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Franchises have the highest success rate of any other type of new business. Today we talk about how to get financing for a franchise through bootstrapping, securing government loans, banks, and through friends and family.
So, grab your coffee, soda, donut or protein shake, and come on in …
In this episode, we discuss:
- Starbucks helping startups
- The good and bad of starting a franchise
- How to start a franchise
- How to bootstrap your franchise
- How to get franchise loans from the bank
- How to get government grants for your business
- How to get money from family and friends
- Things to watch out for before asking friends and family for cash
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Go here to download on iTunes. Click to download the mp3
If you can’t listen, here’s the text:
Fueling your business success, this is the entrepreneur addiction podcast, breaking the small business loan news you need if you obsess about your company. Heard exclusively on Lendio.com. And now here are our your hosts: Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff and Patrick Wiscombe.
Patrick: This podcast is sponsored by Lendio.com, the online source you need to find the right business financing to grow your company. So, check them out: Lendio.com, to get your business growing right now. It’s the entrepreneur addiction podcast episode number ten. My name is Patrick Wiscombe. Thank you as always for tuning us in and taking us along wherever and however you’re accessing the podcast today. Coming up on today’s addition on the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast, today we’re going to be talking about a ‘create jobs for USA’. This was an initiative by Starbucks to start small business lending, and joining me for the podcast is Brock Blake the Ceo of Lendio. How are you?
Brock: Doing great. How’s everyone doing today?
Patrick: Great. It’s been a couple week since you’ve been on, so it’s good to hear your voice again.
Brock: Yeah, it’s great to be back. We’ve had some great podcasts in-between with some interesting authors and experts, which I’m sure everyone’s been enjoying instead of hearing my voice over and over again. (laughter)
Patrick: Have you heard those podcasts? Those authors were terrific.
Brock: You know, I haven’t. I just downloaded all of them on my iPhone, and I’ll start listening to them on my way in and out on the drive. I just got them off iTunes.
Patrick: Now, I know that you’re an iPhone 4 guy. The most pressing question on everyone’s mind is, are you going to get an iPohne 4s?
Brock: I am getting the iPhone 4s.
Patrick: Alright. Who are you with? Are you with Verizon or AT&T right now?
Brock: Well, right now I’m with Tmobile. I’m locked with my phone, but I’m going to make the plunge and go with one of the three: Spring, Verizon, or AT&T.
Patrick: Well, I’ll put a plug in for Sprint. I’ve been a customer of there’s for over thirteen years.
Brock: Really? I’ve heard good things as of late, and I am actually, really considering Sprint.
Patrick: They are not a sponsor of the podcast, by the way.
Brock: No? Not at all?
Patrick: (laughter) It’s just an unsolicited endorsement.
Brock: Well, I heard the cool thing about Sprint was that they completely integrate with GoogleVoice. And so, if your iPhone is connected to WiFi and you’re integrated with GoogleVoice, then essentially you’re not using any of your minutes or any of your data. You’re basically using GoogleVoice, which allows you to probably get one of the smaller packages because, instead of being on their network the whole time, you’re on GoogleVoice’s part of the time. That’s what I’ve heard.
Patrick: Not to mention that it is the least expensive. I mean, in terms of just pure dollars, Sprint is the least expensive. You get unlimited data, text, and talk for, I think it’s 69.99 a month.
Brock: Good reception, huh? That’s my one big area.
Patrick: It’s been my experience that when you, you know, Sprint has a large network, pretty much wherever you go, but they actually fill in the gaps where they’re not with Verizon’s network, which is the largest network. So, there’s not additional charge there.
Brock: Well, that’s cool.
Patrick: Alright, and also, in studio here, Dan Bischoff, who is the director of communications at Lendio. It’s good to see you, as always.
Dan: It’s good to be in studio with you again, Patrick.
Patrick: Alright, guys, let’s jump into this. While we’ve already plugged Sprint and the iPhone 4S. Brock you mentioned, and I saw this story a few weeks ago, there is a ‘create jobs for USA’. This is an initiative by Starbucks, and they’re teaming up with the Opportunity Finance Network to help create and sustain jobs. The initiative is called Create Jobs for USA, and will provide capital grants to select community development financial institutions. I’m not sure what a CDFI is. Maybe you could explain that?
