All businesses in general will experience busy times and down times throughout the year. And to handle these minor fluctuations, it’s important for business owners to have a system in place for managing cash flow at the slower times.
Businesses that operate in direct connection with the calendar year or seasons will likely experience fluctuations that are far more significant than other businesses.
For example, this might include businesses associated with summer or winter retail, festive holidays and farmers who produce the bulk of their income during harvest time.
Increased seasonal income might balance out over the whole year, but unfortunately for these businesses their outgoings do not always coincide with their incomings at other times of the year. This creates an enormous cash flow issue for managers and owners.
- They need to keep paying their employees all year round.
- They need to schedule and pay for yearly maintenance during the off season.
- Stock needs to be ordered and paid for before the busy period starts.
- Farmers need to pay for planting and watering crops and feeding livestock.
If you’re a seasonal business owner or manager, do you know how to maintain the appropriate cash flow to see you through the lean times? Have a chat with your finance broker about the options available to you.
In the meantime here are a couple of loan repayment options for seasonal businesses.
Short Term Business Loan
A Short Term Business Loan offers loan repayment options for seasonal businesses. While they do incur slightly higher interest rates than other loans, they also have far shorter repayment periods. This is a quick turnaround loan, and offers some significant perks to business owners.
- They have fast application times, paying out in just a few days from approval.
- They are a cost effective solution as the loan terms are short.
- Offer repayment flexibility.
- Can be a security free loan option for some businesses.
Here’s an example of how a short term business loan works for one seasonal business.
Short Term Business Loan Example: Carol’s Festive Decorations
Carol owns a large warehouse retail store, specialising in festive decorations, gifts and paraphernalia for Christmas, Halloween and Easter. The store is only open from August to December and for one month over the Easter period each year.
During off-peak times, Carol configures the store for the next festive holiday. This involves paying staff to plan and setup displays, ordering and sourcing new stock, filling her store to handle the coming demand, and conducting routine maintenance on her store and safety checks.
CASH FLOW SOLUTION
When Carol closes after the Christmas season, she accesses a Short-Term Business Loan. This is an unsecured loan with a flexible repayment schedule.
Because of the repayment flexibility, Carol can continue to innovate, pay staff, order stock, and not worry about how she will pay for it all while the store is closed.
When the store is open for business, her outgoings reduce and her earnings go up. She can now dedicate more of her incomings to paying out the loan before the end of the season. And then the process begins again.
This solution allows Carol to keep growing her business, and because it is short term, she hasn’t had to leverage any of her property to secure the loan. Carol’s good credit history, and excellent business revenue during the busy season means the bank is able to offer her a flexible repayment plan.
Chattel Mortgage Loan
When a seasonal business is buying equipment, a chattel mortgage offers loan repayment options for seasonal businesses allowing repayments to be structured to suit a business’ payment cycle.
A chattel mortgage allows businesses to purchase and own the equipment they need to operate their business. The ‘chattel’ provides security for the loan and the business makes agreed repayments until the end of the term of the loan. You can also choose to have a residual or balloon payment at the end of the loan period to reduce the cost of the regular repayments.
Chattel Mortgage Loan – Examples
- Barry has a small tourism business offering minibus tours to areas of interest within a few hours reach of Perth, WA. Although he operates throughout the year, business is very slow in winter and cash flow is an issue. Barry was able to structure a chattel mortgage for a new minibus with repayments over 9 months per calendar year, with no repayments for the 3 winter months.
- Julie is a third generation wheat farmer, and is also busy trialing alternative crops to diversify her harvest. This has required her to invest in additional crop equipment. She doesn’t have enough frequent income coming in to meet monthly loan repayments on top of her other commitments, nor the time to worry about loan repayments. So, her chattel mortgage is structured to make one annual repayment in February each year to coincide with harvest income.
- Building contractor Mike has secured enough building contracts on his books for the next couple of years, which has required him to put on more contractors and buy more building equipment. He was able to structure his loan for new equipment with accelerated repayments for the first two years of the finance term to match his contract income, and build equity into the equipment.
Seasonal businesses are not doomed to failure, despite how it might appear from the outside. Your finance broker will be able to find you a lender that understands the nature of seasonal cash flow and your unique business personality.
The right lender will have loan repayment options for seasonal businesses, and will be able to look at fluctuating business practises holistically to find a solution to finance your continual growth.