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The Logistics and Transportation Industry in the United States
The logistics and transportation industry in the United States is highly competitive. By investing in this sector, multinational firms position themselves to better facilitate the flow of goods throughout the largest consumer market in the world.. International and domestic companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs and regulatory burdens.
Spending in the U.S. logistics and transportation industry totaled $1.33 trillion in 2012, and represented 8.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Analysts expect industry investment to correlate with growth in the U.S. economy.
A highly integrated supply chain network in the United States links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport. To serve customers efficiently, multinational and domestic firms provide tailored logistics and transportation solutions that ensure coordinated goods movement from origin to end user through each supply chain network segment.
This subsector includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.
Air and express delivery services (EDS):
Firms offer expedited, time-sensitive, and end-to-end services for documents, small parcels, and high-value items. EDS firms also provide the export infrastructure for many exporters, particularly small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to operate their own supply chain.
High volumes of heavy cargo and products are transported long distances via the U.S. rail tracking network. Freight rail moves more than 70 percent of the coal, 58 percent of its raw metal ores, and more than 30 percent of its grain for the nation. This subsector accounted for approximately one third of all U.S. exports.
This subsector includes carriers, seaports, terminals, and labor involved in the movement of cargo and passengers by water. Water transportation carries about 78 percent of U.S. exports by tonnage, via both foreign-flag and U.S.-flag carriers.
Trucking: Over-the-road transportation of cargo is provided by motor vehicles over short and medium distances. The American Trucking Associations reports that in 2012, trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight, or about 68.5 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically. Motor carriers collected $642 billion in revenues, or about 81 percent of total revenue earned by all domestic transport modes.
American Association of Port Authorities
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
American Trucking Associations
Association of American Railroads
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
Express Delivery and Logistics Association Industry Publications:
Journal of Commerce
Material Handling & Logistics
North American Industry Classification System For Transportation
The Transportation and Warehousing sector includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline.
The Transportation and Warehousing sector distinguishes three basic types of activities: subsectors for each mode of transportation, a subsector for warehousing and storage, and a subsector for establishments providing support activities for transportation. In addition, there are subsectors for establishments that provide passenger transportation for scenic and sightseeing purposes, postal services, and courier services.
A separate subsector for support activities is established in the sector because, first, support activities for transportation are inherently multimodal, such as freight transportation arrangement, or have multimodal aspects. Secondly, there are production process similarities among the support activity industries.
One of the support activities identified in the support activity subsector is the routine repair and maintenance of transportation equipment (e.g., aircraft at an airport, railroad rolling stock at a railroad terminal, or ships at a harbor or port facility). Such establishments do not perform complete overhauling or rebuilding of transportation equipment (i.e., periodic restoration of transportation equipment to original design specifications) or transportation equipment conversion (i.e., major modification tosystems). An establishment that primarily performs factory (or shipyard) overhauls, rebuilding, or conversions of aircraft, railroad rolling stock, or a ship is classified in Subsector 336, Transportation Equipment Manufacturing according to the type of equipment.
Many of the establishments in this sector often operate on networks, with physical facilities, labor forces, and equipment spread over an extensive geographic area.
Industries in the Truck Transportation subsector provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using motor vehicles, such as trucks and tractor trailers. The subsector is subdivided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking. This distinction reflects differences in equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a containeror van trailer. Specialized freight transportation is the transportation of cargo that, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics require specialized equipment for transportation.
Each of these industry groups is further subdivided based on distance traveled. Local trucking establishments primarily carry goods within a single metropolitan area and its adjacent nonurban areas. Long distance trucking establishments carry goods between metropolitan areas.
The Specialized Freight Trucking industry group includes a separate industry for Used Household and Office Goods Moving. The household and office goods movers are separated because of the substantial network of establishments that has developed to deal with local and long-distance moving and the associated storage. In this area, the same establishment provides both local and long-distance services, while other specialized freight establishments generally limit their services to either local or long-distance hauling.
General Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer. The establishments of this industry group provide a combination of the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
General Freight Trucking, Local
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Local general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking within a metropolitan area which may cross state lines. Generally the trips are same-day return.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Long-distance general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking between metropolitan areas which may cross North American country borders. Included in this industry are establishments operating as truckload (TL) or less than truckload (LTL) carriers.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight truckload (TL) trucking. These long-distance general freight truckload carrier establishments provide full truck movement of freight from origin to destination. The shipment of freight on a truck is characterized as a full single load not combined with other shipments.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Less Than Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance, general freight, less than truckload (LTL) trucking. LTL carriage is characterized as multiple shipments combined onto a single truck for multiple deliveries within a network. These establishments are generally characterized by the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
Specialized Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance specialized freight trucking. The establishments of this industry are primarily engaged in the transportation of freight which, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics, requires specialized equipment, such as flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers. This industry includes the transportation of used household, institutional, and commercial furniture and equipment.
Used Household and Office Goods Moving
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance trucking of used household, used institutional, or used commercial furniture and equipment. Incidental packing and storage activities are often provided by these establishments. Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Local
Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance specialized trucking. These establishments provide trucking between metropolitan areas that may cross North American country borders.
A freight broker is an individual or company that serves as a liaison between another individual or company that needs shipping services and an authorized motor carrier. Though a freight broker plays an important role in the movement of cargo, the broker doesn't function as a shipper or a carrier.To operate as a freight broker, a business or individual must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Freight brokers are required to carry surety bonds as well.
Freight broker services are valuable to both shippers and motor carriers. Freight brokers help shippers find reliable carriers that might otherwise be difficult to locate. They assist motor carriers in filling their trucks and earning money for transporting a wide variety of items. For their efforts, freight brokers earn commissions.
Freight brokers use their knowledge of the shipping industry and technological resources to help shippers and carriers accomplish their goals. Many companies find the services provided by freight brokers indispensable. In fact, some companies hire brokers to coordinate all of their shipping needs.
