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.
I do not know how we could be in the position we are today without factoring.
Alabama Factoring Company
The idea with factoring is that, as your company grows, the funding of your customer invoices will grow with you. -Alabama Factoring Company
WANTED. FACTORING THAT WORKS..
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Factoring in the Future of a Trucking Business: A Story
John Thompson let the phone ring on his desk. He let his morning coffee cool and left his cigarette to ash itself in the tray, because he is trying to make the biggest decision ever for his trucking company. Thompson Trucking Company was at a turning point of growth and John had to decide if signing with a factoring company was the right way forward.
John’s father had started as an owner-operator and had grown Thompson Trucking Company into a fifteen trailer fleet over forty years. There had been some hard times when it seemed everything was going to go under and even John’s mother strapped herself into a cab to make hauls. His father had lived long enough to witness the price of hires drop during the recession and watch the eruption of fuel prices afterwards. Now the company was solely in John’s hands and he wanted to live to see it in better shape for his sons.
To move Thompson Trucking Company ahead into the future, he needed a steady cash flow but there was just not enough money to go around. His employees needed to be paid. They had families and household bills too. Some of the refrigerated trailers were in need of repairs and he felt to stay competitive it was also a good idea to invest in specialized haulers to be ready for the constant requests he was getting for loads of new energy and agriculture equipment. Every time he had to turn down a request, Thompson Trucking looked weak in a very strong market.
His father would have told him to wait and to take his time adding on new technology. John allowed himself a good hard chuckle. His father had been against placing GPS units in the cabs. He would say, “Why do you need the voice of some woman to tell you to get off at an exit that has been the same exit that has been there for years?” Also his father had the habit of teasing all the drivers he caught switching into automatic even though driving in automatic was much more efficient though not manly in his father’s eyes. His father days were long gone and technology was actually an important improvement for the business such as having Qualcomm to cut down on fruitless time communicating on the phone for bills of lading.
John believed a successful man is always thinking of his next step. What would be the next step for Thompson Trucking? And how would he be able to afford it? Funding was all tied up in the mortgage for the office and garage and in the fuel bills. He just finished paying off the small bank loan for installing satellite radio in the trucks for the guys.
But was factoring the answer? There was a lot he didn’t understand about the process. It sounded a lot like ninth grade algebra which just didn’t feel like it belonged as part of the trucking business. Factoring companies buy your invoices and manage your accounts receivable for a certain percentage of the invoiced amount. The factoring company gives the trucking business its payment right away which allows the business to have continuous cash flow so it can pay employees, buy fuel, and make repairs for upcoming hauls. Without the assistance of factoring, you have to wait for customers to send you the payment which is often 30 days late. In those 30 days, a trucking company can’t pay its bills and employees in invoices.
Now it was time for John to do his homework. John had heard that there were companies that charged for same day money transfers and would only advance a percentage of the money owed to your company while holding the rest in a private account if they didn’t get their bill payment within 60 or so days. Plus it was worse still if the customer didn’t pay up at all because then the factoring company would take it right out of the money supposed to be coming to you! Through the grapevine, he’d also heard about how some companies suddenly slipped you onto a sliding scale of percentages even if you had already signed a lengthy contract for maybe 3% or 7% so there you are with 10% coming as a cost to you out of the freight bill. His friend Ronnie who had a trucking business in Missouri, was run nearly into the ground by a factoring company that charged him the full freight bill on top of the factoring fees. Well, what was the point of going to a factoring company if there was shady business like that going on?
But it turned out to be quite easy. All the factoring companies he researched were open about their business practices and very friendly on the phone when he called. Their customer service actually knew things about their company and spoke in nice clear English so he could understand what was being explained. He didn’t mind signing an exclusive contract. He liked the idea of a long term commitment so he knew he wouldn’t have to bother going back and forth to different companies and wasting time filing more forms. Nobody charged him for credit checks and they offered him a fuel advance on the pick-up of the load. Many companies offered a non-recourse factoring program that suited him just fine. Also he was happy to hear how much he was offered in terms of percentages on the freight bills. It was good money.
