Purchase Order Financing
How much are you looking for?
$25,000 – $10,000,000+
1.5% – 3.5%
24 – 48 Hours
What’s on this Page?
- What is Purchase Order Financing?
- Who Can Use Purchase Order Financing?
- PO Financing Advantages
- PO Financing Disadvantages
- How Does Purchase Order Financing Work?
- What Type of Collateral is Used for Purchase Order Financing?
- Steps Involved in Purchase Order Financing
- Purchase Order Financing vs. Invoice Financing
- PO Financing Rates and Fees
- What are the Qualifications for PO Financing?
A lot of businesses often grabs big projects. However, many of them don’t have enough cash on hand to finance those orders or projects. With purchase order financing, they have the chance to add funds to their working capital and take advantage of those opportunities.
Before jumping into the concept and applying for one, here’s a guide to help you navigate through the world of purchase order financing.
What is Purchase Order Financing?
Essentially, PO funding capitalizes on the active purchase orders that a business uses as collateral to secure funding for a loan to fill their purchase orders.
By using this source to boost working capital, a small business can borrow up to 100% of the money or cost needed to fulfill an order the customer places. This offers business owners flexibility when it becomes a challenge to fill active orders which in turn keeps your cash flow stable.
Who Can Use Purchase Order Financing?
A purchase order (PO) is a contract that buyers send which indicates the quantities, prices, and types of products or services they are looking to purchase. These buyers usually order in bulk. However, without the right amount of cash, the suppliers cannot fulfill this order. For that reason, they usually apply for purchase order financing.
This type of funding resource is most commonly used by companies that are rapidly growing and, or not able to fulfill the quantity or size of orders they have committed to. Companies that can take advantage of this financing plan include:
- Start-up businesses
- Start-up businesses
- Businesses with poor credit rating
- Government contractors
- Import and export companies
PO Funding Advantages
Compared to other types of traditional lending options, PO funding is also typically easier to qualify for. This is what makes this option attractive to most business owners. The main advantages associated with it are speed, liquidity, ease of credit (qualifications) requirements, and the funding’s flexibility.
The Speed of Application Approvals
Unlike traditional bank loans, the Purchase Order financing applications require minimal paperwork and you can generally receive the funds within 24 to 48 hours. Once a borrowing company sets up a purchase order funding relationship, they can be confident that once a large order comes in, they can fill the order quickly.
This solution is different from other lending options for the simple reason the purchase order itself serves as collateral that secures the funds. This often speeds up the application and qualification process because the lender often does not have to take as much time with documentation and underwriting.
Once the value of a PO is established, the lender in most cases makes their qualification decision quickly. Once an approval decision is made, funds arrive much quicker than with traditional bank loan products.
Many business owners claim a recurring roadblock that constrains them is a lack of working capital. No business owner ever wants to turn down new orders or growth opportunities. Unfortunately without adequate cash flow, it becomes impossible to meet expenses and fill orders without support.
On the other hand, PO funding for small businesses ensures that capital is available whenever they receive new purchase orders. This allows them to fulfill all of their orders, regardless of the size and date.
In addition to the business’ ability to fill all orders, taking advantage of PO financing will also keep other credit lines and other sources of capital available for future expenses. Instead of using operational cash flow to fill purchase orders, purchase order financing allows you to free up funds to be utilized elsewhere.
With PO funding, lenders are more concerned with the credit rating of your clients rather than your business’. They will examine the credit history of your customers and gauge the level of risk they will assume if your application is approved. This means there’s a high probability you can qualify for PO financing, even if you don’t currently have a strong credit rating.
You need to demonstrate that your clients have a strong history of paying their invoices in a timely manner. The more you can prove that they can fulfill their end of the agreement, the higher your chances for approval.
Compared to other types of loans, PO financing is a more flexible funding option. While the whole concept of it sounds like a business loan arrangement, in reality, it doesn’t exactly qualify as a loan since you’ll be trading your PO’s to fulfill your customer’s orders. Additionally, you can get up to 100% of funding for your purchase orders and pay it back either through a one-time payment or in installments. With purchase order financing, you won’t have to worry about early payment fees, which other financing options don’t offer.
PO Financing Disadvantages
Fees Tend to be Higher
Although you can make one-time payments for the financing and not worry about early payment fees, there are still some fees associated with purchase order financing. They also tend to be higher compared to other loans like SBA or traditional bank loans. While you may not feel the burden of it at first, when you look at it in the long run, the APR can go up to 20% to 75%.
