December '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 79 KNOW YOUR FINANCING PARTNER There are some key things to know about your financing op- tions when it comes to funding your equipment purchases or upgrades. It is always important to know your financing partner's source of capital. They should be fully regulated, and you should be aware before you sign what the average rates and terms are for a shop your size. It's also valuable to ask beforehand how quick the process will be since it varies by lender. Above all, your rela- tionship with your lender should be a partnership. A smart way to ensure you're entering into business with a quality lender is to listen carefully to the questions they ask you. Some common questions you might hear are, "How do you typically pay for your equipment upgrades?" and "When add- ing this equipment, how much money will it save or earn you per month?" and "What else on your business wish list would you acquire if you had the capital to do so?" These are all standard questions, and while they may seem in- trusive, they establish that you would make good professional partners. Don't be afraid to ask questions about anything including the application, the review process, payment timelines, and the process of payback. Make sure everything is mutually un- derstood before you sign the contract. Remember, too, that just because it's in the contract doesn't mean it's not negotiable. Know what you're signing, so you aren't locked into an unfavor- able contract. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE GETTING In a rate-driven society that's always looking for the "best deal," we expect all financing terms to be alike. In actuality, financ- ing rates can be calculated many different ways, and not all calculations are equal. A good way to determine the value of what you're getting is to look at the monthly payment. Will the monthly payment and term of the loan work for you and your business? The most important factor is that you can afford to pay your bill on time, every time. When comparing quotes from different companies, make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Be sure to use the amount you're borrowing to com- pare what you're being offered for a monthly payment. BE PREPARED TO SHARE Most people have a few financial skeletons in their closets. Credit reports are one tool lenders use to determine a borrower's credibility. If your credit report shows a lack of past diligence in paying back your debts, there may be a risk of getting de-

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