Brock: Sure. Well, first of all, it’s pretty exciting to see all of the momentum right now for small business, whether it be for the private sector, you know, like Starbucks, or the public or government sector, you know. They’ve got a program they’re kind of been pushing called the Start Up America, but there is a lot of energy and movement and excitement around small business and small business loans. And yeah, as you’ve said, this Create Jobs for USA, I think it’s called. This is initiative by Starbucks is awesome. So, from what I understand, they’re donating the first five million, I believe it is, and then they’re encouraging… You know, any Starbucks patron, that is, when they come to get a cup of coffee or whatever, they might donate a buck or two or ten, whatever it might be. Then all of that money will go straight, directly to what you called CDFI’s. Community development financial institution is a non-profit organization that is really focused on developing local communities throughout the US, and that really focuses on developing the community in two ways: The first is through low income housing projects and support; The second is through low interest rate small business loans to businesses in that community, to really help with kind of the economy and kind of helping businesses in that area. So, I think it’s a pretty interesting, innovative, exciting program that Starbucks is kind of jumping into, and it’ll be interesting to see how many others follow suit. Because, you know, the SBA obviously does a good job from the government side, but if we can get some of these private sector organizations to provide support and resources and capital, that will continue to help the economy in a time that we all know is desperately needing it.
Patrick: Are you seeing it on the Lendio side, in terms of people, more and more people applying for loans on Lendio.com?
Brock: Yeah, I mean, we have some interesting statistics. We’ll have to maybe do a show just around what we’re seeing across the United States. Some of the business owners and revenue numbers, and other things like that. But yeah, we see an increasing amount of demand from business owners across the US who, you know, some of them are in a good situation and they’re looking for a loan to grow; some of them are in a not so good situation, and maybe sometimes desperate situation where, you know, they’re really struggling and they need a loan to, kind of, get through a rough patch of their business.
Patrick: This program, this Create Jobs for USA, that we were just talking about, it starts on November first. Donations will be accepted at company operated US Starbucks stores and online at CreateJobsForUSA.org, and here’s something kind of interesting: For donations of five dollars or more, Brock, donors will receive an ‘indivisible wristband’. It looks like a red, white and blue wristband.
Brock: That’s cool. I’ll have to go check it out. I’ve got to go to Starbucks and get one of their frozen hot chocolates.
Patrick: You know, I’ve never had the frozen hot chocolate.
Brock: Yeah, it’s amazing.
Dan: It’s nice to be able to start your heart and start your day and start your start up, too, I guess. Right?
Brock: Yeah, exactly. I’m not really, I’m not a coffee drinker but, man, those frozen hot chocolates are tasty.
Dan: You know, speaking of Starbucks as a franchise, too, it’s a… We also did a study recently and, just kind of measuring the risk of starting a company, and franchises have one of the best success rates. The numbers we found was 90% success rate. The average lifespan was about ten years with starting a franchise. And so, with many entrepreneurs out there, franchises might be a great option. Right, Brock?
Brock: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting data. The nice thing about franchises is there’s kind of some pros and some cons. The pros are, you know, if you get a franchise and, you know, historically that franchise is proven. So, they’ve taken a lot of the risk out of it. They’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t work, and now they’re job as a franchise company is to create a system that works, that you can duplicate it. It’s scalable and you can, kind of, add resources to it and grow the business. So, it’s a very nice option for people who are trying to get into business and they’re trying to take a little bit of the risk out of it. That being said, you are going to pay for that, you know, for taking the risk out of it. There’s a franchise fee. There’s start up cost. There’s other criteria that you, you know, you need to be able to meet. Some franchises are very, very difficult to get into them because they really require someone with a very high networth and operating experience. There’s kind of this hurtle, this bar that you need to jump over and over in order to actually get a franchise. So, they’re a little more difficult to get in some scenarios but, as you’ve said, they’ve taken a lot of the risk out of it.
Dan: Is it easier or less, from the numbers we’ve seen, to get a business loan for a franchise?
