Many business owners form limited liability corporations, most often called LLCs, to separate their personal assets from their business assets. If you want to fund your LLC, you have many business loan options.

Most lenders don’t create specific loan products for LLCs. Rather, LLC loans are small business loans that allow LLCs to apply for and receive funding. While there are many protections and tax benefits to forming an LLC, it’s worth considering that your small business loan may still require you to put personal assets on the line. 

What is an LLC loan?

You don’t need to look for a loan that is labeled as an LLC loan. Unless the terms of a loan explicitly state otherwise, you can apply to any small business loan as an LLC. That being said, not all loans are the same and the approval requirements can vary greatly. Common types of LLC loans include:

  • SBA loan: SBA loans are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and have fairly strict requirements but low rates. You receive the money from a bank or credit union. 
  • Term loan: A term loan is a loan where all funds are distributed at once. Most small business loans fall into this category, no matter the lender. 
  • Business line of credit: A business line of credit is a revolving line of credit, typically with a draw period and a repayment period. 

Does forming an LLC protect you against personal guarantees?

A personal guarantee is a common clause in small business loan contracts. It’s a legal promise that if your business becomes unable to fulfill payment obligations, the lender can come after your personal assets to get their money back. 

Will an LLC protect you against a personal guarantee? The short answer is no. A personal guarantee allows lenders to circumvent the liability protections that your LLC usually provides. If your LLC defaults on the loan, prepare to use your personal savings or other assets to make good. 

While personal guarantees are very common among small business loans, you can compare LLC loans to look for other collateral options. 

LLC advantages and disadvantages

While there aren’t any distinct advantages to having an LLC when it comes to applying for a loan, there are some pros and cons to having an LLC in general. 

Advantages of LLCs

  • Personal asset protection: Your personal assets can be protected against many creditors by forming an LLC. 
  • Tax advantages: Many corporations are taxed at the business and partner level, while an LLC is usually only taxed at a member level. 
  • Credibility: Depending on your industry, putting in the effort to form an LLC may help you gain some credibility with lenders over simply being a sole proprietor. 

Disadvantages of LLCs

  • Lack of resilience: Since LLCs are managed at the state level, regulations vary greatly. However, in some states, if a member of the LLC leaves or dies the LLC must be dissolved and a new one formed. 
  • Protection loopholes: There are some ways that an LLC does not fully protect personal assets as much as other types of corporations. This includes loan personal guarantees. 

The bottom line

Most business loans allow LLCs to apply for funding. Unless the terms of the loan state otherwise, you can apply for a business loan from banks, credit unions and online lenders as an LLC. Be sure to compare terms carefully, particularly as it relates to personal guarantee clauses to make sure your business is as protected as possible.