Like a consumer credit score used to determine your creditworthiness, your company has a small business score that summarizes its financial stability. Banks and other lenders often use these numbers to qualify businesses for loans and other financial products.
There isn’t one universal business scoring method, but four different systems used in different situations. Because of this diversity, it is difficult to quote one number as the average small business score. Yet, your business’s growth and operational success often depend on understanding these numbers.
Let’s take a closer look at the four ways your small business score can be calculated.
The Four Small Business Scoring Systems
There are four leading credit reporting agencies used by U.S. businesses: Experian, Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, and Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Each agency utilizes a different scale and criteria to arrive at a numerical rating.
When evaluating the financial health of your business, Experian uses a credit rating called an Intelliscore. This number can range from 0 to 100, and factors in the following criteria:
- History of on-time debt payments
- Overall debt level
- Company history, such as how long you’ve been in business
- Available credit
- How risky your industry is in general
- Your personal credit history
Equifax uses a multifaceted rating system, with three separate scores based on the following criteria:
- Credit history — This figure is based on how much debt and available credit your business has, how many years of credit history it has accumulated, and history of delinquencies. Range: 100-992
- Payment history — To measure your company’s ability to pay debts on time, Equifax examines your payment history. Range: 1-100.
- Failure risk — Creditors need to know if a company has a higher than average failure risk. This number is based on the overall industry risk and the business’s history and financial health. Range: 1,000-1,880.
Dun & Bradstreet
The Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) PAYDEX rating is a number between 0 and 100 based entirely on the timeliness of your company’s payments to debtors and bill collectors. To have a PAYDEX score, you need to first register your business for a D-U-N-S (data universal numbering system) number.
- If all bills are paid at least 30 days before their due date, your business could achieve a perfect 100.
- If all bills are paid on the due date, your business’s rating would be approximately 80.
- If some bills are paid late, the score will drop under 80. The more delinquencies your business has the lower its grade.
FICO Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS)
The FICO SBSS is the most comprehensive business credit report, and it is the one used most often by large banks and SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. FICO ratings range from 0 to 300, and creditors generally require at least 155-180 to qualify for a loan. Criteria include:
- Personal credit history
- Business credit history
- Assets and liabilities
- Working capital
- Cash flow
- How long your company has been in business
- Outstanding judgments and liens
How to Improve Your Business Score
Your business rating may be less than ideal, especially if your company is relatively new and does not have a built-up credit history. Additionally, a poor personal credit history, minimal working capital and assets, and payment delinquencies can further drag down your small business’s grade. Even the most responsible business owners occasionally find themselves without enough cash flow to pay every bill on time.
Fortunately, there are ways to bolster your creditworthiness. For example:
- Always pay on time and early whenever possible — Pay your business and personal creditors promptly to boost your score and signify to lenders your company is a stable investment. Leverage online bill-pay and autopay options to eliminate tardy payments.
- Open a business credit account — Hike your score using a business credit card even if you have the funds to pay cash. New businesses may not initially qualify for revolving credit; however, it might be wise to open a credit account as soon as possible. It is vital to pay the monthly balance off on time or early.
- Check your business credit reports frequently — Reporting errors can give you a lower score than you realize. By regularly scrutinizing your company’s reports, you can discover these errors and then contact the credit reporting agency to rectify the problem.
- Establish a business entity — Put utilities and other account bills in your business’s name by setting up an LLC, C-Corp, or S-Corp. This generates credibility with lenders, and on-time bill payments will shore-up your credit rating.
- Expand revenue and assets — Some small business scoring methods regard your company’s overall profitability in addition to its debt performance. Reinforce these numbers by fortifying your business’s overall financial health. Cut costs and increase revenue whenever possible and work to attain assets and collateral.
How Revenued Can Help
These tips will help you strengthen your small business credit score eventually, but it takes time. If your credit rating is too weak for conventional financing options, consider the Revenued Flex Line, an alternative funding option available to virtually all U.S. businesses.
If your business has subprime credit because it lacks operational history or you missed the payment deadline on a few bills, Revenued can help. Qualify based on your revenue history, not your FICO score.
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