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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
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Because Truck Factoring provides instant access to cash, it offers you the flexibility to grow your business at a faster pace. -Freight Freight Factoring
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"How a Factoring Company Saved This Owner of a Trucking Company Business"
Transportation industry plays a vital role in the economic scene. As people's lives become more and more sophisticated as time goes by, making the most out of the limited resources is the concern of all. Say for example the proper use of land to get optimum profit and convenience or what is known as the zoning. It is defined as the process of planning for land use to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. This method separates the manufacturing sites from the sources of its raw materials, the employees and employers to their respective offices. This made the transportation industry play a vital role in the economic scene. It is a primary necessity for businesses of any size and of any type. It does not just transport raw materials to the manufacturers but also bring finished products into our every door.
Investing in a business which plays a vital role in the current economic scene is a thing that every investor should not think twice about. But business does not work that easy. The big question is, how you are going to survive the most challenging phase of establishing a business - the start. Starting a business requires a capital. If you now have enough money for capital, you can now start your business and since you are investing in a very promising type of business, finding customers is not a problem. The problem is, what if you found bad ones. Even if your customers are also managing a business and expecting cashflow, which does not guarantee that they would pay you up to date because some businesses are just ill-managed. For the business to survive, the most important thing that you would be doing is funding your operational cost - make payrolls, fuel, maintenance - it should rely on cashflow, but since things like mentioned above is very common, some business owners would resort for a loan. But that does not solve the problem of getting your receivables paid on time. As a business owner, you cannot afford the time it takes to collect the receivables, while trying to make your business grow.
Mr. Paul, an owner of a small trucking company experienced the same kinds of problems and shared how he managed to survive. "I just released my head from the stress of how am I going to get my receivables, and focused on making the business grow"¦"
Mr. Paul just got his retirement fee from a big trucking company for almost forty years and was thinking on how to double his money in the shortest time possible. Seeing a small trucking company as a business of great potential and is a business that he knows. When he was still driving a truck, he was fascinated by how much money the company is making. He has also never experienced a delay in his salary. When he decided to invest his retirement fee in establishing a small trucking company, everything was just according to what he expected. He started with a single truck from his home. He started with just a few clients, the ones he knew already and never missed one deadline and kept freight damage as minimal as possible. Because of his outstanding services he started to get referrals and had more work than he can handle. From then, he started to expand, bought more trucks, hired more personnel. Using the knowledge he acquired from the company that he had served for a very long time, and dedication to his work, his little business grew in a rate that he had never imagined. The business is now requiring a more strategic plan and when Mr. Paul thought that everything was going very well, he encountered problems that he failed to foresee.
He had customers that made him wait for weeks or even months before paying. Since his little business is rapidly growing, his operational cost is also growing . This is a problem that he never knew and never observed in his entire career as a driver of a trucking company since he was never in an administration role. He was at the verge of breaking down, his business is losing money, growing too fast, not big enough has to rely cashflow to keep up to his fast growing business. He had to make his payroll, pay his suppliers, maintenance and fill his orders. Mr. Paul thought of going to bank and apply for a loan but was denied. "Maybe because I had a bad personal credit...haha"
Mr. Paul thought of declaring bankruptcy because of the stress that he never imagined he will be handling. He had to think of how to manage his business and at the same time, how will he keep the business alive by thinking of a solution on how is he going to deal with his receivables.
"You know that time, I, I, I just don't know what to do... I felt that as the business kept growing and growing, I become more and more incompetent. Then suddenly, a hero came along... Just at the nick of time. "
Then a close friend of his introduced him to a factoring company and everything turned out just fine. So what is this factoring company then? What does it do? How did it save Mr. Paul's business?
Well, this is how it works, Mr. Paul sells his invoices or receivables to a factoring company at a discount and not in an amount where he can no longer make a profit. The factoring company will then be the one collecting the invoices of Mr. Paul's business from his customers. Say for example, Paul still has 100 dollars to collect from one of his customers. He then sells it to the factoring company at a lesser price, say 90 dollars. The factoring company will now be the one who is going to get the 100 dollars collectible from Paul's customer.
The factoring company immediately gave Mr. Paul the cashflow he needed. He now has instant customer credit checks. He can rest well and likes doing business with companies that pay their bills on time. Save him from the stress of thinking how to deal with his collectibles, thus saving time and money. He can now focus on growing his business and keeping his customers happy. Increase his sales and cashflow.
The Factoring Company not just saved Mr. Paul's start-up business but made it a big company now. It has helped Mr. Paul's business, why don't you let it help yours?
Saves yourself stress of thinking how to deal with your receivables.
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About Invoice Factoring and How to Choose the Best Invoice Factoring Company for Your Business
Most people have heard of invoice factoring, but knowing exactly how it works and how to choose the right factoring company for your business can be difficult to ascertain. We've put together this brief guide to help you understand invoice factoring and to provide you with enough information to help you make the right choice for your business.Most business-to-business (B2B)companies find it very frustrating when forced to wait for customers to pay their accounts. When payment terms are over-extended, businesses of all sizes can find themselves dealing with cash flow problems. For some customers it's industry standard to offer long payment terms, but there are other customers who demand longer payment terms simply because they can. This is where invoice factoring steps in to assist businesses.
