Loans for Gas Stations: What Are Your Options?

2015-04-25

Jeffrey Bumbales

Securing loans for gas stations can be much more difficult to complete than other types of small business loans. There are challenges specific to the nature of this business that you will have to overcome.

Your choice of lenders will be more limited than with other types of businesses. Those potential lenders who serve this type of borrower will be concerned with environmental issues that may impact the business. The very nature of this business has perceived environmental risks that are not present in many other types of commercial endeavors. Also, this type of property is usually limited to a single use, a gas station, and this impacts its perceived value when it comes to recouping funds if the business fails.

 

There are other challenges to be aware of:

  • Because many gas and convenience store customers pay for their purchases in cash, it may be difficult to fully document and prove your total income. You will probably have to rely extensively on your tax returns in order to qualify.
  • Traditional banks typically will decline a loan if your business records demonstrate decreasing sales, low cash flow, or if you lack collateral or a significant amount of managerial experience.
  • Your credit score is an important aspect of qualifying for a traditional loan, so if you have faced financial business challenges, it may impact your approval.
  • Traditional bank loans will typically be for a term of 20 years and carry a balloon payment clause at the 5 year mark or the half-way point (year 10) of the loan. Having a balloon payment may mean you will have to refinance the loan before its paid off and deal with another round of associated closing costs.
  • If your business is new or a start-up, approval can be almost impossible to get. According to Foxbusiness.com, many banks turn away requests for a start-up loan because they require three years of business financial data to be provided.

 

Loans for gas stations: Looking outside the bank

There are a couple of alternatives in lending that can make the loan process progress smoothly and get you your desired results. In this case it might be best to look to innovative gas station loans that better fit your business needs.

 

Small Business Association (SBA)

The SBA has specific programs set up for gas station loans, and they allow a high level of financing when it comes to your collateral. A 90% loan to value (90 percent of the value of your property) is possible versus 70% or less with traditional bank sources.

  • A down-side to an SBA loan, according to forbes.com, is that if time is of the essence for you to get cash in hand, you may be out of luck. An SBA loan can take up to 90 days or more to put into place and because they are a government backed program, they are document intensive. Your credit, resume, business plan and even your skills and ability to manage your business may also be scrutinized in the decision process for the loan.

 

Alternative Lenders

There are alternatives to the challenging conditions involved in obtaining a typical gas station loan. These types of alternative lenders look more at your business potential than any perceived risk involved in this type of business loan. They offer several funding options including gas station loans that can provide more flexibility and ease than banks or the SBA.

As a borrower you should look to a lender that not only can provide the financing you need, but also offers other added loan products and services to help your business be more profitable now and in the future.

  • Alternative lenders offer loans for gas stations and understand the nature of your business. They realize a bulk of your sales is paid with cash and work with you to get you through the simple application process.
  • They typically offer a faster application process. Interest rates may be slightly higher than a bank, but you stand a greater chance of approval.
  • Gas station loans through alternative lenders typically take less time and the application and approval process may be easier for you to successfully navigate.
  • Alternative lenders tend to look more at your business potential than your credit score or history.

 

Conclusion

When seeking loans for gas stations, it is important to know the challenges you may face and how to find a lender that will work with you to get you approved for the funding needed. To learn more about these loan options, contact Credibly today!

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