Information for the city of Birmingham
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama's population.Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading.
Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, United Kingdom; one of the UK's major industrial cities. Many, if not most, of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non unionized, and African American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining.
Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home of the private Birmingham Southern College. Between these two universities and Sam University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferencesFrom Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy.
Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Steel products manufacturers . In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around the city. Vulcan Company, a major provider of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction, is also based in Birmingham.In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011.
As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors. City Center in downtownThe telephone company that is now owned by ., which was formerly and before that , which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown as well as several large operational center buildings and a data center.The insurance companieshave their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies,each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 by Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's ""combined personal income"" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.Birmingham's sales tax, which also applies fully to groceries, stands at 10 percent and is the highest tax rate of the nation's 100 largest cities.Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent
Information for the state of Alabama
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Occupations outside of agriculture were widespread by 2008. Employment in that year was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
With a factoring service like us you don't need to wait for cash.
Factoring Companies Al
The fact that there's no limit to the level of financing is the major advantage factoring has over traditional bank lending. As your company continues to grow, so too should the funding of invoices grow with you. -Factoring Companies Al
PROFITS THAT LIE HIDDEN IN YOUR COMPANY
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The Difference between Accounts Receivable Financing and Factoring
Today, it’s not as easy for businesses to access finance as it was in past years, and more companies are being forced to look for alternative, non banking financing options in order to access the capital they require to help their business grow.
Two of the more popular tools available to cash strapped business owners are Accounts Receivable Financing (A/R Financing) and factoring. Some business owners believe these two are the same, but there are, in fact, some small yet significant differences.
What Is Factoring?
Factoring is when a commercial finance company, also known as a factor or factoring company, purchases a business’s outstanding accounts receivable. At that time, the factor will typically advance the business somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice’s value. Then, once the invoice is collected from the customer, the remaining balance – minus a factoring fee – is released to the business. The factoring fee could range from between 1.5% and 5.5%. It’s calculated on the total face value of the invoice and depends on how many days the funds are in use and other aspects, like the collection risk.
When a business has a factoring contract they can usually choose which invoices they want to sell to the factor: it’s not generally an all or nothing process. Once the factor has purchased an invoice they become responsible for managing the receivable until the account has been paid. Essentially, the factor becomes the business’s accounts receivable department and credit manager, analyzing credit reports, performing credit checks, mailing invoices, and documenting payments.
What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?
Accounts Receivable Financing is more similar to a traditional bank loan, however there are some key differences. Bank loans are secured with collateral; which might be real estate, the business owner’s personal assets, or plant and equipment; whereas Accounts Receivable Financing is backed by the business’s assets related to the Accounts Receivable. When a business has an Accounts Receivable financing agreement, a borrowing base is established at each draw against which the business is able to borrow money: this would typically be between 70% and 90% of the qualified receivables.
Between 1% and 2% is typically charged as a collateral management fee against the outstanding amount, and interest is only calculated as and when the money is advanced. An invoice must be less than 90 days old in order to count towards the borrowing base, and the finance company must deem the business credit worthy. There may also be other conditions to fulfil.
So, you can see that there are many similarities between Accounts Receivable financing and factoring; however, one is the sale of an asset (receivables or invoices) to a third party, while the other is actually a loan. In many ways, though, they do act similarly. Below we’ve listed the main features of each so you can determine which would be the best fit for your company.
Accounts Receivable Financing
• Generally, Accounts Receivable Financing is not as expensive as factoring;
• It can be easier to move from this type of financing to a traditional bank line of credit once a business becomes bankable again;
• Typically, a minimum of $75,000 per month is required in sales to qualify, so this type of financing may not be available to small companies;
• Due to the fact that the business will be required to submit all of its Accounts Receivable to the finance company, this type of financing can be less flexible than factoring.
• It’s quite easy to qualify for factoring, and factoring is the ideal solution for start ups and financially challenged companies;
• Because businesses can decide which invoices they want to sell to the factor, factoring offers more flexibility than Accounts Receivable Financing;
• The company is able to track total costs on an invoice by invoice basis because factoring has a simple and straightforward fee structure.
