Moving with speed is not just critical in the movement of freight and infrastructure projects.
In the world of finance, having urgent response time for customers can be the difference between them accessing equipment for work that cannot wait.
Sydney Commercial Finance (SCF), a start-up financial brokerage, is steadily putting together a growing list of impressed road transport clients.
One of the ways it is achieving great outcomes for its customers is by making a process, not known for its convenience, as easy as possible.
“We understand people don’t get into what they’re doing so they will have to shuffle through multiple documents and spend time speaking with banks that may or may not get back to them in a finite period of time,” says Anthony Rahme, SCF Director. “People in the transport industry run great businesses and we want to work with really good businesses. But they’re not in the finance space in the same way that I wouldn’t be expected to jump into one of their trucks and do a good job.”
The team at SCF are all trained to adapt to different tasks as they come to hand.
As a business it does not shy away from doing more than just equipment finance or being locked into acquiring funds for transport work.
“It means that we can take a broader look at where the customer is and where they want to be,” says Anthony. “Maybe they want to sell some assets or build up their cash reserves for the next three years so they can acquire a business in the refrigeration space in order to diversify. If you only do equipment finance, you can’t see these other things.”
SCF also funds secured and unsecured business loans, commercial property and property development deals.
With a background in financial planning, Anthony is well versed in consulting with dynamic businesses.
The view he takes for his client base is this: Where are you now? Where are you going? Where would you like to be? How do we get you where you’d like to be?
As it has the same credit considerations as any bank, SCF can perform those tasks internally, effectively predetermining whether the lender is going to accept or decline the deal.
This is also part of how SCF decides upon which lender to take each deal to.
“Where a lender might go through a number of stakeholders to determine an outcome, we can bypass that process and do it far more quickly,” says Anthony. “All of those steps are done internally. We can predetermine if it will go to a bank, which bank and what the rates will be all before they would hear back from their business manager from one of the large banks.”
For transport operators dealing directly with a bank, the process involves rounds of documentation over several weeks all of which will need to be chased up, often with a banker they have never met before.
“That’s part of the advisory aspect of the business,” says Anthony. “Turnaround time is a huge factor.”
Speed of response, as Jacques Lotter found out, is one of its advantages. Tempus Civil Consulting handles waste and spoil disposal, construction demolition removal and is active in most of the big infrastructure jobs underway in Sydney.
At present they are removing the tunnel spoil from the M6 as part of the Stage 1 project which involves using a lot of transport contractors.
Tempus Civil Consulting, according to Jacques, is currently in the process of building up its own fleet so it isn’t as dependent on as many subcontractors.
“With the new trucks we’ve just received Anthony pushed hard to get some good deals for us which were much better than what I could get at my personal bank,” he says. “He talks me through the best financial options available to us. He then presents the best price. It’s very easy. Otherwise, it takes away time from me that would interfere with me running my own business.”
Jacques recently had a new Mack Trident quad-dog delivered, with assistance from SCF, who has subsequently completed the financing of two newly acquired Mack Anthems.
The trailers for both are being built in Brisbane.
“Once I tell him what we need and give him that information he’s quick on responding and notifies me straight away on what I need to submit and once everything is with him, he deals with everybody,” says Jacques. “I don’t have to do anything. He deals with my accountant. He deals with the truck supplier, who he has a previous relationship with ,which makes it a lot easier.”
In the cut and thrust of daily driving with its long hours, finding the time for many drivers to access funds when they are looking to expand or go out on their own can be tough.
Financial planning is, after all, a job in itself. George Ghobrial of SGK Logistics, who specialises in container cartage in the dynamic segment of bulk grain vessels in Western Australia, has been using Anthony’s services for the last five years.
“I’ve always been impressed with the way Anthony has operated,” he says. “He helps where he can in every sort of aspect – even for our subcontractors.”
SGK Logistics uses multiple prime movers across the Volvo and Scania brands.
A newer entrant for the SGK fleet was purchasing a prime mover, also a much larger truck than they had previously owned, with two grain tipper trailers at the ready as it was grain season.
It proved no problem for SCF given the hard and fast deadline.
“For guys starting their own business Anthony provides different ways to come up with a deposit — so that they can transition into buying their own trucks,” says George. “He doesn’t charge heavily on fees. He’s always within reach and available the same day and provides comprehensive options on getting equipment or lease loans.”
Through its more personal touch, SCF is aiming to grow with partners that are also exemplars of best practice in their industry.
“We are happy to battle against the odds to get them in a good position,” Anthony says. “The mission for us is to put the customer’s needs first. Sometimes the best outcome is not about getting them the best rate. Sometimes it’s about getting them the best deal as quickly as possible. Sometimes, the best deal might not be the fastest one. Sometimes the best deal involves how to plan for the expansion they are working towards over five years. Or it’s the acquisition of another business.”
For SCF helping smaller road transport outfits is an important part of the job especially if they are displeased by their current experiences in the marketplace.
With that said, the business also works with larger sized operators who have existing loan facilities with a major bank, but might be are debt-capped on their spending, which is to say they are growing faster than their bank is prepared to lend them money.
SCF has a range of solutions for those types of businesses as well.
“There’s no hierarchy that separates clients according to spend or investment. Everyone is treated equally. Everyone’s business is equally important to us as it is to them,” says Anthony. “We do our jobs well so it makes their jobs easier.”