoring Advance Rate:
This rate is a percentage of the invoice that's advanced within 24 hours to the client - this figure is generally between 80 and 95% of the total amount of the invoice.
' Factoring Broker:
A factoring broker is a third party whose position is to connect business owners with appropriate factoring companies in order to meet the business's goals and needs.
The right to retain possession of property until a debt has been discharged.
' Non-Recourse Funding:
Most businesses have experienced customers who fail to pay their invoices within the agreed payment terms, or worse, the invoice is never paid at all! Non-Recourse Funding is when the factor assumes all responsibility for unpaid invoices. Because the factoring company is accepting the risk, Non-Recourse Funding is more expensive than Recourse Funding.
' Recourse Funding:
With Recourse Funding, your company must buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed payment terms.
This is the amount of the Accounts Receivable retained by the factor until such time as full payment has been made by the customer.
' Spot Factoring:
This refers to a one-off agreement that offers staffing companies the ability to factor just one single invoice.
Your Customers, and Factoring
It's important that we point out here that factoring is not a negative thing, and your factoring company is definitely not a collections agency. In fact, it's important to your factoring company that they maintain good relationships with both you and your customers, and it's their aim to provide the best customer service possible. It's in your factoring company's best interests that the factoring process works as smoothly as possible.
The following will give you a general idea of how factoring works :
' Once you've made the decision to start invoice factoring, your dedicated account manager will start by verifying that your debtors are indeed customers, in addition to advising them of your new remittance address. It's important to remember that it makes no difference to your clients where they send their payment: they know their invoice must be paid, so this is simply a change of address for payments.
' Your factoring account manager will be very experienced and will assure your clients that they'll be well taken care of, and that the factoring company will be managing your invoices in future by taking over your accounts receivable. And that's all there is to it! Nothing will change between your company and your customers: you'll still invoice them as usual, and they'll simply forward their payment to a new Post Office box. Your account manager will be available to help if any problems should arise.
What You Should Look For in a Factoring Company
Once you start doing your own research you'll discover that there are many factoring companies out there, but they're definitely not all equal. The following are points to consider when comparing factoring companies:
As we've explained, factoring is a little more expensive than a traditional bank loan, but some small businesses don't qualify for a bank loan, so being able to achieve some working capital is better than none at all. Do your research, and make sure you understand the overall cost of factoring, in addition to the extra smaller fees that may be charged by your factor. These extra fees may include account set-up fees, application fees, credit reports, costs to research any liens, charges for last-minute funding, or for money transfers. Not all factors charge these extra fees, and not all factors have hidden fees, which means that it's very important that you choose a factor you're comfortable with and one that you can trust.
This is a very important aspect of factoring, and one we can't stress enough. Make sure you very carefully read the fine print of your factoring contract! If you start working with a factoring company and then realize that you're locked into terms that don't suit your own particular circumstances, you're going to be extremely unhappy. These unsatisfactory terms might include how much you're able to factor each month, or being tied to a specific factoring company for the life of your business. If you sign up for a long-term contract, then change your mind, it's going to be a very expensive exercise trying to get out of the contract. Don't let this happen to you! Be very clear on how much you can factor each month, which clients are eligible for factoring, and how long you're signing up for.
At one point or another we've all had to deal with a business with poor communication skills, and we probably all agree that it's extremely frustrating. So, imagine a business with poor communication skills that's also handling your money! Naturally, when it comes to your business and your money, you need someone that's going to immediately respond to your inquiries. All factoring companies are going to say their customer service is second-to-none, but be very cautious here. Pay close attention to when and how your potential factoring company responds to your calls and emails, because this is how they'll be responding to your customers. If you're not 100% happy then move on to another factoring company, because there are certainly plenty to choose from!