Today we see both Accounts Receivable Financing and factoring as traditional sources of financing; effective when traditional bank financing is not an option. Factoring can carry a business through a period when an immediate cash input is required.
Somewhere between 12 and 24 months most companies are generally able to repair their financial situation and once again become bankable. However, some companies in certain industries continue factoring their invoices indefinitely.An example of this is the trucking industry, which relies heavily on factoring for cash flow injections.
With a factoring service like us you don't need to wait for cash.
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Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
“Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?”
Joy Reed (JR), “Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started.”
“So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?”JR: “I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn’t have the cash on hand to take advantage.”
“I’m a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn’t have the ability to expand your business?”
JR: “That’s right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn’t because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced.”
“Tell us a bit more about factoring companies.”
JR: “Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in.”
“I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?”
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn’t take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand.”
“Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?”
JR: “Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I’ve been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service.”
“What’s the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?”
JR: “It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we’ve earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I’m no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately.”
“I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?”
JR: “You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I’d recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly.”
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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Discovering Trucking Factoring
Lambert Truck and Haul has been in business since the mid1980s. They've delivered goods for nearly every major industry in the nation and for 20 plus years, business was booming as they've traversed the country in all weather for all clients. During the heady times from 2002 to 2007, Lambert was a top rated accounts receivable mastermind of the trucking industry. Few customers were ever late on bills and those clients who were, were sure to turn in their late payments within a reasonable amount of time. Cash was flowing and times were good for all.
But a short year later, in the fall of 2008, when the United States economy took a nosedive and businesses both small and large began to feel the pinch on their pocketbooks, those that used to make their demands had suddenly and largely gone silent. Business slowed down. And worse yet, Lambert had noticed during the early part of 2008 that though the bulk of their clients were always on time with payments, the few late-bloomers there were, had seemingly started to spread this illness. And as spring turmed to summer and summer into the early days of fall, John Rondstadt, CEO of Lambert felt a chill go down his spine whenever he would look at the weekly A/R reports. The numbers of clients who owed him back debt were growing.
He had gone to his administrators and asked them what the problem had been. Were they doing something wrong or different when it came to reaching out to delinquent accouts? By his bookkeepers records, this wasn't the case. He thought perhaps that he was losing clients to a competitor who offered rock-bottom prices with little to no guarantee of quality performance and the folks who owed Lambert money had jumped ship and decided to leave him holding the bag. They couldn't afford to pay him their debt, but they could afford a lesser service, maybe. But after doing the cursory research for this and talking to friends in the field, he found that alas, no, customers of Lambert hadn't gone elsewhere. They had just gone home.
The situation looked dire to John Rondstadt. He had employees to pay, goods to ship, trucks to maintain and overhead that was almost unbearable when compared against the lack of funds that were coming in. At night he would speak to his wife Linda and shake his head in frustration. ""I have a bad feeling, Lin,"" he would say with deep woe.""Well, what do you think it is?"" she would ask.
John would stare off for a moment and then close eyes. He could see the fleet of trucks he had purchased over the years. He could see them traveling, bringing goods to all of his clients. But somewhere, a haze would form over his fleet and the vast number of vehicles would disappear to but a few. What could cause this ultimate death spiral of business?
""I know what it is,"" John said. ""I've relied too long on the profits I receive from invoices alone. I've let too many of our customers go too long without paying on their bills.""Rhonda could only grab her husband's hand and look at him lovingly, ""It's a hard economy. It might be awhile until things get settled up.""John knew his wife meant well, but he knew that he was responsible for too many people to sit idly by, waiting for the sun to peak over the clouds.
The next day John strolled into his office and was determined to sit down and make every phone call to every client who had owed Lambert money. Now, it wasn't the most efficient way to spend a day as a chief executive, what he really needed to be doing was to be overseeing all of the other intricacies of shipment and delivery and reaching out to prospective clients or retraining his sales team to do the same. Even though he was doing something to help his company, he knew he had folks on salary to do just this thing. Wasting money, wasting time - even with the best of intentions, John knew that he was in trouble.
After a half day of contacting debtors in vain - they dodged his calls or promised to call back at worst or made minimal interest-only payments at best - he was about to throw in the towel when his secretary Beverley knocked at his door.""John, can I have a word?"" she asked standing in the doorway.
