03 Jan Payro Finance Featured In Ami Magazine
Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you started your company.
In 2015, I was working at an Infinity Capital Funding, an alternative finance company. As a part of my job, I would attend various trade shows to try and bring in new leads. In 2017, I attended a business conference. It was there that I met a representative from a well known payroll company. During our conversation, he confided in me that some of his clients were occasionally unable to cover their payroll, and they would even rely on his payroll company to lay out the funds necessary from time to time. As a result of this conversation, I suggested to him that we partner up to offer short term loans to his clients, to help them cover payroll if they were unable to.
After doing some research, I found that this was an issue faced by many small business owners. In a study published by Quickbooks, it was found that 61% of small businesses have had cash flow issues. And due to these struggles, nearly a third have at one time been unable to pay themselves or employees. In addition, more than two in five business owners have frequently been at risk of paying their employees late. This is because payroll expenses are often one of the largest that small businesses can experience. Also, ensuring payroll is accurate, on time and compliant is essential to a small business’ success.
I realized that the potential here was huge. This was a challenge faced by multiple business owners, yet there was no direct solution available. Although the rep loved the idea, the arrangement didn’t end up working out. I was undeterred, and went on to message different payroll company CEOs via LinkedIn. Eventually, I ended up meeting with Fingercheck CEO, Joel Kohn. Fingercheck is a very well known forward thinking and innovative company, and I wanted to partner up with him to offer a payroll loan service to his existing clients. He thought it was a great idea. We ironed out the concept together, and began to offer it as a service to his clients. Joel Kohn offered me mentorship and guidance throughout, and he is a true visionary and inspiration. We had a lot of success within the partnership, but eventually I did end up leaving Infinity Capital Funding to found Payro Finance, a company focused completely on payroll funding.
What is Payro Finance all about?
PAYRO Finance is designed to help businesses by giving them a short term stop-gap loan specifically designed to cover payroll when cash flow is thin. In essence, this creates a payroll overdraft protection service, hence relieving the owner from much of the stress that covering payroll has on a business.
In our first months, we reached out to hundreds of payroll companies across the USA. We would explain our unique Payroll Partnership Program to them. Although it was a new concept, it excited them as an additional service they would be able to offer their clients. What our clients love about our service is the ability to avoid costly loans by taking an extremely short term one, which helps to keep them out of taking a long term loan, which can draw a company into long term debt.
For example, one of our clients, an urgent care center, was awaiting a large payment from an insurance company. They needed funds immediately to cover their payroll, and so they took a loan with Payro Finance. Two days later, they were able to repay that loan when the money from insurance came through. Using Payro ensured their peace of mind, and it was a quick, painless process.
During the first months of our launch, we noticed an interesting trend. Businesses that were not in distress were opting in more and more for these payroll loans. We realized that dealing with cashflow really is a common business struggle.
How do your loans work? What are the rates?
Payro offers unsecured loans to businesses. When a business applies for approval initially, they are underwritten based on criteria such as years in business, credit history, and historical cash flow. Businesses then receive approval for a line of credit which they can access each time they run payroll. The credit limit is decided based on a formula that takes into account various factors, such as monthly revenue and payroll obligations. A business can be approved within 48 hours, and once approved, clients can access funds on the same day. These loans are extremely short term, with a maximum 28 days allowed for payment.
What were your plans for 2020, and how did the pandemic affect them?
Up until the pandemic, the company saw exponential growth. Clients loved the concept, and we were getting new referrals daily. We made many new connections through sales calls and LinkedIn. Then COVID-19 hit, and like everyone else, we had no idea what the future would hold. The landscape was so uncertain and we weren’t sure how long it would remain that way, so we stopped lending completely.
Clients like gyms and restaurants were not making payments, as no money was coming in and they were closed for the foreseeable future.
Bh, since PPP funds came through for many of these businesses, many clients paid up, and a few months later we started lending money again slowly with changes, such as stricter underwriting guidelines. While PPP helped clients pay us back, it also posed a challenge to our company, as the PPP funded payroll for small business owners. Therefore, in addition to the uncertainty in the lending space there was also a decline in new business.
During these months, I had time to network more than usual, and I started prospecting on LinkedIn on overdrive. This paid off in the long run, since after some time I managed to connect with countless payroll companies, and some of them eventually signed up. A lot of the relationships I had worked on before COVID-19 became obsolete, but there was new reality emerging. With the post lockdown return to work, and payroll companies that had lost a lot of business eager to make up for lost time, these new relationships converted to business, bh.
Another interesting advantage for our company that resulted from the pandemic is that google searches for ‘payroll funding’ skyrocketed, and it is now definitely a more common concept than it ever was before. Additionally, since so much time has passed since the PPP program ended, and businesses are once again operating, they are once more looking for loans. With this change we changed our strategy to attract business directly from online traffic, instead of exclusively from payroll partners, and it has paid off significantly.
What are your plans for 2021?
We plan to keep hustling, and to keep growing. We’re extremely motivated, and we’re continuously reaching out to even more companies and getting the word out as much as we can. And on a final note, if you own a business that is profitable and well managed, but you find yourself dealing with a sporadic cash flow issue, reach out to us to see how PAYRO Finance can help you.