Brock: Yeah, that’s a great question. Typically it is easier to get a business loan for a franchise. Because what they can do, they can look at the success of the other franchises and, again, for the lender it takes some of the risk out of it. Usually, if you’re going to get a franchise loan, you’re going to have to come to the table with some sort of down payment. You know, if you’re going to buy a franchise, so let’s say the franchise fee is forty grand, and then the start up costs are another 160, so you’re total amount to get into the business equals 200. Usually, they’re going to require from ten to twenty percent down, so between twenty and forty thousand dollars. So, you’re coming to the table saying, “Yeah, I’m committed to this. I’m going to put some of my own money down.” And then, to be able to get the rest of the financing, you know, it’s quite a bit easier.
Patrick: Who, in your opinion, does franchising right?
Brock: Oh, man, there’s so many organizations. I mean, the that is talked about the most, probably because it’s the largest and maybe one of the oldest, is McDonalds. McDonalds and Subway, you know, they’ve really created a structure and organization and a format that is proven to be successful. I mean, there’s not too many McDonalds that go out of business. There’s not too many Subways that go out of business. You know, because of that they’ve created a little bit higher of a bar to get in. But, you know, some of those organizations like that it’s, once you get in, they’ve proven to be successful over and over and over again.
Dan: Well, two questions here: One is, what really is it to be successful as a franchise. Is that for people who want a lifestyle business? Or, is it something that they can make a ton of money? It’s a lot different than starting a technology company that can be worth billions probably. But what’s the potential for a franchise?
Brock: You know, each one varies. I would say that ninety-five percent of franchises are lifestyle businesses, and that’s not a negative thing. That’s a really positive thing. Because usually they’re going to produce a nice income for the owner and, depending on how well it’s run, nice profits at the end of the year. And can create a situation where maybe you’ve got an operator in the business where maybe you don’t have to be there on a daily basis. Yet on the flip side of that, two of my brothers were actually franchise owners. They purchased a few of these, kind of, fast and casual Mexican franchises, Mexican food. And they, if you’re owning a restaurant, they kind of talk about, you are really, really tied to that business. I mean, a restaurant is every single day. There’s no break. There’s no holiday, you know, or hardly any holidays.
Dan: I know that we get a lot of our loan requests from restaurants, too. Right? People think that they can get funds that’s probably difficult, unless you’re a franchise, I would assume?
Brock: Yeah, that’s a good comment because restaurant owners, in fact, if we were going to look at the data behind just start up restaurants, start up restaurants have one of the highest failure rates. So, it’s kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum. You know, everyone kind of thinks that, you know, it’s easy to get into the restaurant business. But they go in and out of business so fast. And a lot of time people are left kind of holding the back. They’ve put a lot of money into the restaurant. It’s a bad location. They didn’t get as many customers as they’d like. You know, it was a lot more stressful than they thought because, you know, you’ve got to be there day in, day out, morning, night. So they do have quite a high failure rate. I think the franchise restaurants take a little bit of the risk out of it, well, quite a bit of the risk out of it if it’s a proven franchise. But just, if you’re going to go and try and start a restaurant from scratch, it’s very difficult to get over the hump and turn it to be successful.
Dan: How much money do you think you need to start a franchise? How do you know when you’re ready to start one? I read an article recently that said you need… this one person started a health care staffing franchise called Bright Star, and they needed five hundred thousand dollars, a kind of cash-award chest, to make sure they didn’t run out of cash when they were starting it.
Brock: Yeah, so I’ll kind of break down franchises a little bit and, you know, it really depends. There are some franchises that you can get in, you know, for thirty grand. You’re basically paying for the rights of the franchise, and it’s maybe a service type business. Maybe it’s a painting type franchise, where the equipment that you need and the resources that you actually need to get out and start business is low. Because you buy the rights to the franchise and then you’re out knocking doors selling your painting services. And so those, you know, it’s a lower barrier of entry to get in versus, there’s other franchises, it may cost you a few million dollars just to be able to get in, you know, let’s say a Five Guys, now don’t quote me on this, if I remember right, Five Guys or In & Out or some of those… you’re getting the layout of the building, and it’s got to look a certain way, and you know, it’s very difficult to get at one of the rights to the franchises. And so, it’s really high costs, but with that high costs come a very, very successful and profitable franchise. They’ve just figured out really how to drive profits.
Patrick: Now, I didn’t know, is In & Out a franchise?
Brock: They do now.
Patrick: Okay, so that’s new.
