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Commercial finance problems?

Money troubles.

I’ve been there.

I’ve had them.

And they’re not nice.


When I had them, I also had problems trying to access people who could help me with those problems.

So, my name is Graeme Shevas and I’m a Commercial Finance Broker, and I’m aware of the issues that some people are facing, having had them myself over the years. And I really can understand, I’ve been where you are.

So, if you are feeling some sort of vulnerability at the moment or you’re a little bit apprehensive about how you are going to trade forward, don’t be embarrassed if you are encountering difficulties. Pride is not going to help you at this stage.

What you need is somebody who is going to help you to win and succeed as you come out of this on the basis of providing you with a facility and a solution that will help you to trade out, and get back to the normal levels of profit and beyond, once we come through this.

Trade Credit Insurance

Something else that you may not have thought of is Trade Credit Insurance.

Normally this is an insurance that you would get if you had an Invoice Finance Facility in place whereby the lender insures, or you insure, the debts effectively, so that the lender takes them on.

You don’t get them back, and have them removed from your credit facility, the lender gets
them back and they are insured.

Now, normally, as I say, it’s part of an Invoice Finance Facility, but it is actually available separately.

So if somebody is in need of securing their selves in terms of bad debts, or the potential of bad debts, going forward, then this policy might be something that is of interest to you.

So, if you have a requirement to mitigate your risk of bad debt, there is an insurance policy,
called a Trade Credit insurance policy, and I have access to one of the major providers of that cover in the UK.

So, don’t bury your head in the sand, would be my advice.

Please get in touch and we will do what we can to help you with a solution that’ll help you to get through.

Let’s work together and bring as many businesses through this situation as we can.

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The transformed business finance landscape

I would like to use this time to try to take stock of what has happened over the last three months in terms of the Coronavirus pandemic and the support available for U.K businesses.

Even though it has only really been a few months, it has completely transformed the way some businesses do business.

And it has certainly transformed the financial landscape for all businesses and will probably continue to do so for the next maybe six, twelve, maybe even eighteen months.

Is this the landscape that you feel your business is in?

I think the prediction, really, from many bodies is that we will not actually get back to being where we were at in the next three years.

So it’s going to be difficult trading conditions and some of these problems that we have been encountering, you just could never have envisaged happening in a month of Sundays.

So, if you are experiencing difficulty with your finances, then please do not panic.

Do not bury your head in the sand.

Get some expert advice.

And if you get some expert advice, you have got a chance of being able to plan your way out of the Coronavirus pandemic and trade back to some level of normality rather than getting to the point where maybe you run out of cash and everything falls about around you.

That would be a tragedy for any business, but particularly as a result of, really, something you had no control over.

Contact us so we can put your business back into a thriving landscape.

So, if there is any way that we can help you at all, please DO get in touch.

That is what we are here for.

We want to save as many businesses as we possibly can, because only by businesses surviving will the economy start to thrive again.

Call us today on 01383 624 425 or submit an enquiry and we will contact you.

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Are you starting to panic about business cashflow or invoice funding?

I have been wondering whether there are people out there who have businesses who are starting to panic a little bit about their financial situation.

Now, this could be a growing feeling of concern that your cash flow is going to stall, or maybe you have noticed that the cash is not moving around your business as it did before the Coronavirus pandemic. You might have the growing realisation that you are going to run out of cash before you actually start to get money coming back in through the door.

Raising Invoices

Or it could be that you are raising invoices, but you are not getting paid as quickly as you would like to get paid.

So, you are wondering how you are going to pay your own bills, or it just could be that you don’t have any cash reserves?

As a result of not having any cash reserves, you have no confidence in terms of being able to meet your commitments going forward.

If this is the case, then we may have a solution for you, and it is a solution that I have used in the past in previous businesses to ensure that the cash keeps flowing, and that cash flow solution can be a life saver.


And if it is a life saver and we can help to save more businesses from going out of business, then that is why I am here.

So, if you do have a requirement to even just talk to somebody about it, because the worst thing you can do really is to bury your head in the sand and think that everything’s going to be fine, and it will go away.

It probably will not go away, and it will need to be addressed.

Review your businesses financial plan

Now, whether it is addressed with reviewing your financial plan and your costs or whether it is by putting a solution in place, something needs to happen.

Contact us today so that we can help you set up a plan and work out a solution to keep the cash flowing through your business.


