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We were recently approached by a haulage business based in Glasgow who wanted to review their facility. It was a very nice business and they advised that they had only ever reviewed their facility with the Scottish banks. Given the recent well publicised problems they wanted to look at other alternatives. It should also be stated that they are a Scottish registered company.

While we knew the companies that could provide factoring Glasgow to a Scottish registered company we decided to go back to the market to see if anyone new had this capability. We were delighted to see that a few new lenders now had the capability to help businesses based in Scotland and were very keen to do so.

In short we were able to source a very competitive facility for our client.

If you are a business based in Glasgow or anywhere else in Scotland it really is worth exploring what opportunities are available to you.

Sports Bras, you may be asking why on earth we are commenting on sports bras?

Well we want to wish Active Sports Bras well with their launch on Monday, February 20th.

Active Sports Bras are a specialist online retailer of sports bras. They provide the top brands of sports bras at discounted prices.

Brands include Panache, Shock Absorber, Freya and Sportjock.

Active Sports Bras have also launched “Be a sport, Take a mate” in an attempt to get more women back to sport. They advise, “It is a frightening statistic that only 1 in 8 women participate in any type of sport. In poorer areas this is even lower. We want to encourage women who go to the gym or are a member of a team or club to invite along a friend or colleague”.

Good luck to Active Sports Bras with their launch!

Factoring Rates can differ dramatically from lender to lender. We will have a look at what variables impact on the pricing of a factoring facility and then we will look at why some factoring companies are more expensive than others.

What impacts on the service fee?

The service fee is what the lender charges for administering your facility and it is typically determined by workload. This is dictated by the number of debtors you have an also the number of invoices you issue. Turnover also has a huge impact on your service fee and typically the higher your turnover the lower the percentage service fee.

The discounting fee, what impacts on this?

This is the cost of borrowing and it should reflect the risk the company is taking. The total fee is made up of the base rate and the margin. Some lenders use the Bank of England base rate while others use LIBOR. Watch out also for the minimum  base rates which a lot of lenders put in place. The margin is often dictated by their credit policies and with negotiation can often be reduced.

These are the 2 main fees but it is important to be aware of additional fees and charges. Always consider total costs when looking at different offers. Please also consider what service is actually on offer and ensure it meets the needs of your business. Factoring rates are obviously important but so are service levels and facility structure.

We often receive inquiries from clients who are keen to transfer from one lender to another because the credit control is poor.

I am afraid to say that often the provider accused of providing a poor service is a bank owned factoring company. However, when we ask how the factoring company was chosen there is also a common theme. They were either chosen because that is who the business banks with so it was a default choice or because they were the cheapest.

Without going to the market it is almost impossible to understand what your options are. If you don’t understand what your options are then how can you make an informed decision?

If you have chosen the very cheapest option then are you really surprised that the service does not quite meet your expectations? Would you expect free champagne on an Easyjet flight or free home installation from Ikea. No, of course you wouldn’t.

Typically with credit control from a factoring company you will get what you pay for. The larger bank owned factors will typically fully automate their credit control and it will be done by automated letters and month end statements. They may call your largest debtors but it will be a hands off approach.

Other factoring companies will provide a hands on credit control service where they call each debtor and have open communication with you the client. This however is time consuming and as such the cost for such a service is more expensive.

When choosing a factoring facility it is important to understand what level of service you expect and choose a lender accordingly.

There seem to be several invoice finance brokerages appearing that are linked to insolvency practitioners. Only today I was asked by a client of mine why this was so I thought a post may be due on the topic.

In short the insolvency practitioners see the invoice finance leads that give to lenders as a carrot to attract insolvency work from the lenders. In fact some of the IP owned brokers will only give leads to lenders if they give them insolvency work in return. I have seen some e-mail marketing from one such broker offering 2 new deals to a lender in return for a ‘fee generative appointment’.

Reciprocity is a buzz word in many industries these days and the invoice finance industry is no different.

However, in my opinion it does raise concerns for business owners who approach these brokerages looking for independent and impartial advice about factoring or invoice discounting. There is every chance that the business will simply be placed with the lender that they ‘owe’ a deal to. If this is the case it means that they are not really acting in the best interests of that client.

Smart factoring quotes are proud to announce the launch of a factoring blog on their new updated website.

The factoring blog is aimed at business owners who have a factoring facility or are looking for a factoring facility. It will provide relevant industry updates as well as discussing topical issues that business owners encounter both with factoring facilities and also with the economy at large.

We will be welcoming any comments but don’t want to become a message board for rumours or scaremongering.

Temporary Recruitment companies will often use some form of factoring or invoice discounting. It is almost a necessity in terms of how their cash flow works. Typically they are invoicing clients on 30 day terms and yet they are having to pay wages on a weekly basis.

A factoring agreement can provide up to 90% of the invoice value the day after the invoice is raised. This means that wages are covered and you don’t have to worry about waiting for clients to pay.

As an alternative to temporary recruitment factoring there are also full back office solutions that will take care of almost everything except finding clients and temp staff!!

If you are looking for a funding solution for your temporary recruitment company it is worth speaking to Smart factoring Quotes to fully understand what your options are. Smart Factoring quotes have helped to source facilities for temporary recruitment companies who are new starts all the way through to companies with turnovers in excess of £50m.

As an invoice finance broker it is interesting to hear the complaints I hear from clients about invoice finance companies. Some I may add are totally unfounded and relate to the invoice finance company not agreeing to an overpayment or something that they shouldn’t have to do. However, some seem to follow a common theme and these were highlighted in a forum by the Federation for Small Business.

I want to explore some of the themes that were raised:

  • Hidden costs and unexpected fees – it would be fair to say that not all invoice finance companies are as transparent as they could be in relation to fees. We often see agreements where a minimum base rate is hidden in the small prints. Lists of dispursements are also rarely shared at first meetings which makes comparison of facilities almost impossible. On that basis headline rates can be misleading as some companies have virtually no additional fees.
  • Restrictions on funding. I think this complaint often boils down to a lack of understanding on the clients part and poor communication from the lender. It is imperative any company entering into an invoice finance agreement understand what invoices are eligible for funding. In my mind I believe that should be explained properly by the lender at the outset.
  • Termination fees. This seems to be a thorny topic at present and relates to the fees charged should you wish to leave early. The justification of these fees relates to the fact that the costs of setting up a facility are typically incurred either at commencement or even precommencement by the invoice finance company. As such it takes the contract period to recover these costs and turn a profit. Should a client look to leave early then they incur a loss. However, fees such as arrangement fees, legal documentation fees and survey fees have crept into the industry. On that basis surely the initial set up costs are paid for by the client upfront. If this is the case I am not sure early termination fees can be justified.
  • Collect out fees. This is a fee applied to the ledger upon the failure of the business. Some lenders apply a 15% fee the gross value of the ledger when the company fails. Is this excessive? In some instances most definitely. I saw a bank (one that is now government owned) charge a collect out fee on a ledger where there was actually no borrowing. The implications to business owners is often minimal and it is creditors and often HMRC that lose out on the funds being taken. However, where there is a shortfall and a personal guarantee has been given it could cost the directors personally.

I am sure that there are more complaints from many clients but overall I would maintain that the vast majority of invoice finance clients are happy. there is obviously always room for improvement.

From my perspective it just seems a shame that the same invoice finance companies get mentioned time and again and seem to become notorious for certain practices. It can give the industry at large a bad name.