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In a world full of “no’s” ~we are a lender with a ready YES!

  • Equipment Financing for Start ups.
  • Equipment Leasing for more challenging credits.
  • Business Lending for all types of equipment.
  • Business Loans for expansion and growth.
  • Yes ~ together we can!

 

Have a business lending need?

 

Let’s Grow!

 

(all programs subject to credit and underwriting approval)

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As the warm summer months end I can’t help but look forward to the first snowfall. Some people shudder at the thought of snow. Sure, the extra commute time dodging out of control vehicles, shoveling snow in the subzero temperatures, and the arrival of flu season can make anyone dread the winter months. However, for me and millions of other Americans, the snow season brings our favorite winter activities: skiing and snowboarding. Being from Kansas City it’s hard to fulfill my snow sport passion. The rolling hills and flat lands around the area are ideal for farming, it doesn’t provide much in terms of downhill skiing. Still, I go to the local ski resort every winter trying to squeeze every ounce of excitement out of the small 25-acre hill. Although fun, the local resort provides a mere warm-up for my annual trip out west to enjoy all of what the Rocky Mountain have to offer.

The ski industry brings in roughly 3 billion dollars/year in the United States alone. This is leading to an industry-wide positive outlook – in 2016-17, skiers hit the slopes over 54 million times. With per capital disposable income on the rise, Ski Resorts are projected to see increased revenue growth over the next five years (source). Increased demand, new technology, and equipment innovations have presented ski resorts with great opportunities for sustained long term growth.

However, like any opportunity, investments are needed to be successful. When it comes to ski resorts these investments can be rather large. Sno-Cat machines to keep trials well groomed, artificial snow makers to extend the snow season and hedge against low snowfall weather, the latest ski boots and snowboards to keep customers satisfied, and updated restaurants are all important investments for every ski resort, regardless of size. To afford the benefits of new equipment without depleting operational cash flow many ski resorts have turned to financing. Banks can provide excellent rates, but oftentimes do not understand the nature of the transaction. Instead, they focus solely on the credit picture to provide rigid structured options. On the other hand, equipment financing firms take a different approach. These firms can provide much more flexibility this includes: seasonal payments, longer terms, and flexible down payment options.

SLS Financial has provided financing options for over 30 years to businesses of all sizes. We love hearing your unique story and we share the same passion for mountain sports. If you’re in the process of updating or expanding your equipment; feel free to give us a call and see how easy and uncomplicated financing can be.

Brock Kimball

bkimball@slsfinancial.com

816.423.8016

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When disaster strikes, it’s only natural to want to assist in whatever way you can. We have been so encouraged hearing from people wanting to do their part in cleaning up and repairing the communities that have been affected by recent hurricanes. We want to let involved parties know: we’re here to help.

We can provide equipment financing for the necessary equipment types that are frequently found in commission on disaster relief areas, including grapple trucks, loaders, trailers, reclamation equipment, roll off containers, debris hauling equipment, and construction equipment of all types.

We stand ready to assist with commercial lending and equipment lending needs for relief efforts. Give us a call, and we’ll see what we can do. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by these storms. Stay strong!

Doug Fuller

816.423.8021

dfuller@slsfinancial.com

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Equipment Leasing and Financing for Startup Septic Industry Enterprises

America, the Beautiful – the Land of Opportunity.

 

Opportunity often requires capital, and this is most often the case for NEW IN BUSINESS Septic Professionals.

The new/newer in business companies carry a higher risk for many lenders ~ so what options do you have out there to buy the equipment you need to hit the ground running?

