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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
Information for the state of
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"How a Factoring Company Saved This Owner of a Trucking Company Business"
Transportation industry plays a vital role in the economic scene. As people's lives become more and more sophisticated as time goes by, making the most out of the limited resources is the concern of all. Say for example the proper use of land to get optimum profit and convenience or what is known as the zoning. It is defined as the process of planning for land use to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. This method separates the manufacturing sites from the sources of its raw materials, the employees and employers to their respective offices. This made the transportation industry play a vital role in the economic scene. It is a primary necessity for businesses of any size and of any type. It does not just transport raw materials to the manufacturers but also bring finished products into our every door.
Investing in a business which plays a vital role in the current economic scene is a thing that every investor should not think twice about. But business does not work that easy. The big question is, how you are going to survive the most challenging phase of establishing a business - the start. Starting a business requires a capital. If you now have enough money for capital, you can now start your business and since you are investing in a very promising type of business, finding customers is not a problem. The problem is, what if you found bad ones. Even if your customers are also managing a business and expecting cashflow, which does not guarantee that they would pay you up to date because some businesses are just ill-managed. For the business to survive, the most important thing that you would be doing is funding your operational cost - make payrolls, fuel, maintenance - it should rely on cashflow, but since things like mentioned above is very common, some business owners would resort for a loan. But that does not solve the problem of getting your receivables paid on time. As a business owner, you cannot afford the time it takes to collect the receivables, while trying to make your business grow.
Mr. Paul, an owner of a small trucking company experienced the same kinds of problems and shared how he managed to survive. "I just released my head from the stress of how am I going to get my receivables, and focused on making the business grow"¦"
Mr. Paul just got his retirement fee from a big trucking company for almost forty years and was thinking on how to double his money in the shortest time possible. Seeing a small trucking company as a business of great potential and is a business that he knows. When he was still driving a truck, he was fascinated by how much money the company is making. He has also never experienced a delay in his salary. When he decided to invest his retirement fee in establishing a small trucking company, everything was just according to what he expected. He started with a single truck from his home. He started with just a few clients, the ones he knew already and never missed one deadline and kept freight damage as minimal as possible. Because of his outstanding services he started to get referrals and had more work than he can handle. From then, he started to expand, bought more trucks, hired more personnel. Using the knowledge he acquired from the company that he had served for a very long time, and dedication to his work, his little business grew in a rate that he had never imagined. The business is now requiring a more strategic plan and when Mr. Paul thought that everything was going very well, he encountered problems that he failed to foresee.
He had customers that made him wait for weeks or even months before paying. Since his little business is rapidly growing, his operational cost is also growing . This is a problem that he never knew and never observed in his entire career as a driver of a trucking company since he was never in an administration role. He was at the verge of breaking down, his business is losing money, growing too fast, not big enough has to rely cashflow to keep up to his fast growing business. He had to make his payroll, pay his suppliers, maintenance and fill his orders. Mr. Paul thought of going to bank and apply for a loan but was denied. "Maybe because I had a bad personal credit...haha"
Mr. Paul thought of declaring bankruptcy because of the stress that he never imagined he will be handling. He had to think of how to manage his business and at the same time, how will he keep the business alive by thinking of a solution on how is he going to deal with his receivables.
"You know that time, I, I, I just don't know what to do... I felt that as the business kept growing and growing, I become more and more incompetent. Then suddenly, a hero came along... Just at the nick of time. "
Then a close friend of his introduced him to a factoring company and everything turned out just fine. So what is this factoring company then? What does it do? How did it save Mr. Paul's business?
Well, this is how it works, Mr. Paul sells his invoices or receivables to a factoring company at a discount and not in an amount where he can no longer make a profit. The factoring company will then be the one collecting the invoices of Mr. Paul's business from his customers. Say for example, Paul still has 100 dollars to collect from one of his customers. He then sells it to the factoring company at a lesser price, say 90 dollars. The factoring company will now be the one who is going to get the 100 dollars collectible from Paul's customer.
The factoring company immediately gave Mr. Paul the cashflow he needed. He now has instant customer credit checks. He can rest well and likes doing business with companies that pay their bills on time. Save him from the stress of thinking how to deal with his collectibles, thus saving time and money. He can now focus on growing his business and keeping his customers happy. Increase his sales and cashflow.
