Information for the city of Birmingham
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama's population.Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading.
Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, United Kingdom; one of the UK's major industrial cities. Many, if not most, of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non unionized, and African American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining.
Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home of the private Birmingham Southern College. Between these two universities and Sam University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferencesFrom Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy.
Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Steel products manufacturers . In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around the city. Vulcan Company, a major provider of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction, is also based in Birmingham.In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011.
As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors. City Center in downtownThe telephone company that is now owned by ., which was formerly and before that , which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown as well as several large operational center buildings and a data center.The insurance companieshave their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies,each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 by Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's ""combined personal income"" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.Birmingham's sales tax, which also applies fully to groceries, stands at 10 percent and is the highest tax rate of the nation's 100 largest cities.Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent
Information for the state of Alabama
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Occupations outside of agriculture were widespread by 2008. Employment in that year was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
You have things to do and sometimes it just does not make sense to put them off until you get paid
Alabama Factoring Company
Before making your final decision and entering into a factoring agreement, check out the fees applicable and the terms of the contract. Both of these can vary a lot, depending on the factoring company and the industry it is serving. -Alabama Factoring Company
HOW TO COLLECT YOUR RECEIVABLES FASTER
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
Factoring in the Future of a Trucking Business: A Story
John Thompson let the phone ring on his desk. He let his morning coffee cool and left his cigarette to ash itself in the tray, because he is trying to make the biggest decision ever for his trucking company. Thompson Trucking Company was at a turning point of growth and John had to decide if signing with a factoring company was the right way forward.
John’s father had started as an owner-operator and had grown Thompson Trucking Company into a fifteen trailer fleet over forty years. There had been some hard times when it seemed everything was going to go under and even John’s mother strapped herself into a cab to make hauls. His father had lived long enough to witness the price of hires drop during the recession and watch the eruption of fuel prices afterwards. Now the company was solely in John’s hands and he wanted to live to see it in better shape for his sons.
To move Thompson Trucking Company ahead into the future, he needed a steady cash flow but there was just not enough money to go around. His employees needed to be paid. They had families and household bills too. Some of the refrigerated trailers were in need of repairs and he felt to stay competitive it was also a good idea to invest in specialized haulers to be ready for the constant requests he was getting for loads of new energy and agriculture equipment. Every time he had to turn down a request, Thompson Trucking looked weak in a very strong market.
His father would have told him to wait and to take his time adding on new technology. John allowed himself a good hard chuckle. His father had been against placing GPS units in the cabs. He would say, “Why do you need the voice of some woman to tell you to get off at an exit that has been the same exit that has been there for years?” Also his father had the habit of teasing all the drivers he caught switching into automatic even though driving in automatic was much more efficient though not manly in his father’s eyes. His father days were long gone and technology was actually an important improvement for the business such as having Qualcomm to cut down on fruitless time communicating on the phone for bills of lading.
John believed a successful man is always thinking of his next step. What would be the next step for Thompson Trucking? And how would he be able to afford it? Funding was all tied up in the mortgage for the office and garage and in the fuel bills. He just finished paying off the small bank loan for installing satellite radio in the trucks for the guys.
But was factoring the answer? There was a lot he didn’t understand about the process. It sounded a lot like ninth grade algebra which just didn’t feel like it belonged as part of the trucking business. Factoring companies buy your invoices and manage your accounts receivable for a certain percentage of the invoiced amount. The factoring company gives the trucking business its payment right away which allows the business to have continuous cash flow so it can pay employees, buy fuel, and make repairs for upcoming hauls. Without the assistance of factoring, you have to wait for customers to send you the payment which is often 30 days late. In those 30 days, a trucking company can’t pay its bills and employees in invoices.
Now it was time for John to do his homework. John had heard that there were companies that charged for same day money transfers and would only advance a percentage of the money owed to your company while holding the rest in a private account if they didn’t get their bill payment within 60 or so days. Plus it was worse still if the customer didn’t pay up at all because then the factoring company would take it right out of the money supposed to be coming to you! Through the grapevine, he’d also heard about how some companies suddenly slipped you onto a sliding scale of percentages even if you had already signed a lengthy contract for maybe 3% or 7% so there you are with 10% coming as a cost to you out of the freight bill. His friend Ronnie who had a trucking business in Missouri, was run nearly into the ground by a factoring company that charged him the full freight bill on top of the factoring fees. Well, what was the point of going to a factoring company if there was shady business like that going on?
