The Basics of Trucking Factoring
Whether you're the owner of a 50-truck fleet or an independent owner/operator, we all know that controlling your cash flow is vitally important to growing your business. Perhaps like many business owners you've become pretty clever at making creative use of your credit cards, because it's certainly preferable to going to your banker and begging for a business Line of Credit! Fortunately, there is another viable option for owner-operator businesses and small trucking fleets. The answer to the age-old cash flow problem is Freight Bill Factoring!
If Freight Bill Factoring is an unfamiliar term to you, then here's a brief explanation:
Freight Bill Factoring is the simple process of assigning your unpaid freight invoices to a third-party company (factoring company) for an amount that's less than you would receive if you were to bill your customer direct. The bonus of Freight Bill Factoring is that it enables you to get paid almost immediately upon completion of a run, thus giving you access to much-needed cash required for the day-to-day running of your business operations.
Here's a step-by-step explanation of how Freight Bill Factoring, or Trucking Factoring, works :
Once you've booked a load, you immediately email or fax details about the load, your customer, and your rate confirmation to the factoring company;
The factoring company will quickly respond by advising if that particular customer has been approved for load factoring;
You pull the load;
When the load has been delivered, you email or fax your load-related documents, including the Bills of Lading, to the factoring company;
Within 24 hours the factoring company will make a direct deposit into your Comdata account or your bank account for the amount of approved charges: this could be anywhere between 60 and 90% of your billing;
Once the invoice has been paid by your customer, you'll receive the balance.
It's true that Freight Bill Factoring is not for everyone, but it is an ideal way of accessing the cash you need to provide stability to your trucking business and keep your wheels turning whilst you wait for your customers to pay their accounts.
Obviously, the best option for any business is to invoice your customers directly and wait to receive payment, but unfortunately many customers are painfully slow when it comes to paying their invoices. If you're experiencing a cash flow problem, then working with a factoring company could well provide the financial cushion you need to keep your trucks on the road. It's up to you to do your own research and determine whether factoring makes sense for your business. We trust that the information we're providing here will provide you with enough knowledge to help you make a wise decision.
The Cost of Freight Bill Factoring
As explained above, there's a cost involved with Freight Bill Factoring, and it's up to you as the business owner to determine whether it's worth the cost. The cost of Trucking Factoring can vary from as little as 1.5% up to around 5% of the line haul revenue.
You also need to be aware that there could be a number of fees, charges, and other expenses if you employ the services of a Freight Bill Factoring company. Generally, when you've assigned your Bills of Lading to a Trucking Factoring company, you'll receive an immediate advance of between 60 and 90% of the anticipated revenue: of course, this figure will depend upon the factoring company you use. Once your customer has paid their invoice, the balance will be remitted to you.
It's also important to note that all Freight Factoring companies are not equal, so here are some key questions a business owner should ask when considering hiring the services of a Trucking Factoring company:
Recourse or Non-Recourse: Which Freight Factoring Service Do You Provide?
You may not be familiar with these terms, but you need to be, because the ramifications of not understanding these terms could seriously affect the profitability of your business.
means that, should your customer fail to pay the factoring company, the factoring service can come back to you for reimbursement; while
means that you have your money whether the invoice does or doesn't get paid.
Will You Bill My Customer for All Future Loads or Can Factoring Be Done on a Load-by-Load Basis?
Let's say you have a temporary cash shortfall problem that you're trying to resolve by hiring the services of a Freight Factoring company: many businesses require that the factor handle all future collections owed to you by that specific customer. However, depending upon the customer, this may not be the path you wish to take. You should be aware, though, that some factoring companies are very rigid with this requirement.
There are Freight Bill Factoring services out there that allow you to choose on a load-by-load basis as to whether you'd like them to handle the collection on your behalf or whether you prefer to deal with the process of billing and payments yourself. And these services generally let you decide whether you want to receive payment when the invoice is actually paid or whether you want immediate payment. This can be very useful for small businesses because it can save a lot of time by allowing you to use the Freight Factoring service as a kind of de-facto billing service.
Is There a Price Difference If the Factoring Company Bills a Customer for All Loads Pulled?
Some Freight Factoring companies require that all billings originate through them, while others allow you to decide on an invoice-by-invoice basis whether you want the factoring company to do it, or whether you'd prefer to bill your customer yourself. If you choose to use their services on a spot-usage basis and choose not to have a certain invoice factored, you'll probably still have to pay the $15-$20 billing charge. You'd then receive payment once the customer has settled their account.
Are Extra Fees Payable for Additional Services?
It's not usual for a freight factoring company to automatically pay your customer's invoices: they need assurance that your customer is a reliable, good-paying customer, so they'll typically require a credit check to ensure they'll be paid. Most Freight Factoring companies will arrange for a customer's credit check on your behalf, and this credit check could incur a nominal fee. On the other hand, there are factoring companies out there that are happy to provide you with access to a list of customers that are already pre-approved - these are companies that currently meet the factor's credit requirements. This can be very useful information to a trucking company, particularly if you need to know the credit rating of a prospective customer prior to booking a load.
How Much of the Freight Bill Do You Advance; and Do You Require a Deposit?
It's very rare that a Freight Factoring service will advance 100% of your freight invoice, and that's just one of the reasons why it's imperative that you take the time to do your own research and find out what your chosen factoring company's policy is. You also need to know if this will change from load to load or if the same policy applies to all your customers and all freight bills. p> Regarding deposits, some freight factoring services do require deposits, while others don't. Again, before you finalize any contract with a Trucking Freight Factoring company, be very sure that you know exactly what you're signing up for. p>