Advertiser Disclosure

What Is Invoice Factoring and How Does It Work?

Written by Banks Editorial Team
Updated July 20, 2023
6 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
6 min. read

Sponsored By

As a business owner, understanding how invoice factoring works can be crucial for managing your cash flow effectively. It involves the selling of your unpaid customer invoices to a third-party invoice factoring companies. By leveraging this form of financing, you can access cash for your short-term cash needs without waiting for client payments.

Loading... Loading...

What Is Invoice Factoring?

Invoice factoring is a financial solution that helps you, as a business owner, improve your cash flow. It involves selling your accounts receivables or unpaid invoices to a third-party factoring company in exchange for cash – typically 70 percent to 90 percent of the invoice’s value. The factoring company also assumes responsibility for collecting on the invoice. 

How Does Invoice Factoring Work?

When your company provides goods or services to a client, you issue an invoice with payment terms. Instead of waiting for the client to pay, you can sell your unpaid invoice to a factoring company. They will advance you a percentage of the invoice value, typically between 70 percent to 90 percent, within 24 to 48 hours. This advance provides you with immediate working capital to fund operations, meet payroll or pursue other growth opportunities.

Once your client pays the invoice to the factoring company, the remaining balance will be forwarded to you, minus the factoring fee. The factoring fee is a percentage of the invoice amount, which can vary depending on the creditworthiness of your clients, the invoice volume and other factors.

What Types of Invoices Do You Factor?

Here’s a closer look at the types of invoices you can factor: 

  • Recurring invoices: If your business operates on a subscription or retainer basis, you’ll likely have recurring invoices. These invoices, where you bill your clients at regular intervals, are an excellent candidate for factoring. Factoring companies typically appreciate the predictability of these invoices, as it reduces the risks associated with collection and payment.
  • Completed work invoices: Invoices for work that has been completed and accepted by your clients can also be factored in. This includes projects or services you’ve delivered and your clients have approved. The factoring company will consider the history of your relationship with the client, the payment terms and the invoice due date when determining the eligibility of these invoices.
  • Progress billing invoices: For businesses involved in long-term projects, progress billing invoices are common. These invoices are issued at regular intervals throughout the project based on milestones or the percentage of work completed. Factoring companies often consider these invoices as they provide a consistent cash flow, depending on the project’s scope and duration. However, they may require more specialized attention, as there’s a higher risk of disputes or delays in payment due to ongoing work requirements.
  • Government contract Invoices: Businesses that provide goods or services to government entities can also benefit from invoice factoring. Government contracts can carry more extended payment terms, making cash flow management challenging for contractors. Factoring companies with experience in government contract factoring understand the unique requirements and processes involved with these invoices, making them more likely to factor these types of invoices.

The Invoice Factoring Process

If you decide to hand over your invoices to a factoring company in exchange for cash, here’s what to expect: 

Selecting a Factoring Company

To start the invoice factoring process, you’ll need to choose a factoring company that best suits your company’s needs. Research and compare different companies and consider their fees, reputation and the industries they serve. Make sure the company you choose is experienced in dealing with businesses similar to yours and focuses on invoice factoring or receivable financing.

Submitting Invoices for Factoring

Once you’ve selected a factoring company, the next step is to submit your outstanding invoices. Make sure the invoices are accurate and represent valid transactions between you and your customers or clients. The factoring company will typically review these invoices and decide which ones they will factor in. This step may involve verifying the creditworthiness of your customers and ensuring the invoices comply with their requirements.

Receiving the Advance Payment

When the factoring company approves your invoices, they will provide you with an advance payment. This advance usually ranges from 70 percent to 90 percent of the total invoice amount. 

Loading... Loading...

Debtor Repayment

Once the advance is issued, the factoring company assumes responsibility for collecting the invoice(s). In turn, your customers will pay the factoring company directly. So, it is essential to maintain communication with both your customers and the factoring company to ensure a smooth repayment process.

Receiving the Remaining Balance

After your customers have paid the factoring company, you’ll receive the remaining balance of the invoices minus the factoring fee. The fee usually depends on several factors, such as the factoring company’s terms and the time it took for your customers to repay the invoices. 

Invoice Factoring Example

To illustrate how invoice factoring works, assume you own a small manufacturing business with $25,000 worth of outstanding invoices that are due in 30 days. Your company needs immediate cash flow to cover operational expenses such as payroll, utility bills and raw materials.

If a factoring company approves you with an 80 percent advance rate and a 5 percent factor fee, you will receive $20,000 (80% of $25,000) in advance, with the factoring company withholding the remaining $5,000 until your customers pay the complete invoice amount.

Once the factoring company has collected the entire outstanding balance from your customers, it will remit the remaining amount of $5,000 to you, minus the 5% factor fee, which amounts to $1,250. In the end, you get a total of $23,750 ($20,000 + ($5,000 – $1,250) from your $25,000 worth of invoices, and the factoring company earns $1,250 from the 5% factor fee.

