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What is Factoring?
A Financing Solution for Companies to Help Bridge the Cash-Flow Gap

What is Factoring?

Companies use factoring for the cash they need.

Factoring is a type of financing many companies use as a source of cash.  Factoring is sometimes called accounts-receivable financing or invoice factoring. With factoring, companies sell their accounts receivables (invoices) to a third party known as a factoring company. By selling their invoices, these companies receive  immediate cash, instead of waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days for customer payment.

Invoice factoring provides companies the cash they need to operate the business. Factoring is not a loan. There is no debt incurred with factoring.  The cash received from factoring is based on the credit and payment history of a business’s customers, not that of the business itself.  This makes factoring advantageous for companies that might not qualify for traditional lending, or don’t want to increase their debt.

The Advantages of Factoring

  • Simple transaction
  • Provides immediate cash
  • Based on end-customer’s credit
  • Doesn’t add debt

Factoring is a straightforward process. A business enters into a factoring agreement with a factoring company. The business perform their work and bills as normal. Instead of sending the invoice to their customer, the invoices go to the factoring company. Once the factoring company purchases the invoice, it deposits up to 95 percent of the invoice amount directly into the business’s bank account within 24 hours. Once the end customer pays the invoice, the factoring company pays the remaining balance minus a small fee.

How Factoring Works

  1. Complete work and billing as normal.
  2. Send the invoice to the factoring company.
  3. Receive the cash advance from the factoring company.
  4. Customer pays the invoice to the factoring company.
  5. Remaining balance, less a fee, is paid to you.

Factoring vs Business Loans and Business Lines of Credit

While many businesses turn directly to a bank when they need working capital, it’s not as easy as you may think. The process of getting business loans or business lines of credit can take months and creates debt on your balance sheet. Banks use your company’s credit to qualify the business for business loans and business lines of credit.  Companies with no credit or less-than-perfect credit can’t obtain substantial cash to maintain and grow their business. Even if your business does qualify there’s a limit to how much you can access, which can hold your business back from its ability to grow.

Comparing Factoring and Business Loans and Business Lines of Credit

Factoring Business Loan & Business Lines of Credit
Qualify based on your customers’ credit Qualify based on the credit of your business
3-5 day application process 1-2 month application process
Cash within 24 hours or less Funding in 1-2 months
Invoices serve as collateral Inventory, equipment, assets, etc., serve as collateral
Does not create debt Creates debt
No monthly interest Monthly Interest
Minimal paperwork to get started Extensive paperwork to get started
Free credit reports on your customers No credit services
No limits – Finances grow as you grow Limits – borrowed money has a capped amount

Insights on Factoring

Factoring Agreements

At the foundation of a relationship with a factoring company is the factoring agreement. The factoring agreement is the contract between the client and factoring company. Factoring agreements include:

  • Length of Factoring Service
  • Volume commitment
  • Rate of Advance
  • Factoring Fees

Length of Factoring Service

Factoring contracts vary in length – some are month to month where some are as long as two years or more. Be sure to ask your potential factoring company questions and read through the contract thoroughly prior to signing.

Factoring Volume

Most all factoring agreements will include a volume commitment. By committing to factor a specific volume of invoices, a company can receive the maximum advances and lowest rates.

Advances from Factoring Companies

In most cases, factoring companies advance you anywhere from 70 percent to 95 percent of the invoice amount. The amount advanced is based on factors such as your customers’ credit worthiness, pay trends and volume.

What are the Factoring Fees?

Factoring company fees vary based on items such as volume, size of your invoices, industry, customer pay trends and other factors. Some factoring companies charge a flat fee for the service, whereas others may have a factoring fee and additional charges for other administrative and support services they provide. Be sure to read the fine print of your contract so you know exactly how much you’re being charged.

Types of Factoring Companies

There are many factoring companies in North America. Choosing the right factoring company is key to a successful factoring relationship. A factoring company should be able to meet the cash requirements of the client, and offer services which add value to the factoring relationship.
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Factoring Specialist vs Factoring Generalist

Because factoring has made its way into several industries, companies have divided themselves into either specialists or generalists.

A factoring company that provides financing to multiple industries is referred to as factoring generalist. In most cases, factoring generalists have a client portfolio spread over several industries with the majority of clients being smaller companies.

On the other hand, a factoring specialist usually factors invoices for a specific industry. For example, a factoring company may factor invoices for staffing, but the majority of their business comes from the trucking industry. Most times, the client portfolio is composed of small- to mid-sized companies that are predominantly in one industry.

Recourse vs Nonrecourse Factoring Companies

Factoring companies are either a recourse or nonrecourse factoring company. It’s important to know the difference between the two when selecting one that works for your business.

Recourse factoring is the most common among factoring companies. With recourse factoring, factoring companies have the right to sell the invoice back to you if payment isn’t made within a time period specified on your agreement. Typically the time frame is 90 days or more.

In comparison, nonrecourse factoring is not as common in the accounts-receivable financing industry. Several factoring companies advertise as nonrecourse factoring companies, but the contract’s fine print lists various reasons why an invoice can be exempt. If a factoring company is truly nonrecourse, the factoring company takes on all credit risks for the collection of the invoices you sell it.  As a result, you’ll pay much higher fees and experience more stringent credit reviews as compared to recourse factoring.

Value-Added Services

The need for cash is why most businesses enter into a factoring relationship.  In addition to improved cash flow, factoring company value-added services can strengthen the client’s business.

  • Credit analysis and risk assessment. A prospective customer presents new opportunities, but do they pay their bills?  Knowing the credit history and payment trends of potential customers gives insight into the quality of the potential customer.
  • Treasury services, including online reporting. Funds are advanced to clients via ACH deposit, wire transactions or even check. Online reporting of all transactions is a valuable line of communication.
  • Collection expertise. Expertise, resolve and diplomacy should be part of the process of collecting on overdue invoices.
  • Discount programs and savings opportunities. Many factoring companies will have programs clients can use to save money on business expenses and supplies. The savings from these programs can be significant.

what is factoringFactoring Services from TCI Business Capital

Since 1994, TCI Business Capital has provided best-in-class factoring services to thousands of small- to mid-sized companies across the United States and Canada. We offer reliable cash-flow solutions enabling companies to meet the challenges and opportunities they face.

Our customers work on the front lines of North America’s growth sectors. They choose us for the working capital they need because they can’t always get sufficient financing from a bank or they don’t want added debt.  Because of our creative finance solutions, we can provide cash to businesses in a wide range of industries.

Our easy-to-set-up factoring lines allow customers access to the working capital they need, quickly and easily. Approvals can be done in 10 minutes and funding within 24 hours. We distinguish ourselves from others with our get-it-done culture, reliability, flexibility and award-winning customer service.

How Did Factoring Begin?

Factoring is one of the oldest forms of financing and dates back about 4,000 years to King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia.

Around 1300 A.D -1400 A.D., factoring was a popular form of business that England used for overseas trade when purchasing and selling clothing and grain. The process used then was very similar to how factoring works today.

When the Pilgrims made their way to the New World, so did factoring. Payments were needed on raw materials that were shipped from America to England and factoring was the finance solution many used.

Later in the 1970s and 1980s, interest rates rose and banks weren’t extending credit to people and businesses as the risk seemed too high. Factoring companies offered businesses the financing needed in order to survive. Factoring expanded into several industries and continues to do so today.