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The Logistics and Transportation Industry in the United States
The logistics and transportation industry in the United States is highly competitive. By investing in this sector, multinational firms position themselves to better facilitate the flow of goods throughout the largest consumer market in the world.. International and domestic companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs and regulatory burdens.
Spending in the U.S. logistics and transportation industry totaled $1.33 trillion in 2012, and represented 8.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Analysts expect industry investment to correlate with growth in the U.S. economy.
A highly integrated supply chain network in the United States links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport. To serve customers efficiently, multinational and domestic firms provide tailored logistics and transportation solutions that ensure coordinated goods movement from origin to end user through each supply chain network segment.
This subsector includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.
Air and express delivery services (EDS):
Firms offer expedited, time-sensitive, and end-to-end services for documents, small parcels, and high-value items. EDS firms also provide the export infrastructure for many exporters, particularly small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to operate their own supply chain.
High volumes of heavy cargo and products are transported long distances via the U.S. rail tracking network. Freight rail moves more than 70 percent of the coal, 58 percent of its raw metal ores, and more than 30 percent of its grain for the nation. This subsector accounted for approximately one third of all U.S. exports.
This subsector includes carriers, seaports, terminals, and labor involved in the movement of cargo and passengers by water. Water transportation carries about 78 percent of U.S. exports by tonnage, via both foreign-flag and U.S.-flag carriers.
Trucking: Over-the-road transportation of cargo is provided by motor vehicles over short and medium distances. The American Trucking Associations reports that in 2012, trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight, or about 68.5 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically. Motor carriers collected $642 billion in revenues, or about 81 percent of total revenue earned by all domestic transport modes.
American Association of Port Authorities
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
American Trucking Associations
Association of American Railroads
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
Express Delivery and Logistics Association Industry Publications:
Journal of Commerce
Material Handling & Logistics
North American Industry Classification System For Transportation
The Transportation and Warehousing sector includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline.
The Transportation and Warehousing sector distinguishes three basic types of activities: subsectors for each mode of transportation, a subsector for warehousing and storage, and a subsector for establishments providing support activities for transportation. In addition, there are subsectors for establishments that provide passenger transportation for scenic and sightseeing purposes, postal services, and courier services.
A separate subsector for support activities is established in the sector because, first, support activities for transportation are inherently multimodal, such as freight transportation arrangement, or have multimodal aspects. Secondly, there are production process similarities among the support activity industries.
One of the support activities identified in the support activity subsector is the routine repair and maintenance of transportation equipment (e.g., aircraft at an airport, railroad rolling stock at a railroad terminal, or ships at a harbor or port facility). Such establishments do not perform complete overhauling or rebuilding of transportation equipment (i.e., periodic restoration of transportation equipment to original design specifications) or transportation equipment conversion (i.e., major modification tosystems). An establishment that primarily performs factory (or shipyard) overhauls, rebuilding, or conversions of aircraft, railroad rolling stock, or a ship is classified in Subsector 336, Transportation Equipment Manufacturing according to the type of equipment.
Many of the establishments in this sector often operate on networks, with physical facilities, labor forces, and equipment spread over an extensive geographic area.
Industries in the Truck Transportation subsector provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using motor vehicles, such as trucks and tractor trailers. The subsector is subdivided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking. This distinction reflects differences in equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a containeror van trailer. Specialized freight transportation is the transportation of cargo that, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics require specialized equipment for transportation.
Each of these industry groups is further subdivided based on distance traveled. Local trucking establishments primarily carry goods within a single metropolitan area and its adjacent nonurban areas. Long distance trucking establishments carry goods between metropolitan areas.
The Specialized Freight Trucking industry group includes a separate industry for Used Household and Office Goods Moving. The household and office goods movers are separated because of the substantial network of establishments that has developed to deal with local and long-distance moving and the associated storage. In this area, the same establishment provides both local and long-distance services, while other specialized freight establishments generally limit their services to either local or long-distance hauling.
General Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer. The establishments of this industry group provide a combination of the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
General Freight Trucking, Local
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Local general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking within a metropolitan area which may cross state lines. Generally the trips are same-day return.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Long-distance general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking between metropolitan areas which may cross North American country borders. Included in this industry are establishments operating as truckload (TL) or less than truckload (LTL) carriers.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight truckload (TL) trucking. These long-distance general freight truckload carrier establishments provide full truck movement of freight from origin to destination. The shipment of freight on a truck is characterized as a full single load not combined with other shipments.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Less Than Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance, general freight, less than truckload (LTL) trucking. LTL carriage is characterized as multiple shipments combined onto a single truck for multiple deliveries within a network. These establishments are generally characterized by the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
Specialized Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance specialized freight trucking. The establishments of this industry are primarily engaged in the transportation of freight which, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics, requires specialized equipment, such as flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers. This industry includes the transportation of used household, institutional, and commercial furniture and equipment.
Used Household and Office Goods Moving
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance trucking of used household, used institutional, or used commercial furniture and equipment. Incidental packing and storage activities are often provided by these establishments. Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Local
Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance specialized trucking. These establishments provide trucking between metropolitan areas that may cross North American country borders.
A freight broker is an individual or company that serves as a liaison between another individual or company that needs shipping services and an authorized motor carrier. Though a freight broker plays an important role in the movement of cargo, the broker doesn't function as a shipper or a carrier.To operate as a freight broker, a business or individual must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Freight brokers are required to carry surety bonds as well.
Freight broker services are valuable to both shippers and motor carriers. Freight brokers help shippers find reliable carriers that might otherwise be difficult to locate. They assist motor carriers in filling their trucks and earning money for transporting a wide variety of items. For their efforts, freight brokers earn commissions.
Freight brokers use their knowledge of the shipping industry and technological resources to help shippers and carriers accomplish their goals. Many companies find the services provided by freight brokers indispensable. In fact, some companies hire brokers to coordinate all of their shipping needs.
Often, freight brokers are confused with forwarders. Though a freight forwarder performs some of the same tasks as a freight broker, the two are not the same. A forwarder takes possession of the items being shipped, consolidates smaller shipments, and arranges for the transportation of the consolidated shipments. By contrast, a freight broker never takes possession of items being shipped thus in the absence of negligent entrustment, a freight broker is not normally involved as a party litigant in a cargo claimdispute, although as an accommodation, the freight broker may assist the shipper at their request and expense with filing freight claims.
