Hobson's Garage and Recovery is an established family business based in Stockport that offers a comprehensive vehicle recovery and repair service. Established in 2008, owner Carrie Hobson has built up an excellent reputation for quality and reliability, and a loyal client base, particularly among B2B customers.
Whilst providing a comprehensive range of repair services, the business has always outsourced its MOT testing. In most part this was due to the team already working at full capacity, and limits on space, but Carrie always knew it represented significant lost income.
However, the investment in the people, equipment and facilities required was considerable and despite the clear benefits, such as the potential for accelerated growth and job creation, not to mention the likely benefit of increased profitability, none of the traditional funding organisations Carrie approached had any appetite to lend.
A chance meeting at a breakfast networking group ultimately led to Carrie working with Geoff Clowes, one of the Hub’s access to finance specialists.
After a thorough business evaluation, Geoff helped Carrie to develop a growth strategy for the business that was under-pinned by an articulated and compelling short to medium-term return on capital investment for any possible funders.
Geoff explains: "We knew that in the present, uncertain financial climate, and due to the competitive nature of the sector, many potential lenders might view inward investment such as this potentially too risky.
“The strategy we developed, therefore, set out to show that the new MOT facility would lead to a significant upturn in revenue − and that even in the event of a 20-30% lower than expected projected turnover, the business would still be able to comfortably service the borrowing.”
Geoff also advised Carrie to take up an asset finance option, which would preserve the company’s medium-term working capital lines of credit and give the funder further confidence in the security of the project.
“Much of the core information provided by the business was excellent,” adds Geoff, “but we helped Carrie to present this information in the most effective way and gave the proposal the best possible chance of success.”
The reputation of the business and Carrie’s skill at articulating her ambitions and thoughts about how she wanted to grow the business, were also key. They led to the offer of a lease purchase facility from Lombard to help finance the specialised MOT bay.
Carrie adds: “We always knew that outsourcing all our MOTs was a wasted opportunity, but we just couldn’t find the right investment to bring it in-house. The team at the Business Growth Hub changed this and helped us to show potential funders why we were a sound investment.
“These are really exciting times for the business. We’ve now taken on two new full-time mechanics and I’m confident that this is just the first step in really driving the business forward.”