Brock: From what I understand, and hopefully I’m not totally mistaken. I’m ninety-nine percent sure. It was family owned and operated, and just over the last couple of years they’ve opened up to franchising.
Patrick: Alright, now, the natural follow up question was regarding your brothers and their franchises. How are they doing today?
Brock: Well, they’ve bought three of them and sold them. And so, they’re out of the franchise business now. They did well with it. They sold them to another franchise owner who was interested in basically compiling as many of the restaurant stores as possible. They were confident in the way they could manage it and in the way they could run it and what kinds of profits they could make from it. And so, they were able to sell it.
Patrick: What was the name of their business, if you don’t mind me asking.
Brock: Costa Vida.
Patrick: Woa, woa, now hold on. I love Costa Vida!
Brock: Yeah. Now, they’re not the founders of Costa Vida. They had just bought three of the early franchises of Costa Vida.
Patrick: Alright, now what about the one that was in America Fork, Utah.
Brock: Nope, that wasn’t there’s.
Patrick: Okay, where did they build theirs?
Brock: So, they had one in Bountiful, Utah, one in Salt Lake City, Utah. Actually, two in Salt Lake City. One in the Gateway Mall, and another one up on Foothill Drive.
Patrick: When we talk about entrepreneurism, is that a word? When we talk about being an entrepreneur, I had no idea that your brothers were serial entrepreneurs, just like you.
Brock: Yeah, it’s a disease that runs in the family.
Patrick: Let’s talk about financing here in just a second.
Dan: Let’s talk about how to know if you’re ready, how to get funds for your franchise. Maybe with banks first. What do you need to bring to the bank when you say you want to start a franchise. What’s the best way to go about that if you want to start a Taco Bell, or something.
Brock: Well, there’s a discussion around actually creating your own franchise. Is that what you’re talking about?
Dan: Yeah, yeah… Yeah.
Brock: It’s kind of like: “How do I create my own franchise and start selling it?” versus “How do I get financing to buy one?”
Patrick: Let’s talk about someone who wants to start a franchise. Let’s just start from ground one. You have an idea. Where do you go from there?
Brock: Yeah, interesting enough, the franchise business, you know, essentially what you’re trying to accomplish is, the first thing you need to do is get one store, one location, one whatever it might be, organization up and running. And that thing needs to be successful. And so, before you even think about getting into the franchise business, you need to figure out, “Okay, if I’m going to start a restaurant, or I’m going to start a service business, whatever it is, I need to get it up and going, and I need to make sure it’s successful.” Once that happens, what usually happens next is, you then create a separate entity which is a franchise holding entity. And that separate entity is entirely focused on taking your first organization and replicating it and then selling it. There’s quite a bit of legal and regulatory paperwork that needs to happen in order for you to do that and actually get into the franchise business. But once you’ve created one, then you focus on creating the parent franchise company, and from there it’s all about, you know, to sell it, that franchise, you need to be able to make sure you’ve got, you know, fantastic manuals, training and other information to feel that you’re giving the franchisees the best possible chance to succeed.
Patrick: You know, it sounds like you almost become more like a business manager than you are a restaurant owner?
Brock: Right. Yep, if you’re going to create your own franchise, you know, ideally you’re going to create that first, and we talk about restaurants a lot, but it doesn’t have to be restaurants. I mean, in every type of trade or service, there’s a franchise organization. But you create that first one, you’re the person managing it and running it, and then you really need to step out of that business and get someone else to manage it and run it, and do that successfully while you kind of take a step up and kind of run the franchise organization.
Patrick: Is there a time frame, maybe as you’re survey the landscape, the product is successful, that you should consider franchising it, like a safe amount of time?
Brock: The time frame can be really different for everyone because, you know, it depends on how quickly you can get your first organization or store up and running successfully before you can jump into franchising. Ideally that’s going to be at least a year, so you go through every season, and you know really how it’s going to function or operate. Sometimes it’s two years. But it varies based on how aggressive you are as an entrepreneur.
Patrick: Alright, future plans, as we’re talking about franchising, any plans in the works for Lendio to become a franchise?
Brock: No. You know, Lendio is really kind of a technology organization…
Dan: Patrick just wanted to go and start a Lendio somewhere else is why. (laughter)
Brock: Yeah. Patrick, you want us to sell you rights to Utah county?
