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A Comprehensive Guide to Trucking Business Loans

The trucking industry is a vital and essential part of the U.S. economy. Without trucks, the country would be at a near standstill. And without trucking business loans, the industry would likely be just as frozen. 

Equipment financing is an excellent way to get the funds needed for success when starting or expanding a trucking business. But how does one obtain a loan specifically tailored to their trucking business? This article explores the types of trucking business loans, the qualifications and documents needed to apply, and the advantages of obtaining a loan. We’ll also provide tips on what to consider when shopping for the right loan.

What is a Trucking Business Loan?

So what makes a trucking business loan unique among the broader landscape of loans? Well, it is a type of loan specifically designed for trucking companies. These loans provide the working capital to finance the purchase of new or used trucks, repair and upgrade existing fleets, hire new employees, or purchase fuel and other supplies. Banks and other financial institutions generally offer loans that can be secured or unsecured depending on the lender’s requirements. These loans, available to owner-operators and small business owners with a team of drivers, do not often require a down payment of cash as collateral because the truck being purchased is that collateral.

Determining Factors in What is the Best Loan for Your Business

Trucking businesses are a great way to make a living, and trucking is one of the high-growth industries in the U.S. But getting one started can be expensive. So choosing the best loan for equipment finance is extremely important. To get the best loan for your trucking business, you should consider the following factors:

  • Loan term: The loan term is the amount of time you have to repay the loan. The longer the loan term, the lower the monthly payments, but the more interest you will have to pay over the life of the loan. The average loan term is 60 months (5 years), but some loans can go up to 10 years.
  • Interest rate: The higher the interest rate, the more interest you will pay. Look for the lowest interest rate available to ensure you get the best deal.
  • Repayment structure: The repayment structure determines how much you pay each month. This is the easiest way to assess the loan’s cost because most budget items have monthly terms. But it is important to remember that trucking businesses are susceptible to market fluctuations.
  • Loan amount: The loan amount, which is how much money you need to borrow, depends on several factors — the cost of the product you are planning to buy being at the top of that list — and will be a determining factor in the type of loan you can get. For large loans, you are likely to need a commercial loan. You can obtain smaller loans through personal loans or credit cards.
  • Loan application process: This is an area that needs close attention. With the loan application process varying wildly from lender to lender, you must understand the process and the documents required to get the loan.
  • Credit score: Your credit score will be a significant factor in determining whether you qualify for a loan. Make sure you are aware of your credit score and what impact it could have on your loan application. Before applying for the loan, find out if there are ways to improve that score ahead of time.
  • Fees and penalties: Lenders often charge fees and penalties for late payments and other issues. Knowing what fees and penalties you may be responsible for is a must. 

In addition to understanding and accepting the above factors, it is extremely beneficial to take the time to research all of your options and choose the loan that best fits your needs. Once you have selected the right loan, you can start your trucking business and get on the road to success.

Types of Business Loans for Commercial Truckers

Commercial truckers need access to capital to finance the purchase of trucks, cover daily operating expenses, or make other investments in their business. With various business loans available, it can take time to determine which loan is best for your situation. We will now delve into what types of business loans are out there and offer some tips for finding the right loan.

Equipment Financing

This is the most common type of loan for commercial truckers. When using equipment financing, the borrower can buy the needed equipment, such as trucks and trailers, upfront. The lender provides the capital to purchase the equipment, and the borrower will repay the loan over time. Equipment financing is often attractive because it allows the borrower to use the equipment while making payments.

Operating Lines of Credit

Operating lines of credit are short-term loans used to cover operating expenses. Commercial truckers typically use these loans to cover fuel, maintenance, and other operating costs. A lender sets a borrower’s credit limit and allows multiple draws up to that amount. Operating lines of credit are often attractive because they will enable the borrower to access the funds quickly and repay them quickly.

Small Business Administration loans

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, which the government backs, exist to open fresh financing opportunities for small businesses that don’t qualify for conventional business loans. Trucking companies often use these flexible loans for a number of purposes. They are attractive because they provide access to capital with lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms. Trucking companies typically use SBA loans to finance equipment purchases, cover operating expenses, or expand the business.

Fleet Financing

This loan, designed explicitly for commercial truckers, is used to finance the purchase of a fleet of vehicles, but owners can also use them to cover operating expenses. Fleet financing is often attractive because it allows the borrower to purchase multiple vehicles at once and access funds quickly. The drawback is that this loan will likely be for a lot of money, and paying it back will come with a hefty price.

