Although a home inspection business is a great low-cost enterprise, starting one can be a bit more costly than one might think. Beyond the basic tools needed for the job, there are many other things to consider, such as insurance, marketing/advertising and miscellaneous legal fees. Having a plan in place before starting out is essential.

Many people who start their own home inspection business will need to acquire some money first, and the most obvious path is through a commercial bank in the form of a classic loan with compounded interest, according to the article “Spend to Make: 5 Reliable Strategies for Funding Your Startup Business” by Muhammad Azam on Business.com. However, Azam wrote, it can be difficult for a new business entity to secure a large enough loan because startups often don’t have a lot of assets, and loans to them can be seen as risky.

That’s where planning becomes important. Whether a startup business or one that is trying to grow, it’s important not to use a seat-of-your-pants approach.

In the article “Cold, Hard Cash: The Essential Steps to Securing a Business Loan,” also on Business.com, author John Moyer laid out four concepts one should consider to help secure a business loan.

Look for funds before they are needed: It helps to build a relationship with key contacts at lending institutions before asking for anything, Moyer wrote. Being desperate for cash can negatively affect the lender’s decision.

Know what you want to use the funds for: Banks want to know if helping a business grow is a sound investment, so before applying for a loan, it’s useful to outline what the extra cash will be used for, according to Moyer. He also noted that being aware of what the money will go toward not only will help the business owner see whether the extra funding really is needed, but it also will help determine whether more money than originally was anticipated will be needed.

Have a detailed business plan in order: To have the best chance of success in receiving a loan, a business plan should be submitted that is up to date and thorough, shows plenty of research, displays a knowledge of customers (or potential clients), has a mission and goals in place and calculates estimated sales and profit projections, according to the article.

Ensure records are up to date: Like a business plan, accounting records give a lender a snapshot of a businesses’ financial standing at a given moment. According to Moyer, for a startup business, one’s own personal financial outlook should be presented.