How we helped a classic car restoration business to grow

25 November 2023

Business Banking

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
An image showing the front of an Austin Healey car

Here at Atom bank, we often work with businesses who come to us with a plan for growth that requires additional finance with the help of our commercial mortgages or Recovery Loan Scheme loans.

Bill Rawles Classic Cars, a classic cars restoration and maintenance specialist, was one of these firms. With the help of a broker, we worked with the business to understand their situation and find a solution so they could move forward.

We agreed on a commercial mortgage loan that helped the business refinance its existing debt and build a stronger and more sustainable platform for growth.

Here’s the full story.

Bill Rawles Classic Cars’ story

Bill Rawles Classic Cars is a classic cars restoration and maintenance specialist based in Hampshire. It’s a second-generation family business. Bill, the founder, has 35 years’ experience in the industry and manages the workshop side, whilst his son Jack manages the business side of the operation.

The business had previously taken out a commercial mortgage to buy a larger site than their old premises, and to provide further growth. However, their original variable rate loan was proving to be unaffordable after several interest rate increases.

Unfortunately, Bill Rawles Classic Cars was rejected by a host of high street lenders as they incorrectly classed their business as ‘motor trade’, a catch all category that they were reluctant to lend to. It needed to find a lender that would take account of its individual merits as a trading business, rather than being immediately dismissive.

How did we help?

Following an introduction by Tamara Renshaw at Productivity Finance, we worked with Bill Rawles Classic Cars to look beyond the incorrect classification of the business by other lenders. Our team looked to understand its true nature by looking beyond the basic lending templates, seeing a successful family business with a lot of potential.

After a careful assessment of performance, business pipelines and projections, we were able to agree a new £1,063,125 fixed rate commercial mortgage. As we were able to offer a fixed rate rather than variable terms, it meant that the business could lock in a rate now and would also not face the same problem of rising interest and payments as their previous loan.

The loan would ultimately support the generation of additional cash flow and the confidence to build a stronger platform for growth. It also meant a successful family business was able to continue along its trajectory towards a brighter future.

The exact details of the loan we agreed were:

  • Loan type: Fixed-rate loan
  • Loan value: £1,063,125
  • Rate: Fixed at 5.64% for 5 years
  • Loan-to-value: 56%
  • Term: 5 years with 25 year repayment profile

Jack Rawles, Sales & Marketing Director at Bill Rawles Classic Cars, said:

“This is a loan that will offer us a massive amount of stability over the next five years, meaning we can now focus more of our energy on growing the business. “As a business owner, we simply did not have the time and tenacity to manage this ourselves, so having a broker like Tamara in our corner really helped our funding journey.

“The process of refinancing with Atom through a broker was far more straightforward than our previous loan. We really appreciated the flexibility on offer, and that all-important personal touch where we could sit down with the Atom BDM and Tamara, who demonstrated a real interest and understanding of the business. I hope this marks the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.”

David Castling, Head of Intermediaries at Atom bank, commented:

“This case is a prime example of a forward-thinking family business with a loyal customer base who has grown organically over the years. They required some additional funding and support to help facilitate their longer-term growth plans. “Unfortunately, we are seeing all too many cases of such firms being rejected by high-street lenders, who don’t have the time or inclination to really get to know the ins and outs of the business and dig a little deeper into their pipelines, projections and performance, pre- and post-covid.

“Alongside our BDM and underwriting team, Tamara played a key role in supporting this case from introduction through to completion, and we are looking forward to seeing how our funding can further transform this fantastic business.”

Tamara Renshaw, Commercial Finance Broker at Productivity Finance, added:

“Atom bank is building an impressive reputation within the broker community, and this is clearly demonstrated in both its technology and the quality of its people at every stage of the transaction.

“Sector specific credit policies should be subject to interpretation and not just viewed as black or white. That is exactly what Atom did, they asked a few more questions to understand the true nature of the business, which other lenders hadn’t been prepared to do.”

“From the initial enquiry stage through to being able to actually build a relationship with a dedicated underwriter, I found them to be highly professional, responsive and flexible in their approach. All of which culminated in the most important thing — a very happy client.”

Want to find out more about our commercial mortgages?

If you think your own business could benefit from a commercial mortgage from Atom bank, feel free to find out more about our overall business lending and commercial mortgage products.