Often, freight brokers are confused with forwarders. Though a freight forwarder performs some of the same tasks as a freight broker, the two are not the same. A forwarder takes possession of the items being shipped, consolidates smaller shipments, and arranges for the transportation of the consolidated shipments. By contrast, a freight broker never takes possession of items being shipped thus in the absence of negligent entrustment, a freight broker is not normally involved as a party litigant in a cargo claimdispute, although as an accommodation, the freight broker may assist the shipper at their request and expense with filing freight claims.
NAICS Index Description
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, local 484110
Container trucking services, local 484110
General freight trucking, local 484110
Motor freight carrier, general, local 484110
Transfer (trucking) services, general freight, local 484110
Trucking, general freight, local 484121
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, long-distance (TL) 484121
Container trucking services, long-distance (TL) 484121
General freight trucking, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484122
General freight trucking, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
LTL (less-than-truckload) long-distance freight trucking 484122
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484210
Furniture moving, used 484210
Motor freight carrier, used household goods 484210
Trucking used household, office, or institutional furniture and equipment 484210
Used household and office goods moving 484210
Van lines, moving and storage services 484220
Agricultural products trucking, local 484220
Automobile carrier trucking, local 484220
Boat hauling, truck, local 484220
Bulk liquids trucking, local 484220
Coal hauling, truck, local 484220
Dry bulk trucking (except garbage collection, garbage hauling), local 484220
Dump trucking (e.g., gravel, sand, top soil) 484220
Farm products hauling, local 484220
Flatbed trucking, local 484220
Grain hauling, local 484220
Gravel hauling, local 484220
Livestock trucking, local 484220
Log hauling, local 484220
Milk hauling, local 484220
Mobile home towing services, local 484220
Refrigerated products trucking, local 484220
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, local 484220
Sand hauling, local 484220
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), local 484220
Top-soil hauling, local 484220
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, local 484220
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local 484230
Automobile carrier trucking, long-distance 484230
Boat hauling, truck, long-distance 484230
Bulk liquids trucking, long-distance 484230
Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance 484230
Farm products trucking, long-distance 484230
Flatbed trucking, long-distance 484230
Forest products trucking, long-distance 484230
Grain hauling, long-distance 484230
Gravel hauling, long-distance 484230
Livestock trucking, long-distance 484230
Log hauling, long-distance 484230
Mobile home towing services, long-distance 484230
Radioactive waste hauling, long-distance 484230
Recyclable material hauling, long-distance 484230
Refrigerated products trucking, long-distance 484230
Refuse hauling, long-distance 484230
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, long-distance 484230
Sand hauling, long-distance 484230
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), long-distance 484230
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, long-distance 484230
Trash hauling, long-distance 484230
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, hazardous, long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, nonhazardous, long-distance
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Lack of immediate cash flow can hurt your company and hinder growth and expansion.
Factoring Freight Brokers Only
The fact that there's no limit to the level of financing is the major advantage Truck Factoring has over traditional bank lending. As your company continues to grow, so too should the funding of invoices grow with you. -Factoring Freight Brokers Only
RECEIVABLES MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEAR FROM THE BOOKS
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Invoice Factoring Companies-businessreceivablefunding.com
Factoring in the Future of a Trucking Business: A Story
John Thompson let the phone ring on his desk. He let his morning coffee cool and left his cigarette to ash itself in the tray, because he is trying to make the biggest decision ever for his trucking company. Thompson Trucking Company was at a turning point of growth and John had to decide if signing with a factoring company was the right way forward.
John's father had started as an owner-operator and had grown Thompson Trucking Company into a fifteen trailer fleet over forty years. There had been some hard times when it seemed everything was going to go under and even John's mother strapped herself into a cab to make hauls. His father had lived long enough to witness the price of hires drop during the recession and watch the eruption of fuel prices afterwards. Now the company was solely in John's hands and he wanted to live to see it in better shape for his sons.
To move Thompson Trucking Company ahead into the future, he needed a steady cash flow but there was just not enough money to go around. His employees needed to be paid. They had families and household bills too. Some of the refrigerated trailers were in need of repairs and he felt to stay competitive it was also a good idea to invest in specialized haulers to be ready for the constant requests he was getting for loads of new energy and agriculture equipment. Every time he had to turn down a request, Thompson Trucking looked weak in a very strong market.
His father would have told him to wait and to take his time adding on new technology. John allowed himself a good hard chuckle. His father had been against placing GPS units in the cabs. He would say, "Why do you need the voice of some woman to tell you to get off at an exit that has been the same exit that has been there for years?" Also his father had the habit of teasing all the drivers he caught switching into automatic even though driving in automatic was much more efficient though not manly in his father's eyes. His father days were long gone and technology was actually an important improvement for the business such as having Qualcomm to cut down on fruitless time communicating on the phone for bills of lading.
John believed a successful man is always thinking of his next step. What would be the next step for Thompson Trucking? And how would he be able to afford it? Funding was all tied up in the mortgage for the office and garage and in the fuel bills. He just finished paying off the small bank loan for installing satellite radio in the trucks for the guys.
But was factoring the answer? There was a lot he didn't understand about the process. It sounded a lot like ninth grade algebra which just didn't feel like it belonged as part of the trucking business. Factoring companies buy your invoices and manage your accounts receivable for a certain percentage of the invoiced amount. The factoring company gives the trucking business its payment right away which allows the business to have continuous cash flow so it can pay employees, buy fuel, and make repairs for upcoming hauls. Without the assistance of factoring, you have to wait for customers to send you the payment which is often 30 days late. In those 30 days, a trucking company can't pay its bills and employees in invoices.
Now it was time for John to do his homework. John had heard that there were companies that charged for same day money transfers and would only advance a percentage of the money owed to your company while holding the rest in a private account if they didn't get their bill payment within 60 or so days. Plus it was worse still if the customer didn't pay up at all because then the factoring company would take it right out of the money supposed to be coming to you! Through the grapevine, he'd also heard about how some companies suddenly slipped you onto a sliding scale of percentages even if you had already signed a lengthy contract for maybe 3% or 7% so there you are with 10% coming as a cost to you out of the freight bill. His friend Ronnie who had a trucking business in Missouri, was run nearly into the ground by a factoring company that charged him the full freight bill on top of the factoring fees. Well, what was the point of going to a factoring company if there was shady business like that going on?