The Factoring Company not just saved Mr. Paul's start-up business but made it a big company now. It has helped Mr. Paul's business, why don't you let it help yours?
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Truck Factor Articles
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.
Truck Factor Articles
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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Factoring Company Reviews at TRUCKINGFACTORINGCOMPANIES.ORG
Factoring: An Overview
What Is Factoring?
'Factoring' is when a third party commercial finance company purchases the Invoices or Accounts Receivable from a business. The finance company concerned is called a 'Factor' and the transaction is known as 'Factoring'. Factoring is also known as 'Accounts Receivable Financing' because factoring occurs when a business needs to access cash quickly, quicker than if it had to wait the 30 to 60 days (or longer) to receive payment from a customer.
The majority of factoring companies purchase invoices and advance cash within 24 hours, although the terms and nature of factoring can differ between industries and different financial service providers. Depending on the industry, the customers' credit histories, and various other criteria, the advance rate can range from between 80% and 95%. The business also receives back office support from the factor. Once the factor has collected from the business's customers, the business will be paid the reserve balance of the invoices, less a nominated fee for assuming the collection risk.
The main benefit of factoring is that a business is not required to wait one or two months (sometimes more) for payment by a customer - the business will receive cash in hand to operate and grow their business. It's important to note that factoring is not a loan: there's no debt with factoring. Funding is unrestricted, which means that a business has more flexibility than borrowing from a bank.
The Five Simple Steps of Factoring
1. As a business, you provide a service to your customer;
2. The invoice for this service is sent to a factoring company;
3. On this invoice, you'll receive a cash advance from the factoring company;
4. It's now up to the factoring company to collect full payment from your customer;
5. Once payment has been received, you'll receive the balance of your invoice account from the factoring company - minus their fee.The Advantages of Factoring
There are many reasons why factoring has become a popular and valuable financial tool for businesses today. The key benefit of factoring is that a business receives a quick boost to its cash flow: in fact, many factoring companies offer cash on their Accounts Receivable within 24 hours! The factoring company takes responsibility for collecting customer payments, and may also evaluate the payment and credit histories of a business's customers.
Other Benefits Include:
' When a business needs access to cash, factoring can be customized and managed in order to provide the necessary capital;
' The business balance sheet will not show this financing as a debt;
' Factoring is not based on the company's credit or business history: it's based on the quality of its customers' credit;
' Factoring is not determined by the company's net worth: it provides a Line of Credit based on sales;
' There's no limit to the amount of financing through factoring, unlike a conventional loan;
' Factoring is an ideal solution for start up businesses that often require immediate cash flow.
Is the Concept of Factoring New?
No, it's not! In fact, the origin of factoring comes from overseas trade among nations and dates back several centuries to the 1400s when it became part of doing business in England. In the year 1620 it arrived in America with the Pilgrims. Like other financial tools, factoring has improved and evolved over the years. It became an effective way of creating cash flow in the United States at a timewhen companies faced strict limitations when trying to secure loans in the country's damaged banking system.
Who Uses Factoring?
Factoring is available for companies of all sizes, ranging from a one person business to Fortune 500 companies. Every business can use factoring as an effective way of increasing their cash flow. In addition, factoring spans all types of industries, from transportation, trucking, textiles, manufacturing and distribution, staffing agencies, and oil and gas.
The cash generated from factoring is used by companies to purchase new equipment, pay for inventory, expand operations, add employees, and basically cover any expenses related to the running of their business. The beauty of factoring is that it allows companies to make quick decisions and to expand at a faster pace.
How Does Factoring Work?
For the purpose of this post, we'll describe a fictional example as a way of illustrating a common factoring situation.
XYZ Transport is a trucking company: their intention is to double their fleet size over the next two years in order to service more clients in the West. The company has just successfully won a new customer on the West Coast who requires freight to be shipped from Oklahoma to Los Angeles. This new customer is more than happy to pay for the service within 30 days; however, that won't cover all the immediate costs involved, like payroll, fuel, and maintenance costs of running the route.
