The SmartBiz Loans™ team is thrilled that we were able to help a Southern California small business owner obtain a low-cost SBA loan. We recently caught up with the founder of Los Primos Auto Sales to learn more about his SmartBiz experience and plans for growth.
Los Primos Auto Sales has been in business since 2013 with revenue growth every year since its inception. The small business provides a streamlined path to help customers purchase their own vehicle.
Owner Sergio Rodriguez came alone to the United States when he was just 15 years old. Now an American citizen, the foundation of his thriving business is transparency, integrity and customer service.
“This country gives you lots of opportunities but people want it to be easy. That doesn’t work. You have to work hard to be successful.”
There’s no doubt that Sergio is a hard worker. He was a carpenter for 15 years before a knee injury prevented him from continuing that profession. While working in construction, he also dabbled in car sales, registering them and selling off the street. “I just love cars so after my injury, I got my dealers license
Sergio’s business was originally self-funded. After being in business a few years, he took out two expensive merchant cash advances for working capital. “It was draining my bank account,” he says. “The terms were short and they charge you a lot.”
David, a SmartBiz® loan specialist says, “Los Primos Auto Sales is an example of a small business that benefits the community but was subject to high interest rate loans. These are the businesses we try to help.”
Sergio was looking for low-cost funding when he received a mailing about SmartBiz Loans. “I didn’t know what was going on with SBA loans,” he says. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy so I did research and read reviews. I knew SmartBiz was the best one to work with.”
Sergio hit a roadblock when he didn’t meet the minimum credit score. One of the key requirements to obtain a loan from a SmartBiz bank partner is to have a healthy personal credit score above 650. He tried again a few months later but was also declined. That’s when SmartBiz reached out to help.
A loan specialist called Sergio about his credit scores. They discussed how he could raise them so he would meet the credit threshold. One suggestion - pay down card balances to improve his debt to credit ratio – worked. His scores went up and he prequalified.
“One of the nicest thing about this country is that if you have good credit you can get help,” Sergio says.
Once Sergio started working with SmartBiz Relationship Manager Niel, the process moved along smoothly and took approximately one month. “Everything Niel asked of me, I responded to within 20 minutes,” he says. “I’m so busy every day but Niel was a huge help. He was awesome.” Sergio also worked with his CPA to collect required documents like balance sheets.
Sergio received a $100,000 SBA loan through a SmartBiz bank partner.
“When I got funded I cried,” he says. “I actually had tears in my eyes. SmartBiz worked so hard for me. It was great.”
With a ten-year term and low monthly payments, Sergio was able to pay off the two expensive loans and will use the rest for business building initiatives. “I’m using the money for working capital. Also, I’m going to buy supplies, implement an advertisement program and hire new employees,” he says. “I’m just in my fourth year of business and I’m looking forward to my fifth year.”
Sergio has many plans for his business moving forward. “In the next 10 years, I want to have my lot, a body shop and a mechanics shop. Those businesses go hand-in-hand.”
Like many entrepreneurs, he’s driven by passion for his business. “I love my job and have no problem working seven days a week,” he says.
Best of luck to you Sergio!
Do you need extra funds for your small business? An SBA loan is the best bet for small businesses with low rates, long terms and low monthly payments. Visit SmartBiz Loans® today and discover in about five minutes if you’re qualified to apply for an SBA loan with one of our bank partners. Check out our great reviews on TrustPilot!