 

Options:

  • Find an investor – this can be challenging and not everyone ‘knows someone’ who would just hand over tens of thousands of dollars. Also, should you find an investor, chances are they will own part of your company, and require part of your profits for a very long time.
  • Work with a local bank – local banks usually offer the cheapest source of funding, however many aren’t familiar with commercial equipment. Those that might have some experience with them, tend to be conservative on how much they’ll lend and the terms they’ll lend it to you at – higher down payments, shortened length of borrowing term, etc.
  • Non-bank commercial lenders – sometimes can be a bit more expensive, but a good non-bank commercial lender should take time to learn about your history and your game plan at making the business work. They should also have an understanding of commercial assets allowing for more flexible terms and down payment options.
  • SBA Loans – usually these are government backed type loans underwritten through national banks. These can be very appealing for the right company, if you’ve got some time to work through the process.

 

What’s usually needed to get credit?

 

Underwriting Criteria:

Most all lenders will need the following information when underwriting the needs and risk for a new company in any industry ~ including the septic industry:

 

  • Their Credit Application
  • Equipment proposal
  • Business Plan

Also, it’s not uncommon, depending on credit history and amount requested, to provide a simple personal financing statement and a couple years worth of tax returns.

 

Terms:

Typical Leasing and Financing Terms will range from 12 – 36 months; sometimes up to 60 depending the asset(s) being financed.

 

Who to call:

Your own Bank, the Equipment Seller, or another commercial lender like SLS Financial. www.slsfinancial.com

Noteworthy: SLS is listed by others as a BEST lender for start-ups: https://www.smarterfinanceusa.com/blog/best-equipment-leasing-companies

 

Our best Septic Equipment Financing and Leasing Expert at SLS is:

Corey Stansbury

cstansbury@slsfinancial.com

605.444.1105

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Great by Choice (pt. 2)

You can find our last post in the Great by Choice series here: Fanatic Discipline (20 Mile March)

One of the first books our employees are given on their first day at SLS is “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, which looks at why some companies thrive in uncertainty and chaos, and why others don’t. What draws us to this particular book is its focus on quantifiable data to lead you to the conclusions of what made these companies excel in their industries. There are three main points that we will cover in three blog posts, so that we can hopefully give you some insights that will help you become GREAT BY CHOICE. And to that end … let us know when we can assist. We’re more than a commercial lender. We’re your partner in business. Call us at 816.423.8021

For some backstory, the research for this book began in 2002, and continued for nine years. The subjects of the study were seven companies that are referred to as “10xers”, or companies that beat their industry index by at least 10 times, but that is just the baseline. Some companies went above and beyond that benchmark, like Southwest Airlines who performed 63.4 times better than the market as a whole, and 550.4 times better than its own industry! These companies include:

 

As mentioned previously, there are three main points that cover the three main characteristics these 10xers have including Fanatic Discipline, Empirical Creativity, and Productive Paranoia. Today we will be taking a look at Empirical Creativity.

Empirical Creativity

“Social psychology research indicates that at times of uncertainty, most people look to other people – authority figures, peers, group norms – for their primary cues about how to proceed. 10Xers, in contrast, do not look to conventional wisdom to set their course during times of uncertainty, nor do they primarily look to what other people do, or to what pundits and experts say they should do. They look primarily to empirical evidence.” (pg. 25 – Great by Choice)

Empirical Evidence is the knowledge received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and experimentation, per Wikipedia. In other words, you have to see it (or do it) to believe it. This doesn’t mean this is the primary way that 10Xers make all of their decisions – it’s impossible to see or do everything at once – but it plays a big role in how they plot their path forward.

The mantra of this methodology is “fire bullets, then cannonballs”. Imagine a battle at sea: your ship is facing off against the enemy’s vessel, and it’s a battle of survival. You’ve heard that a cannonball could end this battle before it even starts, so you load up your cannon and pour in your gunpowder… and miss. Oops! While you’re trying to reload, you hear the terrible sound of wood splintering. You’ve been hit. Now rewind: Before shooting your cannonball, you take a couple test shots with bullets for your angle. First shot, twenty degrees too high. Second, ten degrees. Third? It’s a hit. You load your cannon and aim at about the same angle as that last shot, and next thing you know, you’re making it back to shore.

