One of the easiest ways for small business owners to start building business credit is to get net-30 vendor accounts with companies that report to commercial credit agencies. Pay on time and you will build credit references that may help boost your business credit scores and, over time, help you qualify for other small business loans and financing.
Not sure what net-30 accounts are or how they work? Not to worry. This is your guide to setting up vendor accounts that will benefit your business and your business credit.
What is a Net-30 Account?
A net-30 account is one that gives you 30 days to pay your bill in full after you have purchased products. Also called “vendor credit” or “supplier financing, vendor credit that allows you to buy now and pay later. Net-30 vendors that report those payments to commercial credit agencies help your company establish a strong business credit history.
Vendor financing also offers a great way to help improve cash flow. You can get the items your business needs, sell your products or services, then pay for them out of cash flow.
Vendor trade credit is not just limited to net-30 accounts either—some vendors offer net-15 (15 days to pay), net-60, or even net-90 day credit terms. You’ll agree to whatever terms they are willing to offer and establish those terms on your purchase order, so make sure to read the fine print to ensure you understand your payment terms.
Where do you find these vendors? Below, we’ve provided nine net-30 vendors (+ a bonus resource) that will make it easy to get started. Most are startup friendly, and don’t require a personal credit check or personal guarantee.
Build Business Credit by Setting Up Your Business Properly
Before you jump in and open accounts, we recommend you take a few essential steps to build a solid foundation. If you don’t take the time to set up your business properly, you may not get approved for trade credit.
- Create a business entity. If your business is not set up as its own legal entity (such as an LLC or S Corporation), consider creating one. If you decide to operate as a sole proprietor, make sure your business is at least registered with your Secretary of State with a fictitious name filing. (Some vendor accounts on this list are not available to sole proprietors.)
- Get a business bank account. Make sure you have a separate business bank account rather than pay for business expenses from your personal checking account. This won’t directly impact your credit but it will impact your ability to get business financing in the future.
- Use a business email address, rather than a generic email address like Hotmail to further legitimize your company.
- Get a business phone number. There are services that will give you a phone number that can ring on your cell phone.
- Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet. You can get each for free, and some vendors will require them.
While you can always purchase items from these vendors and pay with a credit card at the time of purchase, that doesn’t help you build business credit. You need to purchase on credit through the vendor.
9 (+ Bonus) Net-30 Vendors That Report to Commercial Credit
Let’s look at vendors that offer net-30 payment terms and that report to the major credit bureaus. While you can always purchase items from these companies and pay upfront with a credit card at the time of purchase, that doesn’t help you build business credit. You need to purchase on credit through them.
Creative Analytics is a full-service digital marketing and management strategy consulting agency that offers 3 different types of business accounts to choose from to build credit:
- An annual purchasing charge account ($79 annual fee) —purchase office products such as small electronics, desk and office decor/accessories, fitness items, beauty professional tools, kitchen items, etc. as well as limited digital marketing services on monthly installment plans (e.g. websites and social media). Will report tradelines between $1,000 and $10,000.
- A monthly “business credit on autopilot” membership (no annual fees or additional purchases required for reporting) to their Founders Circle community (customers choose between a digital library plan or access to the full mastermind network at a cost ranging from $49 – $149 a month). Will report tradelines of $1,000 to $12,000.
- Pay by Invoice account with NET 30 (no annual fee) terms for purchase of any of their full suite of marketing or strategy services, such as WordPress web development, logo design, social media management and advertising, Google PPC, email marketing, SEO, management strategy, and more.
To qualify for NET 30 business account your business must:
- Must operate in the United States
- Must have both a Tax ID # (EIN) and D-U-N-S number
- Be established for at least 30 days
- Not have any derogatory business reporting or delinquencies
- have an Authorized Officer of the organization submit the application
Payment history is reported to multiple major business credit bureaus monthly.
Business T-Shirt Club is a membership based print & embroidery company offering access to premium apparel brands at wholesale rates, high quality custom print & embroidery services, print on demand fulfillment services, corporate partner discount programs and much more. The annual membership fee is $69.99.
Payment history is reported to Equifax, Creditsafe, Ansonia & Cortera.
Uline offers a wide variety of products your business may need including shipping boxes, office furniture and supplies, food service packaging and kitchen supplies, and more. To qualify for a line of credit with Uline, you’ll need to first apply here.
Once you’re approved, just shop for supplies your business needs, then at checkout, choose net-30 billing as your payment option.
Pay on time or even make an early payment and you’ll have another credit-building account under your belt. Like Grainger, this account is considered quite easy to get. You don’t need to submit your Social Security number and your personal credit scores won’t be checked. Uline reports to business credit bureaus including Experian (business).
Another net-30 vendor who reports to credit bureaus is Summa Office Supplies, where you can shop for paper, folders, envelopes, labels, and any other office supplies your company might need.
