How the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Can Help Your Coaching or Consulting Business
Has your coaching, consulting, speaking, or freelance business been affected by COVID-19?
First, I never thought I would be poring through economic relief policy information. I’m not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist, CPA, lawyer or accountant. I am an entrepreneur like you who is trying to understand what this act means to businesses like ours.
Below, you will find a quick overview of how the benefits of the CARES Act may apply to you and your business. I am sharing a few key highlights and links in this post specifically related to short-term cash flow.
IMPORTANT: I highly recommend that you connect with your financial advisor to review all the options available to you and to determine the right moves for your business.
What does the CARES Act provide for small businesses, solopreneurs, coaches, and consultants?
Here is a quick overview of several of the key components:
1. Money for Americans NOW.
This provision will deliver a check of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child. All Americans including those with no income are eligible.
If you are a high-income earner, the amount of your direct deposit or check reduces following a complicated formula.
The reduction begins at:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $112,500 for head of household
- $150,000 for married couples
Here’s the bottom line: This rebate gradually drops to zero for incomes exceeding $99,000 per year for individuals, $146,500 for the head of household filers, and $198,000 for joint filers.
2. Unemployment for Independent Contractors.
If you are an independent contractor or self-employed, you qualify for unemployment under this act.
3. Loans Available for Small Business Owners
Two Different Types of Loans Available
The CARES Act has provisions for two different types of loans: a Paycheck Protection Program with Loan Forgiveness and Economy Injury Disaster Loans. Below is a description of each of these loans, followed by a checklist of what to do to apply for either.
Loan Type #1: Payroll Protection Program with Loan Forgiveness for Small Businesses
The CARES Act includes a new Paycheck Protection Program that may forgive part of your loan. Let’s dive deeper into how this might benefit your business.
You can access low-interest federal disaster loans if your business has suffered economic harm as a result of the coronavirus.
Key things to know:
- You can access a Forgivable loan at an amount equal to 2.5 times average monthly payments of payroll, mortgage payments, rent, and other specific debt over the last one year period up to $10 million.
- You can use the loan for payroll support (including paid sick or medical leave and independent contractors), employee salaries, mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and interest on any other debt incurred before February 15, 2020.
- The interest rate is .5%.
Does the COVID-19 Forgivable Disaster Loan Apply to My Business?
You can potentially qualify for a loan if :
- You own a small business, any business concern, a non-profit, or veteran organization with fewer than 500 employees.
- You are a sole proprietor, independent contractor, or self-employed (with some limitations).
You can use these loans for certain fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and additional bills that you are unable to pay because of COVID-19’s impact.
The loan terms will extend up to 10 years.
What Portions of the COVID-19 Forgivable Disaster Loan May Be Forgiven?
You will be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount you spend during the 8-week period after you originate the loan.
The items that qualify for forgiveness include:
- Payroll costs (up to 8 weeks of average payroll)
- Interest payment on any mortgage incurred after February 15, 2020
- Payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020
- Payment on any utility for which service began before February 15, 2020
Essentially, what you spend on these items may be forgiven and you will not be required to pay that portion of the loan back.
Again, check with your financial advisor for more clarity on the best option for your specific circumstances. There are factors that will determine which is the better option for you.
Here are a few other important things to know that will determine which portion of the loan may be forgiven:
- Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of your loan.
- Your eligible payroll costs do not include compensation to any employee above $100,000 in wages.
- If you reduce your number of employees, the amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally.
- If you reduce the compensation of employees, the amount forgiven will also be reduced.
Lending criteria: Lender shall only consider your application if you were in operation 3/1/2020 and paid salaries and payroll taxes to employees.
Payment deferral: Payments can be deferred up to one year.
To apply: You will be able to apply online through banks that service SBA loans.
Loan Type #2: Economic Injury Disaster Loan
These loans are available to small businesses with less than 500 employees. Processing time is expected to be 14 to 20 days.
You may be eligible for 4 times average monthly payments of payroll, mortgage payments, rent, and other debt over the last one year period up to $10 million dollars.
The interest rate is 3.75% with terms up to 30 years.
You can use this to fund payroll, sick leave, medical or family leave, health insurance, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, and any other debt incurred before the loan.
Payments can be deferred up to one year.
As part of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, there is an opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant to fund business expenses. These grants can be issued quickly.
5 Steps to Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loan
If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, these steps will help guide you through accessing funds to support your business in the coming months.
Step 1: Go to the SBA website.
You can access the site here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
Step 2: Verify eligibility.
You will certify that you qualify and are not engaged in certain disqualifying activities.
Step 3: Provide business information.
- The legal and trade names of your business
- Your Federal EIN number or Social Security number
- Gross revenue and cost of goods sold for the 12 months leading up to January 31, 2020
- The date your business was founded
- The number of employees
Step 4: Provide owner information.
- Percentage of business ownership
- Home address
- Phone number
- Social security number
- Date and place of birth
- Citizenship status
You can find more information on the US Chamber of Commerce site. There is also the option for an immediate $10,000 grant. The details can be found on the US Chamber of Commerce website here.
Summary and Next Steps: What to Do Now to Recession-Proof Your Business
In all this uncertainty, there are proactive steps you can take to ensure your business survives and thrives in the coming year. There are things you can do NOW to replace lost business, survive the downturn and prepare for the massive opportunity ahead.
Ready to create your plan? Join me for an upcoming webinar: What You Can Do Now to Recession-Proof Your Business so you can survive (and thrive) in the coming shifts.