There are three main reasons many people fail building business credit. The 1st BIG reason people fail, is that their business isn’t setup credibly in the lender’s eyes. The perception lenders, vendors, and creditors have of your business is critical. Before applying for business credit a business must insure it meets or exceeds all lender credibility standards. There are over 20 credibility points that are necessary for a business to have a strong, credible foundation.
To insure you are seen credibly, it is very important that you use your exact business legal name. Your full business name should include any recorded DBA filing you will be using. Insure your business name is exactly the same on your corporation papers, licenses, and bank statements.
Whether you have employees or not your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) to start getting business credit. Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN. Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number.
Your business address must be a real brick-and-mortar building, deliverable physical address. It cannot be a home address, cannot be a PO Box and cannot be a UPS address. Some lenders will not approve and fund unless this criteria is met. There are Business Address Solutions available at companies like Regus including address only where you receive mail and packages at your dedicated business address.
You must have a dedicated business phone number that is listed with 411 directory assistance, under the business name, to successfully obtain business credit. Lenders, vendors, creditors, and even insurance providers will verify that your business is listed with 411. A toll-free number will give your business credibility, but you must have a LOCAL business number for the listing with 411.
Lenders perceive 800 number or toll-free phone numbers as a sign of business credibility. Even if you’re a single owner with a home-based business, a toll-free number provides the perception that you are an even bigger company. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to setup a virtual local phone number or a toll-free 800 number.
A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you “flagged” as an un-established business that is too high of a risk. DON’T give a personal cell phone or residential phone as the business phone number. You can forward a virtual number to any cell or landline phone number.
Credit providers will research your company on the internet. It is best if they learned everything directly from your company website. Not having a company website will severely hurt their chances of obtaining business credit. There are many places online that offer affordable business websites so you can have an internet presence that displays an overview of your company’s services and contact information.
It is important to get a company email address for your business. It’s not only professional, but greatly helps your chances of getting the thumbs up from a credit provider. Setting up a business email address is just too easy and inexpensive to neglect.
The 2nd BIG reason people fail building business credit is that they apply using their social security number. Always apply first without using your social security number. Some vendors will request it and some will even tell you on the phone they need to have it, but submit first without it. Many don’t even know you can get approved without it.
When you apply using your SSN you almost always are giving a personal guarantee. One easy way to know if you have business credit already is if you obtained credit without signing for it and providing your SSN. TRUE business credit doesn’t require an SSN in most cases to qualify.
Business credit is using your EIN to qualify for credit. When you have enough credit built for your EIN, you can then get approved without providing your SSN. If you provide an SSN, your personal credit WILL be pulled in most cases. That personal credit will then be used for the approval decision.
Most credit issuers will approve you without your SSN if your EIN credit is strong enough. If your EIN credit is not good enough, you might be declined and they then might ask for your SSN. No matter what ANY credit representatives tell you, credit CAN be obtained based on your EIN only.
The 3rd BIG reason people fail building business credit is that they apply for credit in the WRONG ORDER. A business credit report can be started much the same way as a consumer report commonly is, with small credit cards. The business can be approved for small credit cards to help them build an initial credit profile. These types of initial cards in the business world are commonly referred to as “vendor credit”.
A vendor line of credit is when a company (vendor) extends a line of credit to your business on “Net 15, 30, 60 or 90” day terms. This means that you can purchase their products or services up to a maximum dollar amount and you have 15, 30, 60 or 90 days to pay the bill in full. So if you’re set-up on Net 30 terms and were to purchase $300 worth of goods today, then that $300 is due within the next 30 days.
You can get products and services for your business needs and defer the payment on those for 30 days, thereby easing cash flow. And some vendors will approve your company for Net 30 payment terms upon verification of as little as an EIN number and 411 listing. When your first Net 30 account reports your “tradeline” to Dun & Bradstreet, the DUNS system will automatically activate your file if it isn’t already. This is also true for Experian and Equifax.
You need to have a total of at least five (5) Net 30 day pay accounts reporting. Some vendors require an initial prepaid order before they can approve your business for terms. Vendor accounts are hard to find, so keep in mind that your vendors do not necessarily have to serve 100% of your business needs.
Avoid these three BIG mistakes to quickly build an exceptional business credit profile and score that you can use to obtain credit for your business.