Large Business Loans: Know Your Options
Large business loans offer $500,000 or more in financing. Small business owners use large business loans for various reasons, from financing new equipment and real estate to acquiring another business. Repayment terms can extend several years and are available from traditional banks and online lenders.
Lenders typically pair higher loan amounts with stricter requirements, such as requiring collateral and three years in business. With more money at stake, lenders want to work with seasoned business owners that demonstrate the ability to repay a large loan amount.
4 types of large business loans
Some of the highest loan amounts are available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. Traditional banks and online lenders also offer various loan products in ranging amounts.
The SBA 7(a) program is a popular general-purpose loan of up to $5 million that can be used on real estate, machinery, seasonal expenses and more. The SBA does not issue the loans directly — rather, SBA-approved banks and other financial institutions facilitate the loan application process. SBA loans are guaranteed by the SBA, which will reimburse the lender for a percentage of the loan amount in case you default. Since this reduces lender risk, you can improve your chances of getting approved.
The SBA places a maximum cap on interest rates, which helps keep costs affordable. The maximum is 11.25% for fixed rates or 8% for variable rates. Repayment terms can extend up to 25 years, depending on how the loan proceeds are used.
To qualify for an SBA loan, your company must meet the SBA’s industry-based small business size standards that rely on your average annual receipts or average number of employees. A minimum FICO Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) of 155 may apply, too. The SBSS is based on multiple factors, including your credit bureau data and financials.
Interest rate maximum caps help keep loan costs affordable
SBA guarantees can boost your chances of approval
SBA resource centers are available for business assistance and coaching
Down payments of up to 20% may apply
Time to funding may take over two months
Low-credit applicants may struggle to qualify
Commercial real estate loans
Commercial real estate loans help business owners purchase commercial property, such as an office building, hotel or shopping center. These loans, on average, cover 60% to 90% of the property value in amounts up to $1 million and more. Private lenders, banks and the SBA offer various commercial real estate financing products.
Like a residential mortgage, a commercial mortgage loan can carry long terms and is secured by the property being purchased. Other types include commercial bridge loans and commercial hard money loans — ideal for business owners that need quick financing. A commercial bridge loan, for example, can be used to compete with potential bidders that may be paying in cash for a physical storefront.
Commercial real estate loans are also available through the SBA CDC/504 loan program. Loan amounts are available up to $5.5 million to be used for constructing or renovating facilities, landscaping, creating parking lots and more. Qualifying for a CDC/504 loan includes meeting net worth and net income requirements. You may also have to create or retain one job for every $75,000 borrowed.
Down payments can be as low as 10%
Commercial bridge loans offer fast funding
Lower eligibility requirements for commercial bridge and hard money loans
Short-term commercial real estate loans typically carry high interest rates
Traditional commercial mortgage loans may carry stricter eligibility requirements
Use of proceeds limited to commercial real estate-related expenses
Secured business loans
A secured business loan is a loan that is backed by collateral. If you default on your loan, the lender can seize your collateral to recoup their loss. Examples of collateral include real estate, equipment and inventory.
Secured business loans can be for general purposes, like the SBA 7(a) loan, or specialized ones — equipment loans, for example, are used to finance equipment, like industrial machinery and computers. Loan amounts can extend from $500,000 to over $5 million depending on the loan product.
Business owners might opt for a secured business loan to improve their odds of getting approved. Since collateral reduces the lender’s risk, lenders may extend financing even if you do not meet credit or revenue requirements. Secured business loans also tend to feature higher amounts and lower interest rates than unsecured business loans.
Secured loans typically carry lower interest rates than unsecured loans
Secured business loans tend to carry higher amounts than unsecured loans
Low-credit applicants are more likely to secure financing
If you default on the loan, you risk losing valuable assets
Lenders may collateralize personal assets, such as your home
Collateral appraisals can extend the timeline for getting funded
Accounts receivable financing
Accounts receivable financing, or AR financing, allows you to borrow against the value of your unpaid invoices, typically up to $5 million. Since the loan is secured by your invoices — money your business has already made — the risk is lower for both you and the lender.
Example of how AR financing works: A restaurant orders $10,000 in supplies from a wholesaler and has 30 days to issue payment upon receipt of the order. The $10,000 is now part of the wholesaler’s accounts receivable. Using the invoice as collateral, the wholesaler can secure invoice financing to access capital, minus the lender’s fees.
AR financing is ideal for business owners that want to access capital from unpaid invoices without waiting for customers to issue payment. Instead of expending resources on collecting invoices, you can use that capital to invest back into your company.
Access capital by leveraging your unpaid invoices
Lenders typically don’t require additional collateral beyond your unpaid invoices
The risk is lower since you’re borrowing against money already owed to you
Credit history and qualified invoices are strong indicators of getting approved
You may need to pay the invoice if the customer defaults
Excessive invoice defaults can compromise your relationship with the lender
How to get a large business loan
Learning how to get a big business loan starts with understanding your qualifications, such as your credit score, time in business and annual revenue. Large business loan requirements tend to be more strict than smaller loans and will likely require collateral. With larger loan amounts, good internal reporting is essential — be sure to keep good financial records, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets.
Time in business
Lenders for large business loans prefer working with seasoned entrepreneurs — typically those whose businesses have been generating revenue for at least three years. Startups and inexperienced entrepreneurs may struggle with qualifying for larger loans, as lenders may perceive younger businesses as high risk since they may not possess any history of repaying debt.
Lenders will generally want to see your business generating at least $350,000 in annual revenue. Your annual revenue and cash flow prove to the lender your ability to repay a large loan. When applying for a loan, be prepared to supply the lender with your business’s financial records, including monthly revenue, cash flow and debt-to-income ratios.
Business owners with a minimum credit score of 680 are more likely to qualify for a large business loan. However, lenders may approve low-credit business owners if the loan is entirely secured by collateral, says Ken Alozie, a Washington D.C.-based SCORE mentor. SCORE is an SBA-affiliated nonprofit organization that offers mentorship and resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Collateral requirements are more likely to apply for larger loans — SBA 7(a) lenders, for example, require collateral for a $500,000 loan but not for a $25,000 loan. Collateral can be the asset the loan is financing, such as machinery on an equipment loan or the property on a commercial mortgage loan. You can also secure the loan with other types of assets, such as vehicles, equipment, bank accounts, accounts receivable and investments.
Frequently asked questions
What is considered a large business loan?
A large business loan is a commercial loan of $500,000 or more.
How do I qualify for a large business loan?
Typically, business owners should have a 680 minimum credit score. The business should be generating revenue for at least three years, bringing in an average of $350,000 of annual revenue. Collateral will also likely be necessary to secure the loan.
Can I get a large business loan with no collateral?
While unlikely, it is possible to obtain an unsecured large business loan. Business owners can generally qualify for amounts of around 10% of their annual revenue but should expect higher interest rates, according to Alozie.
Where can I find large business loans?
National and foreign banks issue larger loan amounts, on average, than small national and regional banks. If you’re applying for an SBA loan, you can use the SBA Lender Match Tool to locate an SBA-approved lender near you. Large business loans are also available through online lenders.