This is a familiar situation for the owners of XYZ Transport: the lack of available cash flow in the past has prevented the company from accepting new business. So now XYZ Transport has turned to a factoring company: they have agreed to sell the West Coast customer's invoice to the factoring company in exchange for a 90% advance on the total amount - within 24 hours! This much needed influx of cash will replenish the trucking company's reserves and allow it to continue running the Oklahoma - Los Angeles route. In addition, XYZ Transport now has the added flexibility of taking on new customers.
How Much Do Companies Factor?
Each company has its own unique business needs, so somecompanies only factor invoices for customers that are slow in paying, whilst other companies factor all of their invoices. Companies can factor receivables ranging from a few thousand dollars right through to millions of dollars each month.
What's the Difference between Factoring and a Traditional Bank Loan?
Factoring, also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, is a quick, flexible and effective way for businesses to create a steady cash flow stream. See below for how factoring is different to a Line of Credit at a bank or a traditional business loan
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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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Medical Factoring: Healthcare Professionals Choose Medical Factoring As Their Preferred Financing Option
Healthcare professionals are finding that business loans and commercial lines-of-credit are becoming more difficult to qualify for, so today we're seeing more healthcare professionals looking to medical factoring to alleviate cash flow problems. All types of medical and healthcare practices can benefit greatly by choosing to factor their receivables and thus receive immediate cash payments.
In the past, healthcare has typically been a resilient industry, but today we see this industry facing financial challenges that leave practices struggling to meet their own financial commitments. Cash flow was virtually a non-issue for medical facilities, professionals, and their suppliers, but today with Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies working with strict reimbursement guidelines, professionals are forced to wait much longer than they previously waited to receive payment on their invoices. In addition, complicated documentation and billing requirements are resulting in fewer dollars and longer waiting periods.
Financial Difficulties Experienced by Healthcare Professionals
The above issues are creating serious problems for a large number of medical providers who not only must wait longer to get paid less money, but who are also forced to deal with growing operating expenses, including salaries and other benefits. Operating under these unsure conditions means that the viability of these businesses is being threatened and it's become almost impossible for them to pursue new growth opportunities. Today, a medical practitioner operating a relatively small practice could have receivables of up to $1 million tied up!
Any business that's confronted with cash flow problems will typically look to banks or other lenders for a loan. Offering the business a loan or line-of-credit can certainly be very helpful in the short term, but unfortunately neither of these products are an ideal financing solution because neither will permanently solve the real problem.
A business loan may be ideal for fixed capital purchases, but it's no solution at all for handling recurring business expenses. A line-of-credit can certainly be very helpful, but because it will have a credit limit and a fixed term it won't provide a renewable source of business capital. Once the credit limit has been reached or the term of the line-of-credit expires, the lender may either increase the credit limit or perhaps not renew it at all. It's a sad fact that, today, many healthcare professionals are finding themselves in this unfortunate situation.
Finding the Ideal Medical Financing Solution
The perfect financing solution would be one that's flexible and one that would provide a steady and reliable source of working capital. It would grow with the healthcare business, without the need to re-apply or having to approach a bank for an increase in the credit limit. In short, this perfect financing solution would provide working capital to finance both the current and future growth of the business. So, is there such a solution? Fortunately, yes there is! It's called medical factoring.
Explaining Medical Factoring
Medical factoring is a receivables factoring program designed exclusively for medical invoices. Because factoring medical receivables can be quite challenging, many factoring companies today are specializing only in the healthcare industry. It does require a certain amount of expertise to manage the medical claims process; plus, it becomes even more challenging when many healthcare receivables are either reduced or denied altogether by insurance providers.
What Types of Business Can Use Medical Factoring?
Many business owners are surprised to learn that factoring in general has been around for a long time. Medical service providers, in particular, seem to be completely unaware of the existence of factoring. The truth is that invoice factoring has become one of the most flexible and powerful business financing tools available today.
Many healthcare providers can benefit greatly from choosing medical factoring. Below we've listed just some of the healthcare service providers who can achieve huge benefits from a medical factoring program.
