Five Options for Financing a Government Contract
By Yolanda Cowart | July 31, 2017
Congratulations on procuring a contract with the government. You’ve taken a huge step in growing your small business and positioning yourself for success. Do you find yourself wondering, now what? The next step is to create, build, or manufacture your product or service for prompt delivery. Most small business owners are so focused on securing a government contract that they might overlook the financial aspect of product delivery. Since most government agencies pay invoices between 30 and 60 days from receipt, that can leave you cash strapped or struggling to complete your initial order.
Don’t let the demands of those hard-won government contracts create financial problems. If you have the financial resources, plan ahead by setting aside the ready cash you need for up front overhead and expenses while you await payment from the government. If you don’t have the necessary financial reserves, you can still plan ahead by using one of these five methods to finance your contract and keep your business running until you procure payment.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is more famous for its loans than for the other services it offers. If you qualified for a government contract, you’re very likely to qualify for one of the many SBA loan products available. They have a variety of loan products that vary depending on the size of your company, the length of your loan, and the government certification you hold.
- Asset-Based Lending
Asset-based lending allows you to obtain financing for your accounts receivables. Available as lines of credit or regular term loans, asset-based financing may work for your company if you cannot secure a traditional bank loan.
- Sales Performance Factoring
Sales Performance Factoring is a low-cost way to use your existing sales history to finance future purchases and free up ready cash. Based on your monthly credit card sales, finance companies will make a loan to you and take an agreed upon amount from your credit card sales each month.
Micro lenders specialize in loans for startups and entrepreneurs in a growth pattern. These loans are typically capped at $50,000. If that amount can help you get your deliverable out on time, it may be just what you need. You might also consider combining this type of loan and another method of financing to meet the demands of your contract. Factoring is also available for companies that secure that first government contract. However, this type of factoring has a high cost and should only be considered as a last resort.
- Inventory Financing
An assessment of your existing inventory may qualify you for this type of loan. It can feel intrusive as inventory stock is tracked and traced by the lending agency and because inventory will be carefully monitored once the financing is in place. It can also be an expensive method of financing so use it with caution.
These five methods of financing can be found locally in banks and non-traditional lending institutions. SBA and micro loans can be found in banking institutions and some non-traditional lending organizations such as a Community Development Corporations (CDCs). While some banks will provide invoice factoring and asset-based lending to its customers, sales performance factoring and accounts receivable factoring is usually a lending option found in companies that specialize in factoring-based transactions. Building a relationship with your banker and representatives from these organizations and corporations will go a long way in educating you about the types of loan options available to small businesses with government contracts.
Government agencies routinely work with small businesses. Their contracts and procurements can even the playing field and help many small businesses compete with larger corporations. These financing methods can help your business fulfill your government contract and keep your head above water while you wait the four to eight weeks it usually takes to secure payment. You’ve done the hard work to win the contract. Now grab the financial reserves you need to deliver it.
Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development
Specialty: Workforce Development, Human Resources, Organizational Training
Yolanda Cowart has more than 20 years of experience in public service at the local and municipal levels. Early in her career, she worked as a human resources and relations professional while serving as a liaison to the business community and advocacy groups. Her prior experience includes being a human relations specialist for Lee County Government, and an equal opportunity director for the City of Fort Lauderdale. Her work experience combines human resources with hands-on leadership in workforce development, equal employment opportunity, organizational training, and supplier diversity principles. Cowart earned a bachelor’s in political science and history from Florida State University.