Construction Credit Cards: Is There a Credit Card Available Specifically for Construction Needs?

Zaid's picture
Zaid Rahman
October 26, 2021

As a contractor, you know the routine all too well.

You send your crew on a supply run. They come back short on receipts.

Not only are you lacking a hard-copy proof of purchase for your client, but you’re also left wondering if they’ve used the company card to buy everybody’s lunch — again.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a credit card that was built just for construction businesses? One that took into account the unique challenges of the industry?

Great news! Now there is.

Read on to learn more about the only credit card solution made specifically for your construction needs.

Table of Contents

First, let’s understand how standard credit cards work

It usually goes like this:

You pay for something on your credit card (let’s say you go to Home Depot and buy $1,000 worth of materials).

You swipe the card.

You have 0% interest for the first 30 days.

If you don’t pay off your balance within 30 days, you’re charged exorbitant amounts of interest.

That’s the foundational function of a credit card for construction! You pay for supplies on the “free float”, such as materials, equipment rentals, and more on credit. Then, you pay off your balance later.

It seems silly that we’re laying this out. But, it’ll make sense shortly.

The goal of a construction credit card is simple

Again, it seems silly that we’re breaking things down to how a credit card works at the most basic level.

But, thinking through this is necessary to understand which credit card is best for contractors and construction business owners.

The goal of a credit card for your business is simple:

It should help your business grow. It should add more value than it subtracts.

The issue? 

A lot of traditional credit cards are built on a foundation of sand! They try to wow you on the perks… They try to lure you in with the points… They try to sell you on a fancy metal card (oh my gosh, it’s so heavy!).

However, they’re not adding value to your business from the foundational functions (extending you credit and giving you the optimal payback period to keep cash in your account for as long as possible).

That’s where Flexbase comes in. 

We’re changing the credit card game for construction owners by re-working the foundation. Not messing around with the perks.

We give construction businesses 0% interest for 60 days. Every transaction, whether it’s a quick run to Lowe’s or a $10,000 heavy equipment rental. You pay 0% interest for 60 days. Putting more cash in your pocket. Which actually helps you grow your business.

Let’s get into the details a little more.

Flexbase: The Only Construction Credit Card Solution With 0% interest for 60 days

Flexbase’s card for construction owners is designed to catapult you for growth with 0% interest for 60 days on all purchases.

Sidenote: We’re also the first ever credit card made just for construction.

Okay, back to the important stuff. Our card is made to give you the maximum cash flow advantage. 

We understand that getting paid on projects in the construction industry is slow. Too slow. On average, it takes construction companies 83 days to get paid.

And, on a lot of projects, you’re fronting the costs and buying materials throughout the project.

You win the job → you buy a bunch of materials on credit cards (often before getting paid a dime) → you do the work and pay your employees and/or subs → you finish the project → you eventually get paid.

Traditional credit cards give you 0% interest for 30 days. With Flexbase giving you 0% interest for 60 days, you essentially get a free 30 day float. That money stays in your account longer!

 

We also have construction-specific features of our credit card

Here are just some of the features (on top of our 0% interest for 60 days):

  • $0 annual fee
  • Expense management built into the card so you can track costs by project
  • Receipt tracking built into the card so you can connect receipts to specific projects (which connects to our free mobile app)
  • No personal liability
  • Unlimited cards (virtual and physical) for your team
  • Spending limits by employee

What Is the Best Credit Card for Contractors?

The best credit card for contractors is a card designed especially for the construction business that helps them grow.

Here’s the main question we encourage you to ask yourself:

What would your business look like if you had 60 days to pay off your credit card with 0% interest instead of 30 days?

If that happened, you’d have more cash in your account. Your cash flow would be healthier. You’d likely avoid paying as much interest due to late payments.

This above is the foundation.

There are other questions to ask yourself to understand the “best” credit card for contractors like yourself:

Does your card have construction-specific features or benefits?

Does it offer expense management by project?

Does it have built-in receipt tracking so that the next time you go to Home Depot, all you have to do is take a picture of the receipt and you’re good to go?

If your credit card doesn’t do these things above (on top of giving you 0% interest for 60 days), it’s likely not the best card for you.