It Doesn’t Guarantee a 100% Financing
Since the lender takes on too much risk in this funding arrangement, they don’t exactly guarantee 100% financing for your purchase orders. In reality, financing companies rarely fund 100% of your purchase orders. Usually, they can only guarantee up to 80%. This means that the company may have to cover the remaining 20% of the total amount of the purchase order.
The Financing Company Pays the Suppliers Directly
Unlike other types of loans, purchase order funding providers don’t give the money to the applying business. Instead, the financing companies pay the suppliers directly. With that, businesses don’t have full control over how they will spend the funding. It’s exclusively reserved to pay for the finished goods that a company’s client has ordered. It won’t help you pay for rent or utilities.
It’s Not Suitable for Long-Term Needs
The main goal of purchase order financing is to address your company’s short-term financial needs, such as fulfilling customer’s orders. The customers are usually given at least 30 to 90 days allowance to pay for their invoices. With that, the arrangement can only last within that time-frame. So, if you’re planning to expand your business, open another location, or purchase an expensive piece of equipment, purchase order financing isn’t the best solution for these needs.
How does Purchase Order Financing work?
First, there is the seller that received the purchase order, followed by the one seeking financial assistance to help fulfill the order. The second party is the customer that placed the order with the first party. The third party is the supplier that the first party purchases goods or services from which enables them to fulfill their customers’ orders. The fourth party is the lender that is providing the working capital used to pay suppliers.
Small businesses of all sizes use purchase orders to balance and maintain their operating cash flow. Without it, they would be unable to support new and existing orders. Filling purchase orders is critical for a business to stay functioning, and PO funding is one way to accomplish this. By taking advantage of this source as well as other lines of credit, a small business can easily fulfill orders.
The process itself consists of seven key steps. A purchase order is received from a customer which contains a breakdown of costs from the supplier. PO is submitted to the lender and the lender pays the supplier. The supplier in turn provides the goods to the customer who then pays the lender, and the lender pays the final balance to the borrower.
Step 1: Receiving a Purchase Order from the Customer
The first step occurs when the borrowing business receives a purchase order from its customers. Every PO financing relationship begins when the borrower determines they need or want financial support to fill their orders. Whether their cash flow cannot support the order, or the business wants to keep funds available for other costs, at some point the borrowing business determines that PO funding can help their business.
Step 2: Supplier Provides Cost Breakdown for Order
Once a purchase order is received from a customer, the next step is to determine what needs to be done to fill the order. Once the order is placed, the borrowing business provides the PO information to their supplier, and the supplier provides a cost breakdown to the borrowing business who details the expenses associated with filling each specific order.
This information is essential when applying for PO financing because this is what determines the number of funds necessary to fill the order.
Step 3: Submit Purchase Order to Lender
Once the amount needed is established from the supplier, the borrowing business can reach out to their lender with a detailed breakdown of the expenses that the loan will cover. The lender typically will need to examine the purchase order details and evaluate the cost break down to determine the eligibility for the borrower’s application.
Step 4: Lender Pays the Supplier
After the lender receives the purchase order along with the cost break down and assuming the borrower qualifies for financing, the lender then pays the supplier. This step is one that is commonly misunderstood. Instead of paying the funds directly to the borrower or directly to the customer, like most other forms of lending, the lender pays the supplier to complete the purchase to the customer.
Step 5: Supplier Delivers the Goods to the Customer
Once the supplier receives payment from the lender, the next step is for the supplier to make the product, ship or deliver the goods, and invoice the customer. PO financing allows more small businesses to fill their customers’ orders by qualifying to have a lender pay the supplier who in turn will complete the order.
The lender makes the payment to the supplier enabling the customer to receive their order, giving the borrower the ability to transfer the cost of filling an order to a lender.
Step 6: Customer Pays the Lender
Once the customer receives their order from the supplier, the next step is for the customer to pay the invoice directly to the lender. Once the customer receives their purchase, they make their invoice payment, which goes directly to the lender.
Step 7: Lender Pays Balance
Once the invoice is paid to the lender by the customer, the borrowing business receives the balance from the lender. Typically, the rate associated with the purchase order agreement will be established by the lender and applied to the cost of filling the order.
It is important to note that the rates are applied to the cost of the order, not the cost of the purchase order. Once the lender receives the invoice payment from the customer, the lender receives their payment via the feed rate and returns the outstanding balance to the borrowing business.
What type of collateral is used for Purchase Order Financing?
