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How to Leverage Government Aid to Help Your Contracting Business

As a contracting business owner, your top priority right now should be creating a plan that carries you through the short-term economic turbulence and sets your company up for success once conditions improve.

To do this you need to develop a complete picture of your company’s cash flow and budgets, build into your business during the economic slowdown, and adapt as necessary.

James Hardie partner Breakthrough Academy detailed these steps in a webinar, How to Navigate Your Contracting Business Through a Coronavirus Economy. You can view the webinar replay here.

“We’re experiencing a lot of change, but what’s going on now is not going to last forever,” says Danny Kerr, Director of Assessment at Breakthrough Academy. “Those who understand how to plan ahead and prepare will come out on top. What we’ll teach you will help you over the next six months and the next 10 years.”

In the current economic climate, the immediate need is to set up a strong safety net to manage your short-term finances. Through unprecedented government aid programs and historically low-interest rates, business owners have many tools to help them do this.

“You will also have the support of the James Hardie organization and we appreciate the expertise that Breakthrough Academy adds to this ongoing effort,” said Eric Ostberg, James Hardie's Repair and Remodel Segment Manager. “We encourage you to explore and apply to these government programs now, even if you don’t think you need them immediately. There’s no harm in deferring the decision whether to accept the aid.”

Here’s a snapshot of programs available in the U.S. and Canada. 

U.S. Programs & Resources

Many of these programs are related to the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has answers to frequently asked questions in their CARES Act guide.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan: The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides small businesses with loans up to $2 million to help replace the temporary loss of revenue. Small business owners throughout the U.S. are also eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Read more about the advance program here.

SBA Debt Relief: This program provides a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome challenges created by the health crisis. As part of SBA's debt relief efforts, the agency will pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months, and pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020. You can read more about this program here.

SBA Express Bridge Loans: The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Read more about this program here.

Access to Capital: The SBA provides several other loan resources for small businesses. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit this page.

Government Contracts: The SBA is assisting with the continuity of operations for small business contracting programs and small businesses with federal contracts. For more information on federal contracting opportunities, visit this page.

State Assistance: States are also offering their own financial assistance programs to small businesses, which you can keep tabs on with this State by State Emergency Financial Legislation Live Tracker.

Canadian Programs and Resources

Federal Programs and Assistance: The Canadian government has many resources and programs available to assist small businesses with financial support; wage subsidies; income tax deferments; access to credit; and much more. You can explore all of these resources here.

Provincial Programs and Assistance: In addition to federal programs, provincial governments are offering their own support for business. Use these helpful links to explore available programs in your province:

Business Support Expertise

James Hardie is committed to providing support to siding contractors. The company offers a wide range of business, sales, marketing and installation support through its Contractor Alliance Program (CAP). 

While the webinar is open to all current James Hardie CAP members, you can find more information about joining the CAP by visiting us here.

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