' Industry Expertise
Remember that there are many factoring companies out there servicing many industries, so you should be looking for one that services your own industry. Ideally, you'll choose a factoring company that specializes in your niche, which means that they'll already understand a lot about your business. The bonus of using a factoring company with industry expertise is that they may also offer programs specific to your industry, such as fuel cards and back-office support. It's these extras that may prove very beneficial when making your final decision on a factoring company.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
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.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
Bookkeeping Mistakes Commonly Made by Freight Brokers
It's true that freight brokers shoulder a lot of responsibility; from matching shippers and carriers, to ensuring that each and every piece of cargo arrives at its proper destination. Freight brokers also have the added responsibility of accurate bookkeeping, because failure to prioritize bookkeeping can result in the loss of money.
Below we've listed some common bookkeeping mistakes made by freight brokers, and how to avoid them-
Handling the Accounting In-House
Many business owners try to save money by handling the books themselves, or perhaps delegating this very important task to a family member or an inexperienced employee. Sure, you may save time and money initially, but errors can be costly: when you attempt DIY accounting you could well end up with more expensive financing terms, higher bond premiums, or a number of other unforeseen expenses. It's very important that you hire a competent bookkeeper because, not only will you save money, but you'll know that the job will be done accurately, quicker, and more efficiently.
We understand only too well that running any business is time-consuming and hard work, and many freight brokers are simply too busy doing their day-to-day tasks to focus on bookkeeping tasks, such as the monthly reconciliation of credit card accounts and bank accounts. It's through reconciling statements that you get a clear idea of how much credit or cash you actually have, and you can also pick up on any errors that may have occurred.
It can be so tempting to postpone this rather tedious task, but the truth is that your credit card statements and bank statements must be reconciled every month, preferably the moment each statement becomes available. In this way you'll be able to identify any potential problems in a timely manner; problems such as lost checks, missing deposits, fraudulent charges, and so on.
Failing to Track Invoices and Receivables
You're not going to get paid if you're using poor accounting practices with your accounts receivable. Let's face it, getting paid equals cash, and cash is the lifeblood of every business. An experienced freight broker understands that your cash flow can be strained by the delay between when you pay your carriers and when you receive payment from your customers. If you're finding that tracking and collecting invoices is taking too long, why not consider invoice factoring? An invoice factoring company will purchase your invoices for a small fee, with the bonus being that you get paid immediately, plus you're spared the time and expense of having to deal with collections.
Don't Forget Liabilities
One of the major considerations a surety has when looking at your business financials in order to underwrite a bond is whether you have sufficient assets to cover your liabilities. Many times we see an inexperienced bookkeeper recording a liability, but when the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it results in liabilities being overstated and net income being understated, which makes your business appear to be less financially secure than it really is. These serious errors can be avoided by employing the services of an experienced bookkeeper. We also recommend that you have another set of eyes (which may be an owner or a CPA) regularly review the balance sheet to check for unusual account balances
Too Many Expense Categories
Another common error we often see with inexperienced bookkeepers is creating too many expense categories, or miscategorizing expenses. Generally, most industries and businesses have a standard set of expense categories, and when a loan underwriter or surety sees too many categories, or the miscategorizing of expenses, it stands out like a big red flag. It tells them that your books are not well prepared. Use an accountant or experienced bookkeeper to correctly set up your accounting software right from the beginning, and don't automatically add new expense categories unless careful consideration has been made. Remember to ask your accountant or CPA for advice, because they'll be able to guide you on how to classify expenses.
Incomplete Information on Invoices
It's very important that, when you invoice your customers, you provide sufficient detail on each line item. Do you invoice by weight, per piece, or per mile? Or is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges to invoice, such as reimbursements for fuel or fees, these should be listed as separate line items. In addition, these charges must be clearly and accurately detailed in order to avoid any confusion. When you send invoices to your customers that include clear and concise details, it prevents pushback from your clients. If there's missing information on your invoices and your customers are confused by unrecognizable charges, it could well cause a delay in payment, which is the very last thing business owners need.
