With good experience in graphic design & print for companies locally and nationwide, Chris saw an opportunity in 2013 to launch and develop a business dedicated to promotional items, as well as some larger commercial print projects. As a result, he turned his freelance portfolio into a broader-based company – The Printing Guys – to expand into higher-volume business.
However, when they started pitching for larger contracts at big firms, they came up against their biggest problem: credit terms.
“We found it difficult in the first year to get bigger business. We were doing smaller jobs on proforma terms, and we were lucky that our customers trusted us. But we reached a point where proforma was no longer a viable option, and customers told us that despite a great experience, pressure from the Finance department meant they would have to use other suppliers instead, who could offer up to 90 days’ payment terms.” says Mr Jacka.
“The systems big companies have in place require credit. This came as a shock because when we started up we had been dealing with people we knew, and doing business based on trust. But as the orders grew and we worked with bigger companies, there came a point where we had to have a credit agreement.”
At first, The Printing Guys turned to their bank for invoice financing. The bank required a minimum fee each month plus initial setup fees, and suggested a minimum turnover of £200,000 would make the fees viable. On top of this, they also requested collateral and guarantees. For a growing business without guaranteed orders in the pipeline, that was not an option.
“We saw URICA featured in the local business newspaper and it looked like a good solution. The interest rate on the payment with URICA is very low and that makes it affordable. We can now offer big companies the credit they need, and they can give us the opportunity to show them some really creative branded ideas.”
URICA has also taken the entire invoice collection process out of The Printing Guys’ hands, and Mr Jacka says he does not miss reminding clients about overdue payments. As a small business, this allows them to focus on expanding client relationships, gaining new business and providing a great service. “It’s difficult to drive sales and also be the debt collector!” he says.
“We’ve doubled our turnover in our second year of business, and we are hoping to do the same next year. As soon as we get into 2016 we’re going to start looking to take on new people,” says Mr Jacka.