Where to Find Business Loans in Florida for Your Company
If your company needs a business loan, Florida offers you plenty of choices. But with many different types of financing available from a variety of lenders, which option is right for you?
In this article, we cover:
Standard business lending options for companies in the state of Florida
Business loan options if securing funds is a challenge
Further business finance options you might want to consider
How to spot SBA loan scammers
Your Options for Standard Business Loans in Florida
The five main standard commercial loan options available to businesses in Florida are as follows.
1. SBA 504 Loan Program
Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA 504 loans are one of the two most frequently applied for types of SBA loans.
SBA 504 loans are like a joint venture between the SBA and private-sector financial institutions. If you have a project that costs $500,000, the SBA provides 50% of the loan amount and the private lender 40%. You’ll need to have the remaining 10% in cash as a deposit, similar to when you take out a mortgage.
You can apply for an SBA 504 loan to finance the following:
Commercial real estate projects — subject to your business occupying at least 51% of the space in the property to qualify for the loan
Equipment and machinery purchases — the items you buy must have a working life of at least 10 years
Refinancing existing debts — pay off a current loan with an SBA 504 loan to take advantage of a 504 loan’s lower interest rates
To be eligible, you must turn over $5 million a year or less, and your company’s tangible net worth must not be more than $15 million. Your business plan must also demonstrate that your project will create or preserve one job for every $75,000 borrowed ($120,000 for manufacturers).
The maximum loan amount is $5 million, which you can repay over 25 years (or 10 years if you’re borrowing to buy equipment and machinery).
To apply, you need to first contact your local certified development company (CDC). You can find a list of them here at SBA.gov.
2. SBA 7(a) Loan Program
There are two 7(a) loan options, again offered through a partnership by the SBA and a private lender:
The standard 7(a) loan offering up to $5 million
A 7(a) small loan offering up to $350,000
You don’t have to pledge any collateral for loans up to $25,000. Otherwise, collateral requirements are:
The “maximum extent possible” for standard 7(a) loans
The same level of collateral that a private lender would ask for on a standard commercial agreement for 7(a) small loans
In some circumstances, the SBA may guarantee a loan if it’s a strong application and lack of collateral is the only reason a loan could not otherwise be made. You’ll also have to sign a personal guarantee in many cases.
Maximum repayment periods also vary depending on the reason for the loan, but they generally are:
Real estate loans (25 years)
Equipment and inventory (10 years)
Working capital (up to 10 years)
3. SBA Microloans
You can borrow up to $50,000 with an SBA microloan for up to six years.
Interest rates are set at between 8% and 13% and you have to have been in business for two years before you apply. You can use microloans for working capital and the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, equipment and machinery. You can’t use a microloan to pay off debt or purchase real estate.
You’ll need to provide collateral to the private lender involved in the deal and sign a personal guarantee.
4. Local Bank Loans
The SBA is not the only option available to you if you want a business loan. Florida has many different business-oriented banks that you could apply for financing with.
Generally, you’re more likely to be approved if you’re an existing customer of the bank. If you do apply for a loan at a bank that you don’t have your checking account with, they may make moving your account a condition of approval.
5. Florida Credit Union Loans
In addition to brokering SBA loans, Florida Credit Union makes the following available to its members:
Machinery and equipment financing: Term loans for new and used equipment, including but not limited to computers, office electronics, farm machinery, and construction equipment.
Car, truck, or van loans: Get up to 100% financing of the purchase price.
It’s always worth shopping around for the best deals and the lowest interest rates. There are currently 191 credit unions in the Sunshine State so you have plenty of choices.
Small Business and Minority Loan Programs in Florida
Even the lower eligibility requirement of the SBA loan programs can be too much for certain types of companies. If this is the case for you, other Florida small business financing options include:
Black Business Loan Program: This business development agency provides investment into, loan guarantees for, and term loans to black business enterprises when mainstream lenders can’t meet their financing needs.
LiftFund: This non-profit organization provides small business loans for women and minority entrepreneurs and startups in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and throughout Florida.
Microfinance Guarantee Program: You can borrow between $50,000 and $250,000 with this program if you have 25 or fewer members of staff and gross revenues of less than $1.5 million per annum in the last two years. The program is run by Enterprise Florida based in Tallahassee, who also can help with startup costs.
Prospera: Prospera is an organization that provides access to capital, grants, consulting, training, and other business resources to Hispanic-owned businesses.
Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund: This fund with up to $40 million available, provided by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO), is targeted at helping existing companies become more resilient as well as stimulating wider economic development within the state.
Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Program: Funds from this FDEO program can be used to pay for equipment, land, construction projects (including building improvement), utility-related projects, and more. You can’t use it to pay staff or for administrative purposes, however.
State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI): Access a range of business financing options with this program, including the provision of loan guarantees to private lenders and introductions to venture capitalists. They also offer an assistance program to make up for shortfalls in collateral when applying for business loans.
Urban League of Broward County: Among other activities, this organization provides financing solutions, including small business loans, to underserved communities in Florida.
Other Financing Options You Could Consider
Three other options you could consider when looking for business financing are:
Business credit cards: Many banks and independent financial institutions offer business credit cards. They are often easier to get than business loans in Florida, but the interest rates you’ll pay are generally higher than a loan. The amount you can borrow on credit cards is also likely to be lower than a loan.
Invoice factoring: Invoice finance companies pay you up to 90% of the value of an invoice within 24 hours of your sending one out to a customer. If you’re having cash flow issues because of slow payment, this may be a suitable option for you.
Secured loans: Use the equity in your home or commercial property to borrow money. You can usually borrow more at lower interest rates when you offer collateral. If you only need short-term financing, bridge loans are an option, but they can be more expensive. Please remember though that, if you don’t keep up repayments, your lender may take possession of your property.
Small Business Owners — Beware of Scams
The SBA is a major local provider of business loans. Florida entrepreneurs should, however, be careful because scammers pretending to work for the SBA are stealing data and money from Floridian business owners.
Be suspicious if someone claiming to represent the SBA asks for your bank details early on in the process or they ask you to pay a fee to submit your application. If you’re worried, call the SBA's Office of Inspector General at 800-767-0385 or submit a complaint online or by mail.
Alternatives to Business Loans in Florida From Backd
Backd offers two more options for companies looking for business loans in Florida — business lines of credit and working capital advances.
Borrow between $10,000 and $750,000 with a business line of credit or between $10,000 and $2 million with a working capital advance.
Apply in just three minutes today to get the financing you need as soon as tomorrow.