But it turned out to be quite easy. All the factoring companies he researched were open about their business practices and very friendly on the phone when he called. Their customer service actually knew things about their company and spoke in nice clear English so he could understand what was being explained. He didn't mind signing an exclusive contract. He liked the idea of a long term commitment so he knew he wouldn't have to bother going back and forth to different companies and wasting time filing more forms. Nobody charged him for credit checks and they offered him a fuel advance on the pick-up of the load. Many companies offered a non-recourse factoring program that suited him just fine. Also he was happy to hear how much he was offered in terms of percentages on the freight bills. It was good money.
It was really refreshing dealing with the factoring people. They were more personable than those loan managers at the bank. It seemed as though those bank people spoke another language, but these factoring guys knew the trucking business and spoke to him like a client, not like a beggar for a handout. The factoring companies didn't worry over his credit and the debt troubles his father had had in the past of the company. Factoring was based on the credit of his customers and on their reliability which worked well for John because he and his father had built up good strong relationships over decades with their list of clients. So he knew they would understand when the factoring company contacted them for the invoices. His clients wouldn't think poorly of Thompson Trucking and the factoring companies appeared capable of handling the accounts receivable in the same polite manner that his father had used over the years.
John stepped out of his office to let his secretary know to expect the arrival of the factoring contract shortly. He felt exhilarated by the new possibilities that would make the future of the company fun again and put the stress of the difficult times behind him. With the capabilities of this new cash flow, John could actually expand Thompson Trucking Company further across the country and perhaps even go international into Canada. His heart felt full knowing his sons wouldn't have to worry about money because of the right decisions he had made for their trucking business.
Lack of immediate cash flow can hurt your company and hinder growth and expansion.
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Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
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How Medical Staffing Helps The Medical Industry
Mary Henderson sat in her office, waiting for the phone to ring. Her job was a busy one, and she had stopped all her calls and shut her door five minutes before the phone conference was set to begin just to get some time for herself. The truth was she was stressed to her breaking point. Her company Med Staff needed to hire three new people to cover the demand of their clients. The problem was, they couldn't. They were short on funds.
Med Staff did temporary medical staffing. They employed LPN's, RN's, and a few others of the same ilk. Companies that needed nursing for a short amount of time paid Med Staff, and the nurses were sent over on short term contracts. Then they came back, and they were sent somewhere else.
A retirement home had contacted Mary two weeks ago, they were undergoing an expansion, and they would need temporary staffing until they could appoint permanent nurses to the shifts. Mary had known she didn't have enough people for this, but she took the contract on anyways, figuring she could hire people. There were always a number of nurses and technicians applying for work at Med Staff, and she knew it wouldn't be a problem to hire a few new people.
There had been a problem though. There simply wasn't enough money in the books to do it. The company was doing fine, but a quick expansion, even as small as three people, simply wasn't going to happen, not without help.
She had gone to the bank for a loan, but they had denied her. It seemed to Mary that the only people who could get loan money from a bank were the people who didn't need to do so. And then she had found something different, a website online about factoring. She had looked the site over, and set up the conference call.
The phone rang, she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi, is this Mrs. Henderson?" a cheery woman's voice asked over the phone."
"Great! My name is Stacy, I'm going to help you today."
"Okay great." Mary said.
"I'm looking over the form you filled out, it looks like your company temporarily staffs medical professionals?"
"Yes," Mary said. "Nurses mostly."
"Great," Stacy said. "And if you called me, it means you ran into a snag."
"I took a contract to fill five places in an expanding retirement community. I have two people available but needed to hire three more. Unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of money in the books right now. We have a few outstanding invoices yet to be paid, but until they come in, there's nothing I can do."
"Do you know how factoring works?" Stacy asked.
"Not really," Mary admitted.
"Okay, well we don't look at your business credit, we look at your clients' credit. We know they have some time to pay bills, and we're interested to see if they can pay those bills. If they can, we become interested in helping you out, because we think all businesses should have a fair shot to make it, and sometimes things just don't work out."
"This is the first time it hasn't worked out," Mary said. "And it's hard."
"I know. I hear about it every day. The cool thing about my job is I get to help fix it. So what we do, if we feel secure in our ability to help you, is we buy a piece of your accounts receivable. We aren't just loaning you money, we're basically becoming active in your business. That is you get the money you need right now, but we have an assurance that we get our money back, later down the road."
Mary nodded behind her desk, even though the other woman couldn't see her. She had never heard of factoring before she came across the site on the internet, but the way Stacy explained it certainly made sense.
The call continued, with Mary giving the information that Stacy would need. She promised to get back to her within a couple of days, and then they hung up. Mary went on with her work, and a day and a half passed.
Mary was at her desk when he phone rang then. It was Stacy.
"Good news," she said as soon as Mary said hello. Mary couldn't help but smile as Stacy went on. "We're going to be able to help you out."
"You don't know how great it is to hear you say that," Mary said.
"Believe me, I do," Stacy said. "I get to say it more often than not, and I know that we're really helping good people, and good businesses."
"The bank, they couldn't do anything," Mary said, she felt salty tears stinging her eyes as they welled there.
"They aren't built to help people like we are. They just want as much money as they can get. We want money too, because it's a business, but if you don't succeed, we don't succeed, and it's also important to us that we help people."
"So what's next?" Mary asked.
"Well the real answer is I fax some stuff over for you to fill out and sign, but the fun answer is your business gets the help it needs, and you keep going to work each day. Well, not the weekends."
Mary couldn't help but laugh. "Believe me," she said. "I work plenty of weekends."
Stacy laughed as well, and then got the fax number she would need. Once again the women hung up and Mary let out a long breath as she sat back in her chair. She used a tissue to dab the tears from her eyes. She knew everything was going to be okay.
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Everything You Need to Know about Invoice Factoring
You've probably heard about invoice factoring, but like many business owners you may not be entirely sure how it works or whether it could help your own business. In this article we'll try to answer all your questions about what invoice factoring is, how it works, and whether it could help you grow your business.The following definition of invoice factoring may sound too good to be true, but let's look anyway! "Invoice factoring is a viable alternative to bank financing and other traditional types of financing, but it's not a debt, and there are no strings attached." For anyone who's approached traditional lending sources for financing and been refused or left hanging for weeks or months, yes, this probably does sound too good to be true, but it's actually not! Invoice factoring can provide the working capital you need to help your business grow and prosper, so read on then decide for yourself.