But it turned out to be quite easy. All the factoring companies he researched were open about their business practices and very friendly on the phone when he called. Their customer service actually knew things about their company and spoke in nice clear English so he could understand what was being explained. He didn’t mind signing an exclusive contract. He liked the idea of a long term commitment so he knew he wouldn’t have to bother going back and forth to different companies and wasting time filing more forms. Nobody charged him for credit checks and they offered him a fuel advance on the pick-up of the load. Many companies offered a non-recourse factoring program that suited him just fine. Also he was happy to hear how much he was offered in terms of percentages on the freight bills. It was good money.
It was really refreshing dealing with the factoring people. They were more personable than those loan managers at the bank. It seemed as though those bank people spoke another language, but these factoring guys knew the trucking business and spoke to him like a client, not like a beggar for a handout. The factoring companies didn’t worry over his credit and the debt troubles his father had had in the past of the company. Factoring was based on the credit of his customers and on their reliability which worked well for John because he and his father had built up good strong relationships over decades with their list of clients. So he knew they would understand when the factoring company contacted them for the invoices. His clients wouldn’t think poorly of Thompson Trucking and the factoring companies appeared capable of handling the accounts receivable in the same polite manner that his father had used over the years.
John stepped out of his office to let his secretary know to expect the arrival of the factoring contract shortly. He felt exhilarated by the new possibilities that would make the future of the company fun again and put the stress of the difficult times behind him. With the capabilities of this new cash flow, John could actually expand Thompson Trucking Company further across the country and perhaps even go international into Canada. His heart felt full knowing his sons wouldn’t have to worry about money because of the right decisions he had made for their trucking business.
You have things to do and sometimes it just does not make sense to put them off until you get paid
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
Benefits Of A Factoring Company Over A Traditional Bank Loan
Anyone who owns a business knows that there are times when the money goes out of your business much faster than it is coming in. This can put a company in a financial bind, making it difficult to purchase raw materials, pay their employees, or even keep the utilities on. The simple truth is that every company needs to have ready cash in order to keep their business running on an even keel and in order for it to grow. There are a number of different ways that a company can get the money they need to keep their business running and moving forward, but not all of these ways offer businesses the same freedom and benefits. This article will talk about two popular, but different types of financing available to business. The Traditional bank loan, and getting your financing through a factoring company.
Bank loans are an extremely traditional way for a business to get financing. While these loans are handy they are not available to every business. For example, a fairly newly established business simply may not have the assets to readily get a loan from a bank, even if they do, the standard collateral for a business loan is the business itself, which means that if you cannot make your loan payment, you risk losing your entire business. In addition, while you apply for a certain loan amount, that is all the financing you are entitled to. Once the loan is paid off, you can then apply for another loan if the need arises.
Factoring companies do not give loans, and the money you get from the factoring company does not put you in debt. Rather the financing you receive from a factoring company is based on money your business has all ready earned, but have not yet received. Factoring companies actually purchase your account's receivable or at least part of them for a percentage of their total worth, Normally around 80%-95%. The amount of money you can receive is based on the amount of money you have earned and the accounts receivable you are willing to “sell.” Once you have set up factoring account it continues as long as you wish it too and the amount of money available to you even can grow as your business grows, giving you the ready cash you need to meet your own obligations.
Benefits of a Factoring Company Vs. A Bank Loan
While not every business can take advantage of factoring account financing (you have to have a business that has account receivables) for those that can use this type of financing there are several distinct benefits.
1. You Won't Incur Debt.
Since the factoring company actually buys your accounts receivable you don't actually incur debt like you do with a bank loan. This has many benefits including the fact, that this type of financing won't affect either your business credit rating or your personal credit rating. Should the unforeseeable happen and your business fails, you won't have to worry about anyone coming after your personal as well as your business assets to pay off a loan. With a bank loan, the debt goes onto your credit report, and even one late payment can adversely affect your businesses credit, and even the ability to get insurance and may even reflect upon your personal credit rating.
2. No Collateral Required.
Another benefit of using a factoring company instead of a traditional loan is that you aren't required to provide collateral to the factoring company in order to secure financing, because the company “buys” the accounts receivables; not loans you money based on them. In addition, while the factoring company does run a credit check on your customers whose accounts receivables are offered for financing, the state of your credit is not an issue. This makes it easier for fledgling businesses to get the financing they need through a factoring company (as long as their accounts receivables are in good order) then from a bank, who may not feel that you have been in business long enough to be worth the risk of issuing you a loan.