- Medical Centers
- Physicians: Both Specialists and General Practitioners
- Outpatient Clinics and Facilities
- Medical Staffing Services
- Medical Labs
- Dialysis Facilities
- Home Healthcare Providers
- Physical Therapy Clinics and Groups
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Medical Equipment Providers
- Medical Labs, and
- Many More
What Are the Benefits of Factoring Medical Receivables
The benefits to healthcare professionals are very similar to the benefits enjoyed by many businesses in many other industries. They include -
- Faster (almost immediate) payment;
- Increased percentage of billings collected;
- Consistent cash flow;
- Access to debt-free working capital;
- Stress-free outsourced accounting and collection; and
- Being able to improve your business credit.
Medical Practices Can Depend on Factoring for Reliable Cash Flow
Medical factoring is an excellent financing alternative for medical practices because practices receive consistent and flexible financing which is directly tied to their insurance claims. This means that the financing will increase as more claims are filed. It's highly desirable for all medical practices to achieve a scalable and reliable cash flow, thus ensuring sufficient liquid business capital to cover operating expenses.
And with medical supply companies the situation is very similar. Depending on the volume of sales these companies can achieve fast and predictable business financing by signing up for a medical factoring program. And, as sales continue to grow so does the amount of financing, providing the much-needed working capital required to both grow and maintain business operations.
Medical Receivables Factoring for Smaller Medical Offices
Medical factoring is especially beneficial for smaller medical offices. Office overheads and staffing expenses can be dramatically reduced because the factoring company will take control of the more tedious and time-consuming administrative work involved in collections and processing claims. This frees up remaining staff members to concentrate on delivering excellent medical care. If you're a small medical practice and you have good growth prospects but a slow cash flow, receivables factoring could well be the ideal tool to assist in financing the growth of your business. You'll find that many factoring companies have minimums, and there are factoring companies prepared to finance a medical office billing just $50,000 per month.
Explaining How Medical Factoring Works
In simple terms, if a healthcare business is dependent on third-party payors, those payments will be accelerated with medical factoring. Within just days of the initial billing, the majority of the amount billed will be deposited directly to the business's bank account. The instant rewards are a dramatic shortening of the collection cycle and the elimination of cash flow problems for the business concerned.
Importantly, receivables factoring is not a loan, so there are no credit or financial requirements; there will be no impact to your balance sheet and there are no arbitrary limits. Medical factoring is the ideal financing tool for business growth because you can factor as much billing as your business is capable of generating.
How Long before My Business Is Accepted for Factoring?
With medical factoring there are no lengthy delays, certainly not like when applying for bank finance! A medical factoring program will usually take around two weeks to set up. This timeframe allows the factor to determine the stability of the medical practice and to ensure the reliability of its third-party payors. Then, once a medical factoring program is in operation, the financing will be predictable and constant. Once claims have been submitted to the medical factoring company, claims are typically funded within 48 hours.
The process of medical factoring is very simple, as follows -
- Your medical practice periodically submits billings to Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies. At the same time, copies of these billings should be forwarded to your factor.
- Within 48 hours of receiving a copy of these billings, the factor will deposit an advance of up to 85% of net collectables into your bank account. The balance will be held by the factor until such time as the account has been paid in full.
- Once the factoring company has received payment in full, the balance of the billings - less the agreed-upon factoring fee - will be remitted to you.
Medical Factoring Fees
Medical factoring fees vary depending upon the size and types of claims generated by the medical practice. It's not known why medical factoring today is not as widely known as it is in other industries; however, interest in this type of financing is now becoming more popular and widespread as business owners are beginning to understand the many financial and other benefits of medical factoring.
Medical factoring in the healthcare industry is fast becoming a widely accepted tool to resolve shortfalls in working capital financing and as a long-term solution for patient accounting support and medical financing. It's certainly a tool that healthcare businesses should give careful consideration to because cash flow problems can stall growth and prosperity in businesses of all sizes and types.
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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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Factoring Company Reviews at TRUCKINGFACTORINGCOMPANIES.ORG
Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
"Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?"
Joy Reed (JR), "Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started."
"So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?"JR: "I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn't have the cash on hand to take advantage."
"I'm a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn't have the ability to expand your business?"