How Invoice Factoring Works
With invoice factoring you no longer need to wait 60, 90, or even 120 days to receive payment from your customers, because invoice factoring converts these invoices into immediate cash in-hand. It's up to you to determine which invoices, and how many invoices, you wish to factor, following this simple process -
- Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring by your factoring company, you can begin submitting your unpaid invoices. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or work that's been completed. The process to follow is to fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to the factor, while at the same time invoicing your customer as usual.- Within 24 hours you'll receive a cash advance from your factoring company. Your invoices will be verified by the factor and you'll receive a cash advance of up to 95% of the invoice, which will be paid directly into your bank account.- Now that you've received this cash advance, you continue on with your work while the factoring company works to collect on the invoice on your behalf. Your factor will be highly experienced in collecting on invoices, thus allowing you to do what you do best, which is to continue providing excellent customer service and focusing on other important aspects of growing your business.- It's entirely up to you how many invoices you factor and how many clients you choose for the factoring process. You may decide to factor all your invoices, or it may be that you have one client that's always late in paying and you'd prefer the factoring company to only collect on that one invoice. It's your decision!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
The major benefit of invoice factoring is that, as the business owner, you're controlling your cash flow. Of course, there are other advantages of using a factoring company which can help your business grow and prosper.
No. 1: Your Factoring Company Will Provide Background and Credit Verification
It's very important to the viability of your business that you work with reliable customers in fact, it's the only way to turn your sales into revenues and to develop a solid payment history. But, we all know just how expensive it can be to run background and credit checks, and this simple exercise can dig deep into your working capital.
No problem! These checks will be provided to you by your invoice factoring company at no additional charge to you, which will provide reassurance that you are in fact working with quality customers. It also means that any issues that may arise can be addressed before they negatively affect your company.
No. 2: Your Factoring Company Can Assist with Credit Building and Repair
Perhaps your business credit is not ideal, but the good news is that you could still qualify for an invoice factoring program. The benefit of invoice factoring for a business with less-than-perfect credit is that, not only will you have available cash to meet your daily operating costs, you'll also be able to rebuild your credit rating by paying down current debt. Factoring companies are also well-equipped to assist start-ups, so if you're just getting your business up-and-running, invoice factoring is the perfect way to maintain regular cash flow.
No. 3: Invoice Factoring Opens Your Business to Great Money-Saving Opportunities
With invoice factoring, your business can utilize this rejuvenated cash flow to not only save money by offering competitive rates, but you'll now be able to negotiate early pay discounts and other incentives with your suppliers. And, depending on how many invoices you decide to factor, you could eventually qualify for a reduction in rates by receiving a volume discount.
No. 4: Invoice Factoring Provides Steady Cash Flow
In order for any business to grow and prosper it's vitally important to have a steady cash flow. And that's the beauty of invoice factoring: instead of late-paying customers controlling cash flow, the business owner regains control of the working capital. Perhaps you're simply tired of waiting for invoices to be paid, or maybe you're in an industry with seasonal fluctuations; whatever the reason you're struggling with cash flow, invoice factoring can help you regulate and take control of your business once again.
No. 5: Invoice Factoring Allows You to Dream Big Again!
Having a steady business is one thing, but having a growing business is what every business owner dreams of. Now that you've been accepted for invoice factoring and you have a steady cash flow, there are many ways you can use this cash to grow your business.
- You can increase your marketing efforts and get your name out there;
- You can negotiate bigger and better contracts with bigger clients;
- You can invest in technology upgrades;
- You can employ experienced personnel, or provide training programs for existing staff;
- You can upgrade or replace outdated equipment; and
- You can relocate your business or invest in expansion.
No. 6: Invoice Factoring Is Not a Debt to Your Business
It's very important to note that invoice factoring is not a debt, so there will be no more debt added to your balance sheet. In fact, it's exactly the opposite, because invoice factoring provides cash in-hand, so you can pay off old debts. The money is already yours, so there's no money to pay back or interest to add on. All invoice factoring does is get money that's owed to you into your bank account - faster.
I've Never Heard of Invoice Factoring
Many businesses know very little, or nothing at all, about invoice factoring, which is strange because invoice factoring is certainly not new. Perhaps it's because we typically think of bank loans and other traditional types of lending when looking to grow our business; however, factoring goes right back to the Roman Empire. Back then, businessmen, particularly farmers, used factors to grow their business, and in more modern times factoring was used to finance transactions in the clothing and textile industry, helping businesses accept larger purchase orders and pay for raw materials. Today, invoice factoring is used by almost every industry you can think of, like -- Construction
- Staffing, HR
- Media and Marketing.
Understanding the Language of Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring does appear to have its own language, so let's clarify some of the terminology -
- Your customers are known as Account Debtors.
- The report showing the total amount of unpaid receivables in addition to the amount of time they've remained unpaid is known as an Accounts Receivable Ageing Report.
- The two terms Invoice Factoring and Accounts Receivable Factoring can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing.
- The percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds is known as the Discount Rate.
- When your factor conducts background research to assess potential customers this is known as Due Diligence.
- The cash that's advanced to the business, typically within 24 hours and usually ranging between 80% and 95% of the total invoice amount, is known as the Factoring Advance Rate.
- The third party who connects a business with the right factoring company, to meet their business goals and needs is known as a Factoring Broker.
- The right to maintain possession of property until such time as a debt has been discharged is known as a Lien.
- It can occur that a customer fails to pay their invoice on time, or they may never pay their invoice. Non-Recourse Funding is where the factor assumes full responsibility for funds lost. Because the factoring company accepts this responsibility, non-recourse funding is therefore more expensive.- With Recourse Funding, your business will be required to buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed-upon terms.
- The amount of money withheld by the factor until full payment has been received from your customer is known as the Reserve.
