Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the common questions about business loans. If you’re wondering about the application process, what the lenders are looking for, or how it works, you can find some guidance on this page. It's free - we will never charge you, the business, for the use of the platform. Make an application today.
How do I give you my documents?
If you decide to go ahead with one of the lenders showcased on our website, you’ll usually have to provide documents like recent bank statements for the assessment of your application directly to the lender. They will usually ask for your documents beforehand to assess your request as accurately as possible.
The best way to send us (or a lender) your bank statements and other docs is as a PDF (portable document format) file.
To get your bank statements as PDFs, you can usually download them from your online banking account. If you’re not sure how to download your statements, get in touch with your bank.
You can then upload the PDF documents in order to be sent privately to the lender you choose.
Eligibility and criteria for business loans
With so many different lenders and products on the market, the eligibility criteria for business loans vary. In an initial consultation by the lender, expect to be asked about:
Turnover and profit
Last 6 months Bank statements
Last set of Filed accounts
Tax clearance certificate
Loan amount vs. turnover
Payment history (e.g. CJs, late payments)
While there are no set ‘standard’ criteria for business loans, there are a few basic factors that most lenders look at when assessing your business. Here are a few rules of thumb to bear in mind before you apply for a loan:
The loan amount is less than 25% of your annual turnover
Your business is profitable
More than 24 months trading history (for most products)
No outstanding CJs or late payments
Your business is incorporated in Ireland
All of these factors help lenders build up a picture of your business. Generally, lenders are unwilling to lend more than 10-20% of your annual turnover, and they'll want to see enough revenue to demonstrate affordability. If you’re not making much profit or making a loss, it’ll be difficult to get a loan, and a short trading history (less than 2 years) can make things more difficult too.
Having said that, you might be surprised by what's still available to your business, and many of the lenders we work with are more flexible than the banks.
If you’d like to find out more about what kind of business loan you may be eligible for, complete our fast online application form to find out your options.
How fast is it? How long will it take?
It only takes 4 minutes to complete our online application form.
In our experience, the biggest factor in how quickly you’ll get finance is you. Most lenders will reply quickly (within 24 hours). If you’ve got all the documentation ready, it’s often possible to get the deal done within a day or two.
First, you’ll need to give us the key details about your business and what you’re looking for. This will only take a few minutes, and you can do it on our website.
Once you’ve decided which lender(s) you’d like us to approach, the application time varies depending on the product and lender you’re dealing with – but it always helps if you’ve prepared in advance!
Lenders we work with are much faster than the banks
Takes seconds to see your options
Offers back within 24–48 hours for most cases
Money in account within days if you’ve got documents ready
How much can I borrow?
There are many different factors that affect how much you can get approved for when applying for a business loan, and each provider has their own process for determining eligibility.
The lender will consider various factors to find out how much your business is eligible for, and it’s important to know that you won’t be accepted for a principle you can’t afford to repay. As a rule of thumb, the maximum most providers will lend is about 10-30% of your annual turnover.
Your business's security (e.g. invoices or machinery) and profits are factored in too, and if you're looking to borrow a significant percentage of your turnover, lenders will want to see that borrowing money now will mean you generate more cash in the future.
Can I repay early?
There are many ways of paying back a loan or line of credit, and the type of repayment depends on the lender. Some lenders will give you a repayment schedule with fixed monthly instalments, while others might be more flexible and accept early repayments.
Often, there’s a fixed amount you have to pay back, but sometimes the repayment can vary, depending on the distribution of interest.
Some lenders allow you to make early repayments without charging a prepayment penalty. However, it’s important to bear in mind that there might be extra costs if you decide to make early repayments, or even pay back all at once.
What’s the next stage?
When you fill in the form on our website, you'll be automatically matched with potential lenders. Whether you’re looking for business loans, invoice financing, asset leasing, merchant cash advance, growth finance or something else, we can help. We provide you a list of all the funding options that best suit your needs. It takes minutes, there’s no obligation, and it’s easy to use.
