Navigating COVID-19 as a small business or freelancer

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A Hacker Lab guide | Sacramento

Last Updated: Friday, April 14th 2020

Help Navigating Disaster Loans

If you are an independent contractor or small business there is a loan program for you. We've partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the SBA, to identify and apply for a loan program that fits their needs.

Loans, Grants, and Relief Funding

CARES Act Resources

The CARES act contains many different financial assistance mechanisms for individuals as well as small business, most notably the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Partial List of Lenders Accepting PPP Applications

Private & Community Financial Resources

Resources for Employers

Agencies, organizations, and information targetted for employers at small businesses.

US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division documentation on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA is intended to help support employers with fewer than 500 employees with tax credits to cover the cost of paid leave for employees due to COVID-19. This allows employees to remain financially supported for specified reasons related to COVID-19, including quarantine or lack of childcare, while aiding employers in covering the cost. This site includes information on what businesses are affected, what employees qualify for paid leave under FFCRA, and an FAQ on proper implementation.

CA Department of Industrial Relations

The California Department of Industrial Relations is an agency responsible for occupational health and safety regulations, among other labor standards enforcement. They have compiled a series of FAQs for labor laws with regard to COVID-19. These FAQs include clarifications on Essential vs Non-Essential workers, how California’s employee sick leave laws apply to COVID-19, and details on temporary law changes for employers who need to lay off employees or close their establishments.

CA Employment Development Division

The California Employment Development Division (EDD) has compiled a list of employer resources for COVID-19. This includes information on the Work Sharing Program as an alternative to employee layoffs or hour reductions by partially offsetting wages with UI benefits, as well as report filing extensions for employers.

COVID-related Tax Resources for Employers

IRS information on the Employee Retention Credit: a federal tax credit for businesses impacted financially by COVID-19, and encouraging them to keep employees on payroll.

Other Employer Resources

Guides, Articles, & Resources

Some helpful resource & faq pages from various private & public organizations.

Gusto Articles

Gusto is a private company providing small business employer services including payroll, HR consulting, team & benefits management, time tracking, and other services.


The northern California Small Business Development center is a regional partner of and funded by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The are a wonderful resource for any northern CA based small business and have a well curated COVID-19 related resource page.

City of Sacramento Resources and Info

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General FAQ

This is a general quick FAQ section.

If your business was in operation as of February 15th, 2020, you should definitely apply for both the PPP and EIDL. You will need your 1040 Schedule C for 2019 showing your self-employment income.

Apply regardless of your credit score or history and let the loan processors decide.. We’ve heard reports of individuals with credit scores in the low 500’s being approved.

In most cases, yes. If you are a small business and concerned about the loan forgiveness criteria of the PPP, you should schedule a free advising appointment with us to help talk you through the criteria. Please follow this link to schedule an appointment.

For EIDL, you will qualify for a 1,000 cash grant for every employee ( yourself included ), up to $10,000. In addition to the cash grant the SBA will determine a loan amount based on your 2019 financials. It is estimated that they provide approximately 6 months of revenue minus COGS. For PPP, you will qualify for 2.5X your average monthly payroll, owner salaries included, up to $100,000 per employee.

To calculate your PPP loan amount if you are an independent contractor:

  • Step 1: Find line 31 on your 2019 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C (If you haven’t filed yet for 2019, go ahead and fill it out). If the amount on Line 31 is over $100,000, write $100,000.
  • Step 2: Divide the amount from Step 1 by 12
  • Step 3: Multiply the amount from Step 2 by 2.5 For most independent contractors, this will be your maximum PPP loan amount.

If you are an independent contractor you will need your:

  • 2019 1040 Schedule C (even if you have yet to file this with the IRS)
  • 2019 1099 MISC, invoict, bank statement, or book of record showing that you were self employed in 2019
  • A 2020 invoice, bank statement, or book of record establishing that you were in operation on or around February 15, 2020

If you are a small business you will most likely need a complete loan package. This includes the following:

  • 3 year business taxes
  • 3 years personal taxes for all owners over 20%
  • 2019 P&L and Balance Sheet
  • 2020 year-to-date P&L and Balance Sheet
  • Personal financial statements for all owners over 20%
  • Business Debt Schedule
  • Credit Report

We recommend that you begin compiling this information asap, but wait until the lender provides you with these documents before filling them out, as each lender has their unique forms.

At this stage both the SBA and private lenders are completely backlogged processing loans. The best thing you can do is continue to contingency plan and work on other aspects of your business. They will eventually get back to you.

If you are a non citizen, non green card holder on an E-2 visa, you are eligible to apply for both the EIDL and PPP loans.