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Commercial funding for U.K businesses

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about the history of the lockdown.

As an expert U.K business finance broker, we’ve been in lockdown for 110 days now.

110 days ago, we had some issues in terms of how we were going to fund UK business going forward. The government has variously put forward schemes, so from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, or CBILS as you will have heard it, and then latterly the Bounceback Loan scheme for the 100 percent guarantee loan.

But the number of lenders that have come on stream in the last hundred-odd days is quite
remarkable, really. At the beginning of the lockdown, we had 42 lenders who were operating, previously, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, and they were the route
that the government took to get the money that they guaranteed out to market.

Banks became inundated, they ended up with lots of backlogs and they were not taking on new cases from non-customers, so it became a little bit difficult to get some facilities through.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

However, we now have over 100 lenders in the UK offering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. So the choice of lenders is much improved.

Now in Scotland, it is even better as a proportion because before lockdown there were 22 lenders on the business bank website, there are now 72 lenders.

So, there is an additional 50. So that is giving you access to cash through the CIBILS scheme. Obviously, the Bounceback Loan Scheme has been put forward latterly, so that was the fourth of May. There are 20 lenders who are offering that scheme.

So, it is little bit more restricted in terms of who you can go to for that product. But if you are looking for anything between £2,000 and £50,000, still the advice is to talk to your existing bank because the likelihood is that your high street bank will be offering the Bounceback Loan Scheme, and it is probably the quickest and easiest way to accessing cash.

However, if you have a requirement for more structured cash and looking forward a little bit more, in terms of planning, through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, there are a number of different categories of lender.

Invoice finance lenders and asset finance lenders

So, you have the Term-Loan lenders, you have Invoice Finance lenders, you have Asset lenders and you also have Revolving Credit lenders, or, as you and I would probably know it, the traditional overdraft. So, in terms of the Term-Loan lenders, there are 91, now, who will offer that service, in terms of Invoice Finance or specialist Invoice Finance, a lot of the high street banks will also offer it, but they are not on the British Business Bank website as
offering this as a specialist finance, but for Invoice Finance there are 18 specialist lenders. On the Asset Finance there are 21 specialist lenders.

Again, there may be some high street banks that would do that, but they are not listed. So, these are just specialists in that field. Revolving credit, you are looking at 20 lenders who are offering Revolving Credit facilities, so overdrafts or just kind of Term-Loans effectively, so a cash flow advance I think you might call that.

So it’s a twelve month facility and it will be reviewed at the end of those twelve months, if you want to renew, then you may be able to do that. But it is another way of accessing cash reasonably quickly.

In terms of the availability of getting cash through to any of these banks, really, because of the increase in the number of lenders, it has increased the likelihood that one or more lenders will be interested in your case.

So the early days of CBILS, where people were a little bit disillusioned with it as a result of the lack of access, and that access has been improved considerably. And it is not really being talked about very much in the press.

So I thought I’d better let you know that these schemes are still running and they’re still very much available for you to assist you through this difficult trading period that we’re going to encounter over the next probably 12 to 18 months, I would suggest.

So, hopefully that has been of help to you and that you can access the cash that you require through those schemes.

Finance broker support

I can help you with the CBILS scheme, Bounceback Loan, though I can’t really help with, in terms of the idea that we have to put you in touch with your existing bank.

But if you have no joy with that, then obviously the third option is to come to a Finance Broker who has access to probably a wider range of lenders who may not be offering that scheme, but who also may be interested in supporting your business.

So if that’s of use, I’m pleased, because we want to make sure that as many businesses as possible survive as we come out the other end of lockdown.

Call us today on 01383 624 425 or submit an enquiry and we will contact you.


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What’s the difference between an Overdraft and an Invoice Finance Facility?

I have been getting asked recently ‘What is the difference between an Invoice Finance Facility and an Overdraft?’

Well, here is the answer. An Overdraft is the most commonly used form of short-term finance, with 16% of SMEs in the UK having one. An overdraft has an arrangement fee to put in into place, you pay interest when you’re using it (no interest when you’re not), and it’s a short-term facility – generally 12 months and renewed at the end of the year.

So if you’re constantly at the limit of your overdraft facility, then there is always the danger that it could be construed as a long-term debt rather than a short-term facility and the bank could ask you to repay that, potentially by putting it into a term loan. At
which point, the benefit of having the overdraft, in terms of no capped repayment requirement and no monthly cost, is superseded because the loan now has a monthly repayment.

