We often get asked “what is the minimum time in business you require for equipment financing?” We know it can be hard to find commercial lending when you’re just starting out. The fact of the matter is there are a lot of companies that won’t give a second look to businesses that have under two years of operation under their belt. Here at American, we don’t want to put our customers in a box. We know there are more to new businesses than just length of operation. You may have heard us talk about our PreQualification form in other blog posts. We have 20 different programs that our applicants can be placed in according to their answers, and 3 of those programs are specifically for start-ups and newer businesses. In fact, the top tier start-up program has rates that compare to some of our upper-tier programs for established businesses. If that’s not evidence that we’re committed to commercial lending for entrepreneurs, I don’t know what is. So, how do we get these deals done? What are requirements that we look for in an applicant? Let’s talk about that.

Cash Reserves

Strong cash reserves can be a huge benefit when you’re looking for start-up equipment financing. This shows us that you will be able to cover the payments for the equipment you’re financing if there happens to be slow months. For our second-tier start-up financing program, we’re looking at $10,000 to $15,000 in reserves for the last three months. This can play a huge role in the monthly payments you’re quoted once you finish the PreQualification. With our highest-tier start-up program, if you have a better credit score (700+), we may be able to offer you incredibly competitive rates to our more traditional programs with only $5,000 in reserves.


Homeownership can provide huge security for lenders that offer start-up financing programs. For our two upper-tier programs, homeownership is a requirement. In our lowest-tiered start-up program, homeownership is strongly preferred if credit depth is thinner.

Credit History

Since we don’t have as much data from an established business, we will be looking to your credit history, as the personal guarantor. Do you have a good track record of paying back your debts on time? Do you have comparable installment borrowing history? Though we accommodate three different credit profiles in our three tiers of start-up equipment financing programs, the better your credit, and the better your credit history, the more easily we will able to get you an approval, and the funding you need to see your business succeed.

There are other items to consider like previous history in your industry, or in business in general, as well as the age of the asset you’re looking to acquire, but we hope we gave a good snapshot to prep you for applying for commercial lending for your new business. We would recommend giving our PreQualification form a shot to see where you stand. You can get payment and term options in around 5 minutes, without us running your credit. We want to let you know what we can offer while you continue to shop around for the equipment that fits the needs of your new business. Check out our PreQualification form by clicking here.