3. Receive Your Money Faster.
With a Factoring company you can actually get the money you need faster. Once the Factoring company assures itself that the customers in your accounts receivable are likely to pay their debt, the money is usually in the account within 24 hours. With a bank, there are vasts amounts of paperwork, then the loan has to be underwritten, which can take months before you actually see the loan if it is approved.
4. Interest is Paid Up Front.
Unlike a bank loan that continues to build interest that you have to pay the entire time you have your business loan with a factoring company, you don't have to continue to pay interest as they take it right off the top, deducting it from the total amount of accounts receivable. So not only are you relieved of those monthly loan payments, but you also don't have to worry about the building up of interest, as every penny in the account is yours to spend on the business.
As you can see, there are several benefits that makes considering financing through a factoring company over a traditional bank worthwhile. However, there are also a couple of other benefits that a factory company can offer your business is far beyond the scope of the bank. The most important benefits is that once you sell your accounts receivable to the factory company, you don't have to take time away from running your business to collect the money owed from reluctant to pay customers. The factoring company takes over that chore, since it is now their money to collect. Factoring companies are very good at collecting these debts, saving you the time and effort that you need to devote to your growing company.
In addition, since the factoring company evaluates the credit quality of your customers prior to purchasing the accounts receivable you gain valuable information into which customers are likely to pay and which ones are not so likely to pay.
While a Factoring company is not the only way for your business to obtain the money it needs to keep growing, it does offer a type of financing well worth considering.
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
Discovering Trucking Factoring
Lambert Truck and Haul has been in business since the mid1980s. They've delivered goods for nearly every major industry in the nation and for 20 plus years, business was booming as they've traversed the country in all weather for all clients. During the heady times from 2002 to 2007, Lambert was a top rated accounts receivable mastermind of the trucking industry. Few customers were ever late on bills and those clients who were, were sure to turn in their late payments within a reasonable amount of time. Cash was flowing and times were good for all.
But a short year later, in the fall of 2008, when the United States economy took a nosedive and businesses both small and large began to feel the pinch on their pocketbooks, those that used to make their demands had suddenly and largely gone silent. Business slowed down. And worse yet, Lambert had noticed during the early part of 2008 that though the bulk of their clients were always on time with payments, the few late-bloomers there were, had seemingly started to spread this illness. And as spring turmed to summer and summer into the early days of fall, John Rondstadt, CEO of Lambert felt a chill go down his spine whenever he would look at the weekly A/R reports. The numbers of clients who owed him back debt were growing.
He had gone to his administrators and asked them what the problem had been. Were they doing something wrong or different when it came to reaching out to delinquent accouts? By his bookkeepers records, this wasn't the case. He thought perhaps that he was losing clients to a competitor who offered rock-bottom prices with little to no guarantee of quality performance and the folks who owed Lambert money had jumped ship and decided to leave him holding the bag. They couldn't afford to pay him their debt, but they could afford a lesser service, maybe. But after doing the cursory research for this and talking to friends in the field, he found that alas, no, customers of Lambert hadn't gone elsewhere. They had just gone home.
The situation looked dire to John Rondstadt. He had employees to pay, goods to ship, trucks to maintain and overhead that was almost unbearable when compared against the lack of funds that were coming in. At night he would speak to his wife Linda and shake his head in frustration. ""I have a bad feeling, Lin,"" he would say with deep woe.""Well, what do you think it is?"" she would ask.
John would stare off for a moment and then close eyes. He could see the fleet of trucks he had purchased over the years. He could see them traveling, bringing goods to all of his clients. But somewhere, a haze would form over his fleet and the vast number of vehicles would disappear to but a few. What could cause this ultimate death spiral of business?
""I know what it is,"" John said. ""I've relied too long on the profits I receive from invoices alone. I've let too many of our customers go too long without paying on their bills.""Rhonda could only grab her husband's hand and look at him lovingly, ""It's a hard economy. It might be awhile until things get settled up.""John knew his wife meant well, but he knew that he was responsible for too many people to sit idly by, waiting for the sun to peak over the clouds.
The next day John strolled into his office and was determined to sit down and make every phone call to every client who had owed Lambert money. Now, it wasn't the most efficient way to spend a day as a chief executive, what he really needed to be doing was to be overseeing all of the other intricacies of shipment and delivery and reaching out to prospective clients or retraining his sales team to do the same. Even though he was doing something to help his company, he knew he had folks on salary to do just this thing. Wasting money, wasting time - even with the best of intentions, John knew that he was in trouble.