The alternative to that, as is often put forward and is a very different kind of facility, is the Invoice Finance Facility.

The Invoice Finance Facility provides you with money upfront on your invoices, before you get paid by your customer.

There is a monthly management fee which needs to be paid on the facility, and you pay interest as and when you are required to borrow money against the invoice. So, if you’re not borrowing against an invoice, then you’re not paying any interest.

I guess the best way to look at it is to compare two companies. So, if we’ve got two companies that are look to grow – company 1 has an overdraft and company 2 has an Invoice Finance Facility.

Now, company 1, when it grows, will grow using its overdraft facility, which is a set amount of money, and it will get to the overdraft limit and find that it starts to run out of cash as it tries to grow through that glass ceiling. So, it will need to go back to the bank and renegotiate the overdraft facility or potentially take out a loan in order to get to the next level of growth.

And then it may use up that finite amount of money as it continues to grow, and once again, it will have to do the same thing again and go back to the bank and try to renegotiate a new deal.

Whereas company 2, they have an Invoice Finance Facility. As they start to grow, they raise more invoices. The invoices then have money provided against them by the lender providing the Invoice Finance Facility which allows them to continue to grow, because the facility grows with them. It’s not the case of needing to renegotiate the facility every time the company grows, or needs more cash.

So an Invoice Finance Facility is a much more powerful way of actually growing your business without having to constantly worrying about reaching a predetermined limit set by the bank.

All that needs to happen is the business keeps growing, keeps selling, and keeps making a profit and the facility will grow with it. It’s a very powerful way of using the cash within a business in order to grow.

I’ve talked a lot about these facilities being very good for the survival of a business, which they absolutely are, but they are also very good for growth. I also think that they are very misunderstood in the market. The reason that I say that is that less than 1% of all UK businesses have an Invoice Finance Facility in place.

If you would like to get in front of other businesses by using an Invoice Finance Facility, if you have any questions, or would like the Financial Health of your business assessed, get in touch today and we can open a conversation.

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Bridging Finance, not just for property.


Bridging Finance is primarily seen as a property related bit of finance because it can be used to secure against property. That is one of the easiest ways of getting it, just on the basis that property gives the bridging lender a relatively understandable exit – in terms of how they are going to be repaid.

Bridging Finance can be used for business purposes as well. If you have a shortfall of cash but you know that you have got cash coming in in the future. Bridging loans are typically six to twelve months, though they can go up to twenty-four months, so it can be used for different purposes, if there is an exit strategy.

Now, the one thing to bear in mind with Bridging Finance is that whilst it primarily doesn’t need to be serviced, so you don’t need to make payments against it, what happens is that the interest that is building up is that it gets added up and then taken away from the original loan value that you have secured.

What this means is that your day-one draw down is actually less than the value of the loan, to the tune of the fees and the interest, so you really need to bear that in mind when you are arranging your finance.

The original main loan value will be based on the loan-to-value, but the actual amount of money that you will have in your pocket will be different to that, unless you can prove through your income that you are able to service the interest on a monthly basis, which then releases all of that interest from the loan into your day-one draw down. This allows you more money upfront, but you must make a monthly payment. The lender will require proof of how you are going to do that.

There are still lots lenders out there, and more lenders are coming into the market.

Coronavirus has had a little bit of an impact, in terms of some lenders have withdrawn from the market, but there are still plenty out there.

If Bridging Finance is something you are looking for, or considering, then it is still very much on the table. If you need Bridging Finance or want to discuss your options, fill out the contact us form on this website and we will be in touch.

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How far in advance should you plan your commercial finance solution?

Today I’m going to talk about the timescales involved for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 commercial lending and commercial mortgages.

In terms of putting a case together, getting it submitted, getting a decision in principle, getting it credit backed (underwritten), and then the time it takes to go through the legal process in order to draw down the funds.

Timescales for commercial lending

The purpose of this is really just to give you an idea, if you’re looking to buy a commercial property, either as an investment, or for owner operation, or even a trading business, then these are the timescales that you are going to be looking at.

I’m going to break it down into tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3. This is slightly different to some other areas where tier 1 is actually going to be a Business Development Manager (BDM) that you’re talking to, so you are actually talking to a person, whereas tier 2 and 3 tend to be more portal based, particularly tier 2 – where it is either meeting criteria, or it isn’t. Tier 3 depends on the lender, but some lenders will be BDM and some will be portal.