NAICS Index Description
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, local 484110
Container trucking services, local 484110
General freight trucking, local 484110
Motor freight carrier, general, local 484110
Transfer (trucking) services, general freight, local 484110
Trucking, general freight, local 484121
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, long-distance (TL) 484121
Container trucking services, long-distance (TL) 484121
General freight trucking, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484122
General freight trucking, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
LTL (less-than-truckload) long-distance freight trucking 484122
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484210
Furniture moving, used 484210
Motor freight carrier, used household goods 484210
Trucking used household, office, or institutional furniture and equipment 484210
Used household and office goods moving 484210
Van lines, moving and storage services 484220
Agricultural products trucking, local 484220
Automobile carrier trucking, local 484220
Boat hauling, truck, local 484220
Bulk liquids trucking, local 484220
Coal hauling, truck, local 484220
Dry bulk trucking (except garbage collection, garbage hauling), local 484220
Dump trucking (e.g., gravel, sand, top soil) 484220
Farm products hauling, local 484220
Flatbed trucking, local 484220
Grain hauling, local 484220
Gravel hauling, local 484220
Livestock trucking, local 484220
Log hauling, local 484220
Milk hauling, local 484220
Mobile home towing services, local 484220
Refrigerated products trucking, local 484220
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, local 484220
Sand hauling, local 484220
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), local 484220
Top-soil hauling, local 484220
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, local 484220
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local 484230
Automobile carrier trucking, long-distance 484230
Boat hauling, truck, long-distance 484230
Bulk liquids trucking, long-distance 484230
Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance 484230
Farm products trucking, long-distance 484230
Flatbed trucking, long-distance 484230
Forest products trucking, long-distance 484230
Grain hauling, long-distance 484230
Gravel hauling, long-distance 484230
Livestock trucking, long-distance 484230
Log hauling, long-distance 484230
Mobile home towing services, long-distance 484230
Radioactive waste hauling, long-distance 484230
Recyclable material hauling, long-distance 484230
Refrigerated products trucking, long-distance 484230
Refuse hauling, long-distance 484230
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, long-distance 484230
Sand hauling, long-distance 484230
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), long-distance 484230
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, long-distance 484230
Trash hauling, long-distance 484230
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, hazardous, long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, nonhazardous, long-distance
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You have things to do and sometimes it just does not make sense to put them off until you get paid
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Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use Truck Factoring; and today Truck Factoring has become common business practice across many industries. -Best Freight Factoring Company
IT WORKS WHILE YOU SLEEP
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Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Avoid Cash Flow Problems
Without steady cash flow most businesses will fail to thrive, especially small businesses and start-ups. We've all heard the phrase "Cash Is King" and that's certainly true for established businesses, but for new businesses just getting started cash flow is even more important. Sadly, many new businesses fail to realize just how devastating cash flow problems can be to a business trying to establish themselves in the market. In fact, many businesses die a sad and lonely death simply because of bad cash management, and these are businesses that would otherwise have survived had they not experienced cash flow problems. Statistics show that 82% of businesses fail because they were unable to manage their cash. That's a tragic figure, especially when there are effective ways for new, small, and even large businesses to avoid these problems.
So, let's take a look at some important rules that small businesses should be aware of to ensure they never have to face liquidity.
No. 1: It's Cash That Sustains Business Growth
So many businesses don't consider cash flow an issue because they see the orders flooding in; however, many growing companies do experience cash flow problems. Increased sales generally mean increased costs to deliver orders; plus, in order to support the new volume of business other sections of a business typically need to grow. Your business may appear to be highly successful as orders continue coming in, but keep in mind that the faster your business grows the more financing it will need.
No. 2: Margins Are Just Accounting - They're Not Cash!
We know that accounting, and accountants, can be pretty creative with figures because there's nothing shareholders and board members love more than hearing about the industry-leading margins you're achieving; but your board members and shareholders are not the ones who have to find the money to meet payroll and pay your landlord. Margins don't pay your employees. Your sales may be booked down when your customer's order is delivered, but how long will it be before you receive payment? 30, 60, 90 days, or even longer? If your customers are not paying you and you're struggling to pay your expenses, your business is now in survival mode. Keep in mind that you may have great accounting margins but still have an empty bank account.
No. 3: When You're Selling B2B (Business-to-Business) Cash Flow Problems Will Likely Be Your First Issue
The more sales you make the more money you make, but when you're selling B2B it's not always that simple. Yes, you sell and deliver goods or services to another business and provide them with an invoice, and your customer will pay the invoice at a later date. But how much later? If you chase the business too hard for payment they'll probably never work with you again, so you could receive payment months later. You're not going to pass up businesses who buy with high volume, so you have no choice but to wait. So, you end up with a cash flow problem.
No. 4: Cash Flow Problems Can Occur Very Quickly
It doesn't take much for cash flow management to become a serious problem, so monitor your cash flow very carefully. Determine how much of your working capital is locked into receivables, inventories, raw materials, and so on; and know exactly how much money is required to meet both your sales targets and operating expenses. You may have made the sales but that doesn't mean you have the cash, and you may have paid for inventory but that doesn't mean it's automatically a cost of goods sold.
No. 5: Your Inventory Ties up Cash
You can't sell your goods until you've purchased or built them and, whether your goods are sold or not, your vendor still expects to be paid. This means that your inventory is locking up your cash. You could eventually make two times or even three times your money on your inventory, but margins do not equal cash.
No. 6: You Must Be Practical About Working Capital
Working capital is the figure left over when current liabilities are deducted from current assets, which means it's the money you have in your bank account available for meeting operating costs, paying vendors, and buying inventory - all the while waiting for your business customers to pay your invoices. Understanding and grasping the concept of working capital is a very necessary survival skill in business because being able to maintain sufficient cash to pay your own financial responsibilities whilst dealing with all the unknowns in business can be very tricky.
No. 7: Be Clear on What "Accounts Receivable" Actually Are
The money owed to you by your customers is called accounts receivable, which means the money that's sitting in your customer's bank account that belongs to you is called receivables. Just like inventory, the amount of money in your accounts receivable column is money you don't have. Certainly, you've done the deal and you've sent the invoice, but now you're waiting to be paid. You must remain very vigilant until such time as the invoice has been settled and the money is physically in your bank account.
8. Monitor the Health of Your Business Very Closely
Three aspects of your business that require close monitoring include -
-Inventory Turnover: Measure how long your inventory stays on your balance sheet without being converted to cash;
-Collection Days: Measure how long it takes to receive payment for services rendered or goods sold;
-Payment Days: Keep a record of how long you wait before paying suppliers.
Now, make a plan. Project these figures out to 12 or 18 months ahead then compare your plan to what actually occurs. This is a really great way of gaining some insight into your own business.
No. 9: Prepare for Financing before You Actually Need It
Don't wait until you need financing to start reaching out to finance companies. Contact companies who provide financing, especially credit line financing, and look for products where interest is not payable if the money is not used. Don't wait for your business to have cash flow issues. Waiting until you urgently need cash or a loan will subject you to higher interest rates and dodgy terms. Start the process while your business is healthy, which will allow you to negotiate finance terms from a position of strength. We strongly suggest you be proactive and find a partner ready to finance your business; a partner that's prepared to grow with you.
You have things to do and sometimes it just does not make sense to put them off until you get paid
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Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
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How Medical Staffing Helps The Medical Industry
Mary Henderson sat in her office, waiting for the phone to ring. Her job was a busy one, and she had stopped all her calls and shut her door five minutes before the phone conference was set to begin just to get some time for herself. The truth was she was stressed to her breaking point. Her company Med Staff needed to hire three new people to cover the demand of their clients. The problem was, they couldn't. They were short on funds.
Med Staff did temporary medical staffing. They employed LPN's, RN's, and a few others of the same ilk. Companies that needed nursing for a short amount of time paid Med Staff, and the nurses were sent over on short term contracts. Then they came back, and they were sent somewhere else.
A retirement home had contacted Mary two weeks ago, they were undergoing an expansion, and they would need temporary staffing until they could appoint permanent nurses to the shifts. Mary had known she didn't have enough people for this, but she took the contract on anyways, figuring she could hire people. There were always a number of nurses and technicians applying for work at Med Staff, and she knew it wouldn't be a problem to hire a few new people.
There had been a problem though. There simply wasn't enough money in the books to do it. The company was doing fine, but a quick expansion, even as small as three people, simply wasn't going to happen, not without help.