Not Understanding the Functionality of Accounting Software
Many freight brokers purchase an accounting software package because they're anxious to get their business up and running, but they fail to learn how to use it correctly. This is probably not an issue if you're already outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping tasks; but if you're using this software in any way at all, perhaps to enter checks and run reports, it's important that you spend some time learning how to use all the available functions. When used correctly, the right accounting software can save you a lot of time, in addition to providing real-time information on the state of your business. It's this information that helps you make important business decisions!
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
A 'Factor' is a third party commercial financial company who purchases the Accounts Receivable from businesses: this transaction is known as 'Factoring'. Factoring exists so that businesses can receive a quick injection of cash, as opposed to waiting the 60 or 90 days for customers to pay their invoices. Factoring is also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, and Invoice Factoring.
The majority of factoring companies purchase invoices and advance money to the business within 24 hours; however, the nature and terms of factoring can (and do) differ among financial service providers and industries. Depending on your customers' credit histories, your industry, and other specific criteria, the advance rate on your invoices can range from 80% to as high as 95%. The factoring company not only collects on your invoices; it also offers back office support to your business.Once the factoring company has collected on your customer's invoice,you'll be paid the balance of the invoice - less the factor's fee for assuming the risk. The primary benefit of factoring is that businesses no longer need to wait anywhere between one and three months for a customer to pay their accounts: they now have access to cash in hand so they can operate and grow their business.The Advantages of Factoring
There are a few reasons why factoring has become an invaluable financial tool for many businesses, including start ups. As mentioned above, the main benefit is that businesses can now receive a quick boost to their cash flow because factoring companies, in general, will provide cash on accounts receivable within 24 hours. This resolves the problems businesses experience with short term cash flow, and in many ways this injection of cash can help to grow a business. Besides handling your customer collections, factoring companies can also evaluate your customers' payment and credit histories.Other benefits of factoring include:
' It can be customized to a business's needs and managed to ensure that capital is available when it's needed;
' It's not based on your own business or credit history: it's based on the quality of your customers' credit;
' It's not based on your company's net worth: it provides a line of credit based on sales;
' There's no limit to the amount of financing, unlike conventional bank loans;
' This financing will not show up as a debt on your balance sheet, because it's not a loan.Who Uses Factoring?
Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use factoring; and today factoring has become common business practice across many industries. Factoring is now widely used in the transportation industry, including manufacturing, textiles, trucking, oilfield services, wholesale and distribution, and staffing agencies. Interestingly, factoring receivables is practiced in many countries around the world and has a long history of success.
Can I Factor? My Company's New, with No Financial History
Yes, you can! In fact, factoring has become an excellent tool for start up companies because no company credit history or balance sheet is required. It's not really your company's finances that the factoring company is concerned with; they'll base their financing on your customers' payment histories and credit scores.
What Percentage of My Invoices Should I Factor?
The answer to this question really depends on the unique needs of your business. Some companies only factor invoices for customers who typically take a long time to pay, while others factor all their invoices. The receivables that a company can factor range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars each and every month.
What's the Difference between Factoring and a Bank Loan?
' The difference between factoring and a bank loan is that you're not assuming any debt with factoring because it's not a loan;
' With factoring, there's no emphasis on your balance sheet - it's all on your customer's invoices;
' In addition, a bank loan is typically one lump sum, whereas factoring provides a steady flow of funds;
' Factoring companies can also help improve your company's balance sheet by assisting with your credit and collection functions;
' A bank loan adds to your debt, whereas factoring converts receivables (an asset) into cash (another asset);
' And of course, bank loans can be very difficult to get because they're limited by your balance sheet.How Do You Start the Factoring Process?
The factoring process can be very simple to set up. The customer will be asked to complete a short application form, and may be required to follow up with other reports and documents.
Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring: What's the Difference?
' With Recourse factoring the client is ultimately responsibility for the payment of the invoice; whereas
' With Non Recourse factoring, the factoring company accepts responsibility for the risk of collecting the invoice.It's important to note that some factoring companies over offer both types of factoring - recourse and non recourse.
