The Merchant Cash Advance Journey from Broker to Funder
As merchant cash advances have become a popular financing option for small businesses in recent years, it has quickly become obvious how lucrative it can be to make the transition from working the phones to working the deals.
The transition from broker to funder can provide significant benefits: by becoming a funder, you have the opportunity to control the entire process from start to finish. Driving the deals, you have the opportunity to make more money, and can establish relationships with banks and payment processing systems that align with your business goals. You can choose a CRM system that best fits your needs and invest in a strong legal and accounting infrastructure to ensure compliance and accountability. Additionally, as a funder, you have the ability to diversify your portfolio and make informed decisions on the types of deals you want to fund, which can lead to higher returns and more stable growth.
While many brokers have the gift of the gab and expertise to sell the advances, they may not have the necessary knowledge of systems and processes in place to manage the risk and operational aspects of the business to go to the next level. Additionally, funders, more than brokers, have the relationships with banks, CRM systems, collection firms, and legal entities that are necessary to run a successful merchant cash advance funding business. The lack of these critical components can limit the growth potential of a broker.
The evolution from a broker to a funder is not just a matter of expanding the business, but it requires a complete overhaul of the systems, processes, and legal frameworks. In this article, let’s explore the key steps that a broker needs to take to become a successful merchant cash advance funder.
Step 1: Having The Right Bank Account
Having a proper bank account is the first step towards becoming a merchant cash advance funder.
Traditional banks, such as Chase and Bank of America, are not built for the rapidly brave new world of financing options, and instead cater to the old models. If they see (what they deem to be) ‘irregular’ incoming and outgoing payment just as you begin offering your first few deals, they can cause you a lot of stress, and even shut your account.
Researching all the options available before you begin funding deals is crucial to build up your business and to avoid stress down the road.
Step 2: Finding The Best ACH Payment Processor
The best way to accept the daily payments owed to you is by working with an ACH payment processor that understands the MCA space. While some traditional banks do offer ACH ‘pulling’ for free, their service is often tied to the amount you have sitting in your account at the bank, which means it’s not working for you to make more. For example, some stipulate that your account needs to have three times the amount that you’re planning to pull daily, just sitting there. So if you’re pulling $200,000 a day, now you have to have $600,000 just sitting there in reserve, which you can’t use to fund other deals you could be making money on.
Instead, finding ACH payment processors that specifically understand the business and your needs will free you up to strive to collect as much as you can, every single day. While it might cost you a little bit, you have the option to now make that calculation of whether it’s better to have free ACHs or have the money available to fund deals and make money off of. A wise man would tell you the latter is the right way to go.
Step 3: Picking A CRM System
A CRM system is an essential tool for tracking the deals, payments, and collections. There are about 8-10 mainstream CRM systems that cater to merchant cash advance funders, and the choice of the CRM system depends on the volume of deals you fund, the presence of syndicators, and the type of deals you fund.
Pick a system that best serves your needs: how it accounts for sub deals and tranches, whether it helps you identify the best and worst performing deals, and if it generates the reports you need to make the most informed choices for your business going forward.
Step 4: Setting Up Your Legal Framework
Setting up a legal framework for contracts is an important step in the journey from a broker to a funder. A proper legal framework ensures that the contracts are enforceable and protects your interests.
It is worth consulting with a lawyer familiar with merchant cash advance to help you prepare thorough contracts for the businesses you advance, your ISO’s and brokers, to ensure you are secure from any attempts to avoid payment and backdooring on your own deals.
Step 5: Collections
In an ideal world, every deal a MCA business funds would get paid pack easily and smoothly, but frequently, that is not the case. Too often, business owners prove why they needed the advance in the first place, and repeat the mistakes and bad habit that puts them in a perilous financial position once again.
If they don’t pay you, your business will quickly begin to suffer and face increasing cash flow problems if you don’t handle it quickly, so having a reliable collection system is crucial for the success of a merchant cash advance funder. It’s good to ensure you understand your options to give yourself the best chance of recovering what you’re owed, including working with a third-part collections firm. The choice of a collection firm depends on the success rate and the level of support provided. A good collection firm should have a well-prepared collection attorney, provide timely support and have a strategy to collect on delinquent merchant cash advances.
Step 6: Accounting
Proper accounting is essential for tracking the overall health and viability of your company. It’s also especially important if you have a partnership or investment in place.
Better Accounting Solutions has been the leading accounting firm in the MCA industry for over a decade, and seen how successful a company can be when all their books are in order and the tremendous pressure and stress caused when it’s not.
Working with an accountant that is familiar with the industry and systems will help you ensure your business is legally compliant, trending in the right direction, and that all deals are in a good place.
Step 7: Lead Sourcing
You’ve set up the business, now you need customers!
There are several ways to find people and businesses who could use a merchant cash advance from your new business. You could reach out to family and friends, research and cold-contact people online or work with lead-generation agencies who will send you lists of hot prospects. Additionally, if you’ve already done all the previous steps listed here, then you can speak to the people you’re already familiar with in the industry to point prospects your way. For example, Better Accounting Solutions has drawn on our years of experience in the industry to connect new funders with brokers we know and trust.
Typically, if you’re a broker becoming a funder, than you already have the relationships with people who can direct customers to your new venture, but I always advise our clients to avoid backdooring or doing something with even the slightest inference of unethical business practices; its bad karma and can only hurt you down the line.
So there you have it, the seven steps of going from broker to funder, and taking your merchant cash advance journey to the next level. Wishing you the best of luck!Last modified: February 7, 2023
David Roitblat is the founder and CEO of Better Accounting Solutions, an accounting firm based in New York City, and a leading authority in specialized accounting for merchant cash advance companies.
To connect with David, email email@example.com.