Graham Billcliffe, Horizon Mobility Ltd, Cheltenham
Graham Billcliffe has been a provider of specialist mobility equipment in the UK since the early 90s. His business, Horizon Mobility, began its life building and supplying mobility scooters within the UK. More recently Horizon moved into renting out mobility equipment including Hospital beds, hoists and specialist power chairs, which has earned them lucrative contracts with insurance companies, care homes, private individuals and the NHS.
Despite being a strong and growing business, Horizon Mobility came up against some challenges when it came to securing the funds needed to finance more equipment.
“If your business is niche, banks are not always helpful” Graham explains. “They enter your business details into their computer system and even if you are already seeing growth, the computer system just seems to say no.”
Unable to provide the loan Graham needed to finance new equipment, his high street bank referred him to an NACFB accredited broker. Oxford Funding took a close look at Graham’s business and worked with him to identify the right lender for his needs.
Thanks to finance from specialist lenders including PCF, Funding Circle and Photo Lease, Horizon Mobility has continued to grow. Within the last four months the business has been awarded a distributor contract for a US company that specialises in mobility scooters for the severely disabled and scooters for the overweight.
Graham reflects on his experience. “I would absolutely recommend that SMEs use a broker to help them find a lender, rather than going out into the market alone. We didn’t have the time or specialist knowledge to make loan applications, and neither did we know the full range of what’s out there and the best options specifically for us. Specialist lenders don’t have big red flags out on the street shouting ‘we are lending’, so a broker can help point you in the right direction.”
Marcus Grimshaw, Chairman of NACFB said:
“Businesses with specialist funding needs can sometimes find themselves side-lined by some of the bigger lenders who are focused on very straightforward loan applications. It’s important that SMEs like Horizon Mobility understand there are lending options out there for them, however complex their requirements might be. That’s where an independent broker can be very useful – they have a specialist knowledge of the lending market and will guide and support SMEs through every stage of the borrowing process.”
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