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Factoring Company Reviews

Fixed fee factoring is ideal for businesses looking for a single flat monthly fee when factoring.

Research has shown that small businesses find factoring charges confusing and unpredictable. Fixed fee factoring takes away this confusion by combining all the charges into an easy to understand single monthly factoring fee. It is easy to budget for and provides a valuable boost for the cash flow of a small business.

It is ideal for a business with a fairly smooth cash flow. However, if your turnover is more variable you could find yourself paying the flat monthly fee in a month where you have not had any turnover in which case you would be paying for nothing.

An alternative to fixed fee factoring could be a bundled fee deal. This is a single fee but is charged as a percentage of each invoice with no minimum fees. It is arguably as easy to understand as a fixed fee deal but is more flexible.

As an invoice finance broker I speak with a lot of businesses who are looking for cash flow solutions for their businesses.

It would be fair to say that their is a real mixed reaction towards invoice finance and especially factoring. A lot of this relates to the perception that factoring is a last resort and I would argue that this is certainly no longer the case.

However, having read various posts on several forums their seem to be some common complaints about factoring companies. These include hidden costs, actual prepayment not been as high as quoted headline rate, reserves and retentions, lengthy contract periods and poor service levels. Unfortunately in a lot of cases I feel that this business owners do have a valid case.

Another area that received a lot of publicity on the FSB forums is the hefty collect out fees and early termination fees that can be levied by lenders. These can often be totally out of sync with the work load required to collect in any outstanding debts and many view these charges as opportunistic.

If you have any valid complaints and you wish to air these experiences we will accept posts on this forum – please use the comment box below. However, we will not allow “witch hunts” so please do not name individuals and please try to stick to the facts.

Northern Ireland has a new commercial finance provider in the form of Keys Commercial Finance.

Keys Commercial Finance are based in Belfast and Brian Sumner who is the ex CEO of Ultimate Finance is an investor and I understand is also mentoring them. They have entered into a back to back finance facility with Venture Finance who in turn are owned by ABN Amro who are a state owned Dutch bank.

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GE Capital have today announced the acquisition of Credit Agricole Commercial Finance.

At the top end of the ABL market this represents quite a serious consolidation.

Rumours about the future of Credit Agricole Commercial Finance have been rife and this hopefully draws it to a positive conclusion. I wish all those concerned all the best and will watch the developments of the coming months with interest.

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance have always been aggressive in terms of pricing and also credit appetite when compared to the other bank owned invoice finance providers.

However, recently I have seen their factoring pricing creep up dramatically. In particular the discounting fee. Yesterday I saw a quote where the fee was 4.5% over bank base rate subject to a minimum of 6%. This is 5.5% above the current bank base rate.

Even when compared to the independent providers, many of whom have a higher cost of funds than Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, this seems expensive to me.

This is fairly disappointing and feels as though the bailed out banking group is taking advantage of SME’s.

I understand they can offer between 3% and 6% so if you are looking for competitive rates be sure to negotiate with Lloyds. Alternatively approach Smart Factoring Quotes and we will source the best rates in the market for you.

Factoring fees are often hard to calculate because there are so many variables and potentially hidden charges. Let’s look at each element of the factoring fees and understand how to calculate them:

Factoring Service Fee – this is typically quoted as a percentage such as 1%. This fee is applied to your gross turnover. So if your annual turnover including VAT is £1m then your annual service fee is £10,000.

Minimum Service Fee – it is important to check your factoring contract or terms because there will usually be a minimum service fee. Using the above example if the minimum service fee was £12,000 then this is the service fee that would be paid. The calculation above would only become relevant if the gross turnover was above £1.2m.

Retro Fee – it is important to remember that at the commencement of the facility the service fee will be applied to the gross value of your debtor book. If your debtor books is standing at a gross value of £250,000 and the service fee is 1% then the retro fee will be £2,500.

Discounting fee – this is the charges applied to what you borrow. In simple terms it is the base rate plus the margin multiplied by the average borrowing. It is important to check for a minimum base rate. Do not assume you are borrowing over the Bank of England base rate. If the minimum base rate is 3%, the margin is 2.75% and the average borrowing is £100,000 then the rough discounting fees payable are £5,750. Please, please, please remember to check for the minimum base rate.

Arrangement fee – this is a fee that is charged to set up the facility. It is important to check this as it can be significant. This is certainly an area to negotiate as they are a fairly new feature in factoring agreements as the retro fee was thought to compensate for upfront fees.

Survey Fee – some lenders will charge to do a pre lend survey before making a formal offer while others will do this free of charge.

Audit Fees – some factoring lenders include the cost of audits within the service fee while other charge in addition to the service fee. It is important to check this.

Disbursements – some lenders have a list of disbursements as long as your arm. Please ask for a list of disbursements from any prospective lender and try to anticipate which services you may need over the course of a year.

Total Cost in Year 1

Service Fee or Minimum Service Fee +

Retro Fee +

Discounting Fee (remember minimum base rate) +

Arrangement Fee +

Survey Fee +

Audit Fees +

Anticipated Dispursement Fees

Please remember that not all lenders charge all of the above fees. Please also remember that just because they are not mentioned in the initial indicative terms you receieve does not mean they do not apply. You must ask the question and check all the small print.

Is it worth it?

Well that depends on what you can achieve with the additional working capital. I would suggest doing a P&L forecast and a cashflow forecast both with and without the facility. That will show whether or not the facility is worth taking up or not.

If you have any questions please contact us. Our approach is not a sales approach. We simply explain the pros and cons of each option available to you and allow you to make an informed decision for yourself and your business.

Factoring company reviews – speak to Smart Factoring Quotes to learn more about the different companies.

Factoring company reviews seem hard to come by. I have done some internet research ans was surprised to find that there was no real forum where feedback was shared.

The danger of course is that unhappy clients shout much louder than happy ones and as such the reviews can be very negative and not particularly objective. I also do not really see it as my place to ‘dish the dirt’ or ‘name and shame’ people or companies.

In my experience there is bad feedback about most invoice finance companies but I also understand that there are two sides to very story. Just because an invoice finance company says ‘no’ to a client doesn’t make them a bad provider yet some clients would disagree.

There are in fairness some common complaints that crop up about certain invoice factoring companies. Some are notorious for unsavoury practices relating to failing businesses while others are constantly criticised for lack of communication and failing to return calls. I will not name them but if anyone is looking for a new invoice finance company I would be happy to have a chat.

Equally if readers wish to share their experiences in a constructive manner then please feel free to post.