What Are the Contract Terms and Fees Applicable with Factoring?
There are different fee structures with different factoring companies: some factors charge an overall factoring fee which is determined by the creditworthiness of your customers and the monthly volume of invoices; while others charge additional fees to cover shipping, money transfers, and other costs associated with doing business. Before signing with any factoring company make sure you understand the fees and terms applicable to your contract. Also note that most factoring contacts are renewed annually.
Do I Need Credit Insurance on Debtors?
Insurance is not typically required, but in specific circumstances it may be.
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
Discovering Trucking Factoring
Lambert Truck and Haul has been in business since the mid1980s. They've delivered goods for nearly every major industry in the nation and for 20 plus years, business was booming as they've traversed the country in all weather for all clients. During the heady times from 2002 to 2007, Lambert was a top rated accounts receivable mastermind of the trucking industry. Few customers were ever late on bills and those clients who were, were sure to turn in their late payments within a reasonable amount of time. Cash was flowing and times were good for all.
But a short year later, in the fall of 2008, when the United States economy took a nosedive and businesses both small and large began to feel the pinch on their pocketbooks, those that used to make their demands had suddenly and largely gone silent. Business slowed down. And worse yet, Lambert had noticed during the early part of 2008 that though the bulk of their clients were always on time with payments, the few late-bloomers there were, had seemingly started to spread this illness. And as spring turmed to summer and summer into the early days of fall, John Rondstadt, CEO of Lambert felt a chill go down his spine whenever he would look at the weekly A/R reports. The numbers of clients who owed him back debt were growing.
He had gone to his administrators and asked them what the problem had been. Were they doing something wrong or different when it came to reaching out to delinquent accouts? By his bookkeepers records, this wasn't the case. He thought perhaps that he was losing clients to a competitor who offered rock-bottom prices with little to no guarantee of quality performance and the folks who owed Lambert money had jumped ship and decided to leave him holding the bag. They couldn't afford to pay him their debt, but they could afford a lesser service, maybe. But after doing the cursory research for this and talking to friends in the field, he found that alas, no, customers of Lambert hadn't gone elsewhere. They had just gone home.
The situation looked dire to John Rondstadt. He had employees to pay, goods to ship, trucks to maintain and overhead that was almost unbearable when compared against the lack of funds that were coming in. At night he would speak to his wife Linda and shake his head in frustration. "I have a bad feeling, Lin," he would say with deep woe."Well, what do you think it is?" she would ask.
John would stare off for a moment and then close eyes. He could see the fleet of trucks he had purchased over the years. He could see them traveling, bringing goods to all of his clients. But somewhere, a haze would form over his fleet and the vast number of vehicles would disappear to but a few. What could cause this ultimate death spiral of business?
"I know what it is," John said. "I've relied too long on the profits I receive from invoices alone. I've let too many of our customers go too long without paying on their bills."Rhonda could only grab her husband's hand and look at him lovingly, "It's a hard economy. It might be awhile until things get settled up."John knew his wife meant well, but he knew that he was responsible for too many people to sit idly by, waiting for the sun to peak over the clouds.
The next day John strolled into his office and was determined to sit down and make every phone call to every client who had owed Lambert money. Now, it wasn't the most efficient way to spend a day as a chief executive, what he really needed to be doing was to be overseeing all of the other intricacies of shipment and delivery and reaching out to prospective clients or retraining his sales team to do the same. Even though he was doing something to help his company, he knew he had folks on salary to do just this thing. Wasting money, wasting time - even with the best of intentions, John knew that he was in trouble.
After a half day of contacting debtors in vain - they dodged his calls or promised to call back at worst or made minimal interest-only payments at best - he was about to throw in the towel when his secretary Beverley knocked at his door."John, can I have a word?" she asked standing in the doorway.