Merchant Cash Advance

A merchant cash advance is a short-term loan designed to provide businesses quick access to capital. This type of loan is often used to cover operating expenses, such as fuel, maintenance, or repairs. The loan is repaid on a daily or weekly basis, typically with a portion of the borrower’s daily sales. It is worth noting that this kind of financing can often carry very high annual percentage rates.

All of the varied types of loans for financing mentioned prove that it can be challenging to determine which is the right way to go. It’s important to take the time to research these options and also to compare interest rates and repayment terms.

How to Use Trucking Business Loans

One of the benefits of trucking business loans is the variety of expenses you can cover with the money. Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Expanding your fleet or operation: This is a big step, but it can ultimately have a bigger payoff.
  • Purchasing commercial trucks and equipment: An entire segment of equipment financing focuses on financing semis, including leases with buyout clauses specifically geared toward long- and short-haul vehicles.
  • Performing maintenance: While not one of the more enthralling ways to use a loan, it might be one of the most practical. Maintenance has become a costly part of the business. But it could become even more expensive if you don’t keep the equipment in good working order. 
  • Hiring additional drivers: If you’re experiencing a sudden surge in demand, a loan can be a way to bring on extra help quickly.
  • Save on inventory purchases: Loans can be a convenient way to make economy-of-scale purchases.
  • Invest in trucking technology: This may not be the area that first comes to mind when thinking of what to get a loan for, but technology is fast becoming as vital a part of logistics as is a semi-truck. Staying up-to-date with technology that makes your business more efficient takes investment.

With so many assets requiring loan financing, it’s important to remember to use the loans wisely and follow a budget. Doing so will help ensure that you can make all payments on time.

Trucking Business Loans FAQ

With trucking business loans, there is a lot of information to absorb, so let’s review some of the above information and touch on a few new areas with some frequently asked questions.

Q: What is a trucking business loan?

A: Trucking business loans are designed explicitly to help trucking businesses finance their operations. Companies use this type of loan to purchase equipment, hire drivers, and cover other business expenses.

How do I qualify for a trucking business loan?

To qualify for a trucking business loan, you must have a good credit score, a strong business plan, and a good track record of managing your business finances. You may also need additional collateral, such as equipment or trucks, to secure the loan.

What are the terms of a trucking business loan?

The terms of a trucking business loan will vary depending on the lender and the specific loan. Generally, loan terms will include the loan amount, the interest rate, the repayment period, and any fees associated with the loan.

What are the benefits of a trucking business loan?

A trucking business loan can provide the funds you need to purchase equipment, hire drivers, and cover other business expenses. Additionally, a trucking business loan can help you better manage your cash flow, as loan payments are typically spread out over a period of time.

What are the risks of a trucking business loan?

The primary risk associated with a trucking business loan is that you may be unable to repay the loan on time. If you fail to make payments, you may be subject to late fees, higher interest rates, or even foreclosure. Additionally, if you use the loan to purchase equipment, you may be at risk of having to pay for repairs or replacements if the equipment breaks down.

How Finloc 2000 Can Help  

With 45 years of experience and a wide range of financing options, Finloc 2000 knows more than its fair share about trucking business loans. Let’s look at two routes you can take with their help to lift your business to the next level:  

  • Equipment loans: With a loan, you’ll make scheduled payments toward the principal balance and interest. Once all payments have been made, the equipment is yours. This loan type is the No. 1 option if you plan to keep your equipment for many years.
  • Equipment leases: When you lease equipment, you’re essentially renting from the lender. You make payments each month to be able to use the equipment. Once your lease is over, you’ll return the equipment and can upgrade to the latest model. In some cases, you may be able to pay the remaining balance if you want to own the equipment outright. With leases, monthly payments may be more affordable, and it’s possible to find leases that don’t require a down payment. However, the total cost of the lease typically winds up being more expensive than loans due to higher interest rates.

Let Finloc 2000’s Experts Help Pave the Way to Greater Success   

There almost always is a point that defines whether a trucking business continues as is or seeks to reach a new, higher level. More than likely, that move forward comes with the help of a trucking business loan.

As this detailed look at trucking business loans has shown, you have a lot of choices for the financing you need. You also have many options in what company you want to provide financial assistance.

The experienced staff at Finloc 2000 lives and breathes transportation equipment finance. With speed and efficiency on their minds, the Finloc 2000 staff is intent on providing you with plenty of financing options and helping you select the best option. To learn more about Finloc 2000, check out our website and schedule a call today that sets you on your way to a bigger future.