She had gone to the bank for a loan, but they had denied her. It seemed to Mary that the only people who could get loan money from a bank were the people who didn't need to do so. And then she had found something different, a website online about factoring. She had looked the site over, and set up the conference call.
The phone rang, she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi, is this Mrs. Henderson?" a cheery woman's voice asked over the phone."
"Great! My name is Stacy, I'm going to help you today."
"Okay great." Mary said.
"I'm looking over the form you filled out, it looks like your company temporarily staffs medical professionals?"
"Yes," Mary said. "Nurses mostly."
"Great," Stacy said. "And if you called me, it means you ran into a snag."
"I took a contract to fill five places in an expanding retirement community. I have two people available but needed to hire three more. Unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of money in the books right now. We have a few outstanding invoices yet to be paid, but until they come in, there's nothing I can do."
"Do you know how factoring works?" Stacy asked.
"Not really," Mary admitted.
"Okay, well we don't look at your business credit, we look at your clients' credit. We know they have some time to pay bills, and we're interested to see if they can pay those bills. If they can, we become interested in helping you out, because we think all businesses should have a fair shot to make it, and sometimes things just don't work out."
"This is the first time it hasn't worked out," Mary said. "And it's hard."
"I know. I hear about it every day. The cool thing about my job is I get to help fix it. So what we do, if we feel secure in our ability to help you, is we buy a piece of your accounts receivable. We aren't just loaning you money, we're basically becoming active in your business. That is you get the money you need right now, but we have an assurance that we get our money back, later down the road."
Mary nodded behind her desk, even though the other woman couldn't see her. She had never heard of factoring before she came across the site on the internet, but the way Stacy explained it certainly made sense.
The call continued, with Mary giving the information that Stacy would need. She promised to get back to her within a couple of days, and then they hung up. Mary went on with her work, and a day and a half passed.
Mary was at her desk when he phone rang then. It was Stacy.
"Good news," she said as soon as Mary said hello. Mary couldn't help but smile as Stacy went on. "We're going to be able to help you out."
"You don't know how great it is to hear you say that," Mary said.
"Believe me, I do," Stacy said. "I get to say it more often than not, and I know that we're really helping good people, and good businesses."
"The bank, they couldn't do anything," Mary said, she felt salty tears stinging her eyes as they welled there.
"They aren't built to help people like we are. They just want as much money as they can get. We want money too, because it's a business, but if you don't succeed, we don't succeed, and it's also important to us that we help people."
"So what's next?" Mary asked.
"Well the real answer is I fax some stuff over for you to fill out and sign, but the fun answer is your business gets the help it needs, and you keep going to work each day. Well, not the weekends."
Mary couldn't help but laugh. "Believe me," she said. "I work plenty of weekends."
Stacy laughed as well, and then got the fax number she would need. Once again the women hung up and Mary let out a long breath as she sat back in her chair. She used a tissue to dab the tears from her eyes. She knew everything was going to be okay.
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Everything You Need to Know about Invoice Factoring
You've probably heard about invoice factoring, but like many business owners you may not be entirely sure how it works or whether it could help your own business. In this article we'll try to answer all your questions about what invoice factoring is, how it works, and whether it could help you grow your business.The following definition of invoice factoring may sound too good to be true, but let's look anyway! "Invoice factoring is a viable alternative to bank financing and other traditional types of financing, but it's not a debt, and there are no strings attached." For anyone who's approached traditional lending sources for financing and been refused or left hanging for weeks or months, yes, this probably does sound too good to be true, but it's actually not! Invoice factoring can provide the working capital you need to help your business grow and prosper, so read on then decide for yourself.
How Invoice Factoring Works
With invoice factoring you no longer need to wait 60, 90, or even 120 days to receive payment from your customers, because invoice factoring converts these invoices into immediate cash in-hand. It's up to you to determine which invoices, and how many invoices, you wish to factor, following this simple process -
- Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring by your factoring company, you can begin submitting your unpaid invoices. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or work that's been completed. The process to follow is to fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to the factor, while at the same time invoicing your customer as usual.- Within 24 hours you'll receive a cash advance from your factoring company. Your invoices will be verified by the factor and you'll receive a cash advance of up to 95% of the invoice, which will be paid directly into your bank account.- Now that you've received this cash advance, you continue on with your work while the factoring company works to collect on the invoice on your behalf. Your factor will be highly experienced in collecting on invoices, thus allowing you to do what you do best, which is to continue providing excellent customer service and focusing on other important aspects of growing your business.- It's entirely up to you how many invoices you factor and how many clients you choose for the factoring process. You may decide to factor all your invoices, or it may be that you have one client that's always late in paying and you'd prefer the factoring company to only collect on that one invoice. It's your decision!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
The major benefit of invoice factoring is that, as the business owner, you're controlling your cash flow. Of course, there are other advantages of using a factoring company which can help your business grow and prosper.
No. 1: Your Factoring Company Will Provide Background and Credit Verification
It's very important to the viability of your business that you work with reliable customers in fact, it's the only way to turn your sales into revenues and to develop a solid payment history. But, we all know just how expensive it can be to run background and credit checks, and this simple exercise can dig deep into your working capital.
No problem! These checks will be provided to you by your invoice factoring company at no additional charge to you, which will provide reassurance that you are in fact working with quality customers. It also means that any issues that may arise can be addressed before they negatively affect your company.
No. 2: Your Factoring Company Can Assist with Credit Building and Repair
Perhaps your business credit is not ideal, but the good news is that you could still qualify for an invoice factoring program. The benefit of invoice factoring for a business with less-than-perfect credit is that, not only will you have available cash to meet your daily operating costs, you'll also be able to rebuild your credit rating by paying down current debt. Factoring companies are also well-equipped to assist start-ups, so if you're just getting your business up-and-running, invoice factoring is the perfect way to maintain regular cash flow.
No. 3: Invoice Factoring Opens Your Business to Great Money-Saving Opportunities
With invoice factoring, your business can utilize this rejuvenated cash flow to not only save money by offering competitive rates, but you'll now be able to negotiate early pay discounts and other incentives with your suppliers. And, depending on how many invoices you decide to factor, you could eventually qualify for a reduction in rates by receiving a volume discount.
No. 4: Invoice Factoring Provides Steady Cash Flow
In order for any business to grow and prosper it's vitally important to have a steady cash flow. And that's the beauty of invoice factoring: instead of late-paying customers controlling cash flow, the business owner regains control of the working capital. Perhaps you're simply tired of waiting for invoices to be paid, or maybe you're in an industry with seasonal fluctuations; whatever the reason you're struggling with cash flow, invoice factoring can help you regulate and take control of your business once again.
No. 5: Invoice Factoring Allows You to Dream Big Again!
Having a steady business is one thing, but having a growing business is what every business owner dreams of. Now that you've been accepted for invoice factoring and you have a steady cash flow, there are many ways you can use this cash to grow your business.
- You can increase your marketing efforts and get your name out there;
- You can negotiate bigger and better contracts with bigger clients;
- You can invest in technology upgrades;
- You can employ experienced personnel, or provide training programs for existing staff;
- You can upgrade or replace outdated equipment; and
- You can relocate your business or invest in expansion.
