We’ve funded our first CBILS customer!

Learn how we’re helping B&H Commercials push through the coronavirus pandemic

16 June 2020

On 9 June, we funded our first ever CBILS customer – a small construction business based in Surrey, run by directors Brian Butcher and David Dick. Construction businesses across the UK have taken a huge hit as lockdown restrictions make completing projects increasingly difficult, and B&H Commercials Ltd. is no exception. Our first CBILS funding is a small step in helping UK SMEs on their long road to recovery, and we’re proud to continue supporting them.

“This is massive for us,” says David, Financial Director of the firm. “It’s effectively a lifeline to help us get through the coronavirus crisis – we’re delighted. If I contrast the quality of service I’ve had with iwoca to the experience that I’ve had with my high street bank, it’s chalk and cheese.”

Coronavirus and the construction industry

Life for businesses like B&H Commercials has been hard since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the construction industry taking bigger knocks in 2020 than were recorded during the financial crisis. Nearly 90% of firms reported a drop in business since the start of March, and longer waits for supplies make completing work that is possible much more difficult.

“This whole environment has hit us quite hard, and in the last three months our turnover has dropped like a stone,” says David. “Understandably, clients don’t want people in their houses while this virus is around and I fully understand that.”

“One of the most frustrating things is that while you might be able to work on a project, getting the materials can be more problematic. Even when the main suppliers do get them in, they’re gone so quickly that unless you’re there at the time you can often miss out.”

Funding businesses let down by the banks

For businesses like David’s, the announcement of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was just the first step to receiving the funding they crucially needed. To get access to that cash, they’d need to get their application approved by their bank.

“We initially submitted an application with our high street bank who we’ve been with for four years. Our bank manager fully supported our application but when it got to the underwriting stage it was rejected. They let us down at the very time we were relying on them for support and there are thousands of other small businesses in the same situation.”

A long term iwoca customer, David turned to us having heard that we were in the process of being accredited by the British Business Bank.

“I submitted exactly the same application as I had with my bank, and boom, here we are. Less than two weeks later and it’s been funded. The quality of the customer service is second to none. Not only is iwoca quick and flexible, but you’re also very good at understanding the nature of a business. For us, the ability for iwoca to provide that quality of customer service is huge.”

Rebuilding and recovering

With their new CBILS funding in place, Brian and David can concentrate on bringing in new business, and as lockdown gradually eases there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“There are another two projects that we’re planning to start soon which will help us get through the next 3-6 months. Once we’ve made it through that period, we’re away again. For the moment, it’s about finding projects that we can work on where the client is not in the property. That work, together with the CBILS funding should be enough to get us through to 2021 when other projects will start again.”

“If I could give one piece of advice to other small businesses also struggling, it would be to know your worst case scenario and plan for it. It’s not clear when business will return to ‘normal’ so this is fundamental. I thoroughly recommend going to iwoca as your CBILS funding partner to help you get through this difficult time.”

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Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes articles explaining financial topics, as well as guides on the best support for small businesses during coronavirus.

Article updated on: 25 June 2020

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