How Much Business Collateral Is Needed For a Secured Loan?
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How Much Business Collateral Is Needed For a Secured Loan?
April 07, 2021
How-Much-Collateral

How Much Business Collateral Is Needed For a Secured Loan?

When you apply for any type of secured loan, the lender will evaluate your business based on some variation of “The Five C’s.”

In any case, collateral will always be part of that evaluation. That’s because collateral provides protection for the lender if you’re unable to make your monthly payments. It also gives you the ability to receive financing that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to qualify for due to poor credit, short time in business, or other reasons.

In other words, collateral is what your lender is left with if your business goes under. However, the extent to which business collateral plays a role in getting approved for a loan varies quite a bit based on numerous factors. After all, there are four “other C’s” that the lender will evaluate so that they fully understand your business’s financial health.

Still, there’s more than just your business’s finances that affect the amount of collateral you’ll need to submit in order to qualify. The financing option you’re applying for and the kind of collateral you’re submitting also play a role in the final loan terms.

In this post, we’ll outline how to determine the amount of collateral you’ll need to receive a business loan.

How to Determine the Amount of Collateral You Need To Get Approved For a Loan:

What Are “The Five C’s?”

It’s important to remember that the amount of collateral you’ll have to submit depends on the financial health of your business. The Five C’s break down your financial health into the following five categories:

Credit History: By viewing your credit report and determining your credit scores, the business lender can review your reputation as a borrower. If you have a very low score, you may have to submit more collateral than you would if you had a good score.

Capacity: This “C” evaluates your ability to repay a loan, based on your existing debt load (such as outstanding credit card debt or existing loans) and the income your business generates each month.

Capital: This is the amount of money you’re putting towards the investment. For example, capital could be the down payment on a home.

Collateral: The asset as collateral that the lender may take possession of in the event of a default.

Conditions: Other aspects like interest rate, business loan term, and loan amount.

It’s important to note that the amount of collateral you need is affected by all these categories. For example, when the U.S. Small Business Administration evaluates if they’d like to insure a loan, they use similar criteria as the lender making the loan.

According to the SBA loan fact sheet, “If adequate collateral simply is not available, this fact alone will not cause SBA to decline an otherwise qualified loan.”

In other words, if you’ve made a large down payment, have a stellar credit history, and have plenty of cash to repay a loan, not having enough collateral might not be an issue. Typically, you’ll find that most lenders will operate based on this same principle when evaluating your loan application.

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What Types of Financing Require Collateral?

As you research financing, you’ll likely come across both secured loans and unsecured loans. Keep in mind that any loan that is referred to as a “secured loan” will require collateral.

The following types of financing might require collateral:

  • Commercial real estate loans
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
  • Equipment loans
  • Small business loans
  • Secured lines of credit
  • Invoice financing

While these types of financing typically require collateral, many of them are also available without collateral. Usually, loans that don’t require collateral will have less favorable terms such as lower limits, shorter lengths, higher interest rates, or larger fees.

Of course, if you only need a small sum of cash, you could avoid the collateral requirement without having to pay a higher rate because the lender doesn’t need as much risk protection.

What Are the Different Types of Collateral?

Many lenders will allow you to choose the type of collateral you’d like to submit. However, if you’re using an equipment loan, inventory financing, or commercial real estate loan, you’ll likely need to use either the equipment, inventory, or real estate you’re purchasing as collateral.

For other types of loans, though, such as small business loans, your business’s assets will serve as collateral. The collateral options in this case can include:

  • Equipment
  • Real estate
  • Inventory
  • Accounts receivable
  • Cash

In some cases, business owners submit personal assets in order to guarantee their business loan. These assets can include their house, personal vehicles, and other expensive items. Although this is an option, it’s risky to submit personal collateral because it would be very stressful and potentially life altering to lose these assets.

In addition, the lender may also require you to sign a personal guarantee. This document is a written promise that states you’ll repay a loan with your personal assets if your business defaults on the loan.

Conclusion: Consider Your Risks When Pursuing a Collateral Business Loan

There’s no way around it; putting up collateral for a loan is a risk that you should thoughtfully consider. Then again, so was starting your own business, and you successfully navigated that challenge.

However, as you know, taking the right risks at the right time is what can make or break your business. Therefore, when determining the amount and type of collateral put up, approach it like any other business decision.

For example, if you’re putting up equipment or real estate as collateral, consider what it’d mean to your business if you lost those assets. Also, think about what it’d mean to your business to not get approved for the loan, or what would happen if you had to settle for a smaller loan amount. By understanding the worst-case scenario for each risk you take, it’ll be easier to get comfortable with that decision.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in April 2021.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].