Real Construction Company Owners Share What They Hate About Their Current Credit Cards

We’ll say it plainly: Traditional credit cards do not meet the demands of construction companies. Not by a longshot. Not even the largest credit card companies are designed to provide the type of credit limit, cardholder management, and rewards programs that would benefit construction companies.

We’ve interviewed construction companies to hear what they have to say about their current credit cards and the constant struggles they face. 

Small Credit Limits

According to the latest study from Experian, the average credit limit for small business credit cards is $56,100. However, receiving a credit limit of this size is no small feat, as credit limits are typically based on the personal credit score of the business owner.

While traditional credit cards may offer reasonable credit limits for some small businesses, they are no match for the construction industry. 

“As a construction company, we deal with a lot more “zeros” than most small to mid-sized businesses; our average contract value is between $250K-$300K.” Whitney Hill from SnapADU shares, “Given this reality, our cash flow needs are large and can have dramatic swings. As a new company applying for credit cards, we were extended a very small amount of credit ($5K), with the idea being that we could increase that over the coming years based on good history. However, a credit limit of that amount, especially when spread across cards used by 10+ employees, served no practical purpose.”

However, getting a credit limit increase is easier said than done, as the SnapADU team found out.

“Even after a year in business and having paid the card in full on a weekly basis, we have been extended a credit limit of just $10K. Given this, we use our credit card as a "last resort" measure only when needed and do so simply to build our overall creditworthiness,” says Hill.

Credit Limits Based on Personal Credit Scores

Small credit limits result from one unfair consideration — personal credit scores. In no way does a business owner’s personal credit score reflect the needs of their construction business, especially when the cost of materials for projects can run into the hundred-thousands.

“The biggest headache is the fundamental platform for credit cards.” shares Donald Bloom, CEO of Myriad Electrical Contractors, “In general, they are not designed with the differences of business operations in mind.  The normal structure of purchasing supplies or materials is still based on a personal platform such as one may use for their personal card.”

Poor Cardholder Management

Your business credit card should make your life easier, not harder. However, many traditional credit cards are lacking in cardholder management capabilities. 

“We've noticed that our credit card activity with providers doesn't automatically link with our accounting software Quickbooks.” Hill shares, “This requires some additional manual work to import our credit card statement to be reconciled with our transactions for job costing purposes.”

Lackluster Rewards Programs

According to a study from Forbes Advisor, 70% of cardholders in the U.S. prefer credit cards with cash-back programs. 

“The remaining opportunity is finding a credit card or purchasing card that provides rebates for purchases made during a year.” Bloom shares, “If properly managed, these costs could be used to create an income stream for the business.” 

However, it’s difficult to find credit cards with rewards programs that actually “reward” construction businesses for their loyalty. In the grand scheme of things, flimsy rebate programs are hardly lining the pockets of construction business owners. Traditional credit cards also typically require a certain amount of spending before “rewards” can be unlocked.

Say Goodbye to Credit Card Challenges With the Flexbase Card

“If the finance community could develop a credit card program for construction companies, more usage would occur and the ability to use this funding as a proper tool for financial management,” says Bloom.

Luckily, Flexbase has answered this call and created the first credit card specifically designed for construction companies. 

Say goodbye to useless credit limits, poor cardholder management, and flimsy rewards programs and say hello to 10x the credit limit, 0% APR for 60 days, built-in receipt tracking, $0 annual fees, and more with the Flexbase Card. 

We offer cash rewards that take seconds to earn. Here’s how: 

Activate your Flexbase card, and earn $150 in less than ten minutes. Upload your first receipt and receive a $100 reward in less than two minutes. Complete five purchases with your Flexbase Card and earn $300. Flexbase has dozens of rewards that you can cash out on. 

Click here to get pre-approved today.

What Are Construction Credit Cards Used For?

Most construction companies use credit cards as a way to get 30-40 days to “float” their payments. 

With credit cards, contractors:

  1. Buy materials
  2. Save the receipts
  3. Submit the receipts along with an invoice to their clients; then
  4. Pay the card off when they get paid

Here's how it works:

You spend $750 on lumber and some miscellaneous at Lowes. As long as you pay it off before the end of the grace period, you pay 0% interest on the purchase of those items. 

Depending on the type of card you have, your float can vary from between 30 and 60 days. 