The great thing about Summa is that they offer credit for both new and well-established businesses, and they’ll provide written trade credit references upon request. Pay your bill on time and then you can request larger credit lines. Summa reports to Experian and Equifax business credit.
To open your line of credit, fill out this application and put the code SOSNAV in the referral code field.
Another place to get office supplies online, from printer ink to pens, is Quill. When you set up your account you will be asked to fill out a profile that describes your business, including the year the business was started and the industry in which you operate. (Don’t be discouraged if your business is young; newer entrepreneurs often report success getting a Quill account.)
Once you find what you want to buy, add it to your cart. Proceed toward checkout and you’ll see a payment option called “invoice my account.” If approved, you’ll get net-30 terms on your invoice. According to Quill, approval can take 1-2 hours during business hours, or up to a business day if you apply outside normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
Similar to the other two vendors mentioned here, you don’t need to provide a Social Security number. Quill will verify your business address before extending terms. Again, most business owners who have properly set up their businesses should find it to be an easy process.
Grainger offers a large variety of products for businesses, including tools, plumbing supplies, and safety equipment. They also offer office and janitorial supplies. There is a very wide variety of merchandise offered, so you should be able to find something your business needs.
Signing up for a Grainger account is free and easy. You can create your online account to store shipping and invoicing details, but you’ll need to call 800-GRAINGER (472-4643) to set up your line of credit.
Ohana Office Products a variety of office products. It also strives to provide support to new clients through personal support. New clients may qualify for a net-30 trade account for up to $2000. It reports to two major commercial credit reporting agencies; one of which is reported through Behalf.
Sign up for an Ohana Office Products account here and use referral code OOP-LD3OPQ at checkout.
NAMYNOT Inc. offers digital marketing services which include SEO, content writing, social media management & marketing, inbound lead generation, PPC, video production, e-commerce, plus WordPress design & development. It offers up to $10,000 in buy now, pay later services and reports payments to a major commercial credit reporting agency.
Office Garner offers a variety of products including office supplies, electronics, website design and business cards. There is a one-time $69 processing fee. It offers net-30 terms to businesses that are based in the US and have an EIN, are at least 30 days old, and do not have derogatory business credit.
10. (Bonus) Nav
Nav isn’t technically a net-30 vendor, but paying your bill every 30 days for one of Nav’s paid plans (Business Boost or Business Loan Builder only) can help you build business credit by establishing a new tradeline with multiple business credit bureaus including Experian and Equifax. You can automate payments so you never miss one! If you want to track your progress building business credit but don’t want to commit to a monthly plan, you can always check your business credit for free on Nav.com.
How to Get Started With a Net-30
There are a few important caveats to successfully navigating this process.
First, and this is important, you do not have to run up debt and pay interest to build business credit via net-30 vendors. Most vendor payment terms allow you to purchase items and pay them off in full by the due date on vendor invoices to avoid interest. You may even get early payment discounts if you pay before the due date. That’s perfectly acceptable when it comes to building good business credit.
It is also worth noting that credit limits typically do not appear on these reports. Instead, the highest recent balance will be reported. So if you spend a very small amount, you may not see the same impact as you will if you make larger purchases. You don’t want to fall into the trap of buying things your business doesn’t need, but if you do need more expensive items, consider getting them from companies that will report the transaction to credit bureaus whenever possible, to get the added benefit of building credit.
Note that unlike personal credit, the names of your vendors will not appear on your business credit report. Instead, they will report as “business type” such as packaging. So keep track of which accounts you have opened and when; you may need to match that to your credit reports if you aren’t sure which account is coming from which vendor. Also, keep in mind that not every vendor reports to all the major business credit bureaus.
Learn more: Experian business credit report
Pay early when possible. Unlike with your personal credit accounts, where you can usually go online to pay your account and have your payment credited the same day, it may take longer for payments to vendors to be processed. If you mail in your payment, do so at least a week before the due date to ensure your credit report reflects on-time payments, because late payments can negatively impact your business credit rating and credit history.
It may take a month or even two before one of these accounts shows up on your business credit reports. Be patient and monitor your credit. If it doesn’t appear in your payment history by the third month after you’ve opened it, contact the vendor to make sure it is properly associated with your business and to confirm it will be reported with at least one of the three business credit reporting agencies.
Also worth noting: new accounts sometimes have the effect of lowering business credit scores. This is usually temporary and many business owners see a positive impact on creditworthiness as they pay on time.
Net-30 Vendors are Great for Your Business Credit
Once you’ve established a business credit file, make sure you are doing your part to build your credit history by paying on time. You may also build business credit with business credit cards. Most small business card issuers report to at least one commercial credit reporting agency. Many small business lenders also report to business credit.
Nav’s Business Boost and Business Loan Builder plans feature tradeline reporting, which may also help you build a stronger business credit profile.
This article was originally written in September 2017 and updated October 19, 2021.