Unlike other types of lending services, PO funding is a specific type of lending vehicle that only considers purchase orders or accounts receivable as assets to be used as collateral to secure funding. Most asset-based lending sources also consider inventory, equipment, or real estate as collateral, but this financing option is restricted to the following types of assets:
Purchase orders are the primary asset that most businesses use to secure this kind of funding. PO is a document that is generated by the buyer to authorize a transaction with the seller./p>
PO’s typically outline the terms of the sale, which include the price of the goods or service, the quantity ordered the terms of payment, the shipping date, and delivery details, along with other incidental details associated with the order. Once the purchase order is accepted by the seller, the purchase order itself can be used as collateral when the seller applies for financing.
The LTV (or loan to value ratio) for PO financing agreements is typically between 30% to 40%, but once the goods are delivered or the services are rendered, the purchase order becomes an invoice and the remaining 40-50% of the invoice can be advanced from the lender to the borrowing business.
Accounts Receivable (A/R)
The second type of asset that can be used for purchase order financing is accounts receivable. Accounts receivable (A/R) is money that is owed to the business after a sale has been made or services have been rendered from the seller to the buyer.
For most purchase order lenders, the accounts receivable directly associated with the purchase order funded will allow the lender to collect payment after the supplier delivers the goods.
Typically, the LTV ratio for accounts receivable is up to 90% of the face value of the invoices associated with the purchase orders. These rates can vary from lender to lender and will be determined based on different characteristics of the borrowing business and purchase order agreements.
Lenders will typically consider the credit strength and quality of the customers, the payment terms that are offered in the purchase order agreements, as well as the diversification of the client base associated with the borrowing business.
Purchase Order Financing vs. Invoice Factoring
The first step is an order placed by the buyer from the seller. Once the order is received, the seller fills the order via their suppliers. With the details in hand, the order is shipped and delivered to the buyer.
The buyer receives their order along with an invoice. That invoice is owed to the seller unless a purchase order funder provided the funding for the order.
PO funding solves the liquidity need for the borrowing business at the time an order is received and filled. On the other hand, if an order is shipped and the invoice is created, the invoice can be used for invoice factoring if there are no purchase order financings generated.
The difference between PO funding and invoice financing is the time in which the goods are shipped and a borrowing business receives payment. With purchase order funding, the goods are yet to be shipped, which makes the transaction a higher financial risk for the lender.
With invoice factoring, the goods or services have already been delivered and accepted, which reduces the risk for the lender and ultimately will provide lower rates and fees for the borrower.
PO Financing Rates and Fees
Often, rates and fees range from 1.5% to 3.5% per 30-day period. It is important to highlight that the rates and fees are applied also to the cost of filling the order, not only the purchase order value.
For example, if a borrower receives a 100% gross margin for a purchase order, and the purchase order has a total value of $100,000, the cost of filling the order would be $50,000. The rates and fees paid by the borrowing business after the customer is invoiced will be applied to the $50,000 cost of filling the order, as opposed to the $100,000 that is invoiced to the customer.
Different lenders take into account several different factors when evaluating applications. The lender will analyze the credit risk of the purchase order by assessing features of the borrowing business along with their client base when determining the rates, fees, and qualification status.
What are the Qualifications for PO Financing?
- Sell finished, assembled products
- Accept purchase orders in large amounts
- Sell to other businesses or government customers
- Have reputable suppliers that offer high-quality products
- Profit margins should reach at least 30%
- Customers must have a good credit background
Business owners interested in purchase order financing must remember that even if they don’t have a good credit rating, they can still qualify. As long as they can prove their customer’s creditworthiness and follow the guidelines above, they can enjoy the benefits of purchase order financing.
FAQ About Purchase Order Financing
What is purchase order financing?
PO funding is a specific type of business financing source that uses a business’s purchase orders as collateral to secure the resources and capital necessary to fill their orders for their clients.
When a business doesn’t have the capital to fulfill orders, they can capitalize on the value of the purchase order itself in order to ensure the orders promised to clients are filled.
How do you qualify for PO financing?
The application and qualification process is determined by and based solely on the trade and credit history of customers, rather than the credit history of the borrowing small business, as is the case with other types of lending products.
With PO funding, the lender is primarily concerned that the borrower’s customers who are being invoiced are financially healthy, and able to make the invoice payments.
How long does the application process take for purchase order financing?
How do you use PO financing?
Is collateral required for purchase order financing?
Unlike other types of asset-based lending sources, PO funding uses the outstanding purchase order as collateral to secure the funds.
Instead of using inventory, equipment, or real estate as collateral, you are able to capitalize on your existing purchase orders and obtain the funds you need in order to fill requisitions.