""Sure thing Bev, come on in."" John leaned back in his chair and looked expectantly at Beverely. ""Well, I did a little searching this afternoon and tried to figure out a way out of this mess John."" She pulled a small stack of papers from a folder and set them on the desk before him. ""Have you ever heard of factoring?"" Beverley asked.""It sounds vaguely familiar. What is it?"" he said. ""Well,"" she began, ""Its actually quite simple really. So basically, factoring invoices would enable us to get paid on the nose for loads that we haul.""""Immediately?"" John interrupted.
""Yes, immediately,"" she continued, ""In a nutshell, it's pretty easy. We can have an expert account manager review our numbers and help us complete a company profile. That profile will also include investigating our accounts receivable aging reports, our existing customer credit limits and so on. Additionally, the factoring will help to determine the creditworthiness of our customers independent of their credit history with our business. It’s a broad view.”
“I see,” John said. “And then what?”“Well, after their review, and we’re approved for a factoring contract, we can negotiate terms and conditions. There’s a lot of flexibility depending on the business volume and credit histories. This company tells us what the cost will be to purchase factoring for our accounts receivable. We come to an agreement and the funding starts pouring out.”John leaned forward and reviewed the paperwork closely.
""It sounds too good to be true, Bev,"" he said. ""Now, now, I know, I thought the same thing. But really, they have guaranteed us experts that do all the legwork, which would free us up here to focus on our clients in good standing and marketing, all that good stuff. And they're flexible John,"" she underlined a paragraph on the paper before him. ""How flexible?"" he asked. ""They personalize the factoring rates so that the amount they are willing to take on is commensurate with our needs and our client’s debt. It only takes 2 to 4 days for this to be figured out.
""That sounds pretty good, seeing as we tapped ourselves out with bank loans last year to repair the fleet and money sure is tight. We need to keep business rolling as normal and every day we’re going unpaid, we’re closer to facing some serious problems in both the short and long term,"" John said.
He took a deep breath and looked at his secretary with something she recognized as hope.""Exactly”. I think this might just be a way out of the trouble we're in with these folks who owe us money.""John thought about this and agreed with Beverley. The clients who owed them money were long standing friends and professional resources of Lambert. They didn't want to throw away these relationships because they were having trouble paying their bills now. John knew that the economy had taken a hit and he knew that it would probably be a long time before things started to look up again. That unknown amount of time, if he handled these debtors incorrectly, could spell disaster for both of them. He didn't want to lose business but he also didn't want to lose any more money.
""Well, let me think about this tonight Bev, thank you."" Bev nodded, stood up and left the office feeling that she had helped her employer keep on his shirt and hers too.John sat behind his desk and looked over the details Bev had not mentioned in their meeting. What other issues could freight factoring help Lambert with? With his pencil gliding down the sheet he noticed that the factoring company could help fray the cost of fuel with fuel discount cards and fuel advances. In fact, Lambert could receive up to fifty-percent cash advances upon load pick-ups. As a man who hated binding contracts with no room to breathe, he was pleased to see that this factoring company would not make him sign a long term contract, would not make him pay any sign up fees and there was no minimum volume required.
""Well, I'll have to tell Billy about this,"" John muttered to himself.His son-in-law Billy had liked the idea of Lambert so much and revered his father in law for having such business acumen that only two years before, he had gathered the venture capital to begin his own transportation service company. John knew then what struggles Billy would face but he encouraged him nonetheless. With the faltering economy, if a big fish like Lambert was hurting, a little guy like Billy was about to catch his death. But, an antidote may have been found in freight factoring and John was soon to find out. A few months later after going through the entire application process and having the experts review his accounts receivable, credit history and statements, John found himself beginning to dig his way out of the hole his delinquent account holders had created for him.
They took on reasonable factoring purchase contracts and stopped spending their precious man hours scrambling to collect debt. They took that time and refocused effort to offering competitive prices in new territories. John looked back on the dismal months of life before freight factoring and almost shuddered at the thought. Had he missed the boat on this one, he probably wouldn't be in business today.
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