- Staffing companies may choose to enter a one-time agreement in order to factor a single invoice. This is known as Spot Factoring.
How Does Invoice Factoring Affect Your Customers?
It's important to point out here that your factoring company is not a collection agency and that factoring is not a bad thing. The aim of your factoring company is to maintain a good working relationship with both you and your customers, which means that your customers will receive great customer service. Both you and your factoring company have one common goal, and that is to ensure the payment process of your invoices is as seamless as possible. See below for how factoring typically works -
- You've decided to start factoring, so the first step is for your Account Manager to verify with your debtors that they are indeed your customers and to inform them of a change of address for remittances.
- Your customers must pay their invoices anyway, so a change of remittance address should not affect them in any way.
- Your account manager is a professional when it comes to collecting on invoices, so they will simply advise your clients that they will be managing your invoices in future and taking over your accounts receivable.
- And that's all there is to it! Nothing should change between you and your customers. They'll still receive an invoice from you; but their payment will now be sent to a new Post Office box. Your Account Manager will always be on hand to resolve any issues that may arise.
How Do I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
When you start looking for factoring companies you'll discover that there are many different companies out there, but they're certainly not all the same.
When making comparisons we suggest you consider the following points -
1: Factoring Fees
It's true that factoring fees can be more expensive than traditional bank loans, but sometimes the decision businesses are faced with is to simply have access to some working capital or have no working capital at all. What should you be aware of? You need to know the overall factoring cost, in addition to any smaller (or hidden) fees your factor may charge. These fees might include -
- Account Setup Fees
- Application Costs
- Credit Reports
- Costs to Research Liens
- Money Transfer Fees, or
- Last-Minute Funding.
Choose a factor that you believe you can trust and one that you feel completely comfortable with; because you're also looking for great customer service. Remember also that factors may charge for different things, and there may be hidden fees.
2: You Need Flexibility, so Carefully Check Your Proposed Contract
It's very important that you carefully read the fine print of your contract, prior to signing on the dotted line. It would be so disappointing to sign a factoring contract only to realize that you didn't completely understand the terms and now you're locked into a contract that's not clear on how the factoring company charges or how many invoices you can factor per month - or even worse - that you're now legally bound to this factoring company for the long term. Yes, long-term factoring contracts do exist, but be prepared to pay a lot of money if you try and break the contract. Make sure you know exactly how long you're signing up for, which of your clients are eligible for factoring, and how much per month you can factor.
3: With Invoice Factoring, Communication Is Key
Great customer service is very important with any business, and the most important part of great customer service is good and easy communication. And now we're talking about dealing with a company that's handling your money, so you can see how important good communication is! The last thing you need from a factoring company who's handling your money is being forced to wait for days for someone to respond to your phone call or email communication. Any factoring company you talk to is going to say their communication and customer service is really great - but be very cautious. How well did your potential factoring company respond to your initial queries? Then ask yourself: is that how you'd want them to deal with your customers? Remember there are plenty of factoring companies out there, so if the answer to these questions is not an unequivocal â€˜yes', then find someone else.
4: Look for a Factoring Company That Has Industry Expertise
Yes, there are factoring companies out there that cover general factoring, but ideally, you'll choose someone who specializes in your own industry; someone who has a good working knowledge of the type of business you're running. Once you start looking for the right factoring company for your business you'll see that there are many factoring companies that specialize in specific industries, which means they already know a lot about your business model. And, if they have a lot of expertise, they'll probably be able to offer specific programs that relate to your industry, like fuel cards, or back-office support. These little extras can be just what you need when deciding whether or not to factor your invoices.
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Small Business Invoice Factoring: The Clever Choice!
Many small businesses are discovering invoice factoring and quickly realizing this was a very smart business choice! Why? Because small business invoice factoring converts receivables into immediate cash!
The Ideal Alternative to Traditional Bank Loans
Small businesses are discovering that invoice factoring is the perfect, and much easier, alternative to traditional funding sources, like bank loans and cash advances. Any small business who sells to the government or other companies can use invoice factoring to enjoy the many benefits of accessing immediate cash flow. Whether you've applied for traditional funding and been refused or applied and are still waiting to hear if you've been accepted, keep in mind that small business invoice factoring is a very viable option for you.
How Does Invoice Factoring Work for Small Businesses
One of the major benefits of small business invoice factoring is that it's the credit worthiness of your customers that determines the funding decision. This means that if you're a business who sells to the government or other businesses with good credit, you're the perfect candidate for small business invoice factoring.
Applying for invoice factoring is a very simple process, and you certainly won't be forced to wait weeks, even months, for a decision as you would with traditional funding sources.
Why Small Businesses Are Choosing Invoice Factoring
Many businesses are only just learning about invoice factoring, even though factoring has been around for a long time. Any business owner who has applied for a bank loan knows only too well that, to start with, the application process can take months, and secondly, there's still no guarantee you'll be approved for finance.
According to the Small Business Administration, in the first quarter of the year 2015 small business loan approval rates at banks were 22%, and at credit unions it was 43%. The limit on business credit cards is often capped at less than $100,000, which is often not sufficient to cover unexpected expenses or large projects.
Invoice Factoring: The Smart Alternative to Traditional Lending
Today, small business invoice factoring has become the smart alternative for many business owners because factoring provides an immediate cash advance, with no restrictions placed on the money received. It's also important to note that factoring is not a debt, which means there are no limitations on how you choose to use the funds received.
Yes, small businesses can access quick money with a merchant cash advance, but there's always a high cost involved. You'll soon discover that the cash advanced will cost your business more than 70% effective annual interest. Alternatively, cash advance lenders demand daily repayments with full payment due in just a few months. The demand for daily payback can destroy a small business, but sometimes business owners are left with no choice.
So, let's take a quick look at just some of the benefits of small business invoice factoring, and once you read through this list we're sure you'll think of more benefits to your own business.
With this immediate cash advance you'll be able to -
- Employee new staff members
- Easily meet payroll
- Accept larger orders from bigger customers
- Invest in marketing and sales
- Expand manufacturing and production
- Your business will be able to weather cash flow cycles and seasonal sales periods
- Pay down any existing debt
- Take advantage of early pay discounts from your suppliers (these discounts often cover your factoring fees)
- Extend your customers' payment terms
- Provide a smooth cash flow to support daily business operations
- Overheads are lowered due to reduced administration expenses
- Your business will be self-financed during rapid growth periods, without having to give up equity.
