Over the weekend, someone asked me a variation of the corporate shield question again. Specifically, in this case . . .

I read that if your personal credit is not that great, if you owned a corporation it is easier to get financing because your personal credit is not looked at.

That bugs me because it’s so different from what I’ve seen.

I’m not an attorney. This isn’t legal advice. That said, don’t plan on hiding your personal financial problems in a corporation. Here’s what I’ve seen on that. There’s a catch.

Corporate owner, meet personal guarantee

Do you want trade credit? Buy from the printer and pay 30 days later? Get some paper supplies? Rent an office? Corporation or not, expect to sign a personal guarantee. At least until your corporation gets old and big and has a lot of assets at play.

Do you want a bank loan? Small business loan? The bank will expect you to submit a personal financial statement and to sign a personal guarantee. If those don’t look good you won’t get a loan, unless you have a big corporation and a lot of assets, and maybe not even then.

Corporation or not, the personal guarantee is rampant. Business relations expect it; banks expect it.

I don’t think that’s some rule, and I don’t think it’s about the legalities. The lender in question has one very powerful word: “no.”

And that’s not legal advice. That’s just what I’ve seen in 30 years of business.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.