Richard Mayle, founder of First Vehicle Finance, gives an outline of how the business has fared over the last six months
First Vehicle Finance started its 16th year in business on the up, after a slower than usual last quarter because of the uncertainty around Brexit in 2019. However, the first quarter of 2020 the business was strong until the lockdown.
This meant car dealerships closed as well as car manufacturing so there was little need to finance. New quotes and many mid-order/deliveries were paused. But in June, when things opened up a little, First Vehicle Finance managed to get the remainder of the new registrations delivered.
What impact did COVID-19 have on your business?
RM: The business pretty much stopped for three months, but we are seeing new business enquiries now and these are getting back to normal levels.
At head office level, much of the team have been working remotely with some still furloughed, but are looking to fully reopen the office on 1 September.
It’s difficult to precited how the next few months will be. But we are optimistic that we will have reasonable business levels as a national or European wide lockdown at the same time feels unlikely to happen.
The things that ‘could’ affect your business; are further large scale lockdowns, large redundancies after furlough stops may impact confidence levels in taking vehicles and therefore getting finance.
How have your franchisees been?
RM: They have worked in a similar manner to the main office, in that they have largely been locked down, but there are some new deals being worked on now.
As a franchisor, we have kept in touch with them and outlined how we were working and changing, and any advice and government support we’d taken, and they might be able to as well. We have helped when needed and as we have opened up again, we have done some PPC advertising during August which has generated new enquiries for them.
How do you see 2021?
RM: With the Brexit impact still uncertain and COVID-19 still around, no one can be sure, but I think business levels will be strong. Individuals are moving from public transport into their own vehicles because of COVID. There are some sectors needing more vehicles like couriers, care, and cleaning. It’s just keeping an eye out for what sectors and demand is there and we can accommodate most things. So, at First Vehicle Finance, we are all feeling positive about the future.