What’s the interest rate?
Since there's a wide range of lenders offering business loans, there are also a lot of different interest rates. These interest rates vary from lender to lender and also depend on the specifics of your business circumstances.
For standard products like secured loans, mortgages and invoice finance, the big banks are hard to beat on price because they’re the biggest lenders in the market with huge economies of scale. But another of the reasons they’re among the cheapest finance providers is because they won’t deal with businesses they perceive as high risk — which is why many businesses get turned down.
Having said that, we can often get finance for businesses cheaper than the banks, because we work with a wide range of lenders that are suitable for companies in various situations outside the banks' typical criteria. In other words, finding a better fit for your business can often bring the cost down.
It's also important to note that many of these lenders will require less security than the high street banks, particularly for loan sizes under €100,000.
Many alternative lenders may also specialise in lending to businesses where there isn't as much information available (e.g. you haven’t been trading that long, or perhaps there isn’t any security available), or are serving businesses that the banks can't help.
Do I need a personal guarantee?
A personal guarantee is an agreement between you and a lender that you’re personally responsible for the loan or line of credit if your business defaults on payments. Lenders sometimes ask you to give a personal guarantee as additional security — which means they can pursue you personally if your business defaults.
You don't always need to offer a personal guarantee, but they're commonly used, particularly if you're looking for an unsecured loan.
Is my home the security?
People often confuse personal guarantees with offering security on their home – while both are common ways to secure business finance, they’re not the same thing. Often, lenders want to know if you’re a homeowner because that means you’ve been through due diligence previously (in order to get a mortgage, for example) – it doesn’t necessarily mean they want a charge over your home.
Quite simply, if you’re an Irish homeowner it’s often faster and easier for the lender to do their due diligence — and that’s why they want to know. There are still lots of options for non-homeowners though.
While you don’t have to offer a personal guarantee, for some businesses it can make the difference between getting finance and being rejected. Fundamentally, a personal guarantee means you agree to do your best to repay the money if things don’t go to plan.
Please note, you should always read the specific terms of a personal guarantee before agreeing to anything, and you might also want to talk to a qualified lawyer.
Will this affect my future borrowing?
In our experience, the main factor that affects your future borrowing is you.
When you pay back a business loan on time, your credit score might get better because it proves that you’re reliable, which in turn could have a positive effect on future loan applications. On the other hand, if your business defaults on repayments, it could harm your chances for future borrowing because lenders will see you as higher-risk.
It's also not a good idea to apply for lots of credit all at once, because this may harm your credit score. LoanGuru can narrow down your options quickly, so there's no need to apply to lots of different lenders on your own.
Who are the lenders?
We’re specialists in finding the right lender for your business, so we work with the best providers across Ireland,
How do you make money?
Using our service is completely free and no-obligation, and we don't charge our customers a fee. You can use our matching tool, look at your options. If you decide to go ahead, and a lender accepts your application for finance, they pay us a marketing fee for passing on your details. Make an application today.
What is a profit and loss statement?
Profit and loss is one of the factors lenders will look at when assessing your loan application. The profit and loss statement summarises revenues and expenses of your company during a fiscal quarter of the year. With these records, the lender can get a bigger picture of your company’s ability to generate profit.
Along with the balance sheet and the cash flow statement, the profit and loss statement is one of the standard financial statements that a lender may want to see.
What are “filed accounts”?
According to the Companies Act 2014, every company registered in Ireland is obligated to provide financial documentation to the Companies Registration Office every year. These accounting records usually contain:
all money received and expended by the company
a record of all assets and liabilities of the company
Sometimes, filed accounts are delivered by an accountant on behalf of the business owner ― if you haven’t heard of filed accounts before, your accountant can give you more information, or you can find out more on the Companies Registration Office website https://www.cro.ie/.