How Do I Finance the Business?
Owning a Steamatic restoration and cleaning franchise is easier than you think
The total investment for owning a Steamatic franchise is about $137,050. Most Steamatic franchise owners use about $75,000 of their own money and either take out a business loan for the difference or lease trucks and equipment to make the ramp-up more affordable.
As you begin to explore your options, here are some of the most popular financing avenues to consider:
1. Home equity loans
If you’ve owned a home for many years, there’s a good chance you can get a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity installment loan (HEIL) to finance your new business.
Advantages: They usually have a very low interest rate; they are highly flexible and sometimes have no specific repayment schedule; and they don’t require a lot of documentation, such as a formal business plan or an accounting of how the funds will be used. This provides more flexibility for your business.
Things you should know: You’ll need to show enough income to repay the loan through your existing sources of income — your projected earnings as a franchise owner won’t count when the lender calculates your ability to repay. A real estate appraisal will be required to establish your home’s value.
2. Leverage retirement funds tax-free and penalty-free
If you have a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA), it can be converted into a self-directed IRA to fund your business. This financing option became extremely popular during the recession, when depressed real estate prices eliminated home equity loans as an option for many franchise buyers.
Advantages: Once you set up a self-directed IRA, you can tap into your retirement funds without paying penalties. Since it’s your money, not the bank’s, you don’t have to worry about a long loan-approval process. As your business succeeds, you make payments back into your retirement account without having to pay interest to a bank. This option also allows you to keep cash in your bank accounts to be available for starting and growing your business.
Things you should know: Your business becomes your retirement plan, which brings risks and rewards. You should be confident that you can beat the stock market by building the value of your business, as well as by avoiding interest payments on a loan.
3. SBA loans
U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) lending has made a strong comeback as the economy has improved, and it is much easier to obtain an SBA loan than it was a few years ago. These are government-backed loans at low-market rates, which eliminates most of the risk for banks.
Advantages: You can finance a percentage of the cost of your business, which allows you to conserve cash; the interest rates tend to be fairly low; there is no prepayment penalty; and you can obtain better loan terms once you have a proven track record.
Things you should know: It can take three months or more to obtain an SBA loan, and the documentation process is extensive. The loan also requires 100% collateral. If most of your collateral comes from home equity, you may want to consider a home equity loan instead.
4. Friends and family
You may have friends or relatives who are willing to invest in your success.
Advantages: They know you, they are typically flexible on repayment terms and they may have expertise that they can offer your business. They may not require collateral.
Things you should know: If the business doesn’t meet expectations, it may strain your relationships. Family and friends may also seek equity in exchange for their investment, which would create a partnership arrangement.
Partnerships can allow two or more people to combine their resources to purchase a Steamatic franchise. If partners complement one another’s skill sets and add value to the business, it can be a great arrangement.
Advantages: You can split management and leadership duties, which gives you greater capacity and flexibility. Since you have multiple people to oversee operations and marketing, you may be able to grow faster.
Things you should know: Partners must have clear guidelines for who handles what and how profits are divided. In addition, to get the most out of your partnership and avoid disputes, clear communication and a shared commitment to the business are essential.