So, how does invoice factoring work? Invoice factoring is a method of keeping a business's cash flow steady without the business being forced to take on debt or sell equity.
In this article we'll look at how the factoring process works, the benefits it offers to businesses, and we'll also determine which businesses qualify for factoring.
Explaining Invoice FactoringInvoice factoring is when Accounts Receivable are purchased at a discount price. Today, invoice factoring is one of the most popular financing methods, helping thousands of businesses grow and expand. In fact, you may be interested to know that the history of the United States began with invoice factoring! Apparently, the Pilgrims used invoice factors in London to finance their voyage to Plymouth on the Mayflower. And once colonies had been established, invoice factoring remained a popular financing method among New World traders and merchants. So, as you can see, business owners have been using invoice factoring for thousands of years. Today, Invoice factoring is still considered the safest way of obtaining the funds a business needs to grow and expand.
Basically, invoice factoring converts a business's current unpaid invoices into immediate cash; solving cash flow problems caused by net payment terms of 30, 60, and even 90 days. Without reliable cash flow a business will fail to thrive because inevitably it will fall behind on rent or payroll and miss out on great opportunities to expand the business. Invoice factoring allows management to concentrate on growth by eliminating the frustrations of unpaid accounts.
The process of invoice financing is the selling of Accounts Receivable to a reputable factoring company. Invoices, which could well be outstanding for up to 4 months, are purchased by the factoring company for up to 98% of their face value.
The three participants involved in a factoring transaction include -
-The business who issues the invoice;
-The customer, or account debtor, who owes payment on the invoice; and
-The financing company, or factor, who purchases the invoice and provides immediate cash.
I've Heard Invoice Factoring Called Other Things - What Is the Proper Terminology?
It's true, the term Invoice Factoring is used interchangeably with other terms like AR Factoring, Accounts Receivable Financing, Receivables Financing, Invoice Financing, AR Financing, and Receivables Factoring; so just keep in mind that all these terms refer to the same type of funding.
How Invoice Factoring Works
Once a customer receives a product or service from a business, they receive an invoice. With invoice factoring, the business can now "sell" this invoice to their chosen factoring company. In return, the business will receive a cash advance, somewhere between 70% and 90% of the value of the invoice. Now that the business has cash in-hand they're free to cover payroll and rent, take on new work, buy new equipment, invest in new technology, and even be on the receiving end of early-pay discounts from suppliers. Once the invoice has been paid to the factoring company the business will receive the remainder of the funds, less the agreed-upon factoring fee, which is typically based on the value and term of the invoice.
Invoice factoring results in a win-win-win situation for all three parties: the business concerned receives immediate cash on the invoice submitted, the customer enjoys favorable payment terms, and the invoice factoring company earns their fee.
Comparing Invoice Factoring with Traditional Bank Financing
The difference between invoice factoring and bank financing is that invoice factoring is not a debt, and it's this fact most businesses find appealing. As a business, you sell your Accounts Receivable to the factor and you receive a cash advance - that's all there is to it. It's up to you what you do with the funds because no debt means no restrictions.
An added benefit of invoice factoring is that it's the credit quality of the business's customers that are evaluated, which suits not-yet profitable or early-stage businesses selling to the government or established companies, yet still trying to establish themselves. The factoring rate businesses pay factoring companies is much more attractive than alternative financing arrangements that don't take into account the credit worthiness of a business's customers.
Other benefits of invoice factoring include a quick and simple application process, a higher approval rate when compared with banks and other forms of financing, and a quicker time to funding. When it comes to the size of funding, factoring companies are very comparable with banks in-so-much-as they can fund up to $10 million credit lines. The streamlined approach to invoice factoring provides businesses with much needed cash in-hand so the business can grow and prosper, meet all its financial obligations in a timely manner, still have cash to invest in up-to-date equipment, source new and bigger clients, and receive discounts for bulk buys or early payment.
Applying for Invoice Factoring is a Relatively Simple Process
Most businesses are familiar with the stress of applying for a bank loan, but applying for invoice factoring is a very simple process: it takes less paperwork and certainly much less time, and is not as stressful as trying to raise equity. Invoice factoring involves a very simple application process, eliminating the stress and unnecessary hurdles placed on small businesses trying to access finance.
Because invoice factoring provides quick access to funding, businesses find themselves in a position to take advantage of great opportunities, like expansion and accepting large orders. For many businesses who have been denied access to bank finance, being accepted for invoice factoring allows the business to continue growing and expanding. Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring, the factoring company is basically underwriting your customers to the same extent that they're underwriting your business. Of course, another bonus is that funds received from factoring your invoices can increase your available bank credit.
As your chosen factoring company, we're here to help collect on your receivables, but only if you ask us to. Following your direction, our account managers will politely but firmly chase up outstanding invoices. If your decision is that you prefer we don't speak with your customers under any circumstances, we accept that too. Invoice payments are directed to a specific account created under your company's name.
How Much Cash Will I Receive Immediately?
The amount of cash you'll receive immediately is an agreed-upon percentage of the face value of your invoices. Industry advance rates typically vary from between 70% and 90% of the face value of an invoice, which means that if you're owed $10,000, depending on the agreed-upon advance rate, you can expect to receive an immediate payment of between $7,000 and $9,000.
The remaining amount of between $1,000 and $3,000, less the factoring company's fee, will be forwarded to you once your customer has paid their invoice.
