Operations

FYI Tips For Filling Out Your SBA Disaster Loan Apps

Martin Romjue
Posted on March 25, 2020

Heed these tips to help you (Photo via Unsplash user Alexander Mils)

Heed these tips to help you (Photo via Unsplash user Alexander Mils)

As more federal loan money becomes available for small businesses to survive the pandemic-driven economic crisis, luxury ground transportation operators need to be aware of some shortcuts around the pitfalls of pursuing the money.

That was the focus of a March 25 meeting of the Minority Limousine Operators of America member conference call that provided tips from operators who’ve navigated the online application process of the Small Business Administration.

Small businesses in the U.S. can apply for up to $2 million in loans and grants from the SBA to help tie them over during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis that has wracked the ground transportation and related business sectors that are at a near standstill.

MLOA President Darrell Anderson, who is owner of A. National Limousine in Atlanta, led a roundtable discussion about SBA-related tips and general advice on finding emergency funding. He was joined by former MLOA President Maurice Brewster, owner of Mosaic Global Transportation in San Francisco, who has successfully completed the SBA loan process for his company within 45 minutes.

Some operators are completing the applications within hours, while others are struggling over the course of several days. Overall, the process has been streamlined compared to the standard SBA-loan application process.

“There’s a lot of money out here for companies that have been affected,” Anderson told operators on the call. “Some companies get discouraged, but I encourage you to go and look at the application and then look at what information they are requiring.”

Anderson offered a simple guideline for operators struggling with securing funds: “Don’t panic. Be patient. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Ask for help from fellow members. We’re all in this together.”

The SBA disaster loan application site can be found here. Here are some SBA-related application tips:

  • First of all, while applying online, make sure you hit the save button on the SBA application site and do it often as you fill out the forms so you don’t get booted off. If you get kicked off, you will have to start over.
  • Some operators recommend using the Internet Explorer browser while accessing the SBA site and hitting refresh often.
  • Put all of your documents supporting the application in formats, such as PDFs, that can be easily retrieved and are ready to send. If you don’t have them ready for attachment and take too long to link them, the SBA system will time out after a specific amount of time and interrupt the process.

Among documents you need:

  • Two-page loan application.
  • Personal financial statements that are ready to be electronically forwarded and attached.
  • A schedule of liabilities, which the SBA will use along with your credit ratings/worthiness to determine how much of the maximum $2 million loan amount you will get.
  • Two years of complete, up-to-date tax returns for both your company and you, personally. [If your returns are too lengthy and don’t attach, you can indicate you will Fed-Ex them to an SBA branch office where they will sign for it and verify. This will allow your online application to proceed].
  • IRS form 4506T, which gives the SBA authorization to go to the IRS and review up to three years of tax returns.
  • Any business partners with ownership stakes in your company will have to submit income and financial statements and personal tax returns.
  • Follow through and make sure you have provided all information. Incomplete information will delay the process and your application could get cast to the side. At some point, the available loan amounts will run out.
  • Acknowledge the perjury warning and then hit Submit. The site will give you a preview of what you’ve prepared before you send it.

The MLOA leaders also offered some other tips and insights related to the SBA process and finding other sources of emergency loans, grants, and/or funding:

  • Many people are applying for loans and there is growing competition. Get in line early and persist through completion.
  • Be aware of growing fraudulent solicitations and communications. The SBA will only communicate with you through email addresses that are SBA.gov-based. Any official e-mails will reference your disaster loan application number. Look for it.
  • Don’t be tempted to accept financial relief offers from American Express or other private entities that may command higher interest rates or more complicated and costly loan terms.
  • Cash is king; try to hold on to as much as you can for necessities. Reach out to your creditors. Work with your insurance agent to split up payments.
  •  Check your local county, city/town, and state for any business and loan relief programs.
  • Look for every opportunity and don’t rule out anything. States and localities might have bridge loans or grants for small business owners.
  • Look for crowd-funding sources. Another option is angel investor funding. Spend time Googling, talking to other businesspeople, and plug into resources that have to do with small business in your area.

NEXT WEEK: The MLOA plans to hold weekly meetings open to everyone on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET/`10 a.m. PT. The guest speaker for April 1 will Reuben Rodriguez, senior vice president and chief lending officer for the Business Consortium Fund, which works with the SBA in getting loans to small and minority-owned businesses.

Recordings of meetings and other resources are available on www.mloaa.org.

In closing, Anderson advised: “You’ve got to be in this for the long haul. We don’t know how long it will last.”

Related Topics: coronavirus, COVID-19, crisis management, Darrell Anderson, disasters, emergency planning, emergency preparedness, Maurice Brewster, Minority Limousine Operators of America, minority-owned businesses, small business, Small Business Administration, small-fleet operators

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Dan Goff

     | about 7 days ago

    Good info!

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