No. 6: Invoice Factoring Is Not a Debt to Your Business
It's very important to note that invoice factoring is not a debt, so there will be no more debt added to your balance sheet. In fact, it's exactly the opposite, because invoice factoring provides cash in-hand, so you can pay off old debts. The money is already yours, so there's no money to pay back or interest to add on. All invoice factoring does is get money that's owed to you into your bank account - faster.
I've Never Heard of Invoice Factoring
Many businesses know very little, or nothing at all, about invoice factoring, which is strange because invoice factoring is certainly not new. Perhaps it's because we typically think of bank loans and other traditional types of lending when looking to grow our business; however, factoring goes right back to the Roman Empire. Back then, businessmen, particularly farmers, used factors to grow their business, and in more modern times factoring was used to finance transactions in the clothing and textile industry, helping businesses accept larger purchase orders and pay for raw materials. Today, invoice factoring is used by almost every industry you can think of, like -- Construction
- Staffing, HR
- Media and Marketing.
Understanding the Language of Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring does appear to have its own language, so let's clarify some of the terminology -
- Your customers are known as Account Debtors.
- The report showing the total amount of unpaid receivables in addition to the amount of time they've remained unpaid is known as an Accounts Receivable Ageing Report.
- The two terms Invoice Factoring and Accounts Receivable Factoring can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing.
- The percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds is known as the Discount Rate.
- When your factor conducts background research to assess potential customers this is known as Due Diligence.
- The cash that's advanced to the business, typically within 24 hours and usually ranging between 80% and 95% of the total invoice amount, is known as the Factoring Advance Rate.
- The third party who connects a business with the right factoring company, to meet their business goals and needs is known as a Factoring Broker.
- The right to maintain possession of property until such time as a debt has been discharged is known as a Lien.
- It can occur that a customer fails to pay their invoice on time, or they may never pay their invoice. Non-Recourse Funding is where the factor assumes full responsibility for funds lost. Because the factoring company accepts this responsibility, non-recourse funding is therefore more expensive.- With Recourse Funding, your business will be required to buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed-upon terms.
- The amount of money withheld by the factor until full payment has been received from your customer is known as the Reserve.
- Staffing companies may choose to enter a one-time agreement in order to factor a single invoice. This is known as Spot Factoring.
How Does Invoice Factoring Affect Your Customers?
It's important to point out here that your factoring company is not a collection agency and that factoring is not a bad thing. The aim of your factoring company is to maintain a good working relationship with both you and your customers, which means that your customers will receive great customer service. Both you and your factoring company have one common goal, and that is to ensure the payment process of your invoices is as seamless as possible. See below for how factoring typically works -
- You've decided to start factoring, so the first step is for your Account Manager to verify with your debtors that they are indeed your customers and to inform them of a change of address for remittances.
- Your customers must pay their invoices anyway, so a change of remittance address should not affect them in any way.
- Your account manager is a professional when it comes to collecting on invoices, so they will simply advise your clients that they will be managing your invoices in future and taking over your accounts receivable.
- And that's all there is to it! Nothing should change between you and your customers. They'll still receive an invoice from you; but their payment will now be sent to a new Post Office box. Your Account Manager will always be on hand to resolve any issues that may arise.
How Do I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
When you start looking for factoring companies you'll discover that there are many different companies out there, but they're certainly not all the same.
When making comparisons we suggest you consider the following points -
1: Factoring Fees
It's true that factoring fees can be more expensive than traditional bank loans, but sometimes the decision businesses are faced with is to simply have access to some working capital or have no working capital at all. What should you be aware of? You need to know the overall factoring cost, in addition to any smaller (or hidden) fees your factor may charge. These fees might include -
- Account Setup Fees
- Application Costs
- Credit Reports
- Costs to Research Liens
- Money Transfer Fees, or
- Last-Minute Funding.
Choose a factor that you believe you can trust and one that you feel completely comfortable with; because you're also looking for great customer service. Remember also that factors may charge for different things, and there may be hidden fees.
2: You Need Flexibility, so Carefully Check Your Proposed Contract
It's very important that you carefully read the fine print of your contract, prior to signing on the dotted line. It would be so disappointing to sign a factoring contract only to realize that you didn't completely understand the terms and now you're locked into a contract that's not clear on how the factoring company charges or how many invoices you can factor per month - or even worse - that you're now legally bound to this factoring company for the long term. Yes, long-term factoring contracts do exist, but be prepared to pay a lot of money if you try and break the contract. Make sure you know exactly how long you're signing up for, which of your clients are eligible for factoring, and how much per month you can factor.
3: With Invoice Factoring, Communication Is Key
Great customer service is very important with any business, and the most important part of great customer service is good and easy communication. And now we're talking about dealing with a company that's handling your money, so you can see how important good communication is! The last thing you need from a factoring company who's handling your money is being forced to wait for days for someone to respond to your phone call or email communication. Any factoring company you talk to is going to say their communication and customer service is really great - but be very cautious. How well did your potential factoring company respond to your initial queries? Then ask yourself: is that how you'd want them to deal with your customers? Remember there are plenty of factoring companies out there, so if the answer to these questions is not an unequivocal â€˜yes', then find someone else.
4: Look for a Factoring Company That Has Industry Expertise
Yes, there are factoring companies out there that cover general factoring, but ideally, you'll choose someone who specializes in your own industry; someone who has a good working knowledge of the type of business you're running. Once you start looking for the right factoring company for your business you'll see that there are many factoring companies that specialize in specific industries, which means they already know a lot about your business model. And, if they have a lot of expertise, they'll probably be able to offer specific programs that relate to your industry, like fuel cards, or back-office support. These little extras can be just what you need when deciding whether or not to factor your invoices.
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Why Trucking Companies Use Factoring Companies.
As the owner of your own business, you may be more than aware already of the difficulty in making sure that cash flow issues do not become a problem down the line. After all, the worst thing that can possibly happen for your business is to find yourself embroiled in a long and difficult situation that leaves you forever trying to find the cash you need on an ongoing basis.
For any business in this situation, the problem can come for waiting for work to clear up and actually be paid into your account. Invoices, checks, and the like can take some time to actually to be processed which can leave you with short-term cash flow issues. Thankfully, there are options out there for businesses to look into - and one of these is factoring companies.
Factoring companies will, in exchange for your invoices, provide you with the cash today so that you don't need to worry about the waiting period that could make paying the bills and getting materials more difficult. With this type of setup, invoice factoring can become incredibly useful for many businesses who need to get out of a cash trap which they have found themselves in.
Because, depending on the size of the job, it can take up to 60 days for some businesses to get paid then it's important to cover your own back and not leave yourself cash short to pay the bills. After all, how many businesses have two months revenue just lying there to cover all their expenses until they get paid?
This is especially true of trucking companies. They tend to deal with lots of invoices which means a significant amount of collection time involves business owner themselves. Trying to get paid in time can become an incredible hassle and this is why you use trucking factoring companies who are happy to help out truckers specifically.
As we all know, trucking is an incredibly large industry with many companies out there employing hundreds of drivers. Unfortunately, many of these drivers end up in money troubles because they are still waiting for work from six weeks ago to actually pay them. When this is the situation for a trucking company, turning to factoring companies for assistance might be the best choice left.
This means that a trucking company can pay the wages of the staff, keep all the trucks topped off with fuel and continue to scale, grow and expand without always waiting for the money which is taking too long to come in. Trucking Businesses running without a factoring program put in place are leaving themselves at significant risk, as competitors cash out fast and continue to expand.