JR: "That's right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn't because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced."
"Tell us a bit more about factoring companies."
JR: "Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in."
"I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?"
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn't take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand."
"Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?"
JR: "Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I've been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service."
"What's the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?"
JR: "It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we've earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I'm no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately."
"I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?"
JR: "You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I'd recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly."
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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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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How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there's always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn't have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn't really appeal to them as it's no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year's had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they'd decided something had to be done, but they didn't know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,"Okay you two, I've been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you're worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is?" Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said "I think it rings a bell, but I'm not really sure. Can you explain it?"
Scott began laying out the details, "You are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don't have enough cash coming in . "
Ted interrupted with, "Then it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn't be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can't wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we'll be in trouble."
Scott jumped in saying, "And this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now." He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, "Is this the fee schedule?"
Scott answered, "Yes it's all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase."
"That's sounds like a good deal to me", Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn't accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn't take long for Bellosa's credit to be approved and the creditors' as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, "I've taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you."
"It worked perfectly", Laurie stated and went on to say, "The tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it."
Ted chimed in with, "Without a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!"
"That's what's great about factoring!" Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
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Discovering Trucking Factoring
Lambert Truck and Haul has been in business since the mid1980s. They've delivered goods for nearly every major industry in the nation and for 20 plus years, business was booming as they've traversed the country in all weather for all clients. During the heady times from 2002 to 2007, Lambert was a top rated accounts receivable mastermind of the trucking industry. Few customers were ever late on bills and those clients who were, were sure to turn in their late payments within a reasonable amount of time. Cash was flowing and times were good for all.
But a short year later, in the fall of 2008, when the United States economy took a nosedive and businesses both small and large began to feel the pinch on their pocketbooks, those that used to make their demands had suddenly and largely gone silent. Business slowed down. And worse yet, Lambert had noticed during the early part of 2008 that though the bulk of their clients were always on time with payments, the few late-bloomers there were, had seemingly started to spread this illness. And as spring turmed to summer and summer into the early days of fall, John Rondstadt, CEO of Lambert felt a chill go down his spine whenever he would look at the weekly A/R reports. The numbers of clients who owed him back debt were growing.
He had gone to his administrators and asked them what the problem had been. Were they doing something wrong or different when it came to reaching out to delinquent accouts? By his bookkeepers records, this wasn't the case. He thought perhaps that he was losing clients to a competitor who offered rock-bottom prices with little to no guarantee of quality performance and the folks who owed Lambert money had jumped ship and decided to leave him holding the bag. They couldn't afford to pay him their debt, but they could afford a lesser service, maybe. But after doing the cursory research for this and talking to friends in the field, he found that alas, no, customers of Lambert hadn't gone elsewhere. They had just gone home.
The situation looked dire to John Rondstadt. He had employees to pay, goods to ship, trucks to maintain and overhead that was almost unbearable when compared against the lack of funds that were coming in. At night he would speak to his wife Linda and shake his head in frustration. "I have a bad feeling, Lin," he would say with deep woe."Well, what do you think it is?" she would ask.
John would stare off for a moment and then close eyes. He could see the fleet of trucks he had purchased over the years. He could see them traveling, bringing goods to all of his clients. But somewhere, a haze would form over his fleet and the vast number of vehicles would disappear to but a few. What could cause this ultimate death spiral of business?
"I know what it is," John said. "I've relied too long on the profits I receive from invoices alone. I've let too many of our customers go too long without paying on their bills."Rhonda could only grab her husband's hand and look at him lovingly, "It's a hard economy. It might be awhile until things get settled up."John knew his wife meant well, but he knew that he was responsible for too many people to sit idly by, waiting for the sun to peak over the clouds.
The next day John strolled into his office and was determined to sit down and make every phone call to every client who had owed Lambert money. Now, it wasn't the most efficient way to spend a day as a chief executive, what he really needed to be doing was to be overseeing all of the other intricacies of shipment and delivery and reaching out to prospective clients or retraining his sales team to do the same. Even though he was doing something to help his company, he knew he had folks on salary to do just this thing. Wasting money, wasting time - even with the best of intentions, John knew that he was in trouble.
