You aren't required to use a broker when applying for financing, but many people choose to do so anyway due to the many benefits they offer. A great broker can guide you, helping you make the best financial decisions with your loan. They know the ins and outs of the financing industry, and their information and expertise can be invaluable. However, finding an honest broker is absolutely essential.
You may be surprised to know that there is no licensing requirement for small business loan brokers - at least, not yet. Of course, there are other ways to ensure that a broker is honest and reliable, but they require effort on your part. Because you're sharing so much personal and financial information with a broker, you should consider putting in the extra effort to find the best broker available. The ideal broker will be honest and knowledgeable, and they should answer your questions promptly and truthfully. Here's how to find one of these brokers:
The Internet should probably be your first resource for reviews. You can use search terms like 'best loan broker' or use the broker's name with 'reviews' to find possible options. You can also use Facebook, Twitter and online forums to ask for recommendations from others. This is one of the best ways to find unbiased information about a broker.
You can also ask for reviews from people in person. Word-of-mouth is an old-fashioned strategy, but it still works today. If you have friends who have used a broker in the past and had a good experience, ask for their name and information so you can get in touch.
You can also use other resources to find an honest broker. The Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs are great places to start, but you likely have other sites you trust that may have information you can use. Many financial websites compile lists of brokers or publish individual, comprehensive reviews on some of the bigger brokers you'll find online. You can use this information to make a short list of brokers who may be ideal.
Most brokers have a traceable history that you can find online with a little research. Any broker should have basic information provided, such as a professional website, a physical address, and a phone number. Dishonest brokers may not provide this information because they don't want to be too easy to contact. The best brokers offer some form of human contact as a support option, even if most of the loan process is automated.
With the prevalence of social media in today's society, many top brokers will also have a Facebook or Twitter. You can check these platforms for additional information about the company, as well as posts and reviews from other borrowers. It's a great way to get a feel for the company.
All of these options bring us back to the most important aspect of finding an honest broker: research. It may be time-consuming, but proper research can make all the difference in the world. If you take the time to thoroughly research a broker, you should be able to form a strong opinion of their level of service and honesty. You should also remember that your gut instinct is also an important part of the process. If something about the broker feels 'off,' you may do better looking elsewhere, if only for your own peace of mind.