It was really refreshing dealing with the factoring people. They were more personable than those loan managers at the bank. It seemed as though those bank people spoke another language, but these factoring guys knew the trucking business and spoke to him like a client, not like a beggar for a handout. The factoring companies didn’t worry over his credit and the debt troubles his father had had in the past of the company. Factoring was based on the credit of his customers and on their reliability which worked well for John because he and his father had built up good strong relationships over decades with their list of clients. So he knew they would understand when the factoring company contacted them for the invoices. His clients wouldn’t think poorly of Thompson Trucking and the factoring companies appeared capable of handling the accounts receivable in the same polite manner that his father had used over the years.
John stepped out of his office to let his secretary know to expect the arrival of the factoring contract shortly. He felt exhilarated by the new possibilities that would make the future of the company fun again and put the stress of the difficult times behind him. With the capabilities of this new cash flow, John could actually expand Thompson Trucking Company further across the country and perhaps even go international into Canada. His heart felt full knowing his sons wouldn’t have to worry about money because of the right decisions he had made for their trucking business.
I do not know how we could be in the position we are today without factoring.
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Questions You Need to Ask Your Factoring Company
In today’s marketplace we’re seeing more and more factoring companies, and factoring fees, rates and agreement terms have become very competitive. This means that, as a potential factoring customer, this competitiveness should work to your advantage. However, there are some issues you must consider when choosing a factoring company to suit your specific requirements.
Before entering into any factoring agreement, here are some important questions you should ask –
What Are Your Terms?
As a factoring customer, you’ll be looking for as much flexibility in your factoring agreement as possible. It may be that you choose a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. In today’s competitive market, many factoring companies are agreeing to adjust their rates based on competitive offers from other factors or increased factoring volume.
The majority of factoring agreements are a one year contract, which appears to be industry standard, and this contract will renew automatically unless you provide the factoring company either 60 or 90 days notice.
What’s Your Fee Structure?
The fee structure may vary depending on both the factoring company involved and your industry. Some factoring companies charge a flat fee, which is calculated as a percentage of the total value of the invoice. On the other hand, other factoring companies charge additional fees to cover costs associated with doing business, such as money transfers, software, and so on. Ensure that the factoring company you’re considering working with is completely upfront and transparent with you about its terms and fees.
Are You Able to Offer Both Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
Recourse factoring is less expensive than non recourse factoring. With recourse factoring, you (being the client) are ultimately responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect on your customers’ invoices. However, you’re not necessarily required to pay the debt out of pocket if you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment. It may be that the factoring company will withhold a portion of future cash payments or payments held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account until such time as the debt has been paid.
Non recourse factoring:
When you have a non recourse factoring agreement, the credit risk for the collection of customers’ invoices lies with the factoring company.Therefore, we believe it’s to your advantage to use a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, simply because you may find that some of your customers are more suitable for recourse factoring than others. In addition, you need a factoring company with a strong credit team because they can work with you to ensure you’re dealing with good customers: to a certain degree this will relieve some of the pressure of being responsible for bad debt.
How Long Has the Factoring Company Been in Business?
With the marketplace becoming increasingly competitive, today we’re seeing the creation of more and more factoring companies. However, many of these companies are recent start ups, with limited industry experience. Make sure you research the factoring company’s history prior to entering into any factoring agreement: also research its background into providing financial services in your specific industry.
Do You Have the Capital to Grow with Me?
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. Do your research and learn as much as possible about your potential factoring company’s client base and their capital structure.
Does this factoring company have a limit to the number of debtors it takes on? What’s a typical account size? What’s the factoring volume of their largest client? You’ll probably find that factoring companies who have been serving your industry for many years will have greater capacity to finance your company as it continues to grow.
Is There Anything Else You Can Do for Me?
Obviously, factoring is more expensive than a conventional bank loan, and this is partly due to the back office services that your factoring company is able to provide. Besides collections and financing, many factoring companies will evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. Therefore, when looking for a factoring company for your business, make sure the one you choose offers additional services and products that can assist you in making good business decisions.
How Do We Start Factoring?
Fortunately, factoring companies are not unduly concerned about your balance sheet before they decide to work with you, unlike banks. However, they do have a process to follow when selecting new clients, so be sure you understand what the factoring company is looking for when it’s considering you as a client. Are they looking at your credit ratings and/or your customers’ payment histories?
Are they looking at your personal credit score?
