Whether a sole operator, a small or medium size fleet owner, you need financial resources to establish, maintain, strengthen, or grow your business.
For many business owners, arranging a traditional line of credit is the first thought that comes to mind when considering their financial structure. But is bank financing always the best choice for your trucking business? Yes, bank financing can offer very good interest rates, but much more must be considered when weighing the cost of borrowing.
Many trucking operators of all sizes will tell you that bank financing can be complex, time-consuming, highly restrictive, and subject to a host of additional fees – all of which impacts the cost of money. To correctly calculate the cost of bank financing, one must know the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). APR is the interest rate plus the cost of all the extra fees charged on your loan representing the actual yearly cost. When assessing the APR, financial restrictions, reporting requirements, and the agonizingly slow time to process the loan, truck company owners are often left with one thought – there must be a better way to fund my business!
The good news – there is. Freight factoring is an alternative form of financing explicitly designed for transportation companies. Now considered the most popular form of funding for trucking companies, it provides exceedingly fast funding, highly flexible terms, is easy to manage, and – freight factoring is cheaper than you think!
In this article, we speak with Michael Caven, Director of Sales at eCapital to get his perspective on the cost advantages of freight factoring.
An Overview of Freight Factoring and Its Benefits
Freight factoring converts invoices into immediate cash, so business owners can get paid quickly—even if their clients take weeks or months to settle.
The concept is simple: a third-party factoring company buys your accounts receivables (open invoices) for their total amount, deducts a small fee, then collects payment from the shippers and brokers who hire you.
For a trucking business, immediate payment means uninterrupted cash flow and more working capital on hand to:
- Meet fuel, payroll, and other operating costs
- Take on new loads
- Strengthen or grow the business
Why is freight factoring cheaper than you think?
Cost is just one measure of the value of a service. Functional value is what a service does – it’s the holistic solution the service provides to the customer. A well-priced service that offers little functional value provides minimum paybacks to a business. A slightly higher-cost service delivering maximum benefits can be more valuable and profit-enhancing in the long run. With this concept in mind – freight factoring is much cheaper than you think.
Freight factoring is an industry-specific form of financing designed to meet the unique capital requirements of transportation companies. Availing more than just immediate access to working capital, freight factoring provides a host of cost-saving services to augment the cost of factoring and bolster the company’s bottom line.
Cost-saving services available with freight factoring from eCapital include:
- Cost-free accounts receivable management
- Free credit checks to verify a shipper’s ability to pay
- Online tools such as cost-per-mile and profit & loss calculators
- Fuel discount program
- Access to industry expertise
These cost-saving services combine to give a market advantage to owner-operators, and small-to-medium size fleets, allowing them to compete against larger carriers.
“Most of the trucking industry is built on these small one-to-five trucking companies. These people are trying to make a living in a highly competitive environment. We hope they all discover eCapital because we provide cost-effective cash flow and profit-enhancing services to empower our trucking customers and level the playing field.” – Michael Caven
Easier, faster – higher functional value
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for trucking companies to struggle with outstanding invoices from slow-paying customers, have a checkered financial history, be stuck in organizational transition, or rebound from a tough year. All these challenges may result in a weak credit rating and stagnate your cash flow. On the surface, a commercial line of credit may appear to be the less expensive funding option. Still, the conditions that cripple cash flow are often the very same conditions that disqualify the business from bank financing.
“Trucking is a cash flow intensive business. Everything from payroll, fuel, fuel taxes, licensing, and insurance to equipment and their payments needs money. If you don’t have the cash flow that you need, when you need it, you’re in big trouble.” – Michael Caven
Qualification for freight factoring is based on entirely different criteria than bank financing. Banks will audit a company’s performance and credit standing to determine loan qualification. Few start-ups and small growing fleets can qualify based on these criteria. A factoring company assesses the credit strength of the trucking company’s customer base to determine qualification. If your trucking company has credit-worthy customers, your business will most likely qualify for funding.
The qualification process is fast and straightforward, generally completed in a few short days. Once approved, 1st funding begins almost immediately, and ongoing funding is processed within hours of submitting invoices for financing. Speed of funding is another contributor to lowering the cost of money. The time value of money is a financial principle that states the value of a dollar today is worth more than the value of a dollar in the future. For trucking companies, funding today allows operations to continue uninterrupted. Delayed funding leaves a trucking company cash poor and unable to fuel trucks, pay drivers, or meet daily financial obligations. Faster funding equates to higher functional value.
Why choose eCapital for freight factoring?
Efficiency equates to enhanced profitability. Efficiency refers to the peak level of performance that uses the least amount of input to achieve the highest output.
eCapital has revolutionized freight factoring by building a cutting-edge platform supported by streamlined processes and an industry-experienced team to give customers the most efficient control over their money.
“We’ve built the eCapital connect platform such that when our customers upload their paperwork to us, we make money available to them within hours. Using advanced technology, deep financial resources, and highly trained team members, eCapital provides our customers with access to more money, faster, and with more control than competitors can provide. We have now put our customers in the driver’s seat to request, move and spend their funds 24/7 at the push of a button.” – Michael Caven
Instead of sending the funds to the client’s bank through ACH or wire transfers, eCapital created InstaPay—a disbursement tool that helps customers move money 24/7/365 whether the banks and clearing houses are open or not.
“So, imagine you’re a truck company owner at 8 pm on a Thursday, and you forgot to do payroll. With any other factoring company, you’re done—there are no options. eCapital lets you log into your eCapital online portal, choose InstaPay, and move money anytime—including holidays—because you’re in control of the cash.” – Michael Caven
eCapital provides truckers with even more benefits, increasing the functional value of our industry-leading freight factoring services:
- An extra line of credit: Additional capital above and beyond what your receivables provide.
- A commercial credit card: A pay advance plus control, flexibility, and consolidated reports for easier transaction monitoring and tax filing.
- Credit checks: Access to real-time payment trends on 50,000 shippers and brokers in North America so you can assess creditworthiness and make intelligent decisions on who you’ll work for.
- Fuel discounts: Lower fuel costs that help you save thousands monthly by using fuel cards at over 16,000 locations.
- Five-star load board: Information on high-paying loads from reputable shippers and brokers with built-in automatic credit checks.
- Administrative support: Free, world-class back-office support, handling collections and delivering real-time reports on the status of each invoice while you focus on picking and delivering loads.
“We want to be more than just the company that buys and funds invoices and does collection work. We’ve leveraged technology, put the customer in control, and given them more money above and beyond what they’re generating. We’re leaning on technology because that’s how we get our low factoring rates and keep the human element and relationship between our account executives and truck company owners.” – Michael Caven
The functional value of fast cash in the trucking industry is most important. Cash in hand enables operational efficiencies to keep trucks moving and maximize equipment utilization. Freight factoring and the associated cost-saving services accompanying its use are highly cost-effective solutions to ensure regular funding.
And when you add it all up, freight factoring may be much cheaper than you think.
Our mission is to empower our trucking clients to keep up with their businesses by accelerating their access to cash flow. eCapital’s industry-low factoring rates, flexible terms, and dedicated customer service place the control of your company finances in your hands. eCapital turns the wait and worry of unpaid invoices into the ease and advantage of immediate cash.
For more information about understanding the actual and total cost of a factoring contract, reach out to one of our factoring specialists at 866-860-9089 or visit us online at eCapital.com