How Much of a Business Loan Can I Get?
The answer will vary depending on multiple factors, including your annual revenue, personal and business credit scores, industry, years in business, and the specific type of loan.
On the low end, a microloan, for example, can be as small as $500 to $10,000. And on the high end, an SBA loan can be as much as $5.5 million.
With that said, here’s a detailed overview of the different types of small business loans to help you unlock the cash flow you need.
Small Business Loan Amounts by Financing Type
||$5,000 to $5 million
||$1,000 to $5 million (usually no higher than $500,000)
||$500 to $5 million
|Business Lines of Credit
||$5,000 to $500,000
|Merchant Cash Advance
||$5,000 to $500,000
||$500 to $50,000
||Up to $500,000
This is one of the more traditional small business loans and also one of the most difficult to qualify for.
To be eligible for this type of term loan, you’ll need to have strong business finances, good to excellent credit, and have been in business for at least two years.
And although lenders will vary, you’ll generally need to have at least $100,000 in annual revenue for this to be a realistic financing option.
Therefore, this business loan isn’t usually the best option for new small business owners or those who lack serious creditworthiness. But if you have adequate financials and have established yourself as a reputable business, a bank loan could be viable.
In terms of bank loan range, $5,000 is usually the smallest amount a lender will offer, and $5 million is the highest.
The average bank loan amount in 2023 was $593,000 for large national banks and $146,000 for small regional banks.
If you’re looking for serious business financing and have the requisite credentials and credit, a traditional bank loan is definitely worth looking into.
However, if your needs are less and/or you lack the credentials and credit, you’ll likely want to consider other small business loan options.
This is one of the most flexible types of business financing and tends to be much less strict than a traditional bank loan or, as we’ll discuss shortly, an SBA loan.
For instance, some lenders only require a borrower to have been in business for just six months to be eligible for an online loan — significantly less than the two years typically required for a traditional bank loan.
At the absolute low end, you can get $1,000 from an online loan. While on the extreme high end, you may be able to get as much as $5 million if you have a stellar credit report, a high level of creditworthiness, and you’re willing to put up collateral.
Generally, however, you won’t find too many online loans that exceed $500,000.
There are two main benefits of this loan option.
First, it’s one of the easier types of financing to qualify for, especially for smaller amounts of funding. The other is that the application process is fairly straightforward, and many online banking lenders will approve it within one week (some in as little as 24 hours).
The main drawback, however, is that you’ll often encounter higher interest rates than you would with a traditional bank loan or SBA loan, which brings us to our next loan type.
Let’s start off by saying that the Small Business Administration (SBA) does offer microloans that offer small business owners up to $50,000, with the average being around $13,000.
But we’ll discuss microloans from the SBA and other lenders later.
For this particular section, we’ll focus on the core SBA loans, such as 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and CAPLine loans.
Like a traditional bank loan, these are primarily geared toward small business owners with strong business financials, a high level of creditworthiness, and an established business for at least two years.
With most SBA loans offering up to $5 million in funding and the average SBA 7(a) loan being over $704,000 in 2023, this is a financing option that’s usually reserved for those that need a high loan amount rather than something like a basic startup loan.
Note that most SBA loans have a lengthy processing time of 30 to 90 days, which is significantly longer than many other business loans.
But, as we mentioned earlier, these have some of the lowest interest rates around, which can make for a lower monthly payment.
Business Lines of Credit
The exact loan amount range you can expect with a business line of credit will vary depending on who you ask.
Some go as low as $1,000 and others as high as $3 million. But across the board, you can generally expect a lender to offer somewhere between $5,000 and $500,000.
The inherent level of flexibility of business lines of credit and the ability to only draw from the funds you need when you need them makes this an excellent small business loan choice for many borrowers.
They’re also fairly easy to get, with less stringent qualification criteria than a traditional bank loan or SBA loan.
Besides that, business tradelines allow you to boost your cash flow while simultaneously building your business credit.
As long as you consistently make each monthly payment on time or in advance and the lender reports it to a major credit bureau, your credit score should improve.
In fact, opening business tradelines, along with following best practices like opening a business bank account, getting a business credit card, and getting a DUNS number and EIN can potentially help you build business credit in 30 days.
Merchant Cash Advance
If you’re looking for quick, easy business funding to boost cash flow, a merchant cash advance might be on your radar.
Although not technically a business loan in the strictest sense, it works in a similar manner.
"A merchant cash advance reviews the past debit card and credit card sales of a business and uses that to provide an advance against future sales,” Nav explains. “If approved, payments will often be taken out of your merchant account or bank account via a daily (or sometimes weekly) direct debit.”
Nav also notes that a merchant cash advance can be as little as $2,500 and as much as $1 million.
But in most cases, it will range from $5,000 to $500,000.
With fast access to cash flow, a flexible repayment term, and no collateral needed, a merchant cash advance can be appealing to many small business owners that don’t want to deal with secured business loans.
