When prospective healthcare staffing businesses compare factoring fees to bank lending rates, factoring almost always seems more expensive. Oftentimes, factoring prospects annualize the percentage charged by factors, extrapolating three percent per month to an interest rate of 36 percent per year. In the world of healthcare staffing financing, this scenario is like comparing apples to oranges.
When comparing a bank loan with healthcare staffing factoring, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- A factor does not loan money like a bank does. Rather, a healthcare staffing accounts receivable factor purchases invoices at a discounted rate. Factoring is a form of short-term funding, so a discount rate should not be converted to an interest rate. For example, some firms offer a two percent discount (2% for net 10) for quick payment. In a year, there are roughly 36 10-day periods. Using the annualized percentage parallel, that comes out to 72% “interest.” Are these companies really paying 72% for quick payment? No, and healthcare staffing factoring companies don’t earn 36% interest either.
- Moreover, a factor is continuously advancing and collecting funds, compared to a bank that provides the money only one time, the day that the loan is received. An accounts receivable factor has the ability to grow as its clients grow. Once a company uses the funds from a bank loan or exceeds its credit limit, there’s little room for it to grow.
- Banks approve business loans or lines of credit based on a company’s historical operating and financial performance, a healthcare staffing factor’s main criteria is the creditworthiness of a prospect’s customers. Banks tend to shy away from business owners who are just starting up, going through seasonal growth, have bad personal credit or have too much concentration of their sales with one or two customers. Many factors are able to look past the above criteria because their decisions are based off of a prospect’s customers’ ability to pay. So it’s very possible for a business that has creditworthy customers to work with a healthcare staffing factoring company even though they have been previously turned down for a traditional bank loan.
- The loan process with a bank is time-consuming and cumbersome, and it could take weeks or even months to receive the loan proceeds. Whereas a factoring firm’s application and approval process can take less than a week, and factors have an ongoing ability to approve additional lines of credit quickly.
- Oftentimes, a bank loan requires collateral in addition to a company’s accounts receivable. The only collateral that a factor requires is the company’s accounts receivable. A bank will most likely require business owners to personally guarantee the loan as well, and factoring companies won’t always require a personal guarantee to advance money.
- Taking out a business loan creates debt on a company’s balance sheet, and credit ratings go down because of loan limitations. On the other hand, healthcare staffing funding through a factor increases credit ratings by creating better cash flow and helping the company pay their bills promptly.
- Whereas banks only loan money, there are a multitude of services that factoring companies provide their clients in addition to ongoing funding. Some of these supplementary services include: posting payments, dispersing reports, handling collections and reviewing credit for their customers’ clients.
When looking at the big picture, entrepreneurs have to weigh the costs of factoring against not having immediate cash. More often than not, the decision comes down to either selling the accounts receivable or putting up with crippling cash flow problems and missed sales opportunities.