We love hearing of small business owners across the UK obtaining government funding! So this week we are sharing our latest success story from Cardiff. Ian was able to obtain £31,000 in government funding to use towards the purchase of new tools and equipment for his UK-wide trucking and transportation business.
We had a chance to speak with Ian about his business, his success and how he managed to obtain the £31,000 in government funding.
*The below is a transcription of the conversation which occurred between Ian and UKStartups.org:
Ian, tell us about your small business.
I started my trucking business back in 2013 and it was going pretty well. I had one truck and I was doing all of the work myself and it definitely kept me employed and not having to work for someone else. My goal however was to have a fleet of trucks to handle the workload that I already had and many more that I was declining due to limited numbers of trucks on the road. But at that time I wasn’t making near enough to cover an extra truck and to hire help.
What did you need to make it happen?
Money! I needed about £90,000 from the bank to help me purchase another truck and maybe lease one more until we are able to get some revenue coming in. This loan would have allowed us to pay our drivers as well.
What happened at the bank?
We were obviously denied a loan. They don’t seem to care about trucking businesses – I think there are too many of us and for some reason they don’t see it as a worthy investment. Our revenue is nearly £40,000 a month but our expenses are high. That extra money would have helped a great deal. I didn’t really have a business plan either to be able to show them my success and potential, I didn’t know how to make one nor did I have the time. I tried to see how much it would cost to have one written but it was a lot, I’m talking like £3,500. That’s money that I could use towards my repairs!
After the bank said no, what did you do next?
I didn’t do anything for 3 years. I left it as it was and just tried to save a little on the side until I had enough to get another truck. I did in January this year and we hired a family friend to work full time, so we are getting better. But we still needed a ton of money to improve. You wouldn’t believe the opportunities we were turning down because we didn’t have more trucks.
How did you hear about UKStartups?
I actually found your website back then when I was looking for business plan help. I didn’t register as I didn’t believe in government funding, nor did I want to do my business plan myself. But early this year I noticed the site again and had a full in-depth conversation with one of your live chat attendants on the site and they convinced me to go ahead and try.
What happened once you became a member?
My wife actually worked on our business plan using your business plan builder tool and got it done in a few days. She took that, made a few changes and we started to use the funding programmes search tool to find some government schemes which seemed as if we may have been eligible. After applying and sending our business plan in, we got a call a few weeks later. I was like, this has got to be a trick.
Was it a trick?
Haha no! We were approved for a low interest loan that was backed by the government, but we had to go to the bank to get it. Sort of funny in the end how the government believes in us, but the same bank that said no initially has to give the money. It all worked out and we ended up getting our money.
How much did you get?
Well we got 2 cheques. The first one was for £11,000 to help us hire some drivers and to train them. And the other was for £20,000 towards the purchase of equipment (our truck).
What did you have to provide the funding agency to get approved?
We had to fill out the applications and send in our business plan, our last 3 years of financials and we had to have 2 phone interviews with one of the funding agents and another interview at the actual bank, to confirm it all.
How long after applying did you get the money?
Two weeks after sending in the application for the funding we got a call of pre-approval. We had to send in a few more details of our business and do the interviews which were over a four week period. Once everything was signed and approved, we got the first cheque in 3 days and the next one a week later.
What do you plan on doing next?
Well now we have 3 trucks, 3 full time drivers and an admin person. I think we are okay for a few years until we are able to expand our fleet some more to potentially 5 trucks or more. We will re-apply for funding closer to the end of next year to try and get a bit more support.
What is your advice to others trying to get funding?
Have a business plan that clearly explains who you are, what you do, how much you make, how much more you can make and how much money you need to get there. One big thing that really helped us secure our funding is the guidance we received from our UKStartups funding expert. If you join and are a member use them!