In many cases a company will start factoring because it’s looking for a quick injection of cash, so you need to know how many days the factoring company will take to review and process your application.
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
A ‘Factor’ is a third party commercial financial company who purchases the Accounts Receivable from businesses: this transaction is known as ‘Factoring’. Factoring exists so that businesses can receive a quick injection of cash, as opposed to waiting the 60 or 90 days for customers to pay their invoices. Factoring is also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, and Invoice Factoring.
The majority of factoring companies purchase invoices and advance money to the business within 24 hours; however, the nature and terms of factoring can (and do) differ among financial service providers and industries. Depending on your customers’ credit histories, your industry, and other specific criteria, the advance rate on your invoices can range from 80% to as high as 95%. The factoring company not only collects on your invoices; it also offers back office support to your business.Once the factoring company has collected on your customer’s invoice,you’ll be paid the balance of the invoice – less the factor’s fee for assuming the risk. The primary benefit of factoring is that businesses no longer need to wait anywhere between one and three months for a customer to pay their accounts: they now have access to cash in hand so they can operate and grow their business.The Advantages of Factoring
There are a few reasons why factoring has become an invaluable financial tool for many businesses, including start ups. As mentioned above, the main benefit is that businesses can now receive a quick boost to their cash flow because factoring companies, in general, will provide cash on accounts receivable within 24 hours. This resolves the problems businesses experience with short term cash flow, and in many ways this injection of cash can help to grow a business. Besides handling your customer collections, factoring companies can also evaluate your customers’ payment and credit histories.Other benefits of factoring include:
• It can be customized to a business’s needs and managed to ensure that capital is available when it’s needed;
• It’s not based on your own business or credit history: it’s based on the quality of your customers’ credit;
• It’s not based on your company’s net worth: it provides a line of credit based on sales;
• There’s no limit to the amount of financing, unlike conventional bank loans;
• This financing will not show up as a debt on your balance sheet, because it’s not a loan.Who Uses Factoring?
Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use factoring; and today factoring has become common business practice across many industries. Factoring is now widely used in the transportation industry, including manufacturing, textiles, trucking, oilfield services, wholesale and distribution, and staffing agencies. Interestingly, factoring receivables is practiced in many countries around the world and has a long history of success.
Can I Factor? My Company’s New, with No Financial History
Yes, you can! In fact, factoring has become an excellent tool for start up companies because no company credit history or balance sheet is required. It’s not really your company’s finances that the factoring company is concerned with; they’ll base their financing on your customers’ payment histories and credit scores.
What Percentage of My Invoices Should I Factor?
The answer to this question really depends on the unique needs of your business. Some companies only factor invoices for customers who typically take a long time to pay, while others factor all their invoices. The receivables that a company can factor range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars each and every month.
What’s the Difference between Factoring and a Bank Loan?
• The difference between factoring and a bank loan is that you’re not assuming any debt with factoring because it’s not a loan;
• With factoring, there’s no emphasis on your balance sheet – it’s all on your customer’s invoices;
• In addition, a bank loan is typically one lump sum, whereas factoring provides a steady flow of funds;
• Factoring companies can also help improve your company’s balance sheet by assisting with your credit and collection functions;
• A bank loan adds to your debt, whereas factoring converts receivables (an asset) into cash (another asset);
• And of course, bank loans can be very difficult to get because they’re limited by your balance sheet.How Do You Start the Factoring Process?
The factoring process can be very simple to set up. The customer will be asked to complete a short application form, and may be required to follow up with other reports and documents.
Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring: What’s the Difference?
• With Recourse factoring the client is ultimately responsibility for the payment of the invoice; whereas
• With Non Recourse factoring, the factoring company accepts responsibility for the risk of collecting the invoice.It’s important to note that some factoring companies over offer both types of factoring – recourse and non recourse.
What Are the Contract Terms and Fees Applicable with Factoring?
There are different fee structures with different factoring companies: some factors charge an overall factoring fee which is determined by the creditworthiness of your customers and the monthly volume of invoices; while others charge additional fees to cover shipping, money transfers, and other costs associated with doing business. Before signing with any factoring company make sure you understand the fees and terms applicable to your contract. Also note that most factoring contacts are renewed annually.
Do I Need Credit Insurance on Debtors?
Insurance is not typically required, but in specific circumstances it may be.
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