As you can see, the benefits of small business invoice factoring are many and varied, so why not contact us today and let's talk business!
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The Difference between Accounts Receivable Financing and Factoring
Today, it's not as easy for businesses to access finance as it was in past years, and more companies are being forced to look for alternative, non banking financing options in order to access the capital they require to help their business grow.
Two of the more popular tools available to cash strapped business owners are Accounts Receivable Financing (A/R Financing) and factoring. Some business owners believe these two are the same, but there are, in fact, some small yet significant differences.
What Is Factoring?
Factoring is when a commercial finance company, also known as a factor or factoring company, purchases a business's outstanding accounts receivable. At that time, the factor will typically advance the business somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice's value. Then, once the invoice is collected from the customer, the remaining balance - minus a factoring fee - is released to the business. The factoring fee could range from between 1.5% and 5.5%. It's calculated on the total face value of the invoice and depends on how many days the funds are in use and other aspects, like the collection risk.
When a business has a factoring contract they can usually choose which invoices they want to sell to the factor: it's not generally an all or nothing process. Once the factor has purchased an invoice they become responsible for managing the receivable until the account has been paid. Essentially, the factor becomes the business's accounts receivable department and credit manager, analyzing credit reports, performing credit checks, mailing invoices, and documenting payments.
What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?
Accounts Receivable Financing is more similar to a traditional bank loan, however there are some key differences. Bank loans are secured with collateral; which might be real estate, the business owner's personal assets, or plant and equipment; whereas Accounts Receivable Financing is backed by the business's assets related to the Accounts Receivable. When a business has an Accounts Receivable financing agreement, a borrowing base is established at each draw against which the business is able to borrow money: this would typically be between 70% and 90% of the qualified receivables.
Between 1% and 2% is typically charged as a collateral management fee against the outstanding amount, and interest is only calculated as and when the money is advanced. An invoice must be less than 90 days old in order to count towards the borrowing base, and the finance company must deem the business credit worthy. There may also be other conditions to fulfil.
So, you can see that there are many similarities between Accounts Receivable financing and factoring; however, one is the sale of an asset (receivables or invoices) to a third party, while the other is actually a loan. In many ways, though, they do act similarly. Below we've listed the main features of each so you can determine which would be the best fit for your company.
Accounts Receivable Financing
' Generally, Accounts Receivable Financing is not as expensive as factoring;
' It can be easier to move from this type of financing to a traditional bank line of credit once a business becomes bankable again;
' Typically, a minimum of $75,000 per month is required in sales to qualify, so this type of financing may not be available to small companies;
' Due to the fact that the business will be required to submit all of its Accounts Receivable to the finance company, this type of financing can be less flexible than factoring.
' It's quite easy to qualify for factoring, and factoring is the ideal solution for start ups and financially challenged companies;
' Because businesses can decide which invoices they want to sell to the factor, factoring offers more flexibility than Accounts Receivable Financing;
' The company is able to track total costs on an invoice by invoice basis because factoring has a simple and straightforward fee structure.
Today we see both Accounts Receivable Financing and factoring as traditional sources of financing; effective when traditional bank financing is not an option. Factoring can carry a business through a period when an immediate cash input is required.
Somewhere between 12 and 24 months most companies are generally able to repair their financial situation and once again become bankable. However, some companies in certain industries continue factoring their invoices indefinitely.An example of this is the trucking industry, which relies heavily on factoring for cash flow injections.
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trucking factoring companies
factoring companiesp> As the owner of your own business, you may be more than aware already of the difficulty in making sure that cash flow issues do not become a problem down the line. After all, the worst thing that can possibly happen for your business is to find yourself embroiled in a long and difficult situation that leaves you forever trying to find two pennies to rub together.
For any business in this situation, the problem can come for waiting for work to clear up and actually be paid into your account. Invoices, cheques and the like can take some time to actually processed which can leave you with short-term cash flow issues. Thankfully, there are options out there for businesses to look into - and one of these is factoring companies.
Factoring companies will, in exchange for your invoices, provide you with the cash today so that you don't need to worry about the waiting period that could make paying the bills and getting materials more difficult. With this type of setup, invoice factoring can become incredibly useful for many businesses who need to get out of a cash trap which they have found themselves in.
Because, depending on the size of the job, it can take up to 60 days for some businesses to get paid then it's important to cover your own back and not leave yourself short in that day. after all, how many businesses have two months revenue just lying there to cover all the losses until they get paid?
This is especially true of trucking companies. They tend to deal with lots of invoices which means a significant amount of running around and donkey work for the business owner themselves. Trying to get paid in time can become an incredible hassle and this is why you get specific trucking factoring companies who are happy to help out truckers specifically.
As we all know, trucking is an incredibly large industry with many companies out there employing hundreds of drivers. Unfortunately, many of these drivers can spend night in the cold or hungry as they are still waiting for work from six weeks ago to actually pay them. When this is the situation for a trucking company, turning to factoring companies for assistance might be the best choice left.
This means that a trucking company can pay the wages of the staff, keep all the vans topped up with fuel and continue to scale, grow and expand without always waiting for the never-never with money which is taking forever to arrive coming in. businesses running without a factoring model put in place are leaving themselves in significant risk, as competitors cash out fast and continue to expand.
There's genuinely nothing to be worried about when it comes to using a Factoring company - they aren't like a payday loan firm or somebody who is going to leave you with a huge pile of debt to apy back. Although you are technically borrowing a loan, so long as you only ever give them genuine invoices from work you have already finished you are merely speeding up the payment process.
In the United States, where trucking companies thrive, factoring companies are not considered borrowing in any capacity. This confidential agreement then allows both parties to profit and enjoy a comfortable future - it gives the factoring company a guaranteed asset of income to add to the list and it gives the trucking firm a wad of cash that they worked hard to earn.
