Best Credit Cards for Contractors & Construction Businesses

Best Credit Cards for Contractors & Construction Businesses

Best Credit Cards for Contractors & Construction Businesses

Most contractors drive around a full-size pickup truck with hundreds of pounds, and often use thousands of dollars of construction equipment. Yet one of their most important tools can be a few grams of plastic in their wallet. The right small business credit card can help contractors track business expenses, finance materials, and even earn valuable rewards.

How a Credit Card Can Benefit Construction Contractors 

There are several ways that a credit card can help you to achieve your business goals:

Improve Your Cash Flow

One of the most important benefits of business credit cards for contractors is the way they improve cash flow. The best business credit cards offer you a line of credit that gives you extra time to pay for purchases.

Receive Interest Free Loans

If you pay your credit card off in full each month, you’ll avoid interest charges and can enjoy the benefits of these cards at no extra cost. Some cards even offer introductory APRs of 0% for anywhere from six months to a year or more. That interest-free period can be valuable if you need to make a large purchase and pay for it over time. 

Earn Rewards for Spending

In addition, rewards programs can be very lucrative. Put the materials you purchase in your business on a rewards credit card and you can often earn thousands of dollars in cash back or reward points. (Sign-up bonuses or welcome offers can also help you boost those rewards significantly.) 

Improve your accounting

Having a business credit card means that you can keep your business charges separate from your personal accounts.

What to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card for Your Construction or Contracting Business

There are several things you want to consider when choosing a business credit card:

Rewards

If your business is construction, your first priority may not be travel rewards often offered with small business cards, including airport business lounge access, rental car coverage, and other travel perks. (If you enjoy travel, whether for pleasure or business though, travel rewards can be very valuable, including Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points.)

You may find cash back rewards to be a better fit. If so, make sure you carefully evaluate the card’s rewards rate. Do you earn a flat cash back rate (or points) for all business purchases or will you earn higher rewards in certain bonus categories? If the latter, make sure you choose a card that gives bonus points for the type of purchases you typically make. And ideally, contractors will look for a card that offers 2x or 3x points or cash back for the kinds of purchases that they make the most, such as gas or hardware purchases. 

Business Card Features

For small business owners who need to issue employee cards, look for employee spending controls and expense tracking. You can also look for cards that offer free employee cards, along with spending controls. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that contractors will make business purchases outside the United States, so you won’t have to worry if your credit card has foreign transaction fees. 

Build Your Credit 

It’s also important to understand how your business credit card will impact your credit history. Some credit card issuers report all activity to the owner’s personal credit, most report to business credit (which can help build good business credit scores) and some report to both. If you know you’ll be carrying a balance frequently, for example, you may want to choose a card that will not appear on your personal credit reports, as those balances could impact your personal credit scores and impact your creditworthiness. 

Enjoy Introductory Financing

Finally, if you know you will carry a balance from time to time make sure you understand the interest rates you may be charged for purchases and balance transfers. If you choose a card with a low intro APR, be sure to make a note on your calendar of when it expires, and try to pay off the balance before that happens. Otherwise, your cost can increase significantly.

Best Small Business Credit Cards for Contractors

Here are some of the small business credit cards that construction contractors will find valuable in their business:

1. Lowe's Business Rewards Card from American Express

The Lowe's Business Rewards Card from American Express offers valuable discounts at Lowe’s home improvement stores, but also offers rewards for other purchases. Earn 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. office supply stores, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. Points can only be redeemed for select gift cards or used to cover specific, eligible statement charges on your account for a statement credit. When you use your points for eligible charges on your account, you can use points only toward the entire amount of an eligible charge.

Welcome offer: Extra Value Offer: 5% cash back on purchases at Lowe’s for the first 6 months. 2% back after. New accounts only.

The purchase APR is 18.74% - 27.74% Variable.

As with other American Express cards, you’ll receive expense management tools to help you track expenses and manage your account. There’s a $0 annual fee for this card.

2. The Plum Card® from American Express

The Plum Card® from American Express provides outstanding rewards to contractors who open new accounts and continues to offer strong value every year. When you need to finance a job, you can take up to 60 days to pay your statement with no interest charges. Cash flow fine? Paying early pays off: get a 1.5% Early Pay Discount on your statement on the amount paid within 10 days of your statement closing date and no cap on what you can earn back.

This card has no preset spending limit and comes with American Express’s full suite of expense management tools. There is a $250 annual fee.

Another solid choice from American Express is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express which gives you the power to use your card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power. This can be very helpful when jobs require unexpected additional expenses to complete. (Note: The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express, and other factors.) It has an appealing welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership..

3. Divvy Smart Credit Card for Business

Expense reports and expense management can be a huge pain point for contractors. With the Divvy Smart Credit Card for Business you’ll eliminate expense reports, build your business credit, and never go over budget again. If you have employees or contractors who need to make purchases, you’ll love the fact that Divvy gives admins complete control over employee spending with enforceable budgets (that can be adjusted in seconds). On Divvy’s mobile app or desktop platform, you’ll see every transaction as it happens, bringing all your spend into one place.

All charges made on this charge card are due and payable when you receive your periodic statement. There are rewards as well: Up to 7% points, based on payment settings.

4. Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers cardholders a competitive welcome bonus: $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. 

The reward program is solid, though contractors may see more benefit from higher rewards in other spending categories. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn. 

*All information about the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by Nav. This card is not currently available through Nav. To see what business credit cards are available, please visit the Nav Credit Card Marketplace.

5. Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus

The Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus credit card provides outstanding rewards to contractors who open new accounts and continues to offer strong value every year. $500 Cash Back once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

You’ll also earn solid cash back rewards on an ongoing basis. Earn 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase and 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. There is $0 annual fee.

How to Qualify for a Credit Card as a Construction Contractor

Most small business credit cards require you to qualify based at least in part on your personal credit scores. You’ll also need to provide information about your business. Make sure you have the following information handy when you apply: 

  • The legal names, addresses and Social Security numbers for all owners or the business.
  • Your legal business name, address and business tax ID number (TIN) or Employer Identification number (EIN).

Alternative Financing Options for Construction Contractors

A business credit card can provide fast and flexible financing but there are times when you need larger financing amounts or a longer-term loan. A construction business loan provides working capital to start or run a construction firm. It can be used for equipment, overhead, or labor.

Here are other business contractor loan options to consider:

Term Loans

If you need financing for a specific project that doesn’t require short-term financing. A term loan may be a good choice. You’ll borrow a fixed amount of money for a specific period of time. Some SBA guaranteed loans are term loans, and term loans are also offered by banks and online lenders. 

Equipment Financing

If you need heavy equipment for your business, equipment leasing or financing may be an excellent option. The cost can be affordable and qualifications may be flexible since the equipment serves as collateral for the loan. Leasing may also offer tax advantages.

Vendor/Supplier Financing

If you regularly purchase supplies from specific suppliers, you may be able to secure those supplies with no money upfront. This is referred to as vendor or supplier financing. For example, with net-30 terms you’ll have 30 days to pay. With strong business credit and a good payment history you may be able to get even longer terms, such as net-45 or net-60 terms.

This article was originally written on June 1, 2018 and updated on August 26, 2022.

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