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Inventory-Secured Loans: How to Finance Your Inventory and Receive the Best Terms

Maintaining sufficient working capital is among the primary challenges small business owners face in today’s unpredictable economic clime. When your cash flow starts flagging, seemingly without notice, access to fast funding might appear daunting at first. But luckily, there are several sources of alternative business funding you may not have considered yet, one of which is inventory financing.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of inventory financing, its suitability to different business types and applications, its associated pros and cons, and best practices for applying for an inventory-secured loan. By the end, you’ll have sufficient knowledge to make an informed decision about whether or not inventory financing is right for you.

What is inventory financing?

What is inventory financing?

Inventory financing can be an excellent choice for business owners who need quick solutions for replenishing their stock. This loan product represents a type of short-term borrowing solution that gives businesses an opportunity to purchase inventory they can’t pay for upfront at an affordable rate.

The concept is fairly simple. Any inventory you purchase, as well as your existing stock, serves as collateral for the loan. Should your business default on the finance payments, the assets you staked can be collected by the lender to cover any potential losses.

The nice thing about inventory financing is that it’s customizable pursuant to your business needs. You can expect this financing type to come with several unique financial terms engineered to meet your specific requirements and strategic objectives.

The lending terms can vary, with payoff lengths from three months up to three years or more. Borrowers may opt for a set or variable annual percentage rate (APR). Depending on the lending institution, inventory financing term loans, for example, can start as low as $20,000 and go up to $1 million for qualified businesses. Some creditors may allow you to borrow up to 100 percent of your inventory’s value, as well.

Since inventory financing can be tailored to your specific needs, you’ll usually find ample flexibility when it comes to selecting your ideal loan terms. For business owners who need an adaptable financing solution, inventory financing often serves as a reliable long-term option.

This financing type is a great way to build your business through the acquisition of new inventory that you may not have the capital to cover. With the guidance of a business finance expert at New Bridge Merchant Capital, business owners will find identifying and securing an efficient and cost-effective inventory financing option that can be custom tailored to meet their unique business needs.

Which types of business benefit from inventory financing?

Inventory financing is, of course, by implication, best suited to businesses that sell tangible products. It helps ensure your shelves are well-stocked, even in the face of an unexpected financial shortfall.

Inventory financing lenders help companies like yours maintain healthy cash flow while they increase their stock levels. While inventory financing is primarily orientated toward retail stores, wholesalers, and specialty shops, it also offers seasonal businesses a reliable means of boosting their cash flows.

This financing type works by allowing companies to use the value of their inventory as collateral for the proposed funding. The funding structure is generally flexible, and certain lenders may focus on specific types of businesses.

To qualify you for inventory financing, lenders typically assess your financial track record rather than the items you aim to sell. The traditional approval process could make inventory financing less suitable for startups buying inventory for the first time or those with no prior sales.

The possibility of attain an inventory financing loan when you’re first starting out is, by no means, excluded, however, when you consider alternative lending sources. Regardless of who you choose to finance your inventory, this method of borrowing can help you build your business credit and generate short-term working capital to leverage long-term growth.

When should you consider inventory financing?

When should you consider inventory financing?

Any established business that needs to stay well-stocked and increase its inventory levels should consider inventory financing. It’s suitable for several business types, including retailers, wholesalers, and specialty stores. It may also be an effective solution for businesses that experience seasonal fluctuations in demand and need to cover their expenses during the off-season.

Inventory financing lenders assess your business’s financial track record rather than the individual goods you stock. As mentioned, this can make the option less suitable if you’re just starting out.

However, before discounting this option entirely, it’s worth consulting with a reputable business lender to see if you can still qualify for inventory financings or other alternative funding solutions, such as a business credit card, merchant capital advance, or secured term loan.

Inventory financing is a dependable way to sustain a healthy cash flow while expanding your inventory levels to increase sales. But remember to never underestimate the importance of working with credible inventory financing lenders that understand your industry and can provide the right terms to meet your specific requirements. You should also weigh your inventory financing options carefully against other alternative financing solutions to ensure there isn’t a better loan product for your application.

The different types of inventory financing

Many small businesses rely on short-term funding to restock their shelves and pay for supplies upfront, which is why inventory financing has proven vital for managing a stable and profitable business. There are essentially two traditional inventory financing options: loans secured by inventory, or inventory equity loans, and term loans. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the effectiveness of the financing depends on the season and fiscal health of your company.

For example, inventory financing has grown popular because it allows business owners to use their inventory as collateral to secure a loan from lenders. This type of loan also allows lower credit scores when compared to other loan options, making it among the more accessible short-term financing solutions for low-credit or no-credit business owners. These loans tend to carry a higher interest rate, however, which is why you should explore all your options before committing to any one product.

Unsecured term loans, on the other hand, do not require you to stake personal or business collateral. This loan type usually benefits customers with higher credit scores who are in a good position to take advantage of the lowest borrowing costs. With that mentioned, since the loans are unsecured, they traditionally have stiffer credit requirements than secured loans and, in some cases, higher interest rates.

