Business Loan Consultants Near You: How to Find Help

A business loan consultant will help you apply for a small-business loan — for a fee. Free help is also available.

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Applying for a small-business loan can be a complex, time-consuming task. A business loan consultant can simplify the process by analyzing your firm’s finances, identifying the appropriate funding type and working with you to compile the documents needed for your loan.

Loan consultants don’t offer their services for free; most charge either an hourly or per-session fee for their services. The investment may be worthwhile for time-strapped business owners or first-time borrowers overwhelmed by the business loan application process.

Do your research before paying for assistance. If you need less hands-on support, consider free business coaching instead. These services are often sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration or nonprofit organizations and may be available near you.

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What is a business loan consultant?

A business loan consultant is a person or company you pay for their expertise in all facets of small-business financing. This includes understanding the many different types of business loans — the SBA alone offers nearly a dozen funding options, each with its own requirements and application process — as well as documentation required on a business loan application, such as a business plan, tax returns (business and personal) and detailed financial statements for your company.

Some consultants also act as business loan brokers, meaning they’ll match you with a lender or lenders. These consultants typically work with a network of lenders and do the heavy lifting of comparing your financing options and preparing and submitting your loan application. A consultant who offers these services may be a good fit if you're a first-time borrower or require a specialized type of funding.

How to find a business loan consultant near you

While a quick Google search will turn up dozens of loan consultants and brokers, your local business network is the best first step to finding a business loan consultant near you.

Other entrepreneurs can offer guidance and recommendations, and point you to resources in your area to assist you in obtaining financing for your business.

If you do opt to hire a business loan consultant, the following questions can help gauge consultants’ experience and expertise:

  • How many lenders do they partner with? Look for a consultant with a large network that can shop your application around to multiple lenders and improve your odds of getting a competitive loan offer.

  • Do they specialize in a certain type of business or funding? There are nuances to certain types of businesses and business loans. Startups, for example, want a loan consultant with a track record of securing funding for new businesses. Business owners hoping for an SBA loan, on the other hand, want to work with someone who is well versed in the current requirements and application processes.

  • What is the fee structure? Some loan consultants charge an hourly fee or per-session fee, while others take a percentage of your total loan amount. When comparing options, get a clear, complete picture of each consultant’s fee structure, as well as what it includes. How many loan applications will they send on your behalf, for example? And how long will the process take?

  • What happens if they can’t help you secure financing? Getting approved for a business loan isn’t guaranteed, even when working with a professional. It’s important to understand the worst-case scenario before signing on with a consultant or broker.

Be wary of loan consultants who guarantee funding or promise a certain APR, and read the fine print to understand how your data will be used. Some loan consultants, for example, sell client data to third-party vendors and marketers.

Finding an SBA loan consultant

SBA loans are the gold standard for small-business funding. They offer competitive rates, low fees and long terms (up to 10 to 25 years, depending on the loan type). But applying for an SBA loan is a meticulous process. One wrong form or missing document and your loan application could be delayed for months, or outright denied.

SBA loan consultants know the ins and outs of each SBA loan program and can ensure you apply to the right program, and that your application is complete and error-free.

In addition to the questions above, ask potential SBA loan consultants about the volume of SBA loans they handle each year, what types of SBA lenders they work with and which SBA loans they specialize in. The application process for an SBA 7(a) loan, for example, is very different from that of an SBA 504 loan.

Alternatives to business loan consultants

If you need less help — or don't want to pay for a business loan consultant — the following free alternatives may be available near you. Each can offer basic assistance with loan applications, as well as other strategic services.

Small Business Development Centers, or SBDCs: The SBA supports nearly 1,000 SBDCs across all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Small Business Administration. About the Office of Small Business Development Centers. Accessed Jun 15, 2022.
. These SBDCs offer free business consulting, including help applying for small-business loans and SBA loans. This SBA website can help you find an SBDC in your area.

SCORE: Business owners can also connect with SCORE, a national organization that offers free business mentorship, as well as webinars and trainings. While a business mentor won’t apply for loans on your behalf, they can help you develop a business plan, plan for growth and build a strong business loan application.

Community development financial institutions, or CDFIs: Most CDFIs focus on funding for minority business owners and those in low-income communities. These banks and credit unions take a more hands-on approach to help business owners obtain financing and tend to have more lenient lending criteria, making them a good option for business owners with less-than-perfect credit. You can use this tool from the Opportunity Finance Network, a nonprofit organization with more than 360 CDFI members nationwide

Opportunity Finance Network. About Opportunity Finance Network. Accessed Jun 15, 2022.
, to find a community development financial institution in your area.