Patrick: Yeah, I’ll go ahead and do that.
Brock: No, we’re not going to be franchising anytime soon.
Dan: With the same article with the lady who started Bright Star Care, she was in Illinois. She found a state program called the economic opportunity loan program that would lend up to two hundred grand, but she had to put in a hundred grand first. And then she had to create twenty jobs during a five year loan term, and she says there’s a lot of resources in government programs in each state that will probably surprise you that are available to you.
Brock: Yeah, that’s a great point. You know, there’s a lot of financial institutions out there that do loans. They’re going to be less aggressive in the loans that they do. You know, the term ‘aggressive’ and ‘bank’ don’t mix very well. But as has been mentioned, in almost every city or county across the US, they usually will have some sort of a loan fund, small business loan fund, and they’re whole initiative is focused on creating jobs and building the local community. You know, kind of like the CDFI’s that we mentioned earlier. Because of that, they are more aggressive on who they will lend to. They don’t have any strict parameters of their underwriting requirements. Usually it’s one or two people within that organization or a committee who you go and present your case to the committee. There’s exceptions to the rule that they will consider. And so, business owners, you know… everyone thinks about going to get a loan from a bank or credit union. But if that doesn’t work, there’s a lot more resources than you think. You ought to go to your city or county organization and say, “Hey, is there a business loan fund in this area, and who could I talk to about this.” And really look out for the resources that might be in your area.
Patrick: Alright, so those are some of the resources. So, banks and, Dan, you have one more.
Dan: Yeah, bootstrapping and asking… well, there’s two things: bootstrapping and then asking family and friends for money. I mean, what are some of the benefits and dangers of… I mean, you got some money from you family, right, when you started FundingUniverse and now Lendio? What are some of the benefits and the good and bad and ugly with that?
Brock: Yeah, everyone defines that as the three F’s: Friends, Family, and Fools.
Brock: I didn’t get money from any fools. Very smart people. (laughter) But friends and family sure. You know, the key there is that you’ve got a relationship, and you need to make sure that you don’t take advantage of that relationship. Most people don’t do that intentionally. Most people don’t say, “Hey, I’m going to go to a friend or family member and take advantage of it.” What I mean by that is, you really need to make it a formalized, you know, structured relationship. So, if you’re going to go to a family member, first of all you ought to define: is this a loan? Are they purchasing equity in your business? Or is this a gift? You know, and it may be a gift.
Patrick: Now, did you do that with your family? Did you structure everything?
Brock: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you want to… I mean, for me there was a scenario where I’ve taken loans, and there’s the scenario where, more from friends and from angels than family, where I’ve taken an investment. But regardless, what you want to do for the safety of the relationship that you have, you want to make sure that the loan is well documented, you’ve defined the terms, the interest rate, the payment amount. Or if it’s equity, you define… you define everything. It’s well documented. It’s on paper. What that does is, it just safeguards your relationship between you and someone you have a lot of trust with. The last thing that you want to have happen is, because you didn’t structure it well in the beginning, you know, there’s mis-communications. They thought it was one thing. You thought it was another, and it really sours the relationship you have with that individual and really can ruin.
Dan: Yeah, the last thing you want is to go to the family picnic and have a little feud going on. Right?
Brock: Yeah. Exactly. So, it’s very, very important that you define gift, equity or debt. And what is the structure? What are the terms? What is the expectation? Set it all out from the very beginning, and you’re going to be very happy you did.
Patrick: If someone in your family is giving you money is there a certain return on their investment that you should, I’m not going to say guarantee, but is reasonable?
Brock: No. You know, that’s really decided between you and the family member. And you just need to ask them, “What’s your motivation behind doing this? Are you doing this because you’re doing me a favor? Are you hoping to make money off it? You know, is this an investment? Or what?” And really, that motivation will determine, because if it’s an investment, you’re going to want to hopefully provide them a return, and they’re looking at it more as a financial transaction. If they’re doing it because they want to help you out, then maybe there’s less of a motivation to get a return, and they just want their money back. And so, it’s just important to communicate with whoever it is: What there motivation is? Why they’re doing it? And you structure it in a way that’s going to help them out. Don’t ever guarantee. You know, small business, it’s so difficult to be a business owner and an entrepreneur and to be successful. And so, if you guarantee something, you’re basically setting yourself up for something negative to happen. And so, you’re just going to want to make sure, again to communicate, “There is risk. Hey, Mom or Dad or Aunt Martha or Whoever it is, there is risk here. You know, I’m going to do everything that I possibly can to make this successful and produce your return, but I do want you to know that there’s risk here.” So, the better you communicate that, the happier you’re going to be in the long run.
