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oney makes the world go round, especially in the realm of business. It's a concept familiar to every entrepreneur who's had to dig deep into their pockets for a business necessity. Yes, running a business comes with its share of inevitable expenses—from rent to salaries, marketing to utilities. But with some shrewd financial planning and a solid budget, you can steer clear of overspending.

That's not always enough, however, to keep your operations chugging along at full steam. Lots of situations can crop up that would necessitate a short-term financing solution. Payroll loans are one such option that could be a lifesaver for your business during those tight cash flow moments. Whether you’re grappling with payroll challenges or seeking new financial strategies to bolster your business, read on to learn the ins and outs of payroll loans.

What is a payroll loan?

A payroll loan is funding you borrow and apply to your payroll expenses as opposed to other operational and production costs.  It's a financial solution that lets you bridge the gap when revenue isn't quite in sync with your payroll schedule.

You can use the loan for any number of payroll expenses such as:

  • Employee salaries and wages
  • Overtime pay
  • Bonuses and commissions
  • Benefits
  • Contractor or freelance payments

Why get a payroll loan?

Your business might need a loan to cover payroll for several reasons, often related to managing cash flow while making sure employees are paid on time:

Uneven cash flow: Your business might experience fluctuations in cash flow due to seasonal sales, delayed payments from clients, or unexpected downturns.

Rapid growth or scaling: If your business is experiencing rapid growth and needs to hire more staff quickly, you might lack the cash flow to support this expansion. A payroll loan can bridge this gap until revenue catches up with the increased payroll costs.

Delayed invoice payments: If your business operates on a model in which it receives payments from clients or customers well after delivering services or products, there may be a gap between when you pay out expenses — such as payroll — and when you receive revenue.

Unexpected expenses or emergencies: Unforeseen expenses can deplete the funds your business might otherwise have allocated for payroll.

Preserving working capital: You might want to use a payroll loan to cover employee salaries to keep working capital free for other critical business operations, such as investing in inventory or marketing.

Building business credit: Taking out and successfully repaying a payroll loan can be part of your strategy to build or improve your company's credit history.

How do payroll loans work?

Any type of loan or line of credit for your business can be applied toward payroll expenses. Fortunately, there are lots of options to choose from.

Short-term business loans

These loans typically last a few months to two years. If your business is growing, that might be just enough time to establish your revenue streams and be ready to manage payroll expenses internally. In some cases, you may even be able to get a loan without documents.

Small business loans

These loans come in a wide range of capital and repayment time. You can use the money for anything related to your business. Applications can take anywhere from one to three months.

Business lines of credit

If you anticipate routinely needing to borrow and pay back money for payroll, a line of credit provides a lot of flexibility. You don't pay any interest until you withdraw the money, unlike loans in which you begin accruing interest immediately. Plus, the credit line can stay open for a long time, saving you the hassle of having to reapply for funding as you need it.

Merchant cash advance

A merchant cash advance isn't actually a loan but a cash advance against credit card sales. You'll work with a provider to set the terms of the advance and repayment, which is usually an amount withheld from the card sales. If you have a lot of credit card sales and you're looking to float expenses until you get the money, this could be a good option.

Another advantage of a merchant cash advance is speed. With Novo Funding, you can get a merchant cash advance of up to $75,000 approved within 24 hours. And unlike a loan, you use only what you need, when you need it.

Invoice financing

If clients owe you money, and you don't expect to see it anytime soon, invoice financing can speed up your access to that capital. It's similar to a merchant cash advance except it isn't limited to credit card sales. For businesses with irregular income/expense cycles, invoice financing can help smooth out the cash flow.

Are payroll loans available for small businesses?

A small business can use just about any available funding for payroll. These loans can be integral to the success of smaller enterprises that find themselves facing cash flow challenges.

Pros and cons of using payroll loans for small businesses

Like any financial decision, opting for a payroll loan comes with its set of advantages and challenges.


Immediate cash flow relief: Payroll loans offer quick access to funds so you can pay your employees on time.

Maintains employee morale: Timely payroll payments keep employee happy. A payroll loan ensures that financial hiccups in the business don’t trickle down to your team’s pockets.

Focus on growth: With short-term payroll worries out of the way, business owners can direct their energy and resources toward growth and expansion activities.


Debt obligation: Taking on any loan means acquiring debt. It's important to consider the repayment terms and ensure they align with your business’s financial projections.

Interest rates and fees: Payroll loans, especially short-term ones, often come with higher interest rates compared to traditional loans. You're spending future income to see your business through to greater revenue.

Short-term fix: While offering immediate relief, payroll loans don’t address underlying cash flow issues. They should be part of a broader financial strategy rather than a constant go-to solution.

How to qualify for a payroll loan

Loan requirements differ based on the type of loan and lender. Make sure you're asking for a reasonable amount. You want it to be enough money to meet your needs as well as a debt your business can handle. To look good in the eyes of your potential lender, check the following before applying:

Financial health: This includes reviewing your cash flow statements and other financial documents. They want to see that your business has a steady flow of income, even if it's not consistent year-round.

Credit score: While loans may not require an extensive credit history, having a good business credit score can improve your chances of approval. This shows lenders that you’re responsible with credit management.

Business age: Some lenders have a minimum requirement for how long your business has been operational. Typically, businesses older than one year have better chances of qualifying.

Documentation: Be prepared with all necessary documentation. This can include business and personal tax returns, bank statements, financial statements, and payroll records.

Final thoughts

Payroll loans offer flexibility and support when it's needed most. They stand out as a pragmatic solution for those moments when cash flow ebbs and your team's well-being is on the line.

However, business loans for payroll aren't a cure-all for ongoing financial challenges. Use them judiciously as part of a comprehensive financial strategy tailored to your business’s longevity and growth. Remember that Novo is here to offer support. With our innovative business banking solutions, we're committed to helping you manage your finances efficiently and effectively.

Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.

The Merchant Cash Advance is provided by Novo Funding LLC, PO Box 311092, Miami, FL 33231. Novo is the marketing name for Novo Platform Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. Novo Funding LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Novo Platform Inc. Credit and Merchant Cash Advance products and services are offered by Novo Funding LLC. The information and materials contained on this website - and the terms and conditions of the access to and use of such information and materials - are subject to change without notice. Not all products and services are available in all geographic areas. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to final Novo determination and acceptance.

Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A.: Member FDIC.

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