Many funding options are available for small businesses, and the amount of revenue you need to qualify for each is different. The bare minimum annual revenue for funding from a traditional lender, like a bank, is $100,000, though most lenders set higher requirements.

If you don’t have that much revenue, you still have options, including alternative lenders, with some accepting an annual revenue as low as $33,000 to $50,000. 

How much do I need to make to get a business loan?

A wide variety of funding options are available for small businesses, but eligibility factors vary by lender, loan type and what you will use it for. Looking at business loans based on your business’s revenue will point you toward the options available. 

The very lowest a lender will require for a conventional business loan is about $100,000 in yearly revenue. But most lenders require higher annual revenue. 

Consider each option available to you and the revenue you need to qualify to find the business funding option that works for your business. 

Here are some typical revenue requirements broken down by loan type.

Loan type Annual revenue required
Commercial real estate loan At least $50,000 annually
SBA loan Varies by lender and loan type but must demonstrate an ability to pay back the loan
Term loan At least $100,000
Lines of credit At least $36,000
Equipment loan At least $50,000
Merchant cash advance At least $100,000
Working capital At least $100,000


Bankrate insight
Note that different types of lenders also tend to have differing revenue requirements. Banks often prefer working with well-established businesses, so their revenue requirements usually skew higher. By comparison, many online lenders work with startups and smaller businesses, so their requirements may be lower.

Why lenders care about your revenue

While there are several factors that lenders consider when you apply for a loan (like business credit), revenue is an important one. 

Your revenue is the amount of income your business makes. A lender needs to see that you can pay back the loan. The more consistent revenue the business has, the more likely it is to make timely payments on a business loan. 

If a business is a startup that hasn’t yet made revenue or has low revenue, the lender will see the investment as high-risk. This makes them much less likely to give you a loan and more likely to give you high interest rates if they do. Conversely, you can get lower interest rates on your loan with higher revenue because the lender feels you are less risky.

If your annual revenue is below the lender’s requirement, collateral or a personal guarantee may lower the lender’s risk and, as a result, help you secure funding.

The debt-service coverage ratio

Gross revenue is one important factor for commercial lenders, but they also want to see how much money the business owes compared to how much it makes.

Using the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR), which measures a business’s ability to cover all its outstanding debts with its income, lenders can decide if the business can afford the loan payment. Typically, commercial lenders want to see a DSCR of 1.25 or higher before giving the business a loan, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your DSCR if it’s too low.

Business loans with no revenue or money

If you don’t have the revenue to qualify for a business loan, you may still be able to get one by doing the following:

  • Make a case to the lender for why your business is a good investment.
  • Gather documentation to show your experience in the field.
  • Present a rock-solid business plan.
  • Demonstrate that you are serious about your business and plan to make money, showing the lender you are more reliable than your revenue indicates.
  • Assess your assets and their worth if you used them as collateral.

This strategy won’t always work, though. If you can’t find a lender who will work with you on a startup loan, you may need to consider other types of business loan options, including equipment financing, invoice financing or microloans.

Equipment financing

With equipment financing, annual revenue is less of a concern because the loan is secured by the equipment, which lowers the lender’s risk and ensures they can recoup the cost of the loan using the collateral.

Invoice financing

Invoice financing is a loan secured through a lender, but approval is largely based on the money owed to the business by its customers, not just its credit or annual revenue.

Similar to invoice factoring, the business receives a percentage of the invoices in one lump sum. But the invoices are paid by customers directly to the business, and the business can then repay the lender.


Microloans are small business loans of no more than $50,000 and are typically reserved for businesses with low annual revenue operating in underserved communities. SBA microloans, for example, are designed for startup businesses, but the lending requirements are up to the lender.

Business loan alternatives for low revenue businesses

Traditional lenders will likely require the business to have revenue to give you a term loan. But there are unconventional funding options if you need cash for your business but haven’t started bringing in revenue yet.

  • Angel investor: An angel investor is an individual willing to give you the money you need for your business in exchange for equity in the company. 
  • Venture capital: Venture capital firms are another option if you don’t want to have to repay a loan. Venture capital firms will review your business plan and valuation to determine if they want to invest in the company in exchange for becoming a part owner. 
  • Crowdfunding: Using a crowdfunding platform allows individuals to donate small or large amounts to your business. In exchange, businesses usually gift exclusive gifts, benefits or company equity. 
  • Business line of credit: A business credit line allows you to borrow up to a specified limit, pay it back, and continue borrowing up to that limit. It works like a credit card, but a line of credit is typically for larger amounts. There are both secured and unsecured lines of credit. Note that lines of credit also often have minimum revenue requirements.
  • Business grants: Companies are given free money when receiving business grants, allowing them the chance to avoid taking on debt and potentially ruining their credit score, which can happen with a loan. As a result, grants can be challenging to secure.
  • Business credit card: Business credit cards are another great option when you have a low annual revenue. Many businesses use them to cover short-term expenses and purchases. A minimum annual revenue may still be required, so a secured business credit card could be an option if you don’t qualify for an unsecured business credit card.

The bottom line

Showing that your business can make money helps convince lenders to give you a loan. You also need to know your DSCR to show that your business will be able to make payments. Before talking to a lender about getting a business loan, make sure you know your DSCR and total revenue for the last two years.

There are other business funding options if you don’t yet have revenue. Don’t give up if you don’t qualify for any business loans. Explore your options to find other options that will work for your business. 

Frequently asked questions

  • Typically, you need a minimum amount of annual revenue to secure a business loan, and the amount depends on the lender. Traditional lenders, like banks, normally require a minimum revenue of $100,000, while alternative lenders typically have lower requirements.
  • Depending on the lender, type of loan and other factors, businesses can get approved for loans up to $5 million or more.
  • The credit score requirements for business startup loans vary. Online and alternative lenders may accept credit scores as low as the mid-500s for a startup business loan.