These can be used to finance your permanent working capital, purchase of new equipment, construction of buildings, business expansion, refinance existing debt and business acquisitions. Commercial lenders are the major source of term loans. Other sources include commercial finance companies and government agencies. The maturity of term loans varies significantly. The term of the loan is based largely on the useful life of the assets being financed or used to collateralize the loan. Term loans are repaid from the long-term earnings of your business. Therefore, your projected profitability and cash flow from operations are two key factors lenders consider when making term loans. Most term loans are repaid on an installment basis, and your cash flow must be sufficient to cover the payments. Generally, interest rates on long-term loans are higher than for short-term loans. Collateral and compensating balances are generally required, and the lender will often impose restrictions on your business to reduce the bank’s risk.
- Equipment and Real Estate Loans: These are term loans fully secured by the equipment being purchased. Commercial banks will typically loan from 60-80 percent of the value of the equipment being purchased. The loan is repaid monthly over the life of the equipment. Commercial banks and other financial institutions make long-term loans secured by commercial or industrial real estate. The loan is usually approved for up to 75 percent of the value of the real estate being financed. You will repay the loan in installments over a 10-20 year period. Commercial banks, commercial finance companies and other financial institutions will also make second mortgages on commercial and industrial real estate. The amount of the second mortgage is based upon the appraised market value of your property minus the amount of your first mortgage.
- Leasing: This has become a significant source of intermediate-term financing for small companies in recent years. Virtually any type of fixed asset may be financed through a leasing arrangement. Leasing can be accomplished through a leasing company, commercial bank, the equipment owner or a commercial finance company. Leasing offers a great deal of flexibility as it can be used to finance even small amounts. If you are interested in leasing a fixed asset, your business will be subject to the same type of review as you do when seeking a loan. The leasing company will be particularly interested in the cash flow of your company. The value of the leased equipment and its useful life are used to determine the amount of financing available. Generally, equipment leases are for three to five years. When leasing, the total cash outlays may be greater than the total cost of an outright purchase or even a loan to finance the purchase. However, the after tax costs must be determined to compare the actual cost of each option. At the end of a lease, there are three options: purchase the equipment, renew the lease or return the equipment to the lessor.