3 Downfalls of a Traditional Construction Credit Card and How Flexbase Is Solving Them

Before you decide to jump into the application process, you must understand the potential risks and pitfalls that commonly accompany most construction business credit cards. 

#1: Traditional Construction Credit Cards  Are Usually Based on Your Credit

As with most credit cards, business credit cards typically base your credit limit on your credit score.

But what do you do if you’ve had a few issues and your score is currently scraping rock-bottom? 

In that case, a traditional construction credit card may start you out with a credit limit of just a few hundred dollars. 

Regardless, most credit cards for businesses start you out with a credit limit of around $5,000 — meaning it’s going to be a challenge to cover any large purchases you may need.

Your Personal Credit Score Is Irrelevant to Us: Cash Is King, Right?

With the Flexbase Construction Card, your credit score means absolutely nothing to us. 

We use your company's actual cash flow to determine the credit limit for your business. 

Sticking with the cash you have on hand means you won’t be losing sleep at night worrying if you’ll have the means to pay off the purchase you just made.

In fact, a recent article in Payments Journal reveals that cash flow can be used as a predictor of creditworthiness. We agree!

The Flexbase Construction Credit Card works with you to effectively manage your cash flow.

#2: Traditional Construction Credit Cards Require You to Keep Track of all Receipts 

If you’ve told your crew once, you’ve told them a hundred times …

“Save your receipts!” 

And they do, right? 

The truth is, trying to manage every receipt for a project is a massive headache. 

The crew swipes the company card at Home Depot, fills up at the gas station, then swings by your local discount lumberyard — and each one of those receipts gets tossed on the dash of the work truck, possibly never to be seen again.

And that's a huge problem when it comes time to invoice the client. 

Flexbase Construction Credit Cards: Keep Your Receipts Organized by Project With Automations

The Flexbase Construction Credit Card puts an end to straggling receipts, organizing them in a way you’ve only dreamed of.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You swipe your card and make a purchase
  2. An automatic message instantly pops up, reminding you to take a picture of the receipt
  3. You are then prompted to tag the photo to a specific project

The next time you send an invoice to your client, that receipt is sitting neatly inside their invoice. This gives your client full transparency into every purchase involved in their project.

Example of How You Can Set Authorizations for Your Crew

Are you tired of looking at your credit card statement and seeing purchases from Dominoes and Taco Bell? 

Problem solved. The Flexbase Construction Credit Card puts a quick end to all unauthorized purchases.

You have the option of setting custom authorizations — such as only allowing the card to be used at Lowes, Conoco, or your local lumberyard.

#3: Traditional Construction Credit Cards Aren’t Designed for the Unique Needs of Construction 

A construction business credit card may offer some perks, such as …

  • No annual fee
  • A sign-up bonus
  • Double points; or
  • Cashback bonuses

… but it’s not designed with the specific needs of the construction industry in mind, such as … 

  • Automatic tracking of receipts; and 
  • Customizable authorizations

Recap: How the Flexbase Construction Credit Card Works

So let’s review.  

With the Flexbase Construction Credit Card:

  1. Your cash determines your credit limit.
  2. You can set specific, customized authorizations for your crew, including
  • Spending limits; and 
  • Where to shop.
  1. A crew member swipes the card.
  2. The app requests a picture of the receipt.
  3. The receipt is tagged and attached to a specific project or client. 
  4. The receipt is automatically generated with the client’s invoice.
  5. You save dozens of hours in accounting work and time.

Flexbase Solves the Construction Credit Card Issues by Combining a Credit Card With Expense Management 

If you are ready to simplify the money management of your construction business, Flexbase is just what you’re looking for.

The Flexbase app and card will revolutionize the way your company spends money — and put a quick end to a leaking cash flow.

Our construction billing platform also helps you manage the payment process from start to finish by letting you:

  • Send invoices
  • Automate compliance forms
  • Generate payment requests
  • And so much more

And with our expense management system built right into the Flexbase card, you can easily and accurately see exactly how much money you have across all of your accounts.

With Flexbase there are no subscriptions or licenses to pay or keep up with. And with fees that start as low as 0.5% per payout you receive, it’s essentially free to use. 

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Finally, a credit card built for construction companies.

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