Building up credit with vendors and suppliers is a great stepping stone to getting access to traditional business credit cards and business loans. A credit card from a hardware store, a big-box retailer or a wholesale club can help you build credit and save on your operating costs.
Dear Your Business Credit,
I’m looking to build business credit but am not confident I will qualify for a business credit card. I would like to try building up credit with some of the retailers I use that report to credit bureaus. Which ones should I try? My business is in the construction industry. –Dan
Your approach is spot on. The best way to build business credit is one brick at a time. Building up credit with vendors and suppliers is a great stepping stone to getting access to traditional business credit cards and business loans.
So which vendors and suppliers should you try first?
Given that you’re in the construction industry, one of the first places to consider is the larger hardware store chains you patronize. Some of them offer credit to customers.
- For instance, The Home Depot offers both a commercial revolving charge card and a commercial account. Commercial account holders have to pay in full each month, but the revolving charge card offers more flexible payment options.
- Similarly, Lowe’s offers business credit cards such as the Lowe’s Business Account Credit Card, which allows you to carry a balance, the Lowe’s ProServices accounts receivable card, which must be paid in full every month, and a pre-paid debit and credit card.
I’m assuming you sometimes need to buy office supplies to manage the back end of your business. If that’s the case, you’ll also want to look into getting credit at the store you patronize. Among the office supply stores that offer credit cards are Office Depot and Staples.
If you shop in bulk at a big box store like B.J.’s, Costco or Sam’s Club, also consider applying for one of their cards. B.J.’s offers the My BJ’s Perks World for Business Mastercard. Costco customers can apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi. Meanwhile, Sam’s Club offers the Sam’s Club Business Credit Card.
Make sure to compare and contrast the interest rates available, where relevant. Although you do want to get credit, you don’t want to pay higher rates than you need to, either.
Establish good credit habits, and take advantage of rewards
Regardless of which cards you apply for, how you manage them is the key to building business credit. Make sure you always pay them on time and never borrow so much that you can’t make the minimum payment.
Also try not to borrow more than 50% of the credit limit on any one card, to avoid high credit utilization. Generally speaking, you’re better off spreading charges among several cards than maxing out one card and keeping the other ones at a zero balance.
If that means getting two separate hardware store cards and spreading your purchases among more than one merchant, consider it an investment in your future credit.
Some store cards offer points. Use any points you rack up to extend your spending power for things you need. The less cash you spend, the easier it will be to stay current on your bills.
In a field like construction, where you’re likely making big-ticket purchases for equipment or supplies from time to time, those points can add up.
Using business credit cards responsibly can build your credit and help you save on your operating costs – a great way to ensure the future success of your company.