There's genuinely nothing to be worried about when it comes to using a Factoring company - they aren't like a bank or somebody who is going to leave you with a huge pile of debt to pay back. You give them genuine invoices from work you have already finished, you are merely speeding up the payment process.In the United States, where trucking companies thrive, factoring companies are not considered borrowing in any capacity. This confidential agreement then allows both parties to profit and enjoy a comfortable future - it gives the factoring company a guaranteed asset of income to add to the list and it gives the trucking firm the needed cash that they worked hard to earn.
The trucking company provides their invoices to the factoring company. The trucking factoring company then receive the payments from the trucking company's customers. Factoring has been around for hundreds of years and has been used for many years by many different industries - but none more so than truckers. While you may miss out on a small part of the money, something like 1-3% depending on who you work with, it means that you are getting the money today and can actually start putting the money to work.
After all, an IOU or an invoice is not going to pay for expenses, is it? For trucking companies when the money can be good one day and gone the next, it's up to the drivers to work sensibly and to ensure they are leaving themselves with a significant amount of time and finance to get through the week until they are paid again.
So the next time your trucking business is having some short-term cash flow issues and you are spending too much time chasing slow paying clients, why not start considering using a factoring businesses as a way to get your money and give yourself a more comfortable future in the eyes of your trucking staff and your bank balance?
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Growing Your Trucking Company Just Got a Whole Lot Easier
There's a lot of hard work and dedication involved in growing a successful trucking business, but perhaps above everything else a disciplined approach to making the right decisions and taking the right actions is required. The aim of this post is to help both small fleet owners and owner-operators accomplish these goals.
The three key steps to building your trucking business are to grow your fleet, find profitable shippers and loads, and the successful day-to-day running of your trucking company.
The 1st Step: Growing Your Fleet
You won't be able to grow your trucking company unless you have the right equipment. But, securing finance to purchase this equipment can be very difficult, and this is where many truckers run into trouble. Today, there are several financing options for owner operators of trucking companies, and even those with less-than-stellar credit are typically able to achieve some sort of financing.
There are two more-commonly used financing options - the trucking company either leases a truck or it gets a loan to purchase a truck. There are various ways of structuring leases and loans, and each option has its disadvantages and advantages. Your final decision will be determined by its merits, your objectives, and your available resources.
We strongly urge you to consult with a CPA with expertise in trucking when considering financing. It's true that a visit to a CPA could cost around $150, but not only will they help you determine your best option, they could also save you a lot of money in taxes. In fact, it's critical that you seek a CPA's advice if you're planning on growing your fleet. This is not an expense you should try to avoid.
The 2nd Step: Finding Profitable Shippers and Loads
Possibly the hardest part of running a trucking company is finding quality shippers and loads. Many owner-operators use a loadboard to find loads, and this approach does have its advantages. Perhaps the main advantage is that the loadboard allows you to match your equipment and preferred routes with loads. Unfortunately, though, loadboards are not financially worthwhile for truckers in the long term. To start with, loadboards are highly competitive, particularly for the most popular routes, which means you'll be forced to charge low per-mile rates. Now the trucking company must become very vigilant and ensure the load they're pulling will end up being profitable. The second reason using a loadboard is not viable in the long term is that your company doesn't get to grow relationships with shippers. This means you'll always be working with new customers, which can be a time-consuming process.
The best strategy for owner operators is to only use a loadboard as a starting point, but persist with making sales calls so that eventually you'll start building relationships with direct shippers. Statistics show that trucking companies with shipping relationships are earning approximately $20,000 per truck/per month; whereas trucking companies who rely on loadboards are earning approximately $10,000 per truck/per month. That's a big difference! As you can see from these figures, building good and lasting relationships with shippers can double your revenue. Therefore, the best way to grow your trucking business is to develop solid relationships with shippers.
The 3rd Step: The Day-To-Day Running of Your Trucking Company
All too often we see small fleet owners and owner-operators struggling with the day-to-day running of their trucking company. There's a lot of paperwork and related coordination that's involved in moving loads and running a trucking office can be very exacting and tedious. But, it's a necessary task and it's an important one.
If you're determined to grow your trucking company, it's critical that you employ both time-saving and money-saving processes. Managing a small trucking fleet is entirely different to managing a single truck operation. We strongly suggest you approach experienced truckers for advice and, providing you're not in competition with them, you'll generally find that small fleet owners are more than happy to share their expertise with you.
Managing Cash Flow
Managing cash flow can be a serious issue for trucking companies. It's fairly common for new truckers to experience cash flow problems when they first get into the trucking business, and the reason for this is very simple. Cash flow problems occur because most shippers settle their accounts in 30 days, 60 days, and some even wait 90 days. In the meantime, however, you've got your drivers to pay, fuel to purchase, machinery to repair, payroll to meet, and other necessities to take care of. The delay in receiving payments due to you can cause serious problems for any business that doesn't have a large cash reserve. Simply speaking, you run out of money, and without money your company will be stuck. Until such time as your shippers pay your invoices there'll be no more loads, no mechanical repairs, no meeting payroll, and so on.
How to Resolve Your Cash Flow Problems
Fortunately, there's a very simple answer to the question of cash flow problems. Today, many trucking companies are resolving their cash flow issues by factoring their freight bills. Freight factoring has become a popular way of financing new trucking companies because factoring provides trucking companies with an advance on their slow paying invoices. The result - no more cash flow problems! Now, instead of having to wait 30, 60, even 90 days to get paid, you'll be paid by the factoring company once the load has been delivered.
Receiving upfront payment on invoices gives trucking companies the money they so desperately need to cover the day-to-day running costs of their business, with money left over to grow their business. You'll also find that fuel advances are often offered by many factoring companies. This is an add-on feature which provides the trucking company with funding when they collect a load. These funds come in very handy for paying fuel costs and other delivery expenses.
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About Invoice Factoring
Perhaps you've heard about Invoice Factoring but you're not sure how it works or how it might help your business. The purpose of this post is to provide a clear explanation of what Invoice Factoring is and how it works.Basically, Invoice Factoring is a viable alternative to traditional financing methods, providing your company with fast access to working capital. There's no large debt to repay and there are no strings attached. It probably sounds too good to be true, but we can assure you it's not! Invoice Factoring has become a lifesaver to many businesses, so let's go into this a little further to see how Invoice Factoring might help your business go from just so-so to really great!
How Invoice Factoring Works
A very brief definition of invoice factoring is that it converts your open invoices into immediate cash, which of course sounds perfect if you're experiencing a cash flow problem. Factoring saves you from having to wait the 60 or 90 days (sometimes even more) for payment by your customers. With invoice factoring you have the flexibility to factor whichever invoices you want and however many invoices you need, to ensure you have enough cash on hand to grow your business.
The following is a short description of how the process works -
Once you and your chosen factoring company have reached an agreement and set up your account, you're now free to begin submitting copies of your unpaid invoices to the factoring company. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or for work that's been completed. With invoice factoring you simply continue invoicing your customers as usual, then fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to your factoring company.
Now here's the good part! You'll receive a cash advance within 24 hours! Once the factor has verified your invoices, a deposit of as much as 95% of the value of the invoices will be deposited directly into your bank account.
You continue working as per usual, and the factoring company works to collect on your accounts. It's now your factor's responsibility to engage in the active collection of these accounts, thus allowing you more time to focus on the big stuff, like providing your customers with excellent service and continuing to grow your business.