How Much Do Invoice Factoring Companies Charge?
Depending on the face value of the invoice, factoring fees typically range from between 1% and 5% per month; however, our own factoring fees range from between 1% and 3% per month. Transparency is vitally important when considering factoring fees, and businesses should be aware that invoice factoring companies who make it difficult to determine their all-inclusive fees are companies to be avoided at all cost. This lack of transparency is designed to confuse customers and they use this confusion to their advantage.
If you're unsure about the information you've received on invoice factoring you must proceed very cautiously, or alternatively, try a different factoring company. The information you receive must be clear and concise, leaving no room for doubt or confusion on your part. Another aspect of invoice factoring that you should be aware of is that there are invoice factoring companies out there who advertise rates of 1% (and even lower)which may sound very attractive; however, they make up for these low fees with a range of hidden charges.
One sneaky way these companies attract customers is to charge a low monthly factoring fee, but you'll be charged for two months if the invoice should go over by just one day.We charge invoice factoring fees on a daily basis, which means that however many days outstanding the invoice may be, this number of days will be used to calculate the fee chargeable. By this we mean that you won't be charged an extra month of fees simply because your invoice was outstanding for 31 days instead of 30.
Please Explain How Invoice Factoring Can Help Grow My Business
Today, businesses are choosing invoice factoring over merchant cash advances or bank term loans simply because it's the lowest risk option there is. The fact is, the sale has been completed and the invoice confirmed, so the only thing remaining is for the customer to pay the invoice. Provided you have confidence that your customer will pay your invoice in a timely manner there's nothing to worry about. However, with a bank loan, monthly interest payments can devastate small businesses, start-ups, and even large businesses. And, with bank loans, they either amortize or the total amount is due at the end of a specific period. This kind of debt stress can be devastating for business owners, who are often placed in the position of deciding whether to make bank interest payments, pay rent, or make payroll.
With invoice factoring, because you receive cash in-hand for your invoices, there's no stress, and you're free to grow your business in whatever way you see fit. For many businesses the only negative has always been waiting to receive payment on invoices, so now there'll be no more waiting and you'll have cash in-hand to meet your own financial obligations.
What Kind of Businesses Qualify for Invoice Factoring
Fortunately, it's actually quite easy to apply for and be approved for invoice factoring. With banks and other lenders, profitability, annual revenue, and credit scores can be obstacles to being approved for finance, but these factors typically don't apply with invoice factoring companies.
There are three things that invoice factoring companies are usually looking for -
-The business must have government or other business customers;
-Business invoices must be unpledged to other loans and be due and payable within 90 days. This means that you can't have another loan where you're claiming the same invoice as collateral; however, if you do have another loan it must be subordinated (rank after)the invoice factoring company's claim to your accounts receivable;-There should be no history of serious legal or tax issues connected to your business. Note that some factoring companies use a "time in business" or minimum credit score to approve or deny applications; however, we do not.
How Can I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
You've made the decision that invoice factoring may be a good fit for your business, so what should you do next? There are so many invoice factoring companies out there to choose from, so how do you determine which one is the right fit for you? The answer to this question is - very carefully! You need to know exactly what you're looking for. To start with, you're looking for an invoice factoring company that offers more than just funding. There are many factors out there claiming to be the most technologically advanced, the fastest, and the easiest to use, but be cautious. You need to receive good customer service from your factor and be very wary of high fees. Some factoring companies are forced to charge higher fees in order to cover the losses they experience because they underwrite poor quality clients.
Excellent Customer Service is a Must!
It's very important that a good working relationship be established between the invoice factoring company and the business because, without it, businesses can be left confused as to why their credit facility has been reduced or why certain invoices have been rejected. Great customer service and a personal touch is vitally important when it comes to invoice factoring. If your questions are not being answered in an honest and open fashion, or your calls and emails are not being responded to in a timely manner, then find another factoring company.
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How Medical Staffing Helps The Medical Industry
Mary Henderson sat in her office, waiting for the phone to ring. Her job was a busy one, and she had stopped all her calls and shut her door five minutes before the phone conference was set to begin just to get some time for herself. The truth was she was stressed to her breaking point. Her company Med Staff needed to hire three new people to cover the demand of their clients. The problem was, they couldn't. They were short on funds.
Med Staff did temporary medical staffing. They employed LPN's, RN's, and a few others of the same ilk. Companies that needed nursing for a short amount of time paid Med Staff, and the nurses were sent over on short term contracts. Then they came back, and they were sent somewhere else.
A retirement home had contacted Mary two weeks ago, they were undergoing an expansion, and they would need temporary staffing until they could appoint permanent nurses to the shifts. Mary had known she didn't have enough people for this, but she took the contract on anyways, figuring she could hire people. There were always a number of nurses and technicians applying for work at Med Staff, and she knew it wouldn't be a problem to hire a few new people.
There had been a problem though. There simply wasn't enough money in the books to do it. The company was doing fine, but a quick expansion, even as small as three people, simply wasn't going to happen, not without help.
She had gone to the bank for a loan, but they had denied her. It seemed to Mary that the only people who could get loan money from a bank were the people who didn't need to do so. And then she had found something different, a website online about factoring. She had looked the site over, and set up the conference call.
The phone rang, she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi, is this Mrs. Henderson?" a cheery woman's voice asked over the phone."
