Reasons why grocers need business loans
As the owner or manager of a grocery business you face a wide range of financial challenges, with cash flow probably chief among them.
You have the constant juggle of forecasting demand and ensuring you have enough of the right products on the shelves to satisfy your customers, while trying to avoid the expense of carrying excess inventory.
A business loan can give you funds to fall back on when your working capital needs a boost, so you have the cash on hand that you need to cover all the fixed costs of running a successful grocery – such as rent or mortgage on your store, wages, insurance, utilities and tax – as well as your suppliers, storage and transport costs.
It can also give you opportunity to buy stock in larger quantities and improve your negotiating power with suppliers.
If you are considering refreshing your grocery store, a small business loan can give you the funds you need to buy new shelving and refrigeration units, upgrade your scanning and payment technology or your storage and stock management systems, or rebrand and redecorate.
And if you’re thinking of expanding your business, a loan could help you meet all the costs of setting up another grocery store.
What are the requirements for getting a business loan?
Getting a business loan can be easier than you think.
While you can still expect to be knocked back by the big banks unless you have a solid trading history, a top-rate credit rating and collateral to offer, there are plenty of alternative lenders out there willing to offer business loans to grocers.
Each lender will have their own criteria when it comes to things like credit rating, how long you’ve been in business, and how high your turnover is.
If you’re higher risk (e.g. if your credit score is low) you may still be able to get a business loan, although you can expect to pay a higher rate of interest to compensate for that risk.
The most important factor ALL lenders will look at is your capacity.
Lenders need to know that you will have enough cash – after all your expenses – to cover your loan repayments.
How to apply for a business loan
If you are applying to an alternative lender for a business loan, the process is usually quick and easy:
1Create a business case to check how much you can afford to borrow.
2Prepare your supporting documents – expect to be asked for:
3Choose your lender and loan product – be sure to shop around, because costs, terms and conditions vary. Be sure to find out about hidden fees and compare all the costs of each product, not just the interest or factor rate.
4Complete a simple online application form and upload your supporting documents. Most lenders will respond within days or even hours. Some will even give an on-the-spot decision.
Grow your grocery businessSee if you qualify
What options are available to grocery stores?
There are several types of small business loans you could consider, to support or grow your groceries business.
Unsecured small business loan
A short-term option, unsecured business loans are usually for between 3 months and 2 years.
You can use the funds for any purpose. Many lenders will let you set a repayment schedule to suit your trading patterns.
A specific-purpose business loan secured on the equipment you are buying, such as a new forklift for supplies.
The term will often be tied to the lifespan of the equipment. You will not be able to sell or upgrade the equipment until you have repaid the equipment finance.
There are several types of business car finance you can use to buy your work vehicles, including car loans, hire purchasing and leasing.
While your work vehicles are under finance you will not be able to sell or upgrade them.
Business line of credit
A business line of credit is similar to an overdraft facility, giving you access to cash up to an agreed limit, often with the right to draw, repay and redraw funds as you need them.
You only pay interest on what you borrow, but there are often set up and admin fees.
Business credit card
Business credit cards are great for covering day-to-day expenses and making purchases, but unless you clear the balance each month the cost can be extremely high.
Before entering in to any business loan agreement, be sure to seek professional advice. It’s also important to ensure you understand all of the costs (including all fees). You can get a head start by using our business loan calculator.