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Factoring Rates

There are more and more lenders entering the market of constrction factoring. This should be good news for construction companies and it may well be, however, there are some real potential pitfalls for companies that use this form of finance.

For many construction contractors this form of finance may present a real lifeline and an opportunity to finance growth but it is imperative that you understand how it works and how charges can mount.

One frustration I have is that businesses who are on the fringe of the construction industry can be assisted by more traditional factoring providers. Unfortunately lenders with specialist construction factoring products will ‘force’ these businesses down this route as it reduces their risk, reduces their exposure, increases their fees and ultimately provides a better return for their shareholders. There seems to be little benefit for the business that is ‘forced’ down this route.

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Arrangement fees for factoring have crept into the industry in recent years. If you look back at historical comparisons between invoice factoring and overdrafts they would typically say that arrangement fees were payable on an overdraft facility and not on an invoice factoring facility. However, this is no longer the case. Some lenders charge an arrangement fee, a legal documentation fee and a ‘take-on’ fee. The take on fee is the service charge applied to the debts in existence when the facility commences. For example, if you have a debtor book of £500,000 and a service fee of 1% then the take on fee will be £5,000 on day one. Add to this the arrangement fee and legal documentation fee and the first day of your factoring facility is an expensive day at the office!!

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The best factoring company for your business will depend on the unique characteristics of your business and importantly on your own requirement.

The main aspect of any factoring companies proposition is the structure of their facility, service levels and pricing.

Structure of a facility

It is imperative that the facility is structured to meet the needs of your business but some lenders may not be able to structure a facility to meet your needs. Some lenders have a credit policy that will not allow them to finance any debtor that exceeds over 25% of your total ledger. If you have one large customer that accounts for a large proportion of your sales ledger or all of your sales ledger such a lender would prove to be restrictive. You will need a lender that does not have such stringent criteria when it comes to concentration limits. Another example can be exports. Some lenders will simply not finance export sales so if you have export sales or are looking at export sales than you need to consider a lender that can finance those sales. Smart Factoring Quotes understand the capabilities and requirements of each lender in the market.

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If you have a business that offers credit terms you can spend a lot of time worrying when you are going to get paid. Cash flow is probably the major challenge for any business and this is why more and more businesses in the UK are starting to use invoice factoring.

Invoice factoring offers businesses the opportunity to access up to 90% of the value tied up in unpaid invoices. This means that by using invoice factoring a business can smooth cash flow and access cash to pay salaries and suppliers when needed. Not only does this eliminate stress it also allows a business to grow and prosper. Invoice factoring also offers the opportunity to outsource your credit control function to a professional business that will chase your outstanding invoices with a system of letters, month end statements and phone calls where necessary.

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I am often amazed at how much disbursements cost factoring clients over and above the ‘headline’ charges. It is not uncommon for some clients to be paying more in disbursement charges than they do in service fee and discounting fee combined.

I was with a client yesterday where this was the case. When I spoke to them about the fees they were very upset about the ‘games’ the factoring company concerned were playing.

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Smart factoring quotes have a new and improved website.

The site has been restructured to ensure that navigation is now easier and a bespoke quotation can be started and obtained from any page.

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I see a lot of clients who insist from the outset that they want an invoice discounting facility but most of them don’t actually know why.

Invoice discounting is available and importantly it is more readilily available than it used to be. However, factoring is the easier facility to obtain is it represents lower risk to the lender.

So what can invoice discounting offer?

Confidentiality – yes invoice discounting can be confidential but some companies insist on a disclosed facility. Factoring, however, can also be a confidential facility or a disclosed facility.

Control – some companies prefer to keep the credit control in-house rather than outsourcing to a factoring company. So invoice discounting allows a business to maintain control over the credit control function. However, so does a CHOCS facility which is a type of factoring facility.

Cost – many feel that invoice discounting is cheaper. Certainly for larger businesses I would agree. However, at lower levels of turnover there is probably not a lot in it.

Rather than deciding that invoice discounting is what you want I think it is important to consider the structure of your facility, the characteristics you want and then the costs of such a facility.

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.

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