It’s 2022, and 75% of Americans don’t have a savings account to their name. For the average homeowner, facing expensive home improvements can feel nearly impossible right now. With the right finance offering in place, you can keep your business flowing (and growing) and help them get their projects done quickly with payment terms they can handle, and without accruing a ton of interest.
But before you sign up for the first financing option on the table, make sure to ask these important questions (and get the clear answers you need to get started!)
1. What type of customer should I offer home improvement financing to?
As long as a customer is listed on the title of their home and their property has no more than four attached units, you can offer them a financing product like Benji Financing. You’ll be able to accommodate homeowners who may not have great credit or home equity, which means you can serve more customers and remove potential barriers to their home improvement needs.
Certain industries, such as solar or roofing, almost require financing in order to grow your business — because these projects are such big-ticket items, and most homeowners or property owners don’t have the means to cover them out of pocket. Some homeowners will acquire financing on their own, but having a contractor who can help them through the process makes your services more appealing. Think of it as an all-in-one service, from the first conversation to the moment that last shingle is in place.
Even customers who initially want to pay cash may be attracted to a no-interest, no-payment for 6, 12, or 18-month financing options. (After all, what have they got to lose?) Plus, it allows them to continue to build their credit without accruing any additional costs.
2. What are the benefits of offering financing?
There are quite a few — for both you and your customers.
With competitive products like Benji Financing, your customers are able to get their projects done right away, paying a low monthly amount with 0% interest financing for up to 18 months, instead of a hefty lump sum. That means they can get the work done now, and have time to pay it off without interest.
You’re able to close the deal and get the project started right away, which can help increase margins and commissions by using additional funds. More importantly, it gives customers confidence in your services, and allows mid-sized companies to compete against large competitors. That’s a win for everybody.
3. How do I actually process an application?
Every contractor has this thought: I don’t know…I’m not a finance guy. You don’t need to be—the application process is extremely flexible and completely paperless. You can run apps right in the field, close the deal, and book the project that very day.
Most financing companies will offer multiple ways to process applications, though some offer better experiences than others. With Benji Financing, we offer five easy ways to apply which can support any home improvement sales strategy:
1. The Finance of America Home Improvement mobile app. You can use our mobile app to provide financing estimates and get approvals in just minutes.
2. The contractor portal. Just like the app you can run applications, track and manage projects, and estimate monthly payments for customers.
3. Add an "apply" button to your website. Registered contractors can generate a custom-coded button for your website— that means homeowners can get pre-approved before you meet.
4. Email a link to customers. Generate a personal application link in the contractor portal and email it to your customers to begin the application process.
5. Apply by phone. Sometimes it’s just easier to pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll take it from there.
If any problems arise during an application, or you have questions, you can call our support team or reach out to your dedicated account manager to assist you.
4. And how do I get paid?
Once the project is complete, you’ll submit it for funding. The customer can confirm the project is complete verbally, or digitally by submitting completion documentation. Funds are then dispersed directly to your bank account, usually within 48 hours.
Note: For qualifying contractors, we offer advanced funding for higher-ticket projects, with 30% of the total project funded up front.
5. What happens if my clients don’t pay their loan — am I liable?
While we can’t speak for other financing companies, we protect the contractors we work with. As long as you follow the guidelines with Benji Financing, you would never be liable if a client does not pay their loan. If the customer contacts you in regard to repayment or any other question, feel free to direct them back to us.
Here’s how it works: after the loan is funded, we will handle the servicing of the loan. Our servicer will work with the customer to follow up on any missed payments. Similar to most lending companies, banks or credit cards, collection activity may occur if the property owner does not pay their Benji loan. Our post-funding team will work directly with the customer to help avoid this and may set up a recovery payment-plan if necessary.
6. I’m not good at crunching numbers, how do I give my clients payment options?
Both our mobile app and contractor portal include an easy-to-use calculator that will help you and quickly find the plan that works best for each customer. You can calculate payments based on the project amount or the customers budget to find a monthly payment that they feel comfortable with. From day one, you’ll receive sales training and back office support from our financing professionals to ensure you’re confidently crunching numbers before you enter your customers home.
7. What do I need to get approved to offer financing?
In order to apply, you’ll need a copy of your company’s General Liability Insurance and a W9 for tax purposes. As long as you meet local/state contractor licensing requirements and carry proper insurance, we can approve very quickly. Check out our Registration Checklist for additional details on the registration process.
8. How much does it cost to offer financing?
Finance of America Home Improvement offers a range of financing options— many of them cost nothing for you to offer. There is no sign up or annual fee, ever. Many contractors grow their business with us without spending a penny, offering extremely competitive rates relying exclusively on no cost options. What does this mean? Here’s an example; our most popular plans offer a 9.99% apr to customers which costs you absolutely nothing to offer. We do offer lower APR’s, but apply a nominal dealer fee to offer.
Oh, and one more thing. The more Benji business you do, the more you’ll save. With the Benji Premier Dealer Program, you’ll be rewarded with reduced dealer fees when your customers choose Benji.
We hope this gives you a better sense of how financing works, and the confidence to get started. Have more questions about how financing works? We’re happy to answer your questions and help you get familiar with just how home improvement financing works. Give us a call at 844-722-7759 or click below to learn more.
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