If you want to learn how to build credit for your small business…here is a good place to start.
Step 1: Establish a physical address (not a P.O. box or a mailbox store) with a landline telephone. Both should be registered to the business name.
Step 2: Make sure that you are registered with your local secretary of state. Most creditors will run your company through a database that automatically verifies your filings in your state.
Step 3: Get an EIN # (apply online Free at IRS.gov). This will seperate your business credit file from your personal and vise versa…Keep them seperated!
Step 4: Get a business checking account with debit card. You will need to take your EIN, business license and ID to the bank and it should be a fairly simple process. Always pay for your order with this debit card and soon your bank will be offering you credit!
Step 5: Head over to dnb.com and get yourself a DUNNS #. It is completely free. Dnb will try and get you to sign up for their credit builder program, etc. If you want to build your credit file very quickly than pay the $500+ for their services. If you don’t want these services but want a credit file set up make sure to tell the CSA just that. If you don’t express that you are NOT interested in their services they will hold off for weeks, even months on processing your application. They want you to pay for their services, in my opinion it’s not worth the money.
Step 6: Start building a good reputation by opening accounts with some Net30 vendors. Some good ones to start with are Quill, NEBS, Unline, Grainger, Gemplers, Staples Industrial, and reliable. Get as many trade lines as possible.
-Note: Be mindful of when you make your Net30 payments. Speak with the credit dept. and ask what day of the month they report to Dunn & Bradstreet. If the vendor reports to dnb on the 10th of every month. Make sure to place your initial order around the 5th-6th and then pay around the 15th. Why? Well because if you order on the 5th of the month and pay before then 10th than the vendor won’t report that account to dnb. That is how you get the account to show on your credit file.
step 7: Place subsequent orders with your Net30 vendors. This will increase your credit limits exponentially and will increase your chances of getting a real unsecured line without a personal guarantee.
step 8: Start applying for the “easy” to get credit accounts. Staples generally gives a $750 initial card to anyone who applies. Keybank and sears commercial also have a reputation for being easy to obtain credit from. Don’t bother applying for anything from GE credit without at least 2-3 years of very stable credit history. They use equifax instead of dnb. Home depot and gas cards are also fairly easy to get. If you have enough Trade lines and you have a good paydex score you will NOT need a personal guarantee.
-Note: Don’t apply for too many accounts at the same time. Spread them out and do your research before ever applying. This can cause for your file to be flagged and it’s close to impossible to fix. If you apply online and get an error code and a message to call in. DO IT!! Most of the time it is just to verify your information and get permission to process the app. I have applied for a $500 credit line and called to verify info (assumed I had been declined) and was granted a 5K limit!!
Now you have an established commercial credit file. Do NOT pay for services promising to give you trade lines or report positively to dnb on your behalf unless you have physically purchased something. Dnb does pick up on these trends and if they feel you are building a credit file out of illigitimate purchases they will completely delete your file and you will have to start all over! This will cause your current creditors to close your accounts. Building a stable credit profile does take a lot of time and effort but doing it the legit way is very important. Good luck on your journey of building business credit. Remember that business credit in no way replaces personal credit and its beneficial for you to have an excellent personal credit file too.
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