The goal is to learn what works for YOU. You have to make the observations, you have to get creative with what you find. Looking at general data isn’t going to lead you to 10X success. This can lead to you firing your cannonball too early. You need to fire a few bullets before you make your next big shot. But here we are just talking about metaphors. What exactly is a bullet for your business?

A bullet is an empirical test that will help you learn what works in your business and within your industry. Bullets have the following characteristics:

  • A bullet is low cost. This means different things for different companies. In fact, this could mean different things to your business as you continue to grow. Adjust accordingly, but keep your costs down.
  • A bullet is low risk. This means you can afford to miss with this bullet. That doesn’t mean that you’re looking for a high success rate. You’re testing to find a cannonball with a high success rate. Don’t be afraid to miss, just make sure it won’t sink you on accident.
  • A bullet is low distraction. We’re only talking about the whole company here. There is a high chance that this bullet will be a large distraction for a select few. Just make sure it stays in the hands of those that are directly involved, until it’s ready to be embraced company-wide.

 

In the case of Biomet (one of the studied 10X companies), they used a combination of internal creative bullets, through testing new ideas in multiple ways to see where they would concentrate their resources, as well as bullet-level acquisitions. The thing is, they only pursued acquisitions under strict circumstances. They wanted to explore new markets, technologies, and niches, but made sure their acquisitions would be made with little or no debt, and only when the balance sheet would remain strong after the purchase. These self-regulations kept their tests at the bullet level, and then they worked each idea and acquisition until they found their next cannonball. What happened next? 10X success.

You can find our last post in the Great by Choice series here: Fanatic Discipline (20 Mile March)

These ideas have been major philosophies of our business, and we hope it has given you productive ideas for yours. We’ve worked with a lot of companies over the years who are on the journey to become Great by Choice. We’ve helped businesses finance equipment to free up their monthly cash flow to pursue their business bullets, and continue to be a part of companies’ 20 Mile Marches. Maybe the ideas in this series were valuable enough, and if that’s true, thanks for stopping by, but if we can help assist you, feel free to give us a call! We’re more than your commercial lender, we’re your partner in business.

Brian Soetaert

bsoetaert@slsfinancial.com

816.587.7375

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Thank you for visiting our blog! We know you probably won’t be visiting our site every day, so if you would like to stay up-to-date on our blog posts, follow us on social media! Though we have a number of industry-specific posts, we like to highlight many business-enhancing tips that we know you will find useful in the long run. Like we’ve said, we want to be more than your financial services provider, we want to be your partner in business.

You can find us on the following platforms:

Feel free to stop by, give us a follow, and comment on our posts! We’d love to have you.

Of course, feel free to continue to search around our blog while you’re here.

Talk to you soon!

Brian Soetaert

bsoetaert@slsfinancial.com

816.587.7375

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Breaking down the credit mystery: Conditions

As we continue to unpack the core components of credit decisions (called the five “C’s” of credit) in a series of short articles that remove the mystery and arm you with the information to succeed with financing, it is important to understand that your surroundings matter. Today we are looking at “Conditions”:

The Economy

The economic environment surrounding your business has an impact on your ability to obtain credit. In 2008, the financial crisis nearly halted the construction industry. Backlogs lightened across almost every sector of the business and while there were thousands of very strong construction companies out there, the future was clearly uncertain to all. Because of this, lenders had to adjust their investment models to account for the higher risk—even if individual companies within that industry still showed consistency and financial strength.

Customer concentration

Business could be really good. Your company could be growing. But if too much of your revenue comes from a single customer or a small number of customers, losing a single customer could be very harmful to financial performance—especially cash flows that you use to make monthly payments on finance agreements. Lenders have to evaluate this in many circumstances and build this into their risk models.

Industry concentration

Much like customer concentration, if all your revenues are tied to the auto manufacturing business and that business undergoes upheaval, you’ll experience a massive business disruption that likely would affect your ability to meet financial obligations.

