There isn’t much Tom Preston and his father Richard, don’t know about cars. The family business started initially as coal merchants in 1906 in Blackburn, but by 1960 founder George Preston, changed direction and entered into the motor trade.
Now, thanks to the involvement of Haworths Chartered Accountants in Accrington, the company is set for further expansion after a £900,000 investment.
Due to the company’s enviable reputation for customer service, it was able to secure partnerships from some of the world’s top manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Land Rover, BMW and MINI.
To further diversify and grow the business, Tom set up The Hippo Group in 2007 which comprises the award winning Hippo Leasing, Hippo Prestige, Hippo Finance, Hippo Used Cars and Hippo Servicing.
Through its nationwide vehicle supply network, The Hippo Group offers an unsurpassed range of vehicles for business and personal use, catering for every aspect of new and used vehicle acquisition, including finance, leasing and contract hire solutions.
Over the years, the business has steadily developed and grown, but in 2012 Tom saw the opportunity to expand further and move from the company’s initial site in Blackburn by purchasing a plot of land to build a purpose built dedicated showroom. Tom was able to provide finance for the necessary equipment required for the outlet however in order to complete the acquisition Tom needed an additional £900,000, bringing the total up to almost £2million.
Mark Schofield says: “Many companies just use accountants for tax or payroll purposes, but one of the services we pride ourselves on is the support we offer in finding and securing funding for businesses. We work closely with companies to assess their requirements, advise on the best sources of finance, draw up the necessary proposals, as well as establish and develop good working relationships with banks.”
Having previously worked with the company, Tom approached Chartered Accountants, Haworths. They understood the business and so were able to work with Tom and his team to provide knowledge and expertise across a range of activity from sales figures and technical advice to help steer their path through rapid expansion, as well as securing the funding for the new showroom by raising almost £1m through bank finance.
Before the funding could be released, the bank needed a business plan and details of sales forecasts. Haworths Chartered Accountants worked closely with both the bank and Tom to provide all the necessary information.
With the showroom now fully up and running, Tom is looking at building up his customer base and is continuing to work with Haworths Chartered Accountants on an on-going basis.
Tom says: “Haworths Chartered Accountants has not only helped with advice on our investment but they have been really supportive throughout the whole adventure. On a day to day basis they deal with payroll and tax and have helped with a number of other business issues. Without the funding we wouldn’t have been able to purchase the land for our new showroom. They didn’t just help secure this finance to enable us to expand, they guided us through the whole process.
“The team has been extremely proactive in coming up with ideas on how to save money and they have the experience to actively contribute to the business, especially being there at the end of the phone for any queries.”
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