On top of that, you can potentially get financing with fair or even bad credit. In fact, some lenders will offer a merchant cash advance with a credit score in the 500 to 600 range.
As the name implies, microloans are designed to be small amounts. Earlier, we mentioned that the SBA offers microloans up to $50,000.
And that’s about the absolute highest loan amount you’ll find with most lenders. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest microloans are around $500.
While the average amount will vary from lender to lender, it’s worth noting that the average SBA microloan in 2023 was about $13,000.
If you’re looking for fast access to capital with fairly low rates (especially with the SBA), flexible use of funding, and easier approval than many other business loan options, microloans may be right up your alley.
The main downside is simply the limited loan amount you can get. Again, with the maximum around $50,000 at best, this is much lower than many other small business loans.
But if you’re just looking for a quick cash flow boost, microloans can be a good option and only require a minimum monthly payment.
Finally, equipment financing is a small business loan that lets you finance the equipment you purchase to operate your company.
According to Funding Circle, “Equipment loans typically allow you to finance 80% to 100% of the cost of equipment, often with no down payment,” which is similar to the percentage you typically see with invoice financing.
The exact amount of financing available can vary considerably from lender to lender, but many will go up to $500,000.
Because the equipment you use often serves as collateral, it acts as a secured business loan without you having to risk your personal assets.
Instead, if you default, the lender simply repossesses the equipment.
In turn, this takes a lot of the stress out of having what’s technically a secured loan and allows you to preserve cash flow for other business expenditures.
To get a better idea of exactly how much of a loan you qualify for, you can use a tool like a business loan calculator.
How to Qualify for Larger Loans
Revenue and Debt-to-Income Ratio
Two main factors lenders will consider when determining your eligibility for a business loan are your revenue and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
As we stated earlier, a traditional bank loan will often require $100,000 in annual revenue.
While an alternative lender may have less rigorous standards, requiring as little as $33,000 in annual revenue, the takeaway here is that increasing your revenue along with decreasing your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio can help you qualify for larger loans.
To quantify, your maximum DTI ratio should be 50% to be considered for a small business loan.
But if you can get it down to 36% or less, your chances of being approved greatly increase.
To recap, generating $100,000 in annual revenue and having a DTI ratio of 36% or less are good numbers to aim for, as they should increase your eligibility for business financing across the board.
This can also help you get a more favorable business loan term, an unsecured loan rather than a secured one, and more.
Personal Credit Scores
Just like your personal credit score heavily impacts your ability to qualify for a credit card and a personal loan, it also influences your ability to qualify for small business loans.
The higher your personal credit score is, the more creditworthy you are to lenders, and the larger the loan size you can usually get.
That’s why it’s important to take measures to raise your personal credit score if it’s less than good to excellent.
More specifically, Bankrate explains that banks and credit unions typically look for a credit score of 680 or higher when approving a business loan. But if you have a score of 740 or higher, this should help you secure a higher amount and a better loan term.
As for SBA lenders, you’ll usually need a minimum personal credit score in the mid-600s.
And while some online lenders may give the green light to borrowers with credit scores in the mid-500s, it’s far from ideal when attempting to qualify for larger loans. You’ll likely also encounter higher interest rates.
The bottom line is that you should make raising your personal credit score a top priority.
Business Credit Scores
Your company’s business credit score heavily impacts your ability to get loan approval.
Whether it’s a traditional lender, an online lender, or an alternative lender, nearly all will closely examine your business credit score to determine your creditworthiness and the likelihood of default.
For that reason, maximizing your business credit score should be another top priority, as this should 1) help you qualify for more loans to begin with and 2) increase the loan amount that you qualify for.
Note that, unlike a personal credit score which usually ranges from 300 to 850, a business credit score typically ranges from 1 to 100.
In most cases, the minimum business credit score you’ll need to be eligible for a loan is 75.
But to qualify for larger loans with favorable terms and the best credit cards, you’ll want to get it to 80+.
One of the easiest ways to raise your credit score is to use a tool like eCredable Business Lift, which automatically reports your business utility and telecom payments to major credit bureaus. Some examples include electricity, water, gas, and internet.
By simply paying your bills on time, you can quickly raise your business credit score, which can open the door for larger loans and other business financing opportunities without using personal credit.
Time in Business
Although how long you’ve been in business isn’t something you can control the same as you can with the aforementioned strategies, it’s a significant factor that lenders will look at when you’re filling out a loan application.
Again, most traditional banks want a business to have been around for at least two years, while some online lenders only require them to be in business for as little as six months.
The point here is that the longer you’re in business, the easier it should become to obtain larger amounts of funding.
So keep this in mind, as your business financing options should increase over time.
The size of a business loan can vary dramatically, ranging from a mere $500 all the way up to $5 million.
Understanding the different types of business loans and how much funding you can expect with each on average, as well as the qualification criteria, should help you determine what’s right for your business.