As a customer of the factoring company you can repeat this process with as many different clients as you want and as many times as you want. You may choose to factor all of your clients, or just the clients that are known for being slow-paying clients. The choice is yours!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
Once you're working with an invoice factoring company you'll have control over your cash flow, and more importantly, you'll have a working relationship with your factor that will help your business grow in lots more ways. Let's take a closer look at some of the ways a factoring company can help you grow your business -Credit Checks and Background Verification
It's important to all businesses that they work with honest, reliable customers; customers who have a solid payment history. Sales must be turned into revenue as quickly as possible. However, we know that credit checks and background verifications can be very expensive and these costs very quickly eat away at your working capital. Now, it will be your invoice factoring company who provides these checks for you, at no additional charge. This means that any issues will be addressed before they affect your business, thus ensuring that you're working with top-quality customers.
Credit Repair and Credit Building
Even if your business credit is less than perfect, you can still apply for a competitive invoice factoring program. The benefit of this to the business owner is that, not only will factoring your open invoices cover your daily operating costs, it will also help pay down any current debt in order to rebuild your credit rating. The good news is that start-ups also qualify for invoice factoring so, if you're just getting your business off the ground, factoring is the ideal financing alternative to help you hit the ground running.
Other Money Saving Opportunities
Invoice factoring can certainly save your company money, and it's not only with competitive rates. By negotiating with your suppliers for early-pay discounts or other payment incentives, you'll soon discover new ways of putting your rejuvenated cash flow to good use. And don't forget that, depending on how much you factor, you could well qualify for a volume discount, and this will further reduce your rates.
Steady and Consistent Cash Flow
When you begin factoring your invoices you'll be able to regain complete control of your working capital. Whether you're simply tired of waiting up to 90 days for money that's owed to you, or perhaps your business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, either way, invoice factoring is the ideal method for regulating your cash flow.
Now You Can Start Dreaming Big!
You may have become used to business being steady, but with invoice factoring you'll have the opportunity for business growth in many new ways .
o You'll be able to attract larger clients, with better contracts;
o Increased business marketing efforts;
o New technology investments, or upgrades;
o The ability to employ more staff;
o Training and further education programs for existing staff;
o Relocation of your business, or site expansion.
Finally, No More Debt!
One of the most attractive things about invoice factoring is that it's not like a traditional loan: it won't add additional debt to your balance sheet. In fact, it's actually the opposite; because Invoice Factoring provides you with the extra cash you need to be able to settle old debts. With factoring, it's already your money so there's no money to pay back and no interest to pay. All factoring does is help you get your money into your bank account - quicker!
Why Haven't I Heard of Invoice Factoring Before?
This is a question a lot of business owners ask. Invoice factoring certainly isn't new, but maybe it's just been overshadowed in the past by bank loans and other types of business investments. The fact is that factoring goes right back to the days of the Roman Empire, where factors assisted businessmen (usually farmers) in growing their business. Then, later, it was used in the textile and clothing industry to help pay for raw materials, to finance transactions, and accept larger purchase orders. Today, invoice factoring is used by many different types of industries, such as:
' Staffing, HR
Becoming Familiar with Factoring Terminology
Don't be discouraged because you don't understand factoring terminology. See below for an explanation of general factoring terms :
' Account Debtor:
An account debt or is your customer.
' Accounts Receivable Ageing Report:
This is the name given to a report which shows the financial figure of unpaid receivables, in addition to how long they've remained unpaid.
' Accounts Receivable Factoring; also known as Invoice Factoring:
These two terms can be used interchangeably because they mean exactly the same thing.
' Discount Rate:
This refers to the percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds.
' Due Diligence:
This refers to the background research carried out by the factor to determine potential customers.
' Factoring Advance Rate:
This rate is a percentage of the invoice that's advanced within 24 hours to the client - this figure is generally between 80 and 95% of the total amount of the invoice.
' Factoring Broker:
A factoring broker is a third party whose position is to connect business owners with appropriate factoring companies in order to meet the business's goals and needs.
The right to retain possession of property until a debt has been discharged.
' Non-Recourse Funding:
Most businesses have experienced customers who fail to pay their invoices within the agreed payment terms, or worse, the invoice is never paid at all! Non-Recourse Funding is when the factor assumes all responsibility for unpaid invoices. Because the factoring company is accepting the risk, Non-Recourse Funding is more expensive than Recourse Funding.
' Recourse Funding:
With Recourse Funding, your company must buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed payment terms.
This is the amount of the Accounts Receivable retained by the factor until such time as full payment has been made by the customer.
' Spot Factoring:
This refers to a one-off agreement that offers staffing companies the ability to factor just one single invoice.
Your Customers, and Factoring
It's important that we point out here that factoring is not a negative thing, and your factoring company is definitely not a collections agency. In fact, it's important to your factoring company that they maintain good relationships with both you and your customers, and it's their aim to provide the best customer service possible. It's in your factoring company's best interests that the factoring process works as smoothly as possible.
The following will give you a general idea of how factoring works :
' Once you've made the decision to start invoice factoring, your dedicated account manager will start by verifying that your debtors are indeed customers, in addition to advising them of your new remittance address. It's important to remember that it makes no difference to your clients where they send their payment: they know their invoice must be paid, so this is simply a change of address for payments.
' Your factoring account manager will be very experienced and will assure your clients that they'll be well taken care of, and that the factoring company will be managing your invoices in future by taking over your accounts receivable. And that's all there is to it! Nothing will change between your company and your customers: you'll still invoice them as usual, and they'll simply forward their payment to a new Post Office box. Your account manager will be available to help if any problems should arise.
What You Should Look For in a Factoring Company
Once you start doing your own research you'll discover that there are many factoring companies out there, but they're definitely not all equal. The following are points to consider when comparing factoring companies:
As we've explained, factoring is a little more expensive than a traditional bank loan, but some small businesses don't qualify for a bank loan, so being able to achieve some working capital is better than none at all. Do your research, and make sure you understand the overall cost of factoring, in addition to the extra smaller fees that may be charged by your factor. These extra fees may include account set-up fees, application fees, credit reports, costs to research any liens, charges for last-minute funding, or for money transfers. Not all factors charge these extra fees, and not all factors have hidden fees, which means that it's very important that you choose a factor you're comfortable with and one that you can trust.
This is a very important aspect of factoring, and one we can't stress enough. Make sure you very carefully read the fine print of your factoring contract! If you start working with a factoring company and then realize that you're locked into terms that don't suit your own particular circumstances, you're going to be extremely unhappy. These unsatisfactory terms might include how much you're able to factor each month, or being tied to a specific factoring company for the life of your business. If you sign up for a long-term contract, then change your mind, it's going to be a very expensive exercise trying to get out of the contract. Don't let this happen to you! Be very clear on how much you can factor each month, which clients are eligible for factoring, and how long you're signing up for.
At one point or another we've all had to deal with a business with poor communication skills, and we probably all agree that it's extremely frustrating. So, imagine a business with poor communication skills that's also handling your money! Naturally, when it comes to your business and your money, you need someone that's going to immediately respond to your inquiries. All factoring companies are going to say their customer service is second-to-none, but be very cautious here. Pay close attention to when and how your potential factoring company responds to your calls and emails, because this is how they'll be responding to your customers. If you're not 100% happy then move on to another factoring company, because there are certainly plenty to choose from!