"Great! My name is Stacy, I'm going to help you today."
"Okay great." Mary said.
"I'm looking over the form you filled out, it looks like your company temporarily staffs medical professionals?"
"Yes," Mary said. "Nurses mostly."
"Great," Stacy said. "And if you called me, it means you ran into a snag."
"I took a contract to fill five places in an expanding retirement community. I have two people available but needed to hire three more. Unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of money in the books right now. We have a few outstanding invoices yet to be paid, but until they come in, there's nothing I can do."
"Do you know how factoring works?" Stacy asked.
"Not really," Mary admitted.
"Okay, well we don't look at your business credit, we look at your clients' credit. We know they have some time to pay bills, and we're interested to see if they can pay those bills. If they can, we become interested in helping you out, because we think all businesses should have a fair shot to make it, and sometimes things just don't work out."
"This is the first time it hasn't worked out," Mary said. "And it's hard."
"I know. I hear about it every day. The cool thing about my job is I get to help fix it. So what we do, if we feel secure in our ability to help you, is we buy a piece of your accounts receivable. We aren't just loaning you money, we're basically becoming active in your business. That is you get the money you need right now, but we have an assurance that we get our money back, later down the road."
Mary nodded behind her desk, even though the other woman couldn't see her. She had never heard of factoring before she came across the site on the internet, but the way Stacy explained it certainly made sense.
The call continued, with Mary giving the information that Stacy would need. She promised to get back to her within a couple of days, and then they hung up. Mary went on with her work, and a day and a half passed.
Mary was at her desk when he phone rang then. It was Stacy.
"Good news," she said as soon as Mary said hello. Mary couldn't help but smile as Stacy went on. "We're going to be able to help you out."
"You don't know how great it is to hear you say that," Mary said.
"Believe me, I do," Stacy said. "I get to say it more often than not, and I know that we're really helping good people, and good businesses."
"The bank, they couldn't do anything," Mary said, she felt salty tears stinging her eyes as they welled there.
"They aren't built to help people like we are. They just want as much money as they can get. We want money too, because it's a business, but if you don't succeed, we don't succeed, and it's also important to us that we help people."
"So what's next?" Mary asked.
"Well the real answer is I fax some stuff over for you to fill out and sign, but the fun answer is your business gets the help it needs, and you keep going to work each day. Well, not the weekends."
Mary couldn't help but laugh. "Believe me," she said. "I work plenty of weekends."
Stacy laughed as well, and then got the fax number she would need. Once again the women hung up and Mary let out a long breath as she sat back in her chair. She used a tissue to dab the tears from her eyes. She knew everything was going to be okay.
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Factoring Company Reviews at smilling.com
Factoring: An Overview
What Is Factoring?
'Factoring' is when a third party commercial finance company purchases the Invoices or Accounts Receivable from a business. The finance company concerned is called a 'Factor' and the transaction is known as 'Factoring'. Factoring is also known as 'Accounts Receivable Financing' because factoring occurs when a business needs to access cash quickly, quicker than if it had to wait the 30 to 60 days (or longer) to receive payment from a customer.
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. Depending on the industry, the customers' credit histories, and various other criteria, the advance rate can range from between 80% and 95%. The business also receives back office support from the factor. Once the factor has collected from the business's customers, the business will be paid the reserve balance of the invoices, less a nominated fee for assuming the collection risk.
The main benefit of factoring is that a business is not required to wait one or two months (sometimes more) for payment by a customer - the business will receive cash in hand to operate and grow their business. It's important to note that factoring is not a loan: there's no debt with factoring. Funding is unrestricted, which means that a business has more flexibility than borrowing from a bank.
The Five Simple Steps of Factoring
1. As a business, you provide a service to your customer;
2. The invoice for this service is sent to a factoring company;
3. On this invoice, you'll receive a cash advance from the factoring company;
4. It's now up to the factoring company to collect full payment from your customer;
5. Once payment has been received, you'll receive the balance of your invoice account from the factoring company - minus their fee.The Advantages of Factoring
There are many reasons why factoring has become a popular and valuable financial tool for businesses today. The key benefit of factoring is that a business receives a quick boost to its cash flow: in fact, many factoring companies offer cash on their Accounts Receivable within 24 hours! The factoring company takes responsibility for collecting customer payments, and may also evaluate the payment and credit histories of a business's customers.
Other Benefits Include:
' When a business needs access to cash, factoring can be customized and managed in order to provide the necessary capital;
' The business balance sheet will not show this financing as a debt;
' Factoring is not based on the company's credit or business history: it's based on the quality of its customers' credit;
' Factoring is not determined by the company's net worth: it provides a Line of Credit based on sales;
' There's no limit to the amount of financing through factoring, unlike a conventional loan;
' Factoring is an ideal solution for start up businesses that often require immediate cash flow.
Is the Concept of Factoring New?
No, it's not! In fact, the origin of factoring comes from overseas trade among nations and dates back several centuries to the 1400s when it became part of doing business in England. In the year 1620 it arrived in America with the Pilgrims. Like other financial tools, factoring has improved and evolved over the years. It became an effective way of creating cash flow in the United States at a timewhen companies faced strict limitations when trying to secure loans in the country's damaged banking system.
Who Uses Factoring?