Patrick: Let’s go ahead and wrap it up there.
Brock: Yeah. I mean, I think there’s some interesting things that we talked about, you know, kind of those three pronged… we kind of talked about the Create Jobs for America. What’s happening there. We talked about franchising. We talked about Friend, Families, and money from Fools. And I think those are some good resource topics for people interested in being entrepreneurs.
Patrick: And let’s not forget Lendio.com as well. Now, I understand there’s a tremendous network on the backside of Lendio.com. So, if a business does need small business financing, you can head over to Lendio.com to find someone who is willing to give you money for you business.
Brock: Yeah and, Patrick, a cool announcement: It’s now free for business owners.
Patrick: That is significant.
Brock: Yeah, so we’re going to be coming out with some significant press around this. But yeah, we’ve been trying to reduce the cost to the business owner as much as possible. And I think it was about two or three weeks ago that we finally pulled the trigger and made it free. And so, there’s absolutely no risk for the business owner to come and check it out. And we’re going to make it way easier on you to find the bank or credit union or option to be able to get that loan.
Patrick: That is a phenomenal development. Let me just repeat this again. If you are a small business, you have a business idea, or you’re already in business, or you’re looking to expand your business, head over to Lendio.com. Not only because it’s free to find your financing now… I did understand that right?
Patrick: Okay. Head over to Lendio.com. Fill out the information that they need. How long does that generally take again?
Brock: It takes about five to ten minutes.
Patrick: Go to Lendio.com. Fill out the information. You have an entire network of banks, credit unions, various sources, angel investors, everything that everyone will take a look at it. And explain Lendio one more time for anyone who’s just listening to this podcast for the first time.
Brock: Well, we know that business owners, you know, it’s such a pain in the butt to get a business loan. There’s so many banks, so many credit unions, very different geographic regions, loan products, interest rates, and instead of having the business owner go from bank to bank to bank, and filling out long form application and getting their personal credit score dinged every time, we’ve consolidated that, brought all the banks and credits unions into one platform, and given you one form to fill out, and give you all of the resources, the best matches, the best loan options for you, all through our technology. So, we’re just trying to make your life easier to get access to that business loan that you’re looking for.
Patrick: And now, you can apply for free?
Brock: That’s right.
Patrick: Alright, let’s go ahead and wrap it up here. So, for Brock Blake the Ceo of Lendio.com, be sure to check out his business. Lendio.com. If you are in need of financing for, whether it’s a start up, you’re already in business, or you’re looking to expand, Lendio.com for all of your business needs. They make it extremely simple. And continued success, Brock.
Brock: Thank you.
Patrick: Dan Bischoff the director of communications in studio here at Lendio.com, always good to see you.
Dan: Oh, it’s great to see you, ever time!
Patrick: Thank you very much. My name is Patrick Wiscombe. Thanks for listening to the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast. As we wrap up, you can find the podcast on Lendio.com/blog, is the right? Yeah, so you can find the podcast in three different places: Lendio.com/blog (you’ll find it right there); and I’ve got a new announcement for you, Brock.
Patrick: Which you had no idea. The podcast now appears on ABC4.com, under their text section.
Brock: Wow! I had no idea.
Patrick: Yeah, I was going to surprise you with that one.
Brock: That is awesome!
Patrick: (laughter) So, just go to ABC4.com. It’s under the news section. And it’s under the little sub-menu. It’s the tech section. And it’s right there. And of course you can always pick it up on my site as well: PatrickWiscombe.com. So, for Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff, I’m Patrick Wiscombe. Thanks for listening to the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast. Talk to you next week. See you.
Voice: Making business loans simple, this has been the entrepreneur addiction podcast, helping you secure the capital you need, with your host Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff, and Patrick Wiscombe. Heard exclusively at Lendio.com.