It is key that you understand both the advantages and disadvantages of trade credit, so that you can decide if you should offer it to customers or use it when buying supplies for your business.
Trade credit can be a truly positive factor for businesses, but it is not without its pitfalls and problems.
- 1 What is trade credit?
- 2 Advantages of trade credit for buyers
- 3 Helping startup businesses get the ball rolling
- 4 Get a competitive edge
- 5 No cash required upfront
- 6 Fuels business growth
- 7 Easy to arrange
- 8 Increases your business’ reputation
- 9 Discounts and bulk buying
- 10 Advantages of trade credit for sellers
- 11 Winning new buyers
- 12 Sell more goods and services
- 13 Build on buyer loyalty
- 14 Disadvantages to trade credit for buyers
- 15 Difficult for start-ups to obtain
- 16 Penalties and action
- 17 Loss of suppliers
- 18 Disadvantages of trade credit for suppliers
- 19 Late payments and cash flow issues
- 20 Bad Debt
- 21 Customer assessment
What is trade credit?
The first thing you need to know is exactly what trade credit is.
Trade credit is the act of one business giving a credit extension to another business so that it can purchase products and services. For instance, a garden landscaping business could utilise trade credit to purchase materials for a landscaping project, purchasing using a credit card and promising to pay inside a set term – generally 30 days.
As a business, you can offer trade credit to other firms and furthermore use trade credit facilities presented by other companies. Trade credit is less formal than a bank loan, however there are generally terms and conditions that go along with it, including punishments and interest for late payments. Trade credit is often a mutually beneficial course of action – clients can purchase merchandise using a loan, and providers can draw in more clients by not demanding cash up front.
Trade credit positives and negatives are different depending upon whether your business is the purchaser in the agreement and utilising trade credit, or a provider of trade credit. Prior to accepting trade credit, it’s ideal to know the up-sides and negatives of any agreement.
Advantages of trade credit for buyers
Although there are a few trade credit disadvantages for buyers, the advantages far outweigh them. Here, you will be able to purchase materials, goods, and services without having to pay up front or on delivery. The positive aspects range from accessibility and improved cash flow, to aiding new start-up ventures with getting off the ground.
Helping startup businesses get the ball rolling
Speaking of new startup business ventures, trade credit can be a highly useful method of raising funds or securing business loans in the early stages. Although, small businesses can be held back on occasion by a lack of trading history, meaning trade credit is hard to come by.
Get a competitive edge
Purchasing products as required using a loan gives organisations an upper hand over rival firms that might need to pay up front. Utilising trade credit permits your business to be more adaptable, adjusting to market demands and seasonal requests with the goal that you have a steady stockpile of goods in any event, even when your funds aren’t stable.
No cash required upfront
With no need to pay cash up front, buyers can load up in time for peak demand, for example, submitting bigger orders to exploit key seasonal selling times like Christmas. Trade credit is a benefit as cashflow might be low coming off calmer months, possibly forestalling sufficient stock to be bought for more profitable periods.
Fuels business growth
You should view trade credit as a kind of interest-free loan. As it effectively provides you with capital at no cost, it is without doubt one of the best ways to keep cash in your company. With it there will be less administration in comparison to arranging a short-term loan. Your venture is basically selling goods on behalf of the supplier, instead of using the cash reserves on stock, and gaining a profit while doing so.
Easy to arrange
On the off chance that your business has a decent history of credit, can meet a supplier’s requirements, and can settle on customary payments then, at that point, trade credit arrangements are normally simple to arrange and keep up with. There are not many formal plans or negotiations to complete, which makes this service fast and easy.
Increases your business’ reputation
Your company’s reputation will potentially rise to a greater level through the use of trade credit, as demonstrating your ability to make regular payments against credit is always a good thing. If you establish a positive trade credit history, suppliers may begin to see you as a preferred buyer.
Discounts and bulk buying
Suppliers might offer engaging discounts to trade credit clients who pay early, making it a valuable method for acquiring a lower rate. Organisations with a decent trade record of loan repayment may be offered discounts, particularly for bulk buys, or exclusive access to goods and services.
Advantages of trade credit for sellers
When it comes to suppliers, trade credit is largely focused around winning new customers, increasing sales, and retaining customer loyalty.
Winning new buyers
Buyers tend to find trade credit favourable. It’s a convenient way to ease cashflow; something that can aid the improvement of a small business’s profitability. As a supplier, offering trade credit is a great method of winning over new customers, particularly if competitors demand upfront payment.
Sell more goods and services
Providers can blend trade credit with bulk discounts to urge buyers to spend more. Assuming buyers rapidly sell out of stock, they are bound to return and purchase extra stock to satisfy customer need. This can place you in a never-ending cycle that will prove to be highly profitable.
Build on buyer loyalty
Supplier trade credit can put a stop to buyers looking elsewhere, and also help to strengthen the supplier-buyer relationship you have worked hard to create. Trade credit depends on trust between the two parties, great correspondence, and a commonly advantageous relationship that can build up loyalty over time.
Disadvantages to trade credit for buyers
There are certainly less downsides to trade credit for buyers than there are for suppliers, but it is still important that you understand them. For instance, even though trade credit may appear as a lifeline for your small business venture, you should opt to steer away from it if you aren’t going to be able to make repayments.
Difficult for start-ups to obtain
Trade credit seems like it should be the perfect solution for new companies. Access to stock without upfront payment could assist with getting your business fully operational. However, trade credit is essentially harder for new organisations to acquire, or it could be presented on restrictive repayment conditions. Until your business has laid down a good foundation for itself and developed a steady exchanging history, a few providers will be hesitant to offer your business trade credit.
Penalties and action
While you may view trade credit as ‘free money’ which can be reimbursed without interest, this will not be the case if you miss a repayment. Most trade credit agreements include penalties for late payments and interest payable for outstanding credit. This can soon spiral into huge expenses if your business doesn’t attempt to clear trade credit debt.
Loss of suppliers
When confronted with a poor-paying buyer, suppliers might be enticed to pick up and move on and decline to work with your business. Providers can reassess working with you, leaving your business incapable to work or fulfil client need – conceivably bringing about the closure of your business.
Disadvantages of trade credit for suppliers
There are absolutely risks attached to trade credit for suppliers, there is no getting around that fact. While there are loads of courses open to deal with problem buyers and getting back the cash your business is owed, these can be tedious and exorbitant – possibly affecting your cash flow and leading to monetary issues.
Late payments and cash flow issues
As we have already touched upon, late payments can be a huge problem here. Buyers simply refusing to pay at all is another issue within this area that should concern you. For instance, CreditSafe state that more invoices are paid late than on time.
Suppliers have the need to pay their own bills, staff wages, etc. So, if you are not paid on time you can begin to face huge cash flow problems. Guarantee your business has a solid cash reserve and doesn’t overstretch using a loan. Offering discounts to buyers who make early repayments can likewise assist with easing cashflow issues brought about by late payers.
It is one thing to face late payments, yet non-payment can introduce a genuine test. Clients utilising trade credit might go out of business or payment may essentially be too hard to even think about chasing down, and that implies your company should discount the misfortune as an awful obligation. It merits exploring trade credit protection, which can guarantee your business for bad debt brought about by defaults on trade credit arrangements.
Providing trade credit is a demonstration of trust. Evaluating whether a client can reimburse you merits doing right yet deciding a buyer’s credit worthiness can consume a lot of time. You’ll have to look at references, get credit reports and audit trading history – all of which requires some investment.