Factoring is available for companies of all sizes, ranging from a one person business to Fortune 500 companies. Every business can use factoring as an effective way of increasing their cash flow. In addition, factoring spans all types of industries, from transportation, trucking, textiles, manufacturing and distribution, staffing agencies, and oil and gas.
The cash generated from factoring is used by companies to purchase new equipment, pay for inventory, expand operations, add employees, and basically cover any expenses related to the running of their business. The beauty of factoring is that it allows companies to make quick decisions and to expand at a faster pace.
How Does Factoring Work?
For the purpose of this post, we'll describe a fictional example as a way of illustrating a common factoring situation.
XYZ Transport is a trucking company: their intention is to double their fleet size over the next two years in order to service more clients in the West. The company has just successfully won a new customer on the West Coast who requires freight to be shipped from Oklahoma to Los Angeles. This new customer is more than happy to pay for the service within 30 days; however, that won't cover all the immediate costs involved, like payroll, fuel, and maintenance costs of running the route.
This is a familiar situation for the owners of XYZ Transport: the lack of available cash flow in the past has prevented the company from accepting new business. So now XYZ Transport has turned to a factoring company: they have agreed to sell the West Coast customer's invoice to the factoring company in exchange for a 90% advance on the total amount - within 24 hours! This much needed influx of cash will replenish the trucking company's reserves and allow it to continue running the Oklahoma - Los Angeles route. In addition, XYZ Transport now has the added flexibility of taking on new customers.
How Much Do Companies Factor?
Each company has its own unique business needs, so somecompanies only factor invoices for customers that are slow in paying, whilst other companies factor all of their invoices. Companies can factor receivables ranging from a few thousand dollars right through to millions of dollars each month.
What's the Difference between Factoring and a Traditional Bank Loan?
Factoring, also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, is a quick, flexible and effective way for businesses to create a steady cash flow stream. See below for how factoring is different to a Line of Credit at a bank or a traditional business loan
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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.
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Growing Your Trucking Company Just Got a Whole Lot Easier
There's a lot of hard work and dedication involved in growing a successful trucking business, but perhaps above everything else a disciplined approach to making the right decisions and taking the right actions is required. The aim of this post is to help both small fleet owners and owner-operators accomplish these goals.
The three key steps to building your trucking business are to grow your fleet, find profitable shippers and loads, and the successful day-to-day running of your trucking company.
The 1st Step: Growing Your Fleet
You won't be able to grow your trucking company unless you have the right equipment. But, securing finance to purchase this equipment can be very difficult, and this is where many truckers run into trouble. Today, there are several financing options for owner operators of trucking companies, and even those with less-than-stellar credit are typically able to achieve some sort of financing.
There are two more-commonly used financing options - the trucking company either leases a truck or it gets a loan to purchase a truck. There are various ways of structuring leases and loans, and each option has its disadvantages and advantages. Your final decision will be determined by its merits, your objectives, and your available resources.
We strongly urge you to consult with a CPA with expertise in trucking when considering financing. It's true that a visit to a CPA could cost around $150, but not only will they help you determine your best option, they could also save you a lot of money in taxes. In fact, it's critical that you seek a CPA's advice if you're planning on growing your fleet. This is not an expense you should try to avoid.
The 2nd Step: Finding Profitable Shippers and Loads
Possibly the hardest part of running a trucking company is finding quality shippers and loads. Many owner-operators use a loadboard to find loads, and this approach does have its advantages. Perhaps the main advantage is that the loadboard allows you to match your equipment and preferred routes with loads. Unfortunately, though, loadboards are not financially worthwhile for truckers in the long term. To start with, loadboards are highly competitive, particularly for the most popular routes, which means you'll be forced to charge low per-mile rates. Now the trucking company must become very vigilant and ensure the load they're pulling will end up being profitable. The second reason using a loadboard is not viable in the long term is that your company doesn't get to grow relationships with shippers. This means you'll always be working with new customers, which can be a time-consuming process.
The best strategy for owner operators is to only use a loadboard as a starting point, but persist with making sales calls so that eventually you'll start building relationships with direct shippers. Statistics show that trucking companies with shipping relationships are earning approximately $20,000 per truck/per month; whereas trucking companies who rely on loadboards are earning approximately $10,000 per truck/per month. That's a big difference! As you can see from these figures, building good and lasting relationships with shippers can double your revenue. Therefore, the best way to grow your trucking business is to develop solid relationships with shippers.
The 3rd Step: The Day-To-Day Running of Your Trucking Company
All too often we see small fleet owners and owner-operators struggling with the day-to-day running of their trucking company. There's a lot of paperwork and related coordination that's involved in moving loads and running a trucking office can be very exacting and tedious. But, it's a necessary task and it's an important one.
If you're determined to grow your trucking company, it's critical that you employ both time-saving and money-saving processes. Managing a small trucking fleet is entirely different to managing a single truck operation. We strongly suggest you approach experienced truckers for advice and, providing you're not in competition with them, you'll generally find that small fleet owners are more than happy to share their expertise with you.
