Impact Handling says its flexible approach to finance is playing a key role in helping to secure new deals and grow existing business.
As the sole distributor for Cat® Lift Trucks in the UK and Ireland, Impact Handling customers benefit from being able to change their materials handling requirements partway through a contract without incurring a financial penalty.
Key to this flexibility is the company’s ability to fund new equipment in-house, using the strength of South African parent company Eqstra Holdings. This allows Impact Handling’s customers to avoid the penalty fees commonly levied by banks and finance houses for the early return or exchange of machines mid-contract – in many cases, such organisations insist on being paid the full projected value if a deal is terminated early.
Impact Handling’s Managing Director, Terry Kendrew says: "We are essentially a self-funding business as we own every piece of kit we lease to a customer, allowing us to off-hire it whenever we want, rather than being at the mercy of a financial institution.
"This gives customers the comfort in knowing that if they change their application, we will work with them and adjust their materials handling requirement accordingly. We’re quite happy to take one set of machines out and put another one in which is fit for purpose."
Kendrew recalls a customer which wanted to achieve greater warehouse capacity and elected to swap its fleet of 2.5 tonne counterbalance trucks with 4m masts for ones with 6m masts, partway through a five year contract. Since the trucks needing to be replaced were standard machines, Impact Handling was able to add them to its short-term hire fleet and replace them with machines of the same age with the required 6m masts.
"Had we not had a suitable product in our hire fleet, we would have offered to order new trucks and asked the customer to write a new five year contract with us. In that situation the first contract would have been terminated without penalty."
The only exception is if the customer takes a highly specialised machine which only fits their operation. In this instance, Impact Handling would assess the value of the machine on its book, versus the market value, and so long as the customer was replacing the truck with another machine, it would simply ask them to pay the difference.
"This figure wouldn’t be calculated based upon future hires and penalties," says Kendrew, "it’s more of an asset calculation.
"We know it can be difficult for a customer to forecast their precise requirement years ahead, so that’s where our personal management style and flexible finance really add value. Customers can’t believe we’re prepared to be so flexible, but we’re doing this all the time. It’s just business as usual for Impact Handling."