How do I start offering financing to my customers?
I have a small construction business. I bid a great deal of work and am confident my proposals are very competitive. I have thought a lot about why I do not get as many jobs as I think I should. I have concluded that the reason may be that I do not offer financing. Many of the larger companies I compete against do. How do I get started with this process?
First, question your assumptions: do your larger competitors really offer financing, or do they have loan brokers they can recommend, quickly, so their customers can get the financing they need? There's an international credit crunch going on, I'd bet your competitors are not really offering financing, just passing on relationships, making it easy for people.
So I'd look at that step first. Call some local banks, ask about construction financing, who does it locally, who seems very good at it. Build a stable of people you can recommend to your customers.
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software
, which produces business-planning software,