Managing Cash Flow
Managing cash flow can be a serious issue for trucking companies. It's fairly common for new truckers to experience cash flow problems when they first get into the trucking business, and the reason for this is very simple. Cash flow problems occur because most shippers settle their accounts in 30 days, 60 days, and some even wait 90 days. In the meantime, however, you've got your drivers to pay, fuel to purchase, machinery to repair, payroll to meet, and other necessities to take care of. The delay in receiving payments due to you can cause serious problems for any business that doesn't have a large cash reserve. Simply speaking, you run out of money, and without money your company will be stuck. Until such time as your shippers pay your invoices there'll be no more loads, no mechanical repairs, no meeting payroll, and so on.
How to Resolve Your Cash Flow Problems
Fortunately, there's a very simple answer to the question of cash flow problems. Today, many trucking companies are resolving their cash flow issues by factoring their freight bills. Freight factoring has become a popular way of financing new trucking companies because factoring provides trucking companies with an advance on their slow paying invoices. The result - no more cash flow problems! Now, instead of having to wait 30, 60, even 90 days to get paid, you'll be paid by the factoring company once the load has been delivered.
Receiving upfront payment on invoices gives trucking companies the money they so desperately need to cover the day-to-day running costs of their business, with money left over to grow their business. You'll also find that fuel advances are often offered by many factoring companies. This is an add-on feature which provides the trucking company with funding when they collect a load. These funds come in very handy for paying fuel costs and other delivery expenses.
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Invoice Factoring; The Best Way to Grow a Temp Staffing Agency
When temp agencies are struggling with cash flow problems they typically have two options; the first option is to apply for a business loan from a bank or other lender and hope they achieve a favorable result. Their second option is to use invoice factoring, so in this post we're going to discuss why invoice factoring could be their best choice.
Many businesses in many varied industries are discovering that invoice factoring is the ideal way of addressing cash flow issues, and this is also true for temp staffing agencies. In fact, it may be even more true for temp staffing agencies because these agencies don't receive payment from clients until such time as their job vacancy has been filled and the selected applicant has completed a period of work. It's not surprising, then, that temp staffing agencies often struggle with cash flow issues!
How Factoring Can Help Temp Staffing Agencies With Cash Flow
Temp staffing agencies are required to use their own finances to pay for the necessary advertising in order to place their job candidates. The client is only invoiced once the temp agency has located the perfect applicant and that person has actually worked, which can involve a long period of time before being paid. And when they are paid, they're often paid on a per-hour basis, determined by the number of hours the successful applicant has worked. In the meantime, the temp staffing agency still has its own financial obligations, like rent, payroll, advertising costs, office supplies, and so on. All these expenses must be paid by their due date, which can place an agency in a short-term (sometimes long-term) financial crisis.
Temp Staffing Agencies Must Meet Their Own Financial Responsibilities
Like any other business, temp staffing agencies can't postpone their own financial obligations, so they need access to money. Rent must be paid, utilities must be paid, and their employees need to be paid on a regular basis. All business offices require supplies and money must be available to advertise job openings, so it's understandable that waiting to be approved for a bank loan may not be a practical or even feasible option. These temp staffing agencies need access to money, and the sooner the better. That's why we suggest that invoice factoring may be the ideal solution for resolving a temp staffing agency's cash flow problem.
How Factoring Works for Temp Staffing Agencies
When any business decides to negotiate an invoice factoring program to generate instant cash, the business may, in many cases, secure up to 92% of the total value of their invoices within 24 hours! Note that if this is the first time the temp staffing agency has worked with a factor it could take between four and seven days to establish a factoring program. Either way, the agency's cash flow problems will be over, and they can proceed to conduct and grow their business.
Many temp staffing agencies are affected by cash flow problems, sometimes only occasionally, but we strongly suggest all agencies learn about factoring and how it works, just in case the need for immediate cash should arise. Invoice factoring has become a very popular financing option for many businesses, particularly those who need an urgent cash injection. Most times, money will be advanced within 24 hours once the agency has established a relationship with a factoring company.
Invoice Factoring is NOT a Loan!
Another bonus of invoice factoring is that it's not a loan. Basically, all the temp staffing agency is doing is accessing money that's already owed and payable to them. Factoring simply provides a means for the agency to access this money when it's most needed
Now, temp staffing agencies don't need to approach banks and other traditional lending authorities, hoping and praying they qualify for a loan. All that's required is for the agency to provide the factoring company with copies of the invoices they wish to sell, together with time sheets for each employee. Then, within 24 hours the agency will receive a cash deposit into their bank account. No more cash crisis! The temp staffing agency will now have funds to meet their regular financial obligations without the need to take on any further debt.
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Factoring Company Reviews at smilling.com
Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
"Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?"
Joy Reed (JR), "Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started."
"So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?"JR: "I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn't have the cash on hand to take advantage."
"I'm a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn't have the ability to expand your business?"
JR: "That's right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn't because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced."
"Tell us a bit more about factoring companies."
JR: "Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in."
"I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?"
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn't take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand."
"Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?"
JR: "Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I've been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service."
"What's the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?"
JR: "It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we've earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I'm no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately."
"I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?"
JR: "You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I'd recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly."
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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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!
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Oil Well Cleaning Owner Interview
The oilfield services industry is certainly a booming one these days thanks to a renewed emphasis on searching and drilling for oil on private and state properties. One of the more profitable ventures in this field is not the drilling for oil, but the cleaning of oil and gas wells to keep them operating at full efficiency. Oil and gas drilling is a dirty business and wells will quickly become clogged even with regular maintenance.