Opportunities

“Conditions” can also point to “glass half full” situations as well. If you have recently expanded into a new product, service, geography or won a nice new long-term piece of business and can show the upward arc of the financial impact of that event, it can impact your credit position in a very positive way. Business owners frequently overlook sharing this information or elevating it up front with a lender. These growth opportunities often require capital before the revenues are fully in place—that’s what financing is for! So, don’t forget to emphasize the growth story of your business. If you do, you might be leaving a chance for improved financing on the table.

While it may seem unfair that your surroundings can impact credit decisions—even if you are still humming right along—it is important to understand that lenders are taking a risk in your business, in your industry and even in the state of business every time you borrow money. If they manage those risks poorly by not evaluating the overall environment, the damage can be severe to all parties involved.

 

Here are more articles in the “5 C’s of Credit” series:

 

At SLS, we’ve helped small businesses succeed uncomplicated finance programs for more than 30 years. While our finance programs are competitive and flexible, what sets us apart is our people. While we may have Wall Street caliber financial resources… we’re Main Street kind of people. And maybe that’s why so many small businesses and dealers trust us time and time again.

If you want to know how to establish or grow a finance program for your company…let’s talk.

Doug Fuller

816.423.8021

dfuller@slsfinancial.com

 

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The fall season is finally here. Fall is unquestionably the best time of year. The long 7-month wait for football to return is over, perfect weather makes for excellent cookouts with friends, Thanksgiving allows us to stuff our faces alongside our loved ones, and yes, of course, the return of pumpkin spice everything.

However, looking forward, in only a few short months, Americans will begin their annual quest to “get in shape” and/or “lose that holiday weight”. On average Americans only gain about one pound during the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s), but in a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine the average American has a perceived weight gain of 7-10lbs! This perception, along with the number one New Year’s Resolution to get fit, presents a huge opportunity for gym owners to take advantage of the huge demand for annual memberships. But, with 31,000 gyms around the country, how can a gym stand out in this $21.8 billion-dollar industry?

One way to stand out is to have upgraded gym equipment. Whether it be state-of-the-art Woodway curve treadmills, or perhaps expanding on the tried-and-true squat racks; gym goers are more likely to choose a gym with all the equipment that they need without the need to wait in line to use… However, gym equipment isn’t the only thing that gym goers seek. Other reasons that people choose a specific gym include:

 

  • Gym Cleanliness
  • Classes Offered
  • Convenient Location
  • Price
  • Popularity/Reviews

 

Operating cash is required to maintain cleanliness, hire trainers for classes, and create a brand through advertising. All this on top of upgrading & expanding gym equipment while keeping a competitive price… Is this impossible? Not without tailored financing options.

Lenders see the opportunity for continued growth in the health and fitness sector and are eager to work with gym owners to expand their business. With financing options, owners can forgo the large upfront investments into equipment upgrades and expansions. Increasing the amount and quality of gym equipment leads to more customers and a higher retention rates. Simplifying the cash flow by matching the increased monthly revenue with monthly installments on the new equipment it is easy to see why financing gym equipment makes sense for many gym owners.

 

If you are ready to see what new equipment can do for your gym contact us today to help with the financing process.

Brock Kimball

bkimball@slsfinancial.com

816.423.8016

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Great by Choice

You can find our next post in the Great by Choice series here: Empirical Creativity (Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs)

One of the first books our employees are given on their first day at SLS is “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, which looks at why some companies thrive in uncertainty and chaos, and why others don’t. What draws us to this particular book is its focus on quantifiable data to lead you to the conclusions of what made these companies excel in their industries. There are three main points that we will cover in three blog posts, so that we can hopefully give you some insights that will help you become the great company you’re meant to be. Let us know if we can help you become Great by Choice! We’re more than a commercial lender. We’re your partner in business. Call us at 816.423.8021

For some backstory, the research for this book began in 2002, and continued for nine years. The subjects of the study were seven companies that are referred to as “10xers”, or companies that beat their industry index by at least 10 times, but that is just the baseline. Some companies went above and beyond that benchmark, like Southwest Airlines who performed 63.4 times better than the market as a whole, and 550.4 times better than its own industry! These companies include:

 

As mentioned previously, there are three main points that cover the three main characteristics these 10xers have including Fanatic Discipline, Empirical Creativity, and Productive Paranoia. Today we will be taking a look at Fanatic Discipline.