The trucking company will usually need to pick up the invoice and cash it in still, and then make the payments back to the factoring company. Because it's a confidential agreement, and it can look bad for a business to be involved in this type of short-term finance even though it's perfectly legal and a very common practice, it's usually in the hands of the company to get the money for the factor.
This is an extremely old business type and has been used for many years by many different types of work - but none more so than truckers. While you may miss out on a small part of the money , something like 15% depending on who you work with, it means that you are getting the money today and can actually start putting some food on the table.
After all, an IOU or an invoice is not going to be you fed and washed, is it? For trucking companies when the money can be good one day and gone the next, it's up to the drivers to work sensibly and to ensure they are leaving themselves with a significant amount of time and finance to get through the week until they are paid again.
So the next time your trucking business is having some short-term cash flow issues and you are spending too much time chasing up slow paying clients, why not start considering to use factoring businesses as a way to change your motive and give yourself a more comfortable future in the eyes of your trucking staff and your bank balance?
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Medical and Healthcare Factoring
Receive Payment Today! No Waiting Weeks for Reimbursement!
It's certainly no secret that Medicaid, Medicare, HMOs, Workers' Compensation, and other private insurers can take a LONG time to pay your invoices! But now there's good news for healthcare professionals! Now you don't have to wait weeks, sometimes months, to collect on your medical receivables. If you're a healthcare professional and you provide medical or healthcare-related services of any type, we're here to help you!
The Difference between Healthcare Factoring and Medical Factoring
Healthcare factoring and medical factoring are phrases that are often used interchangeably, probably understandably, but there is a difference between these two. The difference is that healthcare factoring applies when there's no third party payer involved, while a medical factoring company is used when there is a third-party payer involved.
Healthcare Factoring and Medical Receivables Factoring are available for the following healthcare providers -
- Group and Sole Practitioners
- Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Facilities
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Medical Coding Services
- Medical Billing Services
- Medical Supply Companies
- Medical Staffing Companies
- Medical Transportation
- Medical Transcription Services
- Ambulance Providers
- Nursing Homes
- Imaging Facilities, such as providers of X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and so on
- Home Healthcare Providers - both Medical and Non-Medical,
- And more! Healthcare Receivables Factoring
Generally, healthcare receivables are associated with customers who are not third-party payers. Some common healthcare sectors include medical staffing companies, medical transcription services, medical billing and coding services, and medical supply companies. When these vendors utilize healthcare factoring they're free to enjoy the benefits of an almost unlimited line of credit - all based on the services they've provided. A simple explanation of factoring healthcare receivables is as follows-
- When work has been completed, the healthcare vendor will invoice their customer.
- These customers may include nursing homes, hospitals, medical offices, and so on.
- Next, the vendor will forward a copy of the billing documentation to the healthcare factoring company.
- Within 24 hours, sometimes even less, the factoring company will deposit money into the vendors bank account. The amount deposited will generally be around 85% of the gross value of the invoice.
- The factoring company handles collections on behalf of the vendor, and will retain 15% while awaiting payment.
- Once the invoice has been paid in full, the factor will release the 15% - less their factoring fee - back to the vendor.
Medical Receivables Factoring
- Regardless of whether you're billing Medicaid, Medicare, HMOs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or third-party insurance companies, we have the perfect factoring solution for you. When you start factoring your medical claims you'll achieve instant benefits by receiving upfront capital; while the factor may have to wait months for your customers to settle their accounts. A simple explanation of factoring medical claims is as follows-
- The healthcare provider submits claims to the third-party payer, as usual.
- A copy of completed paperwork is then submitted to the factoring company.
- Within 24 hours, sometimes even less, the factoring company will deposit money directly into the medical provider's bank account: the amount deposited will typically be around 85% of the net collectable value.
- Once the claim has been paid in full by the third-party payer, the factoring company will release the remaining 15% - less their factoring fee.
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Bookkeeping Mistakes Commonly Made by Freight Brokers
It's true that freight brokers shoulder a lot of responsibility; from matching shippers and carriers, to ensuring that each and every piece of cargo arrives at its proper destination. Freight brokers also have the added responsibility of accurate bookkeeping, because failure to prioritize bookkeeping can result in the loss of money.
Below we've listed some common bookkeeping mistakes made by freight brokers, and how to avoid them-
Handling the Accounting In-House
Many business owners try to save money by handling the books themselves, or perhaps delegating this very important task to a family member or an inexperienced employee. Sure, you may save time and money initially, but errors can be costly: when you attempt DIY accounting you could well end up with more expensive financing terms, higher bond premiums, or a number of other unforeseen expenses. It's very important that you hire a competent bookkeeper because, not only will you save money, but you'll know that the job will be done accurately, quicker, and more efficiently.
We understand only too well that running any business is time-consuming and hard work, and many freight brokers are simply too busy doing their day-to-day tasks to focus on bookkeeping tasks, such as the monthly reconciliation of credit card accounts and bank accounts. It's through reconciling statements that you get a clear idea of how much credit or cash you actually have, and you can also pick up on any errors that may have occurred.
It can be so tempting to postpone this rather tedious task, but the truth is that your credit card statements and bank statements must be reconciled every month, preferably the moment each statement becomes available. In this way you'll be able to identify any potential problems in a timely manner; problems such as lost checks, missing deposits, fraudulent charges, and so on.
Failing to Track Invoices and Receivables
You're not going to get paid if you're using poor accounting practices with your accounts receivable. Let's face it, getting paid equals cash, and cash is the lifeblood of every business. An experienced freight broker understands that your cash flow can be strained by the delay between when you pay your carriers and when you receive payment from your customers. If you're finding that tracking and collecting invoices is taking too long, why not consider invoice factoring? An invoice factoring company will purchase your invoices for a small fee, with the bonus being that you get paid immediately, plus you're spared the time and expense of having to deal with collections.
