Whether you run a coffee shop and need to upgrade your espresso machine or need a hand to manage your cash flow a business loan may be just the thing your small business needs. . But there can be a lot questions that make getting a Melbourne business loan a bit confusing. So we provided some answers to make the whole process that much easier.
Am I eligible for a business loan?
On the most fundamental level, to be eligible for almost any business loan, you need to: be an Australian resident, at least 18 years old and already have a business with an ABN.
Other than that lenders will assess how risky you are as a borrower by looking at things like your credit history, turnover and business plan. To be eligible, they’ll have to have a reasonable belief that you can pay the loan back..
Some loans may also have more specific criteria, such as needing to be in a specific industry or using the loan for a certain purpose, such as buying equipment.
What types of business loans are available in Melbourne?
There’s lots of different types of business loans, which vary in small ways. For the most part you’re likely to find these loans break down into three main types:
- Instalment loans: These are the most common type of loan around and the type you’re probably the most familiar with. You get the loan as a lump sum, then each week, month, or quarter you make a repayment on the loan which covers both interest and the principal loan amount.
- Line-of-credit: Line of credit loans are a staple in the business world and are most commonly used for stabilising cash-flow. They’re different from instalment loans in that instead of a lump some, you can drawdown the amount you need, when you need it, up to a certain amount, and will only be charged interest on how much you borrowed, after you borrowed it. Often you’ll be able to continuously borrow up to the agreed amount; meaning you can borrow, repay the loan, then borrow again.
- Peer-to-peer: An alternative to a traditional bank loan, peer-to-peer loans work by listing your loan in an online marketplace of potential investors. Most peer-to-peer lenders offer both instalment and line of credit loans, but keep in mind they’re often online-only, so you’ll need to be comfortable managing your loan from your laptop.
What should I look for in a business loan?
Every business is unique and that means the loan you choose will be specific to your needs, wants and business plan. With that said, there are a couple of features that are worth keeping in mind, no matter what loan you’re looking for.
- Low interest rates: When it comes to business loans low interest rates are nearly always the aim of the game. The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll have to pay in the long run, usually. So spending some time searching for a low rate loan is likely to pay off in the end.
- Minimal / low fees: Much like a low interest rate, having low or no fees helps keep your loan costs as low as possible. Keep in mind that some fees are guaranteed, such as application or establishment fees, while others, like an early repayment penalty, may not affect you at all.
- The right loan period: Getting a Melbourne business loan for the correct time period can save you big time. A loan term that’s too long might mean you end up paying more interest than needed, while a short term loan will usually mean higher repayments, which will impact your monthly budget.
What business loan fees will I need to budget for?
Almost all business loans come with at least some fees and it helps to be prepared and plan for them in your budget up front. Here’s a quick list of the most common ones to expect and look for:
- Up front fees: At the very start of the loan period you might have to pay a fee to apply for and set up your loan, this will either be a flat fee, or a percentage of your loan.
- Ongoing service fees: Ongoing fees are paid throughout the loan period, usually either monthly, quarterly or annually. Just like up front fees, ongoing service fees will either be a flat rate, or a percentage of your loan.
- Early repayment penalty: Normally, paying back your loan early can save on interest and save you money in the long run. But keep in mind that if you pay the whole thing off early, you may wind up hit with an early repayment fee.
- Drawdown fee: Drawdown fees are associated with line of credit loans. When you access the money that you have available to you, this is called a drawdown and sometimes comes with a fee that is either a percentage of what is borrowed, or a flat rate.
Can I take out a Melbourne business loan without any assets?
Owning a big asset like a brick and mortar store or a house to use as security against your loan isn’t a prerequisite for getting a business loan. Many lenders offer unsecured loans that will let you borrow without any collateral, although keep in mind, secured loans (loans with an asset put up as collateral) usually offer lower rates. So while collateral isn’t necessary, having some can help you keep costs down on your business loan in Melbourne.
How do I start getting a Melbourne business loan?
Ready to apply? The first step on your way to an office upgrade or better cash flow is comparing Melbourne business loans and seeing what loan options fit your needs.
Or, if you want to read some more information to help you find the perfect business loan, you can check out our business loans guides.