The Advantages of Invoice Factoring

One of the main benefits of invoice factoring for your business is immediate access to cash. By selling your unpaid customer invoices to a factoring company, you can receive around 70% to 95% of the total invoice value upfront, improving the cash flow for your company. Even better, invoice factoring usually has a quick approval process compared to traditional bank loans. This helps businesses secure funds quickly without going through tedious paperwork and lengthy credit verifications.

With invoice factoring, your business also receives timely and easily predictable cash, making it easier for you to plan investments and distribute cash optimally within the company. And unlike traditional bank loans, invoice factoring doesn’t require collateral or personal guarantees since the factoring company assumes the risk associated with the unpaid invoices; your business assets are not at stake.

Plus, factoring companies often provide services such as credit checks, invoice collection, and management of accounts receivable. By outsourcing these tasks to the factoring company, you can save time and focus on your core business activities.

The Disadvantages of Invoice Factoring

While invoice factoring can be a viable financing option for many businesses, it’s essential to be aware of its potential downsides. Understanding these drawbacks can help you make an informed decision about whether this service is right for your company.

One of the primary disadvantages of invoice factoring is the cost. Although it allows your business to access cash more quickly, it can be more expensive than other financing options like traditional bank loans. The average factoring fee ranges from 1 percent to 5 percent, which may add up over time, especially for small businesses with tight margins.

Another concern when considering invoice factoring is the potential loss of control over customer interactions. When a factoring company purchases your outstanding invoices, they may take on the responsibility of collecting payments from your clients. This situation can lead to a diminished level of control over your customer relationships, as the factoring company may handle communications and follow-ups differently than you would.

In some cases, invoice factoring can also lead to a perception of financial instability. When you use a factoring service, it might send a signal to clients that your cash flow is not stable or that your business is experiencing financial difficulties. This implication might not be accurate, but it could affect your company’s reputation in the market.

When Does Invoice Factoring Make Sense?

Invoice factoring can be an advantageous solution for small businesses and business owners who need to improve their cash flow. In certain situations, it makes more sense to consider invoice factoring than other financing options.

If your business often experiences long waits for customer payments, invoice factoring can provide you with quick access to working capital. This is particularly useful for businesses that have seasonal fluctuations in revenue or operate in industries where net 30- to 60-day payment terms are common. By turning unpaid customer invoices into cash, your company can maintain a healthy cash flow, even during slow periods.

As a small business owner, you may face challenges when trying to secure traditional loans or lines of credit due to a lack of credit history or collateral. Invoice factoring relies on the creditworthiness of your clients rather than your own, making it a more accessible solution for financing your operations.

In addition, invoice factoring can be a flexible solution for companies that have fluctuating financial needs. With invoice financing, you can choose which invoices to factor in and when giving you more control over your cash flow.

However, it’s important to note that invoice factoring comes at a cost, as factoring companies charge fees for their services. You should carefully evaluate the fees and terms associated with factoring before opting for this solution to ensure it’s the best fit for your business.

How to Choose the Right Lender for Invoice Factoring

When considering invoice factoring, selecting the right lender is crucial. To do so, follow these guidelines:

  • Research multiple lenders: Don’t settle for the first factoring company you find. Research various lenders and compare their services, costs, and reputation. Look for industry experience and customer reviews. This will give you a better understanding of their credibility and expertise.
  • Understand fees and terms: Each factoring company has different fee structures. Some may charge a flat fee, while others might apply a percentage based on the invoice amount. Be mindful of any hidden fees, such as setup fees, service fees, or renewal fees. Understanding these costs will prevent surprises and allow you to make an informed decision.
  • Consider the advance rate: The advance rate is the percentage of the invoice value a factoring company is willing to provide upfront. Advance rates typically range from 70 to 90 percent. A higher advance rate means more cash in your hand, but it might also come with higher fees.
  • Evaluate contract flexibility: Consider a factoring company with flexible contracts that allow you to choose which invoices you want to factor in. This way, you can maintain control over your cash flow. Some companies require long-term contracts, which could limit your options if your business needs to change.
  • Assess customer service: Since the factor will interact directly with your clients to collect payments, it’s vital to choose a company with excellent customer service. A professional and friendly approach can help maintain positive relationships with your customers.

If you need help finding a lender, consider contacting a business platform like Advance Funds Network. They have been helping small business owners secure over $1.8 billion in business funding since their start in 2007. They are also BBB-accredited and boast excellent ratings in Trustpilot. Fill out the online form, and an Advance Funds Network business lending expert will contact you to discuss your loan options with no obligation or impact on your credit.

Loading... Loading...

You may also like

Curious about bridge loans and how they work? This concise guide breaks down the ins and outs of bridge loans and how they can help.
Read more

Advertisement Disclosure

Product name, logo, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within are the property of their respective trademark holders. This site may be compensated through third party advertisers. The offers that may appear on’s website are from companies from which may receive compensation. This compensation may influence the selection, appearance, and order of appearance of the offers listed on the website. However, this compensation also facilitates the provision by of certain services to you at no charge. The website does not include all financial services companies or all of their available product and service offerings.