Don't Forget Liabilities
One of the major considerations a surety has when looking at your business financials in order to underwrite a bond is whether you have sufficient assets to cover your liabilities. Many times we see an inexperienced bookkeeper recording a liability, but when the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it results in liabilities being overstated and net income being understated, which makes your business appear to be less financially secure than it really is. These serious errors can be avoided by employing the services of an experienced bookkeeper. We also recommend that you have another set of eyes (which may be an owner or a CPA) regularly review the balance sheet to check for unusual account balances
Too Many Expense Categories
Another common error we often see with inexperienced bookkeepers is creating too many expense categories, or miscategorizing expenses. Generally, most industries and businesses have a standard set of expense categories, and when a loan underwriter or surety sees too many categories, or the miscategorizing of expenses, it stands out like a big red flag. It tells them that your books are not well prepared. Use an accountant or experienced bookkeeper to correctly set up your accounting software right from the beginning, and don't automatically add new expense categories unless careful consideration has been made. Remember to ask your accountant or CPA for advice, because they'll be able to guide you on how to classify expenses.
Incomplete Information on Invoices
It's very important that, when you invoice your customers, you provide sufficient detail on each line item. Do you invoice by weight, per piece, or per mile? Or is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges to invoice, such as reimbursements for fuel or fees, these should be listed as separate line items. In addition, these charges must be clearly and accurately detailed in order to avoid any confusion. When you send invoices to your customers that include clear and concise details, it prevents pushback from your clients. If there's missing information on your invoices and your customers are confused by unrecognizable charges, it could well cause a delay in payment, which is the very last thing business owners need.
Not Understanding the Functionality of Accounting Software
Many freight brokers purchase an accounting software package because they're anxious to get their business up and running, but they fail to learn how to use it correctly. This is probably not an issue if you're already outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping tasks; but if you're using this software in any way at all, perhaps to enter checks and run reports, it's important that you spend some time learning how to use all the available functions. When used correctly, the right accounting software can save you a lot of time, in addition to providing real-time information on the state of your business. It's this information that helps you make important business decisions!
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Oil Well Cleaning Owner Interview
The oilfield services industry is certainly a booming one these days thanks to a renewed emphasis on searching and drilling for oil on private and state properties. One of the more profitable ventures in this field is not the drilling for oil, but the cleaning of oil and gas wells to keep them operating at full efficiency. Oil and gas drilling is a dirty business and wells will quickly become clogged even with regular maintenance.
Jeffrey Fielding is the owner of an oil well cleaning company who works with several drilling companies in providing cleaning and maintenance of oil wells. Over the past couple of years, Jeffrey has managed to grow his business considerably thanks in large part to his perseverance and determination. However, things were really tight when Jeffrey first started up his company and at one point he was faced with a dilemma that he didn't know how to overcome.
The following interview with Jeffrey tells how he managed to expand his company at a crucial time thanks to oilfield services factoring. If it wasn't for the presence of factoring companies that worked in his field, Jeffrey might be in a completely different business today.
"Hello, Jeffrey. It's good to talk with you and I'm glad you were able to spare the time to share your story with us."
Jeffrey Fielding: "Thanks, I'm glad to be here."
"Jeffrey, tell us a little about how you got into the oil well cleaning business first as it's something our listeners may not be fully aware of."
JF: "No problem, I'll start at the beginning. About ten years ago I joined an oil well crew as a roughneck, working my way up through the business. It was hard work and our crew was usually out in the middle of nowhere, but the money was good and the opportunities kept building for me. I quickly learned the job and was hired by a number of drillers to work their rigs over the next few years during the boom in the oil industry."
"Right from the beginning, I took notice the oil well cleaning crews that would work each rig and started talking to the guys who were a part of that business. After a few years it became clear to me that oil well cleaning was really where it was at 'cause the work was really steady and the money was just as good, if not better than what I was making. So, with the money I had saved up along with a couple of partners I opened up an oil well cleaning company of my own."
"It certainly sounds like you struck gold so to speak. So tell us how your business started."
JF: "It was pretty straightforward as we got our business loan, purchased the equipment and hired a couple of experienced people to help us clean oil wells. We had some pretty good connections and the orders started to pile in, but then we ran into a problem that none of us could even dream of happening. We became victims of our own success."
"I don't think I quite understand, could you explain just how that happened?"
JF: "Sure, about six months in we suddenly got new drillers who wanted to use our services, but we didn't have the money to expand. We get paid by invoice which can take up to 60 days to see the cash which meant that we trying to pay down our loan, the payroll and the equipment, fuel and other costs and didn't have enough cash on hand to expand. We knew that if we didn't hire new people and buy new equipment that we would miss out on a golden opportunity. However, one of my friends told me about oilfield services factoring companies that could help us out."
"What are factoring companies?"
JF: "Basically, a factoring company will buy the invoice and get us the cash immediately. We had good credit and our invoices were certainly good as well. By using their services, we were able to get the cash in our hands quickly and pay for new equipment to then expand our business efforts."
"It certainly sounds like the factoring companies saved the day for you, but just how do they work?"
JF: "Well, it was a pretty simple process. We just filled out a few forms with the information that they requested and then we sold the invoices we had already collected, but had not collected to the factoring company. We got the cash we needed immediately and they collected the invoice."
"It certainly sounds pretty straightforward, but why didn't you just get another loan?"
JF: "My partners and I went over that and another loan would just be too big a burden. We were already paying off our old loan which was considerable and didn't want to have more debt hanging over our company. By going with the oilfield factoring companies, we didn't owe anyone, anything. We just collected the money that we were owed a lot more quickly."
"So, how is business now?"
JF: "It's better than ever. By using a factoring company I was able to buy new tubing, cleaning fluids, a new vehicle and other equipment that let us take on the new orders. We were able to expand the business quite a bit and our reputation is such that we work with several drilling companies."
"It sounds like a dream come true."
JF: "It really does, but I don't know what we would have done if factoring companies didn't exist. We still use them when we need cash for new equipment or products to do our job. It's quick, safe and brings us the money we need to continue our business."Jeffrey's company really benefitted from using oilfield factoring companies that served his industry. There are factoring companies for other types of businesses as well that can take invoices and turn them into quick cash for businesses that need to expand. For Jeffrey and many other small business owners, factoring companies can make the difference in the success of your efforts.
Factoring Freight Brokers Only Articles
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>
You Can Find More Information at https://factoringcorp.com
and at http://factoringloan.org