Alternatives to inventory financing include merchant cash advances, lines of credit, and accounts receivable financing, which many often misconstrued as inventory financing. These alternatives can be more expensive than traditional inventory financing solutions. Nonetheless, they typically entail a streamlined application process for unconventional borrowers who need fast access to working capital.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of inventory-secured financing will help you decide on which option best suits your needs. Whether it’s traditional inventory financing or an alternative solution, business owners should take the time to consider every available loan product to ensure the best results.

Loans secured by inventory advantages and disadvantages

While traditional inventory financing is a popular option for many small business owners, the decision to pursue this type of financing must be carefully evaluated. It can provide capital for increased inventory purchases or prevent cash flow issues. It’s not entirely without its downsides, however.

Inventory lines of credit and inventory term loans are generally considered “traditional” inventory financing. Your inventory secures these loans, and the maximum dispersal amount depends on the value of the goods you’re staking as collateral.

In many cases, down payments of around 20 percent may be required before securing the financing. Borrowers must repay the loan in a timely manner, or the inventory is subject to repossession. Likewise, you may be required to use specific fulfillment centers in order to qualify for the loan.

When it comes to satisfying the obligation, you’ll make monthly installments, or the lender may collect a percentage of your sales. It’s also common for a fixed fee to be charged instead of interest, resulting in APRs (annual percentage rates) often surpassing 100 percent. Further alternatives to traditional inventory financing include alternative bank lines of credit, merchant cash advances, and secured and unsecured term loans.

Now that you have the gist of how conventional inventory financing works let’s take a look at a few different popular alternatives to traditional inventory financing:

Lines of credit

Lines of credit give you access to the funds required to replenish your inventory as needed. You can use your inventory as collateral. Or, if you qualify, apply for an unsecured line to cover your operating costs.

Lines of credit require a few more steps than inventory finance loans, however, because you’ll likely have to hand the payment over to the manufacturer yourself. This can make the option more labor-intensive than traditional inventory financing, one reason why some prefer the latter over the former.

Compared to inventory financing fees, the costs to open and maintain a line of credit are usually less expensive. Credit lines typically have an interest rate rather than a fixed fee. Nevertheless, credit lines from online lenders may have higher rates – with APRs reaching as high as 80 percent or more in some cases.

Term loans

A term loan provides a one-time lump sum to be repaid in intervals over a specified time, plus interest. A term loan is a suitable financing option for businesses that do not often require inventory financing or don’t routinely take advantage of it.

Like a line of credit, you can stake your inventory as collateral for the loan. Assuming you qualify, you might also pursue an unsecured term loan that requires no collateral and shifts more risk onto the lender than secured financing.

It’s worth noting that, while the term loan gives you access to funds for attaining additional stock, unlike inventory financing, you are still responsible for paying your suppliers directly, and it may take more time to obtain the inventory itself.

Merchant cash advances

Lenders provide merchant cash advances based on the average monthly sales for businesses that serve customers, such as retailers. Business owners will receive a percentage of their average monthly sales up front and pay it back with a portion of their daily sales plus a fixed fee.

One of the primary upsides to merchant cash advances is that creditors rarely require credit checks or business seasoning. Merchant cash advances are among the most expensive business financing types, however, accruing APRs regularly reaching 300 percent.

The daily payments can be inflexible, as well. Seasoned business owners should, therefore, consider all their lending options before committing to a merchant cash advance since the costs can be high.

How to secure inventory financing

How to secure inventory financing

Inventory financing is an essential and viable solution to attain working capital, but it’s equally important to remember you have access to several other effective funding solutions. Inventory loans, secured by inventory and accounts receivable, are suitable for businesses operating in competitive and cyclical markets where timely financing for inventory purchases is crucial.

This approach to borrowing can help you manage cash flow and stay ahead of your industry counterparts. While inventory financing has its benefits, there are a few disadvantages, like higher borrowing costs and a lack of flexibility with your repayment options. It’s, therefore, crucial that you weigh the pros and cons and explore all your options before securing any business financing.

The experienced lending consultants at New Bridge Merchant Capital can guide you through the process of evaluating whether inventory financing is right for you. We can help you assess a diverse range of small business financing products, including alternative bank lines of credit, merchant cash advances, and secured and unsecured term loans.

Our decades of exposure to the business lending space can put your organization on the path to success, while our financing solutions deliver creative, customized options to businesses across several industries.

Searching for the right loan to secure your business inventory needs?

If you have additional questions on how to finance inventory, dial 844-228-0593 to speak with a New Bridge Merchant Capital lending consultant or apply online now. We’ll guide you through our full suite of business lending solutions that can help you take the next step towards expanding your footprint and securing stable, long-term profits.

Work With a Leading Commercial Lender

At NewBridge Capital Solutions, our loan products can help businesses of all sizes. With our exceptional customer service and reputable funding, we have become a trusted leader in the commercial finance industry. If you want to apply for a term loan that can provide working capital for your business, make sure to contact us.
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