' Industry Expertise
Remember that there are many factoring companies out there servicing many industries, so you should be looking for one that services your own industry. Ideally, you'll choose a factoring company that specializes in your niche, which means that they'll already understand a lot about your business. The bonus of using a factoring company with industry expertise is that they may also offer programs specific to your industry, such as fuel cards and back-office support. It's these extras that may prove very beneficial when making your final decision on a factoring company.
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Medical and Healthcare Factoring
Receive Payment Today! No Waiting Weeks for Reimbursement!
It's certainly no secret that Medicaid, Medicare, HMOs, Workers' Compensation, and other private insurers can take a LONG time to pay your invoices! But now there's good news for healthcare professionals! Now you don't have to wait weeks, sometimes months, to collect on your medical receivables. If you're a healthcare professional and you provide medical or healthcare-related services of any type, we're here to help you!
The Difference between Healthcare Factoring and Medical Factoring
Healthcare factoring and medical factoring are phrases that are often used interchangeably, probably understandably, but there is a difference between these two. The difference is that healthcare factoring applies when there's no third party payer involved, while a medical factoring company is used when there is a third-party payer involved.
Healthcare Factoring and Medical Receivables Factoring are available for the following healthcare providers -
- Group and Sole Practitioners
- Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Facilities
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Medical Coding Services
- Medical Billing Services
- Medical Supply Companies
- Medical Staffing Companies
- Medical Transportation
- Medical Transcription Services
- Ambulance Providers
- Nursing Homes
- Imaging Facilities, such as providers of X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and so on
- Home Healthcare Providers - both Medical and Non-Medical,
- And more! Healthcare Receivables Factoring
Generally, healthcare receivables are associated with customers who are not third-party payers. Some common healthcare sectors include medical staffing companies, medical transcription services, medical billing and coding services, and medical supply companies. When these vendors utilize healthcare factoring they're free to enjoy the benefits of an almost unlimited line of credit - all based on the services they've provided. A simple explanation of factoring healthcare receivables is as follows-
- When work has been completed, the healthcare vendor will invoice their customer.
- These customers may include nursing homes, hospitals, medical offices, and so on.
- Next, the vendor will forward a copy of the billing documentation to the healthcare factoring company.
- Within 24 hours, sometimes even less, the factoring company will deposit money into the vendors bank account. The amount deposited will generally be around 85% of the gross value of the invoice.
- The factoring company handles collections on behalf of the vendor, and will retain 15% while awaiting payment.
- Once the invoice has been paid in full, the factor will release the 15% - less their factoring fee - back to the vendor.
Medical Receivables Factoring
- Regardless of whether you're billing Medicaid, Medicare, HMOs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or third-party insurance companies, we have the perfect factoring solution for you. When you start factoring your medical claims you'll achieve instant benefits by receiving upfront capital; while the factor may have to wait months for your customers to settle their accounts. A simple explanation of factoring medical claims is as follows-
- The healthcare provider submits claims to the third-party payer, as usual.
- A copy of completed paperwork is then submitted to the factoring company.
- Within 24 hours, sometimes even less, the factoring company will deposit money directly into the medical provider's bank account: the amount deposited will typically be around 85% of the net collectable value.
- Once the claim has been paid in full by the third-party payer, the factoring company will release the remaining 15% - less their factoring fee.
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Bookkeeping Mistakes Commonly Made by Freight Brokers
It's true that freight brokers shoulder a lot of responsibility; from matching shippers and carriers, to ensuring that each and every piece of cargo arrives at its proper destination. Freight brokers also have the added responsibility of accurate bookkeeping, because failure to prioritize bookkeeping can result in the loss of money.
Below we've listed some common bookkeeping mistakes made by freight brokers, and how to avoid them-
Handling the Accounting In-House
Many business owners try to save money by handling the books themselves, or perhaps delegating this very important task to a family member or an inexperienced employee. Sure, you may save time and money initially, but errors can be costly: when you attempt DIY accounting you could well end up with more expensive financing terms, higher bond premiums, or a number of other unforeseen expenses. It's very important that you hire a competent bookkeeper because, not only will you save money, but you'll know that the job will be done accurately, quicker, and more efficiently.
We understand only too well that running any business is time-consuming and hard work, and many freight brokers are simply too busy doing their day-to-day tasks to focus on bookkeeping tasks, such as the monthly reconciliation of credit card accounts and bank accounts. It's through reconciling statements that you get a clear idea of how much credit or cash you actually have, and you can also pick up on any errors that may have occurred.
It can be so tempting to postpone this rather tedious task, but the truth is that your credit card statements and bank statements must be reconciled every month, preferably the moment each statement becomes available. In this way you'll be able to identify any potential problems in a timely manner; problems such as lost checks, missing deposits, fraudulent charges, and so on.
Failing to Track Invoices and Receivables
You're not going to get paid if you're using poor accounting practices with your accounts receivable. Let's face it, getting paid equals cash, and cash is the lifeblood of every business. An experienced freight broker understands that your cash flow can be strained by the delay between when you pay your carriers and when you receive payment from your customers. If you're finding that tracking and collecting invoices is taking too long, why not consider invoice factoring? An invoice factoring company will purchase your invoices for a small fee, with the bonus being that you get paid immediately, plus you're spared the time and expense of having to deal with collections.
Don't Forget Liabilities
One of the major considerations a surety has when looking at your business financials in order to underwrite a bond is whether you have sufficient assets to cover your liabilities. Many times we see an inexperienced bookkeeper recording a liability, but when the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it results in liabilities being overstated and net income being understated, which makes your business appear to be less financially secure than it really is. These serious errors can be avoided by employing the services of an experienced bookkeeper. We also recommend that you have another set of eyes (which may be an owner or a CPA) regularly review the balance sheet to check for unusual account balances
Too Many Expense Categories
Another common error we often see with inexperienced bookkeepers is creating too many expense categories, or miscategorizing expenses. Generally, most industries and businesses have a standard set of expense categories, and when a loan underwriter or surety sees too many categories, or the miscategorizing of expenses, it stands out like a big red flag. It tells them that your books are not well prepared. Use an accountant or experienced bookkeeper to correctly set up your accounting software right from the beginning, and don't automatically add new expense categories unless careful consideration has been made. Remember to ask your accountant or CPA for advice, because they'll be able to guide you on how to classify expenses.
Incomplete Information on Invoices
It's very important that, when you invoice your customers, you provide sufficient detail on each line item. Do you invoice by weight, per piece, or per mile? Or is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges to invoice, such as reimbursements for fuel or fees, these should be listed as separate line items. In addition, these charges must be clearly and accurately detailed in order to avoid any confusion. When you send invoices to your customers that include clear and concise details, it prevents pushback from your clients. If there's missing information on your invoices and your customers are confused by unrecognizable charges, it could well cause a delay in payment, which is the very last thing business owners need.
Not Understanding the Functionality of Accounting Software
Many freight brokers purchase an accounting software package because they're anxious to get their business up and running, but they fail to learn how to use it correctly. This is probably not an issue if you're already outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping tasks; but if you're using this software in any way at all, perhaps to enter checks and run reports, it's important that you spend some time learning how to use all the available functions. When used correctly, the right accounting software can save you a lot of time, in addition to providing real-time information on the state of your business. It's this information that helps you make important business decisions!