So, on to the timescales. For a decision in principle for a tier 1 loan, using a BDM, you will most likely be looking at one to two days. For a tier 2, even though you would apply through a portal, you would still be looking at one to two days. If you were processing a tier 3 loan, you could have a decision in principle back in as little as four hours, though this could go up to two days. So, for all three tiers, it is best to err on the side of caution and plan for the process to take up to two days.

If you then want to get that decision in principle credit backed, because you are happy with the deal that’s offered, then that process can take up to 4-5 days, depending on how quickly an evaluation can happen, and then from evaluation and credit backing, the timescale to actually draw down the funds varies.

For tier 1, you can look at drawdown taking ten to twelve weeks, tier 2 can be eight to twelve weeks and for tier 3, you can expect it to take eight to ten weeks.

If you are thinking of going through this process, ideally, you should attempt to plan anywhere between three and a half to four months ahead of the time that you want the process to be completed. There is, of course, an option if you want to do it quicker.

You can look at Bridging Finance (which will be the topic of next week’s blog), so if you are unable to secure it within the time scale of the three and a half to four months, as long as the ability to refinance was there, you would be able to secure the asset quickly.

A lender for a bridge would want to know what your exit strategy for the finance was, and your exit would be to refinance. As long as you are able to show that you are able to refinance, then the bridge should be forthcoming.

If you want to discuss these or other business finance options, get in touch by filling out the contact form on this website and we can work out what solutions will fit your needs.

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The land owner, developer and financier relationship

Hi, it’s Graeme from Playfair Finance here.

Are you a land owner, a developer, or have some money put aside that you want to do something with but are uncertain of what to do with it? If you fit into any of those categories, then read on.


In the course of my work, I come across projects where people have got a bit of land and they’re looking for a developer. Or, I come across developers who are looking for a bit of land, so I can be a bit of a ‘dating agency’.

One of the things I certainly would like to do is talk to people who may be private individuals, or have got funds that they wish to invest in this type of arrangement.

Obviously, I can put you in touch with people and make your money turn into more money.

There are a lot of people getting into that market which kind of makes a bit of a mockery, sometimes, of the broker who says ‘I’m whole of market’. We really can only say that you are ‘representative of market’ because there are so many new lenders coming into the market nowadays, it’s hard to keep track of them all.

But it gives you plenty of opportunity for developers to increase the housing stock, which is effectively what I’m here for. So if that sounds of interest, then please get in touch by filling out the contact form on this website.

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Scottish Contract Cleaning Company with cash flow problems?

We help Scottish Contract Cleaning Companies to improve their cash flow by releasing cash that they’ve got tied up in their sales invoices.

I’ve been in business for over 30 years, but one of the questions I’m getting asked at the moment is ‘How do I improve my cash flow when my customers are struggling to pay their bills?’


So here’s my best advice. If you’re in the Scottish business-to-business sector you will be raising invoices for your goods or services and normally you’ll be waiting 45 to 60 days to be paid for those invoices.

Now, with the Coronavirus you may have seen a drop-off in trade. If that’s the case you won’t be raising as many sales invoices so the amount of money that you’re going to have coming in over the next
six months or so will be significantly reduced.

Now you may well have enough money to get you through to the point where we can get started again, back up to normal levels, or start to ramp things up again. But, when we actually get to that point, you’re going to have to wait 45 to 60 days again on the new invoices that you’re raising.

So you’re going to have a bit of a funding gap between raising the invoice, getting the cash, and being able to thrive when we come out of this time. So, if you want to release some money in your invoices, this is where Invoice Finance can come in.

So, Invoice Finance will allow you to have 85 to 90 percent of that invoice in your bank account to assist your cash flow within 24 hours. At the moment the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme can be used on certain facilities if you qualify to provide a guarantee to the lender.

Now, this is something that we specialise in here at Playfair Finance and it’s really easy for us to do the legwork for you to save you from having to go to every provider, for there are many in the marketplace.

We take the application from you, and we then go out to the market to find the best provider for you based on your sector, your turnover, and how your business has been trading.

So, we save you the time, but we can also find you the best deal.

Now, the best part of that is that actually, there is no charge for our services to do that. The charges are actually paid by the lender so you don’t have to pay anything at all.

So, if you’re a Scottish Contract Cleaning company and you would like some help with Invoice Financing, please get in touch.