If your small business has been negatively impacted by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, there is help available from the federal government. Below is information on some of the various programs your company may be eligible for.
In order to be eligible for COVID-19 financial assistance under these programs, businesses must have less than 500 employees, have been in operation as of February 15, 2020, pay salaries for employees, and pay payroll tax and/or independent contractors.
It is recommended that you speak with your tax advisor before applying for these programs and have a clear understanding of how they work and the terms associated with each.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program is designed for small businesses, self-employed individuals, and other organizations with less than 500 employees to tap into $349-billion set aside by the federal government for job retention and other expenses.
Those eligible for the program can receive a loan up to $10-million which is 2.5x your average monthly payroll. There are a few options for determining the monthly average which can be viewed by clicking here.
Since the program is designed to retain jobs, the United States Small Business Association (SBA) will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds, up to 100%, that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities as long as the jobs are retained.
PPP loan proceeds may also be used to pay interest payments on mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and interest on other debt obligations previously incurred.
Those who receive a loan under the PPP will have loan payments deferred for six months.
For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance (EIDL)
Under the SBA’s Economic Disaster Loan program, small businesses and can receive working capital loans up to $2-million to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue.
The Economic Disaster Loan program is designed to provide eligible small business owners with an advance on that loan of up to $10,000 which will be made available in approximately three business days. The loan advance does not need to be repaid.
EIDL loans will have an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses with long-term payback terms up to 30 years which vary based on the businesses’ ability to repay.
For loans under $200,000.00 the requirement for personal collateral is waived. Additionally, loans can be approved based on a credit score; tax returns are no longer required.
Applying for the loan takes about two hours and can be done online by clicking here.
SBA Express Bridge Loans
Designed for businesses that have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Loan lender, these bridge loans allow the business to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. Bridge Loans are to be used to overcome temporary loss of revenue or used while waiting for an EIDL loan to be approved if cash is needed urgently.
Bridge Loans will be repaid in full by the proceeds of an approved EIDL.
To find an SBA Express Loan lender, contact your local SBA office by locating one near you by clicking here.
Impact of COVID-10 On Existing Lines of Credit
For those businesses with existing loans, credit card debt, lines of credit, etc., you may be wondering what happens if you are unable to make a payment.
Many financial institutions are waiving late fees, increasing credit lines, and deferring payments. If you are currently unable to make payments, it is recommended you immediately speak with the lender to see what options are available for you.
For a list of what some financial institutions are doing for small businesses, click here.
State Assistance May Also Be Available
In addition to federal small business assistance programs, several states including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and more are offering financial aid.
For example, in Florida, the state is offering short-term, interest-free working capital bridge loans, while in California the City of Sacramento is offering $1 million economic relief fund for businesses with zero-percent interest loans of up to $25,000 per business.
It is recommended that you check with your state to see what programs are available for your business.
Author note: It is our intention to keep this information updated as more programs become available, so please check back frequently for updates.
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.