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How to Finance an Automobile for Your Small Business

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Learn how to find the best auto loan for your small business needs.

  • If you are interested in getting an auto loan for your small business, you should first beware of the interest rate on the loan. Next, you'll want to calculate the exact amount you will repay and how much the monthly payments will be.
  • If you have less than perfect credit, seek out online lenders. Auto loans can be a way to rebuild your credit, provided you make all of the payments on time. Additionally, pay the loan off as quickly as possible.
  • To secure an auto loan for your business, you'll need to put together some documentation and determine what you can afford as a down payment. You may be asked to provide a personal guarantee for the loan.

Banks and other lending institutions, as well as auto companies, work to take the confusion out of auto financing in the United States. With today's rapid systems of communication, it's possible to purchase a car in just a matter of hours. You no longer need to go to your bank, fill out balance sheets and wait days or even weeks for approval before you purchase a vehicle for your small business. Many banks and auto loan agencies offer instant price quotes for loans based on your financial situation.

There are many options for financing an automobile. Before making your purchase, do your due diligence with automobile lenders. As part of your research, you should

1. Know the interest rate on the loan.

2. Figure out the exact amount of the total loan. The auto finance industry requires total disclosure, so be read all the fine print before you sign anything.

3. Calculate how much your monthly payments will be.

You can get price quotes from a number of lenders in a matter of minutes. If you do your research before you go car shopping, you can get an idea of what your finance costs are going to be. You are also in a better position to know if the loan offered by the car dealer is a good deal for you.

Use banks for financing a work vehicle.

This is the traditional method of getting an auto loan, and it's still popular. Contact your local bank, credit union or one of the online banking institutions to secure a loan that's advantageous for you.

Can you get an auto loan if you have bad credit?

Purchasing a preowned car with financing may be an option you should explore. Many people use auto financing as a way to build or rebuild credit. To do this successfully, make your payments on time. Along with paying off the auto loan as quickly as possible, you should also work to pay off credit cards with high balances.

Get financing through your car dealer.

Most people who buy a car through a dealership will opt for the convenience of securing a loan through banks associated with the car dealer. If your credit is good, the dealer's rates are likely to be competitive. If it's less than sterling, you can expect high interest rates.

  • Your credit rating is the key to getting a good interest rate. Do everything you can to make sure your credit rating is good. View your credit rating periodically so you can work to correct any problems.

  • If you decide to get an auto loan from a lender other than one available from the car dealer, don't tell the dealer that until you're done negotiating the price of the car.

What should you do to prepare before applying for an auto loan from a bank?

If you are a small business seeking an auto loan from a bank, you need to protect yourself and your business.  Although owning a business does provide you with a level of protection, this does not mean that you will be totally unaccountable for the financial aspects of your business.

Before approaching your bank

  • Prepare your records. In order to apply for an auto loan, you must provide documentation of both your business and personal records. This will allow you to demonstrate your need for a loan, while also showing that you are a minimal risk for repaying the loan.

  • Get your down payment. Once you have prepared your records, you need to decide how much you can afford for a down payment. Don't forget to factor in the type of vehicle you want, as well as the costs associated with maintaining the vehicle. Given that down payments are not always mandatory, you should be mindful of asking whether a down payment is required and what the payment is being applied to.

  • Put together the proper documentation. In addition, according to Value Penguin, to your personal and business records, you may need to provide the lender with copies of tax returns, bank statements, your employer identification number, cash flow statements and more.

  • Be prepared that you might have to personally guarantee the loan. According to Biz 2 Credit, personal guarantees assert that should the business fail to repay the loan, you will personally be held liable. However, not all lenders require a personal guarantee. Ask the lender you're considering working with if they will require a personal guarantee, and make sure you are financially prepared to take on the loan if your business cannot repay it.
Image Credit: eggeeggjiew / Getty Images
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