Whitely International Transport, Stockport
Ben Whitley has worked in the haulage industry for 13 years. He started his career as an HGV driver, transporting everything from fresh meat to pharmaceutical equipment across the UK and Europe. Over the years, Ben built up strong business relationships and one day he was approached by a company to carry out a large international haulage order of his own. Ben set up his own business, and in 2013 Whitley International Transport was born.
Ben explains: “I’d been working in the international haulage business for a number of years, and over time I developed a good sense for the trends in imports and exports. I could see that more companies were relying on international transport specialists to deliver produce from A to B. So when the opportunity came up for me to start up a business of my own I knew it was the right move.”
Ben was able to fund much of initial start-up costs himself, but as more orders started coming in he decided the time was right to finance his own tractor unit and trailer. Just as it looked like Ben’s business plan was about to come into fruition, he came up against a giant hurdle – securing the £30,000 required to purchase the vehicle.
He recalls: “I had everything at the ready – the orders, most of the initial start-up costs, the International Operators Licence, everything but the most important piece of the puzzle – the vehicle. I’d approached my high street bank and was sent packing with a list of forms to fill out as long as my arm. I knew it was going to take a long time to apply for the loan and with orders creeping closer I just didn’t have that time to spare.”
It was at this point that Ben was introduced to his local NACFB broker Oliver Smith, from the specialist asset finance brokerage, Asset Finance Solutions. Oliver had access to a wide selection of lenders and pinpointed the right one for Ben’s business need.
Ben adds: “I really don’t know where I would be without Oliver. He came through at a real make or break time for my business. It was such a frustrating time – the orders were there but I couldn’t access the finance to fund the vehicle.
“The loan Oliver found me was at a much better rate than the ones I had been looking at, and the money was ready for me within a matter of days. There’s a more human approach when you use a broker – they look at the bigger picture and recognise if your business is onto something good.”
The loan secured to fund the tractor unit and trailer for Whitley International Transport allowed Ben to fulfil all initial orders. There is a now plan to invest in another unit and trailer to meet a flurry of new orders. The company currently employs three full-time members of staff and has a steady growth plan that involves employing more people and building a small fleet of vehicles.
Marcus Grimshaw, Chairman of NACFB said:
“It’s a pretty daunting experience for start-ups on the look out for finance. Many feel overwhelmed with the idea of all the paper work that must be required and assume that there are very few lending options out there for them. That’s where the independent broker can help – they have a breadth of experience in the different types of finance available and can help business access the right lender for them.”
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