Fanatic Discipline

According to “Great by Choice” this is not the same as regimentation, measurement, obedience to authority, adherence to social structure, or compliance with bureaucratic rules. It requires mental independence, and an ability to remain consistent in the face of herd instinct and social pressures. Fanatic discipline often means being a nonconformist. This doesn’t mean going off the rails and implementing a no shoes policy around the office or work site. It just means thinking outside the box, and being consistent about it.

When Progressive Insurance started dealing with large upward and downward swings in their stock price during the late 1990s even though there were no major changes in the company to spur these swings on, Peter Lewis, their CEO, knew he needed to do something about it. The trend was to release quarterly reports and participate in backroom talks with market analysts to shape the conversation around these reports, smoothing out any issues that could look bad on your company.  Peter Lewis chose not to play this game. He began to implement monthly reports so that the market could more accurately represent how the company was doing, good or bad. He kept behavior consistent, and solved a problem.

One of the terms used for the implementation of Fanatic Discipline was the 20 Mile March. When studying the 10xers, it came up time and time again that the recipe for success was patient, steady, clear goals to keep you on track. Erratic, aggressive growth ended up being less successful than steady growth found in companies that kept their goals and growth consistent year-after-year. For example, Southwest Airlines had many opportunities to expand earlier on in its history, but they kept steady growth, and didn’t expand outside their means. People thought they were crazy for continuing to be a regional airline when people were clamoring for them to come to their city. But let’s look at how their ability to stick to a steady growth plan, or 20 Mile March, worked out in the end. The airline industry lost billions of dollars in the early 90s. From 1990 to 2003, the U.S. airline industry only turned a profit in six of those fourteen years. Multiple big-name airlines went bankrupt during Southwest’s march. The kicker? Southwest turned a profit every year for 30 consecutive years. Imagine that.

You can find our next post in the Great by Choice series here: Empirical Creativity (Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs)

To be a great business, you need a plan. Consistency may not have flash, but chasing after quick growth doesn’t land you in the 10x club. We’ve been working with businesses for over 30 years to help them continue to grow. We may be a commercial lender, but we’ve always been about fostering business relationships. Like we said, we’re more than a commercial lender. We’re a business partner. We will continue to look at the three main points found in “Great by Choice” in the future, so stay tuned, but we’re always open to talk about how we can help you achieve your goals. Give us a call!

Brian Soetaert

bsoetaert@slsfinancial.com

816.587.7375

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We always like staying on top of the latest news for the industries we work with, so we were happy to receive the August issue of Pumper magazine (the Midwest edition) which focuses on the liquid waste industry and the various equipment types the industry employs – you can find their website here. There are so many exciting developments and opportunities on the horizon that we know will play huge roles in your business. Growing trends like alternative-fuel work trucks can save you money over time by way of reducing the gasoline consumption of your fleet (page 50 “Clean Fleet Partnership Saves Fuel Costs” – here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each fleet energy type).

Technology is also playing a bigger role, as the wastewater industry continues to adapt to changing environmental regulations using new equipment types, and implementing automation to both residential and commercial systems (page 68 “The Future is Tied to Technology and Automation” – check out The Advantages of Automating Wastewater Treatment here).