After a half day of contacting debtors in vain - they dodged his calls or promised to call back at worst or made minimal interest-only payments at best - he was about to throw in the towel when his secretary Beverley knocked at his door.""John, can I have a word?"" she asked standing in the doorway.
""Sure thing Bev, come on in."" John leaned back in his chair and looked expectantly at Beverely. ""Well, I did a little searching this afternoon and tried to figure out a way out of this mess John."" She pulled a small stack of papers from a folder and set them on the desk before him. ""Have you ever heard of factoring?"" Beverley asked.""It sounds vaguely familiar. What is it?"" he said. ""Well,"" she began, ""Its actually quite simple really. So basically, factoring invoices would enable us to get paid on the nose for loads that we haul.""""Immediately?"" John interrupted.
""Yes, immediately,"" she continued, ""In a nutshell, it's pretty easy. We can have an expert account manager review our numbers and help us complete a company profile. That profile will also include investigating our accounts receivable aging reports, our existing customer credit limits and so on. Additionally, the factoring will help to determine the creditworthiness of our customers independent of their credit history with our business. It’s a broad view.”
“I see,” John said. “And then what?”“Well, after their review, and we’re approved for a factoring contract, we can negotiate terms and conditions. There’s a lot of flexibility depending on the business volume and credit histories. This company tells us what the cost will be to purchase factoring for our accounts receivable. We come to an agreement and the funding starts pouring out.”John leaned forward and reviewed the paperwork closely.
""It sounds too good to be true, Bev,"" he said. ""Now, now, I know, I thought the same thing. But really, they have guaranteed us experts that do all the legwork, which would free us up here to focus on our clients in good standing and marketing, all that good stuff. And they're flexible John,"" she underlined a paragraph on the paper before him. ""How flexible?"" he asked. ""They personalize the factoring rates so that the amount they are willing to take on is commensurate with our needs and our client’s debt. It only takes 2 to 4 days for this to be figured out.
""That sounds pretty good, seeing as we tapped ourselves out with bank loans last year to repair the fleet and money sure is tight. We need to keep business rolling as normal and every day we’re going unpaid, we’re closer to facing some serious problems in both the short and long term,"" John said.
He took a deep breath and looked at his secretary with something she recognized as hope.""Exactly”. I think this might just be a way out of the trouble we're in with these folks who owe us money.""John thought about this and agreed with Beverley. The clients who owed them money were long standing friends and professional resources of Lambert. They didn't want to throw away these relationships because they were having trouble paying their bills now. John knew that the economy had taken a hit and he knew that it would probably be a long time before things started to look up again. That unknown amount of time, if he handled these debtors incorrectly, could spell disaster for both of them. He didn't want to lose business but he also didn't want to lose any more money.
""Well, let me think about this tonight Bev, thank you."" Bev nodded, stood up and left the office feeling that she had helped her employer keep on his shirt and hers too.John sat behind his desk and looked over the details Bev had not mentioned in their meeting. What other issues could freight factoring help Lambert with? With his pencil gliding down the sheet he noticed that the factoring company could help fray the cost of fuel with fuel discount cards and fuel advances. In fact, Lambert could receive up to fifty-percent cash advances upon load pick-ups. As a man who hated binding contracts with no room to breathe, he was pleased to see that this factoring company would not make him sign a long term contract, would not make him pay any sign up fees and there was no minimum volume required.
""Well, I'll have to tell Billy about this,"" John muttered to himself.His son-in-law Billy had liked the idea of Lambert so much and revered his father in law for having such business acumen that only two years before, he had gathered the venture capital to begin his own transportation service company. John knew then what struggles Billy would face but he encouraged him nonetheless. With the faltering economy, if a big fish like Lambert was hurting, a little guy like Billy was about to catch his death. But, an antidote may have been found in freight factoring and John was soon to find out. A few months later after going through the entire application process and having the experts review his accounts receivable, credit history and statements, John found himself beginning to dig his way out of the hole his delinquent account holders had created for him.
They took on reasonable factoring purchase contracts and stopped spending their precious man hours scrambling to collect debt. They took that time and refocused effort to offering competitive prices in new territories. John looked back on the dismal months of life before freight factoring and almost shuddered at the thought. Had he missed the boat on this one, he probably wouldn't be in business today.
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