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Recruitment Finance

Favell Recruitment are a family owned business started by brother and sister Oliver and Alicia Favell. They are a recruitment company based in South Yorkshire that specialise in the construction sector.

The business started trading in 2014 and to finance it’s rapid growth they entered into an invoice finance facility with Aldermore Bank Plc. They set this up on a the Aldermore ABC product which is a fixed price facility and they had an overall credit facility of £50,000. Sadly, the facility did not generate the required working capital but when they looked to terminate the agreement Aldermore levied early termination fees.

Problems

The facility had run satisfactorily but they soon outgrew the facility. In order to double the facility limit to £100,000 Aldermore doubled their fee structure to £900 per month plus an additional 0.65% of turnover for bad debt protection. The facility was also restrictive as there was a 50% concentration limit on the facility and their top customer could represent more than 50% of their sales ledger. This put pressure in Favell’s cash flow as the facility was not generating the required cash.

Favell Recruitment felt that the facility was both restrictive and expensive. As a result Oliver looked to source a better structured facility. A facility was sourced from another lender that provided an increased facility limit, increased prepayment, increased concentration limit, full funding limits on all their debtors and also provided considerable savings.

Cost Comparison

Lender                                                        Aldermore                                         New Lender
Facility Limit                                            £100,000                                            £200,000
Prepayment                                              85%                                                      90%
Concentration Limit                              50%                                                      100%
Service Fee                                              £900 flat fee                                       1%
Bad debt protection                               0.65% of gross turnover                  Included in service fee
Discounting Fee                                     Included in flat fee                            2.5% over bank base rate

In terms of costs, if we analyse the fees paid by Favell to Aldermore in December we can see that despite borrowing just over £7,000 at the end of December having notified just £23,164 of invoices the fees for the month were £1,230.16. Of this, £900 was fixed cost service fee which represents 3.88% of turnover and this did not include the bad debt protection.
If the new lenders facility had been in place the costs would have been circa £450. This is a reduction of over 60% in costs. Due to the inflexible fixed fee arrangement and the low turnover in December due to the slowdown in the construction industry this may be somewhat skewed. However, the service fee element would have been just £231 compared to £900 and the additional bad debt protection.

If we assume a turnover of £700,000 and average borrowing of £75,000 the Aldermore facility would cost £16,260 versus the new facility of £10,650. Again a considerable saving of 35%.

Termination Penalties

Favell Recruitment approached Aldermore to advise that they wanted to leave. Sadly, despite the facility being restrictive and expensive Aldermore advised that there would be a termination fee.
Aldermore are members of the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) and on Aldermore’s own website they state that “as members of ABFA we take these commitments seriously and are dedicated to ensuring they are RESPECTED at all times.”

If you look at the ABFA Code of Conduct and more specifically the ‘Guidance to the ABFA Code’ it states:

“3.2.3 Where a client requests termination of a facility without the required or any period of notice, even though Members may not have any legal obligation to agree, they are encouraged to give reasonable consideration to such request, particularly where continuation of the facility may cause hardship to the client.”

There is obviously no legal requirement for Aldermore or any other ABFA member to allow a client to terminate a contract early. However, given that Aldermore could not fully fund Favell’s largest customer due to concentration restrictions, it could be interpreted that “continuation of the facility may cause hardship to the client” given that it was restricting profitable trading and growth with their largest customer.

Due to the restrictions on the facility and also what Oliver considered to be excessive fees, Favell Recruitment felt they had no option but to pay the termination fee to Aldermore to exit the facility.
Oliver Favell commented, “This is not a good way to do business especially after it appears they were overcharging us. We were paying a lot of money for a restrictive facility with a £100,000 limit and now we are paying considerably less for a £200,000 facility. All in all I would not recomend Aldermore to anyone ”

With a better structured and more cost effective working capital facility we wish Favell Recruitment continued growth and success.

The permanent recruitment sector has historically been neglected by the invoice finance industry. There was a time when the industry would not finance perm recruitment companies.

So why was the perm recruitment industry neglected?

It was neglected because of the perceived risk involved in dealing with invoices that related to permanent placements. With temporary recruitment the rates are agreed, work is completed, timesheets are signed and invoices are raised. If the hours are multiplied by the agreed rates correctly there is very little that can be queried. In comparison, an invoice for a perm placement is raised when the candidate starts work and sometime before they have even started. What happens if the candidate does not show up on the first day? What happens if they walk out after their first week? What happens if the company finds they are not suitable and let’s the candidate go? Typically there are various rebates due depending on when they part company. As such there is no guarantee that invoices raised will be settled in full if at all.

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If you are looking to finance a recruitment business you are in luck as there are several options open to you especially if you are providing contractors or temps that complete time sheets. That said, if you are a permanent recruitment company there are also several options that are available to you.

If you are a recruitment company thatis paying wages weekly against signed time sheets there is a good chance your clients are only paying you monthly at best. Recruitment businesses or notoriously cash negative for this very reason and if you have a fast growing recruitment business this problem is only compounded.

So what finance solutions are available to you?

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As a small business factoring can be an ideal solution for your working capital requirements. Factoring does not require you to be well established or even profitable. To qualify for a factoring facility it is more important that your business has the right processes in place, is in a suitable sector and has good quality customers.

Processes

A small business needs to ensure that it’s invoicing procedure is suitable for invoice finance. This means you should create a good audit trail. Agood audit trail for a factoring facility will differ from business to business. For a wholesaler it will include a purchase order, a proof of delivery and an invoice raised in arrears of the delivery. A temporary recruitment company will have a signed agreement, signed time sheets and then invoices submitted on the back of those timesheets. The key is to prove that your product or service was requested, prove that is was delivered to the satisfaction of the customer and as already described that the invoice is then submitted in arrears of the service or product being provided.

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We are often approached for finance by someone starting a new start recruitment business.

New start recruitment companies can range from an individual setting up on their own through to large organisations with ambitious recruitment plans and everything in between. Whatever the size of the business cash flow is key to ensure that contractors wages can be paid on a weekly basis. This is why finance is important.

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Cashflow Finance is currently under construction as a resource to help businesses who are looking for cash flow finance solutions.

The site will be aimed at businesses who are seeking advice about their cash flow finance options.

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Recruitment finance can be used by temporary recruitment companies to finance the growth of their business. It also allows the outsourcing of various back office functions. This form of recruitment finance allows recruitment companies to expand with the confidence that they can pay wages and the confidence that their administration will be done efficiently and professionally.

Recruitment finance will pay up to 100% of the invoice value the day after invoices are raised. This means that weekly wage demands can easily be met without having to worry if your clients are going to pay on time.

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Recruitment Finance is a new site that has been launched by the Cash Flow Solutions group.

While it is still under development it will provide an in depth guide on what facilities are available for recruitment companies.

Recruitment companies typically access recruitment finance to allow them to pay wages of their temps. This can take the form of a simple invoice discounting facility, a factoring facility with the added benefit of a credit control service or a full back office solution that provides a full back office service.

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