Should I take out a loan during COVID-19?

Although the UK is starting to see a slow return to normality, for many people, the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their lives for the foreseeable future. If you have been furloughed or even made redundant, taking out a loan may seem like the only viable option to meet your financial commitments. But is it really advisable while the COVID-19 situation is still ongoing?

What do you need the loan for?

Depending on what you need the money for, it is definitely worth considering whether there are other ways to meet your obligations. Banks and building societies are evolving their customer services to help see vulnerable people through these difficult times. If you have a mortgage but are struggling to make your monthly repayments, it is absolutely worth talking to your mortgage provider before you rush into getting a loan. Many mortgage lenders may be far more accommodating than you might think – in some cases, they are allowing people to take a payment break for several months while they steady their financial position.

Similarly, service providers and your local council will also be willing to talk to you about staggering repayments, which may reduce the amount you need to take out as a loan.

Can you afford the monthly repayments?

If you have financial commitments that you are unable to reduce or delay, then you should carefully consider what the most appropriate loan plan would be for you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever you do, it’s important to ensure that you have a way to meet all of the monthly repayments that would be expected of you.

If you aren’t sure what your future finances look like, check what furlough or redundancy payments you are entitled to. By speaking to an advice service or directly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), you will be able to get a proper breakdown of what you are eligible to claim in benefits. You can also work out whether you are able to claim any of your tax back.

Choose the direct lender that suits you

Before you commit to a loan, do your research. There are lots of options available, but not all of them are equal. A quick google will throw up a long list of loan providers if you are looking to apply for a loan online. This can be a confusing process, so it’s good to take your time and read through everything.

Some direct lenders will have a longer application process, if you need a loan quickly it is recommended applying with a lender that can offer same day loans due to the quick application process.

It’s also important to understand the difference between online brokers and direct lenders. Online brokers act as a middle man, sending your details to lots of individual lenders. Direct lenders are able to make a decision swiftly and in a more straightforward manner – they are the companies that actually provide the finance. Most will be able to review your application within a few days or hours, and if you are approved, they can send you the money the same day.

Of course, there are lots of different direct lenders to choose from. You need to carefully consider the amounts, the interest rates and the repayment plan that would be expected. It’s also really important to understand what the penalty rates are – after all, we can expect the financial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 to continue for quite some time. If you think that there is a danger that your financial situation may deteriorate further, do not put yourself at risk of hefty late-payment fines. Make sure you work with a direct lender that you feel comfortable with – and whose terms and conditions you fully understand.

5 reasons why you should meet your manufacturer face to face

You may be thinking – why bother going to a trade show to find a manufacturer when you can just download the list of exhibitors and contact them via email instead? But in these days of digital communication there are advantages to meeting in person that just can’t be beaten.

Let us tell you some of the reasons why you should meet your manufacturer face-to-face…

Meeting someone in person aids communication.

There is little room for a lack of understanding or misinterpretation of ideas if you can meet with someone and discuss business when you are both able to look each other in the eye. It is even better if you can also show the manufacturer the type of product you want to make, and they can show you other things that they might have made previously that are similar.

It demonstrates that you mean business

If manufacturers receive hundreds of emails a week from prospective new customers and can only take on a limited amount of new business, why will they pick you? When you make the effort to go and meet someone face to face and explain what you are trying to achieve they are much more likely to see the potential in a future business partnership.

You can touch and feel the product and see the quality of their workmanship
We are, after all, talking about developing products here. There’s no point complaining about a first delivery coming back from a manufacturer and the quality being disappointing, if you have never seen anything that the factory has made before. Taking a few hours out of your busy day to browse the quality of craftsmanship coming out of the British Isles may reassure you as to why you may pay a little more to get something made here instead of overseas.

It can lead to some great collaborations

Who knows what might come out of a visit to a trade show and the opportunity to network with others in a real life situation? Social media is great for virtual networking but being in the same room as someone can’t be beaten.
Ideas for new business opportunities often come about in the most unlikely of meetings, and an event with hundreds of manufacturers in one venue could be the perfect place to find your next business partner.

There may be things that you never thought possible

Who knows what you might discover when you actually take the time to look around and see what different manufacturers have to offer? There maybe products that you never knew could be made here. Or different manufacturing techniques that you hadn’t even heard of. You won’t find many of these on the internet or in en email. So get yourself out there and go meet some manufacturers!

Agree better credit terms and repayment schedules

Meeting someone face to face without a doubt has it’s benefits, it also creates a greater amount of trust when meeting someone via a face to face meeting. Added trust, especially with a manufacturer and a lender can result in better payment/credit terms for yourself or your business. However it is not always the case that a lender is available for a face to face meeting, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.