Of course, the other foundational parts of a waste management fleet need to be in good condition to keep business running as the industry continues to progress. New pump trucks are getting developed all the time. Here are a few vendors that should give you a well-rounded picture of what’s out there:

 

So, if you’re looking to acquire new equipment, that’s great! Just make sure to plan accordingly. If you pay with cash, that could leave you without capital for other business needs. Sometimes, your best option is to finance your equipment, to allow for manageable monthly payments that keep your cash flow free. With equipment financing, you can make upgrading your equipment easier than ever, but you need to find someone who knows what they’re doing… and we’re here to help you know what to look for in a good funding source.

Your local bank is usually a good choice, however, given that they may not be familiar with liquid waste equipment, this may not be the path of least resistance. So ~ as you begin your search (under most normal circumstances) you should do the following things to determine if you are working with a quality equipment leasing / financing professional – see below:

Upfront Monies: If they ask for money upfront ~ you’re up the wrong money tree! Once you are APPROVED & receive documentation, then & only then should you send the lender any needed down payment or advance payment along with your signing of a credit-approved final contract.

Furthermore, check for the following ~

Reputation: That the commercial lender has a great reputation. But, how do you know? Easy enough ~ Google the company name and the city and state. You are just looking for complaints. Be careful if you see many (more than a couple) of these! If so, choose another.

Longevity: Has this company been around for 10 or 20 years or more? A seasoned organization, with no complaints is often a great way to go.

The Contract: Review the contract and verify that these are the final terms & that you are indeed credit approved. Verify too that they are ready to fund once you send in the final contract. If this is not the case … you’re better off with someone else.

Once you find a credible lender it is time for underwriting.

Get a financing or equipment leasing quote and complete a credit application.

Many well-established lenders offer an online application ~ like this:

Online Application: Click Here

Terms and Payments for liquid waste equipment can vary based on the amount of money involved and your overall credit profile.

Also ~ whether the equipment is new or used can sometimes impact the terms available for borrowers.

Many National Commercial Lenders offer A, B and C Options and thus the differences. Financing terms are typically from 2 – 5 years. Here are some factors that aid them in underwriting a company’s credit application:

Time in business: The newer the company the greater the monthly payment.

Personal Credit Score: The lower the credit score the greater the monthly payment ~ all things being equal.

Many other factors help a lender to analyze the risk associated with a professional applicant.

Usually the 5 C’s of Credit come into play when a lender analyzes an applicant.

Character / Credit: Personal and business credit scores and the like help the lender understand this C as it relates to an applicant.

Capacity: Show me the money! Capacity to pay is all about cash flow. Many liquid waste equipment lenders ask for a copy of 3 recent bank statements. These are easy to obtain & forward thanks to online banking. This shows how much you are making & spending in each of the months presented.

Collateral: What is the equipment worth now and what will it be worth in the future. This helps to show a creditor the value of the collateral.

Conditions: What are the conditions of the industry and the economy as a whole?

Capital: How much money or wealth do you have in your company?

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be! We have over 30 years of experience at SLS Financial Services helping people just like you finance new and used equipment so that you can focus on growing your business. If you’re ready to add the benefits of new equipment to your ever-growing business, we’re ready to help you make the process… Uncomplicated! We aren’t your typical commercial lender. We look at the person behind the application. If you have any questions about our process feel free to reach out to us at 816-587-3400 or you can find a link to our application below.

Today, credit scoring systems can make credit decisions almost instantly. However, business is still about people. More than ever, business-owners seek a commercial lending partner to learn about their unique needs and be solution-providers.

Speed and technology are important, but do they come at the expense of leaving people, their story, and opportunities behind?

At SLS, we’ve never lost focus on the business-owner behind the application. A big part of our success is based on customer satisfaction ~ plain & simple, because we believe in leveraging technology and combining it with our expertise for only one purpose…to help people.

Call Doug for more information ~ 816.863.3070

President of SLS Financial, an accountant, former Board Member of one of the safest banks in America, and owner of multiple businesses.

For more than 30 years he has assisted buyers and sellers of equipment with competitive finance and commercial lending programs.

Contact Doug:

Doug Fuller

dfuller@slsfinancial.com

816.423.8021

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