Jeffrey Fielding is the owner of an oil well cleaning company who works with several drilling companies in providing cleaning and maintenance of oil wells. Over the past couple of years, Jeffrey has managed to grow his business considerably thanks in large part to his perseverance and determination. However, things were really tight when Jeffrey first started up his company and at one point he was faced with a dilemma that he didn't know how to overcome.
The following interview with Jeffrey tells how he managed to expand his company at a crucial time thanks to oilfield services factoring. If it wasn't for the presence of factoring companies that worked in his field, Jeffrey might be in a completely different business today.
"Hello, Jeffrey. It's good to talk with you and I'm glad you were able to spare the time to share your story with us."
Jeffrey Fielding: "Thanks, I'm glad to be here."
"Jeffrey, tell us a little about how you got into the oil well cleaning business first as it's something our listeners may not be fully aware of."
JF: "No problem, I'll start at the beginning. About ten years ago I joined an oil well crew as a roughneck, working my way up through the business. It was hard work and our crew was usually out in the middle of nowhere, but the money was good and the opportunities kept building for me. I quickly learned the job and was hired by a number of drillers to work their rigs over the next few years during the boom in the oil industry."
"Right from the beginning, I took notice the oil well cleaning crews that would work each rig and started talking to the guys who were a part of that business. After a few years it became clear to me that oil well cleaning was really where it was at 'cause the work was really steady and the money was just as good, if not better than what I was making. So, with the money I had saved up along with a couple of partners I opened up an oil well cleaning company of my own."
"It certainly sounds like you struck gold so to speak. So tell us how your business started."
JF: "It was pretty straightforward as we got our business loan, purchased the equipment and hired a couple of experienced people to help us clean oil wells. We had some pretty good connections and the orders started to pile in, but then we ran into a problem that none of us could even dream of happening. We became victims of our own success."
"I don't think I quite understand, could you explain just how that happened?"
JF: "Sure, about six months in we suddenly got new drillers who wanted to use our services, but we didn't have the money to expand. We get paid by invoice which can take up to 60 days to see the cash which meant that we trying to pay down our loan, the payroll and the equipment, fuel and other costs and didn't have enough cash on hand to expand. We knew that if we didn't hire new people and buy new equipment that we would miss out on a golden opportunity. However, one of my friends told me about oilfield services factoring companies that could help us out."
"What are factoring companies?"
JF: "Basically, a factoring company will buy the invoice and get us the cash immediately. We had good credit and our invoices were certainly good as well. By using their services, we were able to get the cash in our hands quickly and pay for new equipment to then expand our business efforts."
"It certainly sounds like the factoring companies saved the day for you, but just how do they work?"
JF: "Well, it was a pretty simple process. We just filled out a few forms with the information that they requested and then we sold the invoices we had already collected, but had not collected to the factoring company. We got the cash we needed immediately and they collected the invoice."
"It certainly sounds pretty straightforward, but why didn't you just get another loan?"
JF: "My partners and I went over that and another loan would just be too big a burden. We were already paying off our old loan which was considerable and didn't want to have more debt hanging over our company. By going with the oilfield factoring companies, we didn't owe anyone, anything. We just collected the money that we were owed a lot more quickly."
"So, how is business now?"
JF: "It's better than ever. By using a factoring company I was able to buy new tubing, cleaning fluids, a new vehicle and other equipment that let us take on the new orders. We were able to expand the business quite a bit and our reputation is such that we work with several drilling companies."
"It sounds like a dream come true."
JF: "It really does, but I don't know what we would have done if factoring companies didn't exist. We still use them when we need cash for new equipment or products to do our job. It's quick, safe and brings us the money we need to continue our business."Jeffrey's company really benefitted from using oilfield factoring companies that served his industry. There are factoring companies for other types of businesses as well that can take invoices and turn them into quick cash for businesses that need to expand. For Jeffrey and many other small business owners, factoring companies can make the difference in the success of your efforts.
Freight Freight Factoring Articles
Medical Invoice Factoring: A Viable Financing Option for Healthcare Professionals
Many healthcare professionals will attest to the fact that qualifying for a business loan or commercial line of credit is becoming harder and harder. Fortunately, there is a viable option, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical factoring is available for all types of healthcare businesses, including medical practices, and is the ideal financing option for businesses experiencing cash flow problems.
The Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry
Generally, the healthcare industry has excellent growth prospects and is quite resilient to economic turbulence, but it's also an industry facing more financial challenges than ever before. In years gone by, healthcare professionals, medical facilities, and medical suppliers found it reasonably easy to manage their cash flow, but today Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies have laid down strict guidelines for reimbursement, including onerous documentation and billing requirements, so-much-so that businesses not only receive less money, but must wait longer to receive it.
This situation can, and does, create financial issues for many medical providers who, while dealing with increasing operating expenses, salaries, and benefits, must also accept less and wait longer to receive their money. In many cases, the health provider's long-term viability is placed in jeopardy, and because of cash flow problems the business is unable to pursue new opportunities for growth. A physician running a relatively small practice could well have $1 million tied up in receivables!
