There are about 8 million small businesses in the US that have employees; meaning they are not independent contractors. Some of these businesses don’t seek financing because they don’t believe they need it. However, a large majority of these firms may very well need debt financing at some point in their lifecycle to expand their businesses. Not accessing expansion-oriented capital could mean a missed opportunity to gain on their competition. More nimble business owners seize on that opportunity like Utica, New York based auto-collision and repair shop, Whitesboro Frame & Body. I had a chance to speak with Bill Chromczak, the President of the company, to learn how financing has expanded his business.
Can you provide some background on your business?
Our company, Whitesboro Frame & Body, is based out of Utica, New York and we service the local community here. We are an auto-collision and repair shop.
What was the purpose for the loan?
The primary purpose was to expand our product offering. We wanted to be able to offer our customers the ability to repair their cars with aluminum parts. Many newer vehicles, such as the 2015 Ford F-150, are aluminum-based as opposed to the less expensive steel-bodied predecessor. As customers adopt these newer vehicles, I wanted to make sure our shop is equipped with the capability to service them.
Are your competitors also seeking to expand into this product offering?
I did my homework and reviewed what the other two auto-repair shops are doing in the area. One of them is not going to offer aluminum-based parts to their clients and the other shop is on the fence as to what they want to do. I view this as a great opportunity to grow my business and take market-share from my competitors through outside financing.
How do you expect this will impact your business?
I believe this will have a great impact on our business as we will be the only game in town certified to provide aluminum-based repair parts to clients. Not only do I expect our customer base to increase, but we will probably increase headcount over time.
What provider did you select for financing and what are the terms of the loan?
I met the Fundation management team at an auto-trade show in New Jersey and found them to be very insightful as to ways in which I can improve my business. They told me I could obtain funding, if approved, within a few days and the process was very easy. Sure enough, I obtained a $90,000, 4 year term loan very soon after applying. I was also intrigued because the company provides a lot of flexibility in that I could prepay the loan at any time without incurring any fees.
Do you have any advice for other small business owners considering a loan?
I would recommend that you put together a game-plan to determine if financing can help you expand your business. I recognized a great opportunity and knew in my heart that the loan will expand our business. Do your homework, but don’t be afraid to take out a loan if you know it will expand your business.
How did you apply for the loan through Fundation?
I went to their website and applied there and then their staff followed up with me right away to understand my particular circumstances. It genuinely was a great experience.
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