Typical documents that may be requested by a commercial lender are listed below.
Business Plan or Executive Summary
- A business plan will serve as a road map for the start-up or expansion of a company. The process of creating a plan will also address issues the entrepreneur may not have previously considered.
- We recommend visiting SCORE.org’s website to obtain a library of useful business and financial planning related templates (or click here).
A lender will ask for 1-3 years’ of personal and, if applicable, business, federal tax returns. Tax returns are the key determinant of an entrepreneur’s and/or business’ historical financial position, assets, liabilities, and profitability.
Prior bank statements, personal and business (if applicable), will provide a history of how monthly cashflow is managed.
Most conventional lenders will require collateral. alternative lenders may be more flexible, requiring minimal or no collateral. They may also accept certain items and forms of collateral that conventional lenders might not.
Start-up or Expansion Costs
Determines the true dollar amount required to launch or expand the business. The document allows entrepreneurs to outline the purchases and costs to start or grow a company and how the money will be obtained.
Use of Loan Proceeds
Provides details on how the loan money will be spent. It is recommended the start-up or expansion costs be known first (see above) to determine the amount the entrepreneur will be able to financially contribute and how much will need to be financed (borrowed).
For businesses seeking to lease commercial space, a draft lease may be required. A draft lease agreement will need to be obtained by the property management company of the commercial lease space (or its landlord). Some lenders may accept an “Intent to Lease” rather than a draft lease. (An intent to lease is easier for a landlord to provide than a draft lease.)
It is highly suggested the future tenant not sign any leases until financing is secured or the entrepreneur can open or relocate the business to a new commercial lease space without loan approval from a lender. Waiting to sign a lease will allow the entrepreneur from being liable for rent on a commercial space prior to securing the proper financing.
Year-to-date financial statements, or interim financials, will provide information on business performance at any given time. They will typically be requested to measure the performance of a company before the end of its fiscal (or tax) year. It is important for all businesses to keep up-to-date and accurate financial records – especially when applying for a business loan.
Permits & Licenses
Provide permits and licenses required to operate the business. Check with the appropriate office of your city, county, state, and if applicable, federal departments, to determine what is needed for your business/industry type. The lender may require the appropriate licenses and permits to be approved before they can move forward.