"Sure thing Bev, come on in." John leaned back in his chair and looked expectantly at Beverely. "Well, I did a little searching this afternoon and tried to figure out a way out of this mess John." She pulled a small stack of papers from a folder and set them on the desk before him. "Have you ever heard of factoring?" Beverley asked."It sounds vaguely familiar. What is it?" he said. "Well," she began, "Its actually quite simple really. So basically, factoring invoices would enable us to get paid on the nose for loads that we haul.""Immediately?" John interrupted.
"Yes, immediately," she continued, "In a nutshell, it's pretty easy. We can have an expert account manager review our numbers and help us complete a company profile. That profile will also include investigating our accounts receivable aging reports, our existing customer credit limits and so on. Additionally, the factoring will help to determine the creditworthiness of our customers independent of their credit history with our business. It's a broad view."
"I see," John said. "And then what?""Well, after their review, and we're approved for a factoring contract, we can negotiate terms and conditions. There's a lot of flexibility depending on the business volume and credit histories. This company tells us what the cost will be to purchase factoring for our accounts receivable. We come to an agreement and the funding starts pouring out."John leaned forward and reviewed the paperwork closely.
"It sounds too good to be true, Bev," he said. "Now, now, I know, I thought the same thing. But really, they have guaranteed us experts that do all the legwork, which would free us up here to focus on our clients in good standing and marketing, all that good stuff. And they're flexible John," she underlined a paragraph on the paper before him. "How flexible?" he asked. "They personalize the factoring rates so that the amount they are willing to take on is commensurate with our needs and our client's debt. It only takes 2 to 4 days for this to be figured out.
"That sounds pretty good, seeing as we tapped ourselves out with bank loans last year to repair the fleet and money sure is tight. We need to keep business rolling as normal and every day we're going unpaid, we're closer to facing some serious problems in both the short and long term," John said.
He took a deep breath and looked at his secretary with something she recognized as hope."Exactly". I think this might just be a way out of the trouble we're in with these folks who owe us money."John thought about this and agreed with Beverley. The clients who owed them money were long standing friends and professional resources of Lambert. They didn't want to throw away these relationships because they were having trouble paying their bills now. John knew that the economy had taken a hit and he knew that it would probably be a long time before things started to look up again. That unknown amount of time, if he handled these debtors incorrectly, could spell disaster for both of them. He didn't want to lose business but he also didn't want to lose any more money.
"Well, let me think about this tonight Bev, thank you." Bev nodded, stood up and left the office feeling that she had helped her employer keep on his shirt and hers too.John sat behind his desk and looked over the details Bev had not mentioned in their meeting. What other issues could freight factoring help Lambert with? With his pencil gliding down the sheet he noticed that the factoring company could help fray the cost of fuel with fuel discount cards and fuel advances. In fact, Lambert could receive up to fifty-percent cash advances upon load pick-ups. As a man who hated binding contracts with no room to breathe, he was pleased to see that this factoring company would not make him sign a long term contract, would not make him pay any sign up fees and there was no minimum volume required.
"Well, I'll have to tell Billy about this," John muttered to himself.His son-in-law Billy had liked the idea of Lambert so much and revered his father in law for having such business acumen that only two years before, he had gathered the venture capital to begin his own transportation service company. John knew then what struggles Billy would face but he encouraged him nonetheless. With the faltering economy, if a big fish like Lambert was hurting, a little guy like Billy was about to catch his death. But, an antidote may have been found in freight factoring and John was soon to find out. A few months later after going through the entire application process and having the experts review his accounts receivable, credit history and statements, John found himself beginning to dig his way out of the hole his delinquent account holders had created for him.
They took on reasonable factoring purchase contracts and stopped spending their precious man hours scrambling to collect debt. They took that time and refocused effort to offering competitive prices in new territories. John looked back on the dismal months of life before freight factoring and almost shuddered at the thought. Had he missed the boat on this one, he probably wouldn't be in business today.
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