In life, credit is a necessity, both for business needs and personal use. Personally speaking, people use credit to purchase items that they can’t afford out-of-pocket such as homes and cars. Businesses require essential items much the way people do, such as capital and inventory, that they also can’t afford, which is where business credit comes in.
Personal credit and business credit don’t, and shouldn’t, mix. When you need to build corporate credit , you need to keep your personal credit separate from your business endeavors, and vice versa. There are many ways that businesses can get the loans and credit they need without using personal guarantees, but it is a process that involves many steps.
Getting incorporated is the first step. A corporation is a financial entity, whether it’s an S corporation, a C corporation, or an LLC. This allows the company to have its own credit profile established because it is separate from all other persons and things associated with it. The companies responsible for keeping track of these credit profiles include Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax Business, and Experian Business. These corporations are different from partnerships and sole proprietorships, which are directly attached to the owners and require personal credit information for financing.
Different states have different requirements for incorporation and credit building, which can get complicated if you’re not prepared. You can hire a lawyer to assist you with your needs, or use the services of companies like United Business Credit . No matter how you go about it, you need to incorporate a business before you can build credit without personal guarantees.
Getting a DUNS number is the next step in building business credit. This is a 9-digit number which is used by creditors and government agencies to find out information about your business. By keeping information about your business, the DUNS number you are assigned will be the basis on which your creditworthiness is determined because it reflects your reputation as a business.
Negotiation is another advantage of business credit building, especially when it comes to businesses that prefer to use personal guarantees with their corporate credit. Smaller companies are usually more willing to negotiate than larger companies, but it will all depend on the specific company that you consult. You’ve got nothing to lose with negotiating, so you should give a shot to help your business.
Professional businesses need credit cards and lines of credit that are separate from personal credit cards. Using business credit cards and gas cards is a great way to build your business credit rating, while sparing your personal credit from being associated with your business. Personal credit has too many limitations for a business, which needs higher amounts of credit for their business needs. If you use personal credit to perform business transactions, you could be jeopardizing your personal credit, so be sure to invest in business credit and gas cards for your company.
With regular use, you can increase your credit ratings with different agencies, as long as you use them properly. One useful type of credit card for businesses is a gas card. It will help you build credit, but will also allow your company to receive discounts and rebates on your purchases, and can help track travel expenses, which will be a tax deduction down the road.
Establishing a positive business credit profile that is ongoing is the final aspect of business credit building. Just like with personal credit, business credit profiles are scrutinized by each lender that you apply for credit with. Personal credit scores usually have a range between 300-850, but business credit scores only go from 0 to 100. If your company has a score of 75 or better, you are rated as “excellent” by credit companies. This can be achieved by having multiple accounts that are in good standing, up to date, and have minimum balances on them.
With good business credit, the options for securing business loans without using personal guarantees are endless. The key to getting and maintaining good business credit is persistence and good money management.
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