The Problem with Bank Loans
When any business confronts a cash flow crisis their first port of call is usually a bank or other commercial lender, and a Line of Credit or business loan can certainly help in the short term; however, neither will permanently solve the problem and are therefore not optimal financing solutions. Bank loans are more suited to large fixed capital purchases, but they're not designed to cover short-term recurring business expenses. On the other hand, a Line of Credit is somewhat better, but because they have credit limits and fixed terms they're not able to provide the assurance a business needs of an unlimited, renewable source of business capital. Once the credit limit has been reached or the term of credit line ends, the lender has the right to not renew or increase the credit limit. And, unfortunately, this is the situation that many healthcare professionals find themselves in today.
The Perfect Medical Financing Solution
So, what's the ideal solution for medical financing? The perfect solution would be one that's flexible enough to grow and expand with the healthcare business; one where the business owner is not required to re-apply to a bank or other lender for credit limit increases. The ideal solution would provide a reliable and steady source of working capital, capable of financing both the current and future operations of the business.
Fortunately, there is a solution for healthcare professionals, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical Factoring, or Medical Receivables Factoring is an area of receivables factoring that deals exclusively with accounts that are medical in nature. Due to the fact that many healthcare receivables are either reduced or denied by insurance providers, and because of the expertise required to manage the claims process, factoring companies who factor medical receivables face significant challenges, so-much-so that it's almost a necessity for these companies to specialize in medical factoring. In fact, there are many factoring companies out there that do nothing else!
What Types of Business Use Medical Factoring?
Factoring has been around for hundreds of years and many industries have discovered the benefits of invoice factoring. However, many medical service providers are completely unaware of the existence of factoring and therefore don't realize that it's one of the most flexible and powerful business financing tools available today. Almost any healthcare provider can benefit from Medical Factoring, including -
- Medical Centers and Hospitals;
- Physicians - General Practitioners and Specialists;
- Outpatient Facilities and Clinics;
- Medical Staffing Services;
- Medical Labs;
- Dialysis Facilities;
- Physical Therapy Groups and Clinics;
- Rehabilitation Centers;
- Home Healthcare Providers;
- Providers of Durable Medical Equipment.
The Benefits of Medical Factoring
The benefits of medical factoring are many, and are similar to those enjoyed by businesses in other industries. They include -
- Fast payment;
- Consistent cash flow;
- Outsourced accounting and invoice collection;
- An increase in percentage of billings collected;
- Working capital finance that's debt free;
- Building business credit.
Receivables Factoring offers medical practices an excellent financing alternative to loans: the medical practice will have consistent and flexible financing tied directly to its insurance claims. This means that the amount of available financing increases as more claims are filed. Having a reliable cash flow in a growing medical practice ensures that there will always be sufficient liquid business capital to cover expenses.
Medical Supply Companies
In the same way, medical factoring offers medical supply companies quick and predictable business financing, directly tied to the volume of sales. The amount of financing grows as sales grow, automatically providing the working capital needed to both operate and grow the business.
Generally, medical factoring is particularly well suited for smaller medical offices. Because your chosen factoring company will be handling most of the administrative work involved in collections and claims processing, overhead expenses and office staffing can be kept at a minimum, thus allowing you to focus on what you do best - delivering the best medical care possible!
If you have a small practice with good growth prospects, but you also have slow cash flow, then you'll soon discover that medical factoring could well be the ideal financing tool to help you finance the growth of your business. It's true that most factoring companies have minimums, but there are factoring companies out there who will finance an office billing as little as $50,000 per month.
How Medical Receivables Factoring Works
Medical Factoring is quite simple: Basically, medical factoring accelerates payments for any healthcare business that depends on third-party payors. This means that within days of the initial billing (instead of weeks) most of the business's billed amount will be deposited directly into that business's bank account, thus drastically shortening the collection cycle and eliminating the constant headache of cash flow problems.
The added bonus of medical factoring is that it's not a loan, and as such, has no impact whatsoever on the business's balance sheet. There are no arbitrary limits, no credit limits, and no stringent financial requirements. The healthcare professional can factor as much of the billing as is generated by the business, thus making factoring the ideal financing tool for business growth.
How to Create a Factoring Program
Setting up a factoring program will typically take a couple of weeks at most. Obviously, the factoring company will need reassurance that the third-party payors are reliable and that their clients' practices are stable. However, once the factoring program has been established, medical financing is predictable and continuous. Claims will typically be funded within 48 hours after being submitted to the medical factoring company.
The Factoring Process
Medical Factoring is a very simple process -
- Periodically, your practice submits billings to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies (note that certain medical factoring companies will do this for you), with copies forwarded to your factoring company;
- Within 48 hoursthe advance, or up to 85% of net collectables, will be deposited into your business bank account. The balance will be held in reserve to settle billing discrepancies;
- The factoring fee will be collected once a factoring company has been paid, with the balance of the billings being remitted to you. The fee charged by the medical factoring company will vary according to the size and types of claims generated by the practice.
The Future of Medical Factoring
It's true that medical factoring covers a relatively small portion of factoring activity overall; however, more healthcare professionals are learning about factoring and, today, we're seeing an increase in interest in medical factoring throughout the healthcare industry. As the benefits of this type of medical financing become more widely known, it's anticipated that medical receivables factoring will become more widely used.
Medical factoring provides a short-term solution for shortfalls in working capital financing, plus a long-term solution for medical financing and patient accounting support, and it's for these reasons that medical factoring as a financing tool deserves careful consideration by healthcare businesses.
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