After a half day of contacting debtors in vain - they dodged his calls or promised to call back at worst or made minimal interest-only payments at best - he was about to throw in the towel when his secretary Beverley knocked at his door."John, can I have a word?" she asked standing in the doorway.
"Sure thing Bev, come on in." John leaned back in his chair and looked expectantly at Beverely. "Well, I did a little searching this afternoon and tried to figure out a way out of this mess John." She pulled a small stack of papers from a folder and set them on the desk before him. "Have you ever heard of factoring?" Beverley asked."It sounds vaguely familiar. What is it?" he said. "Well," she began, "Its actually quite simple really. So basically, factoring invoices would enable us to get paid on the nose for loads that we haul.""Immediately?" John interrupted.
"Yes, immediately," she continued, "In a nutshell, it's pretty easy. We can have an expert account manager review our numbers and help us complete a company profile. That profile will also include investigating our accounts receivable aging reports, our existing customer credit limits and so on. Additionally, the factoring will help to determine the creditworthiness of our customers independent of their credit history with our business. It's a broad view."
"I see," John said. "And then what?""Well, after their review, and we're approved for a factoring contract, we can negotiate terms and conditions. There's a lot of flexibility depending on the business volume and credit histories. This company tells us what the cost will be to purchase factoring for our accounts receivable. We come to an agreement and the funding starts pouring out."John leaned forward and reviewed the paperwork closely.
"It sounds too good to be true, Bev," he said. "Now, now, I know, I thought the same thing. But really, they have guaranteed us experts that do all the legwork, which would free us up here to focus on our clients in good standing and marketing, all that good stuff. And they're flexible John," she underlined a paragraph on the paper before him. "How flexible?" he asked. "They personalize the factoring rates so that the amount they are willing to take on is commensurate with our needs and our client's debt. It only takes 2 to 4 days for this to be figured out.
"That sounds pretty good, seeing as we tapped ourselves out with bank loans last year to repair the fleet and money sure is tight. We need to keep business rolling as normal and every day we're going unpaid, we're closer to facing some serious problems in both the short and long term," John said.
He took a deep breath and looked at his secretary with something she recognized as hope."Exactly". I think this might just be a way out of the trouble we're in with these folks who owe us money."John thought about this and agreed with Beverley. The clients who owed them money were long standing friends and professional resources of Lambert. They didn't want to throw away these relationships because they were having trouble paying their bills now. John knew that the economy had taken a hit and he knew that it would probably be a long time before things started to look up again. That unknown amount of time, if he handled these debtors incorrectly, could spell disaster for both of them. He didn't want to lose business but he also didn't want to lose any more money.
"Well, let me think about this tonight Bev, thank you." Bev nodded, stood up and left the office feeling that she had helped her employer keep on his shirt and hers too.John sat behind his desk and looked over the details Bev had not mentioned in their meeting. What other issues could freight factoring help Lambert with? With his pencil gliding down the sheet he noticed that the factoring company could help fray the cost of fuel with fuel discount cards and fuel advances. In fact, Lambert could receive up to fifty-percent cash advances upon load pick-ups. As a man who hated binding contracts with no room to breathe, he was pleased to see that this factoring company would not make him sign a long term contract, would not make him pay any sign up fees and there was no minimum volume required.
"Well, I'll have to tell Billy about this," John muttered to himself.His son-in-law Billy had liked the idea of Lambert so much and revered his father in law for having such business acumen that only two years before, he had gathered the venture capital to begin his own transportation service company. John knew then what struggles Billy would face but he encouraged him nonetheless. With the faltering economy, if a big fish like Lambert was hurting, a little guy like Billy was about to catch his death. But, an antidote may have been found in freight factoring and John was soon to find out. A few months later after going through the entire application process and having the experts review his accounts receivable, credit history and statements, John found himself beginning to dig his way out of the hole his delinquent account holders had created for him.
They took on reasonable factoring purchase contracts and stopped spending their precious man hours scrambling to collect debt. They took that time and refocused effort to offering competitive prices in new territories. John looked back on the dismal months of life before freight factoring and almost shuddered at the thought. Had he missed the boat on this one, he probably wouldn't be in business today.
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