Jun 18, 2024
Travis Palmer

Understanding Personal Guarantees for Business Loans: What You Need to Know

When applying for a business loan, lenders often require a personal guarantee from the business owner. This article explores what personal guarantees are, their benefits and risks, and how to manage this obligation effectively.

1. What is a Personal Guarantee?


A personal guarantee is a legal commitment made by a business owner or an executive to repay a business loan personally if the business itself is unable to meet its debt obligations. This guarantee serves as an additional layer of security for lenders.

Types of Personal Guarantees:

  • Unlimited Personal Guarantee: The guarantor is personally liable for the full amount of the loan and any related costs.
  • Limited Personal Guarantee: The guarantor’s liability is capped at a specific amount or percentage of the loan.

2. Why Lenders Require Personal Guarantees

Risk Mitigation:

Personal guarantees reduce the risk for lenders by providing a secondary source of repayment if the business defaults.


They demonstrate the business owner's commitment to the loan and can improve the likelihood of approval, especially for startups and small businesses with limited credit history.

Lower Interest Rates:

Personal guarantees can lead to lower interest rates and better loan terms due to the reduced risk for lenders.

3. Benefits of Personal Guarantees

Access to Financing:

Personal guarantees can help secure financing for businesses that might not qualify for loans based solely on their credit profile.

Improved Loan Terms:

They can lead to more favorable loan terms, such as lower interest rates and longer repayment periods.

Business Growth:

Access to capital can facilitate business growth, expansion, and increased profitability.

4. Risks of Personal Guarantees

Personal Liability:

If the business defaults, the guarantor is personally liable for repaying the loan, which can impact personal assets, including savings, property, and investments.

Credit Impact:

A default can negatively affect the guarantor’s personal credit score, making it more challenging to secure future financing.

Financial Stress:

Personal guarantees can lead to financial stress and strain on personal relationships, especially if the business faces financial difficulties.

5. Tips for Managing Personal Guarantees

Assess Financial Risk:

Before signing a personal guarantee, assess your financial situation and ability to repay the loan personally if necessary. Consider consulting with a financial advisor.

Negotiate Terms:

If possible, negotiate the terms of the personal guarantee to limit your liability. Request a limited guarantee or seek to cap the amount you are responsible for.

Monitor Business Finances:

Regularly monitor your business’s financial health to ensure it can meet its debt obligations. Implement strong financial controls and budgeting practices.

Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate:

Maintain a clear separation between personal and business finances to minimize risk. Avoid commingling funds and keep accurate records.

Understand the Agreement:

Thoroughly review the personal guarantee agreement and understand all terms and conditions. Seek legal advice if necessary to ensure you fully comprehend your obligations.

6. Alternatives to Personal Guarantees


Offer business assets, such as equipment, inventory, or real estate, as collateral to secure the loan instead of a personal guarantee.

Strong Business Credit:

Work on building a strong business credit profile to improve your chances of securing loans without the need for a personal guarantee.

Partner or Investor Guarantees:

If applicable, consider having business partners or investors provide the guarantee instead of bearing the entire risk yourself.

7. Legal Considerations


Ensure that the personal guarantee agreement is enforceable under state laws. Consult with a legal professional to review the document.

Joint and Several Liability:

Understand whether the personal guarantee includes joint and several liability, which means multiple guarantors are individually responsible for the full loan amount.

Bankruptcy Implications:

Be aware that personal guarantees may not be discharged in bankruptcy, meaning you could still be liable for the debt even if you file for personal bankruptcy.


Personal guarantees are a common requirement for business loans, providing an additional layer of security for lenders and increasing access to financing for businesses. However, they come with significant risks, including personal liability and credit impact. By understanding the implications, negotiating terms, and managing your finances effectively, you can navigate personal guarantees and make informed decisions for your business.

Ready to explore your funding options and secure the right financial solutions for your business? Get offers today! Fill out an application with Approvd and discover the best funding solutions for your business. For more business, credit, and financial insights, visit our Approvd blog page.

About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in the business loan marketplace at Approvd, our expert has helped countless small business owners navigate the complexities of securing the right funding. Passionate about empowering entrepreneurs, our expert combines industry knowledge with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by small businesses today.

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