If you run a business that is not a sole proprietorship, you should have an Employer Identification Number or EIN. This number is to your business what your Social Security number is to your personal life. You can use it to build business credit, open a bank account, file taxes and more. In some cases, you may wish to use your EIN to fill out a lease application. Before you do, be sure that you do so correctly and that it's the right choice for you.
When to Use Your EIN
You should only use your EIN for business-related purposes. For example, you may violate the law if you use your EIN to get credit on a television that you use exclusively in your home. Similarly, you should only use your EIN to rent a place where you conduct business. This can get tricky if you work from home since it is both a work space and a personal space. In this case, you can lease the space you use for your office from yourself to your business. However, the legal setup for this can be difficult and you should hire a professional to help. In general, it's simplest to leave the EIN for business-only transactions.
Build Your Business Credit
If a landlord wants to check your credit before leasing the space, be sure the credit is good. First, check your business credit score using your EIN at any of the three major credit rating agencies. To build this score up, you can take out a credit card in the business's name, again using the EIN. Be sure to be smart with the credit card and pay it off monthly.
Furthermore, you should try to work with vendors that report payments and pay those vendors on time every time. Better yet, pay them early whenever possible. Continue using the credit available to you wisely and monitor your business credit score. Over time, you may see significant changes that will make getting credit or renting with your EIN easier.
Communicate with the Landlord
If you think you may run into trouble by using your EIN, talk to the landlord directly. If he is having trouble filling that space, he may be a little more flexible. Furthermore, if you offer to help with the verification process or provide your credit report, he may see that you mean serious business.
- Ask your landlord to report your timely payments to a credit reporting agency to bolster your business credit.
- EINs are intended only for business use. Don't attempt to use an EIN for personal reasons, such as renting a home. You could be opening yourself up to criminal charges. Making misrepresentations on a credit application is a federal crime.
Mackenzie Maxwell is a small business owner. She has two businesses, including a martial arts gym in Texas. Prior to building her own, Mackenzie worked with small businesses and organizations to create effective marketing - from churches to insurance companies. She enjoys helping businesses with the startup spirit grow. Mackenzie has been writing in this field for six years and shows no signs of slowing.