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How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there "s always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn "t have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn "t really appeal to them as it "s no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year "s had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they "d decided something had to be done, but they didn "t know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,œOkay you two, I "ve been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you "re worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is? Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said œI think it rings a bell, but I "m not really sure. Can you explain it?
Scott began laying out the details, œYou are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don "t have enough cash coming in .
Ted interrupted with, œThen it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn "t be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can "t wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we "ll be in trouble.
Scott jumped in saying, œAnd this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now. He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, œIs this the fee schedule?
Scott answered, œYes it "s all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase.
œThat "s sounds like a good deal to me, Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn "t accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn "t take long for Bellosa "s credit to be approved and the creditors " as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, œI "ve taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you.
œIt worked perfectly, Laurie stated and went on to say, œThe tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it.
Ted chimed in with, œWithout a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!
œThat "s what "s great about factoring! Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
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Medical Invoice Factoring: A Viable Financing Option for Healthcare Professionals
Many healthcare professionals will attest to the fact that qualifying for a business loan or commercial line of credit is becoming harder and harder. Fortunately, there is a viable option, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical factoring is available for all types of healthcare businesses, including medical practices, and is the ideal financing option for businesses experiencing cash flow problems.
The Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry
Generally, the healthcare industry has excellent growth prospects and is quite resilient to economic turbulence, but it's also an industry facing more financial challenges than ever before. In years gone by, healthcare professionals, medical facilities, and medical suppliers found it reasonably easy to manage their cash flow, but today Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies have laid down strict guidelines for reimbursement, including onerous documentation and billing requirements, so-much-so that businesses not only receive less money, but must wait longer to receive it.
This situation can, and does, create financial issues for many medical providers who, while dealing with increasing operating expenses, salaries, and benefits, must also accept less and wait longer to receive their money. In many cases, the health provider's long-term viability is placed in jeopardy, and because of cash flow problems the business is unable to pursue new opportunities for growth. A physician running a relatively small practice could well have $1 million tied up in receivables!
The Problem with Bank Loans
When any business confronts a cash flow crisis their first port of call is usually a bank or other commercial lender, and a Line of Credit or business loan can certainly help in the short term; however, neither will permanently solve the problem and are therefore not optimal financing solutions. Bank loans are more suited to large fixed capital purchases, but they're not designed to cover short-term recurring business expenses. On the other hand, a Line of Credit is somewhat better, but because they have credit limits and fixed terms they're not able to provide the assurance a business needs of an unlimited, renewable source of business capital. Once the credit limit has been reached or the term of credit line ends, the lender has the right to not renew or increase the credit limit. And, unfortunately, this is the situation that many healthcare professionals find themselves in today.
The Perfect Medical Financing Solution
So, what's the ideal solution for medical financing? The perfect solution would be one that's flexible enough to grow and expand with the healthcare business; one where the business owner is not required to re-apply to a bank or other lender for credit limit increases. The ideal solution would provide a reliable and steady source of working capital, capable of financing both the current and future operations of the business.
Fortunately, there is a solution for healthcare professionals, and it's known as Medical Factoring. Medical Factoring, or Medical Receivables Factoring is an area of receivables factoring that deals exclusively with accounts that are medical in nature. Due to the fact that many healthcare receivables are either reduced or denied by insurance providers, and because of the expertise required to manage the claims process, factoring companies who factor medical receivables face significant challenges, so-much-so that it's almost a necessity for these companies to specialize in medical factoring. In fact, there are many factoring companies out there that do nothing else!
What Types of Business Use Medical Factoring?
Factoring has been around for hundreds of years and many industries have discovered the benefits of invoice factoring. However, many medical service providers are completely unaware of the existence of factoring and therefore don't realize that it's one of the most flexible and powerful business financing tools available today. Almost any healthcare provider can benefit from Medical Factoring, including -
- Medical Centers and Hospitals;
- Physicians - General Practitioners and Specialists;
- Outpatient Facilities and Clinics;
- Medical Staffing Services;
- Medical Labs;
- Dialysis Facilities;
- Physical Therapy Groups and Clinics;
- Rehabilitation Centers;
- Home Healthcare Providers;
- Providers of Durable Medical Equipment.
The Benefits of Medical Factoring
The benefits of medical factoring are many, and are similar to those enjoyed by businesses in other industries. They include -
- Fast payment;
- Consistent cash flow;
- Outsourced accounting and invoice collection;
- An increase in percentage of billings collected;
- Working capital finance that's debt free;
- Building business credit.
Receivables Factoring offers medical practices an excellent financing alternative to loans: the medical practice will have consistent and flexible financing tied directly to its insurance claims. This means that the amount of available financing increases as more claims are filed. Having a reliable cash flow in a growing medical practice ensures that there will always be sufficient liquid business capital to cover expenses.
Medical Supply Companies
In the same way, medical factoring offers medical supply companies quick and predictable business financing, directly tied to the volume of sales. The amount of financing grows as sales grow, automatically providing the working capital needed to both operate and grow the business.
Generally, medical factoring is particularly well suited for smaller medical offices. Because your chosen factoring company will be handling most of the administrative work involved in collections and claims processing, overhead expenses and office staffing can be kept at a minimum, thus allowing you to focus on what you do best - delivering the best medical care possible!
If you have a small practice with good growth prospects, but you also have slow cash flow, then you'll soon discover that medical factoring could well be the ideal financing tool to help you finance the growth of your business. It's true that most factoring companies have minimums, but there are factoring companies out there who will finance an office billing as little as $50,000 per month.
How Medical Receivables Factoring Works
Medical Factoring is quite simple: Basically, medical factoring accelerates payments for any healthcare business that depends on third-party payors. This means that within days of the initial billing (instead of weeks) most of the business's billed amount will be deposited directly into that business's bank account, thus drastically shortening the collection cycle and eliminating the constant headache of cash flow problems.
The added bonus of medical factoring is that it's not a loan, and as such, has no impact whatsoever on the business's balance sheet. There are no arbitrary limits, no credit limits, and no stringent financial requirements. The healthcare professional can factor as much of the billing as is generated by the business, thus making factoring the ideal financing tool for business growth.
How to Create a Factoring Program
Setting up a factoring program will typically take a couple of weeks at most. Obviously, the factoring company will need reassurance that the third-party payors are reliable and that their clients' practices are stable. However, once the factoring program has been established, medical financing is predictable and continuous. Claims will typically be funded within 48 hours after being submitted to the medical factoring company.
The Factoring Process
Medical Factoring is a very simple process -
- Periodically, your practice submits billings to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies (note that certain medical factoring companies will do this for you), with copies forwarded to your factoring company;
- Within 48 hoursthe advance, or up to 85% of net collectables, will be deposited into your business bank account. The balance will be held in reserve to settle billing discrepancies;
- The factoring fee will be collected once a factoring company has been paid, with the balance of the billings being remitted to you. The fee charged by the medical factoring company will vary according to the size and types of claims generated by the practice.
The Future of Medical Factoring
It's true that medical factoring covers a relatively small portion of factoring activity overall; however, more healthcare professionals are learning about factoring and, today, we're seeing an increase in interest in medical factoring throughout the healthcare industry. As the benefits of this type of medical financing become more widely known, it's anticipated that medical receivables factoring will become more widely used.
Medical factoring provides a short-term solution for shortfalls in working capital financing, plus a long-term solution for medical financing and patient accounting support, and it's for these reasons that medical factoring as a financing tool deserves careful consideration by healthcare businesses.
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