For some SMEs, like Ed Younis’ construction and project management company, a broker is not just a means of finding finance, but a trusted business adviser too. SME Adviser discovers how Kevin Wheatley of Bayside Commercial Mortgages helped this young company access cash flow and change its business structure.
Company Name: Montana Consortium and I Fit Interiors Pty Ltd
Industry: Project management and construction
CEO: Ed Younis
Employees: 7 and 2
Operating since: 2007 and 2015, respectively
Broker: Kevin Wheatley, Bayside Commercial Mortgages
Tell us, what does you company do?
We have two business; our head company Montana Consortium, a project management business, and we've consolidated our construction company which is called I Fit Interiors Pty Ltd.
We take on all our contracting work through the I Fit model and project manage through the Montana Consortium model.
Why did you need a finance broker?
Maybe 80 per cent of people who go to brokers use them to refinance their personal finances or put out equity for their personal use. We didn’t need the money for that. We needed the money for a purpose and needed a broker who could understand that.
What I was looking for first was a bit of cash flow for both entities, just to build up a base and a model and obviously was looking to draw equity out of the assets that I personally own.
With overheads and expenses and staff, with super, workers compensation and insurance that we need to pay, we just needed some cash in our business to help us pay for all those items. That’s mainly because we work with clients who pay on 14, 30, and 45-day accounts. We had to do a cash flow forecast on payment opposed to contracts commencing. So, I realised I needed equity to be able to facilitate the clientele I was working with.
We work for the likes of Mirvac, Westfield Bondi Junction, QIC etc. so there's safe money there but to be able to achieve a work in progress, you have to cash flow yourself.
I worked out I probably needed at least $200,000.
How did you find your broker?
I've dealt with business brokers in the past and I found that they are fairly restricted to what they know best, which is pretty much loan and refinance structures. But I needed someone with a lot of business knowledge and affiliated in company structure, because the loan wasn’t just to take a line of equity and use it for anything. The line of equity was for a model moving forward.
Talking to a friend he highly recommended I chat to Kevin, whom he knew, so I met Kevin for the first time and more or less got the ball rolling immediately and we had no troubles or worries.
Talking to Kevin, I picked up in the first hour that this gentleman knew a lot of company structures and business advice and he worked perfectly for me. Just by talking to him and going through what we were doing and the reason for the equity he put me in the right direction and pretty much changed my mind on some ideas that I had. So, he's a great business adviser and it worked well for me.
Kevin and his team are associated with businesses around them and he had great business advice. I could never have got that out of a bank. It was a business model broker that I was looking for. He was the first person I contacted and he turned out to be the right person, so I was very lucky.
How did Kevin help you?
Kevin found the best finance model for us and put it together in a few weeks and we were up and running - all cash flow positive and here we are, things are working nicely.
We ended up getting about $240,000 which is sitting in our account which is money in-money out and gives us the opportunity to take on more work as necessary without the cash flow headaches.
But he helped us with more than just the finances. I had the project management team and had a construction company and I was thinking of running the business under the construction company. Kevin suggested I put the construction arm under the project management arm and affiliate both companies, as that gives you a growth in your company before you've commenced. So, you have two types of services.
That advice was really powerful and helped me identify the two companies. That worked out positively for us because we pretty much killed two birds with one stone in our business model; we do our contractual arrangements for our clients with our construction arm, which then engages the services of the project management arm.
For business structure and maybe even for tax purposes too, its worked really well in our favour. We're getting a lot of respect that we have two companies that are associated with each other.
I don’t consider him as a broker as such, he came to me as a broker-cum-business adviser. He puts you in the right direction and our money was spent and invested well.
Would you ever use other channels for business finance (i.e. online or banks)?
We've not needed to take out any other finance. But, I work solely now with Kevin and have upmost confidence in him. I get business advice off Kevin too. And he makes sure if I land a client, I always put it in front of him, he gives me good business advice and good company structure advice if I need it.
We have a great relationship. He does a courtesy to me and I do a courtesy back by referring a few clients to him also.
I can’t see myself doing any business with anyone other than Kevin. I highly recommend him. He delivers. That’s what I like about him. I'd never get finance online. I'd rather pay a little extra and get the advice I require and know I'm on the right foot.
Business structure advice doesn’t come from an accountant, it doesn’t come from a bank manager. You need a broker who is affiliated with a lot of businesses and thankfully Kevin was the right person for us. We are where we are today because of Kevin's advice.
Kevin Wheatley, managing director of Bayside Commercial Mortgages, tells SME Adviser the ins and outs of how he helped this SME gain the cash flow they needed.
How did you meet Ed and what did he need?
After interviewing Ed when he came to my office, I conducted a needs analysis to understand Ed’s financial position, so I could suggest a financial structure that would be manageable for the family business and provide the working capital he and his wife need to assist their business.
Ed and his wife, Yvonne, needed to understand how they could use the equity in their home for business or investment purpose.
What was your advice?
The home was valued at $1.6 million with a senior debt of $600,000 to a financial institution they were unhappy with because they offered limited finance products.
I suggested to refinance the property with another institution who had cheaper interest rates and offered additional finance products, which would enable them to expand their business operation.
My advice was to use the equity in their home, apply for a line of credit that would solve their cash flow issues for the business.
The line of credit facility was approved by the new lender, which increased their mortgage rate by 35 basis points, however the additional interest rate was offset by saving Ed and wife 50 basis points with the new lender (saving 15 basis points).
This financial structure meant they did not have to consider an overdraft facility at very high rates suggested by the outgoing financial institution.
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