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Caravan Industry & Park Operator magazine is the industry's only free trade magazine - offering essential reading for holiday and caravan parks across the UK.

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Managing Director of Leisure at DF Capital

As DF Capital’s managing director of leisure, Ian Martin ensures DF Capital plays a vital role in supporting businesses to make the most of current commercial opportunities.  He understands portfolio management, credit oversight and retailer and manufacturer relationships and has three decades of experience in leisure finance, crucially including manufacturing relationships and sales management roles

How is the caravan and park homes market faring at the moment Ian?  We had a good 2022 in terms of sales but that seems to have fallen off this year.  Should we remain positive despite all of this?    

Yes, that’s right, things have started to slow a little.  After a period of booming sales, many manufacturers are now having to put the brakes on slightly in terms of production to give the parks chance to clear some of the stock they are holding.  Parks are being more proactive in encouraging buyers with special offers and deals.  I’ve seen free site fees and free gas and electric for a year– which are nice incentives for the right customers.  

Nonetheless, at a recent park and leisure homes show, manufacturers and parks said they were pleased with the footfall and enquiries in general. Anecdotally, I’ve also heard that holiday bookings at certain parks are holding up well, especially as they too are offering money off deals.  So, whilst it’s a more difficult market than it was 12 months ago, there is still interest in the sector and I expect this to continue.  That is where DF Capital comes in.

Can you tell me a bit more about DF Capital?

DF Capital is a specialist savings and commercial lending bank, providing  personal savings products to retail customers and award-winning inventory finance solutions to dealer and manufacturing businesses across the country.

DF Capital works closely with manufacturers and parks in the leisure industry and provides flexible working capital solutions – Floorplan Finance, Unit Stocking and Rental Finance – throughout the unit distribution cycle. 

Can you explain what these are in more detail?

DF Capital supports park home and lodge manufacturers and distributors with capital funding throughout their distribution cycles. This is done by providing credit facilities, known as Floorplan Finance, across the distribution network which can help to grow sales, improve cash flow and free up working capital.

Holiday parks are also supported by credit facilities so they can purchase and supply units to their customers when needed without having to pay for them upfront.  This is called Unit Stocking and this brings cash flow and working capital benefits to distributors.

DF Capital also provides holiday parks with flexible funding to enable them to purchase more units so they can hire them out to customers, spreading the cost over time whilst earning rental income.  By providing this flexibility, park operators can decide whether to sell or continue to rent out the unit at the end of the term. This is known as Rental Finance

How is DF Capital helping parks and manufacturers in the lodge and park home sector to keep things moving and grow their businesses in the current market?  

Our funding can help both parks and manufacturers to grow their sales, protect cashflow and support working capital. If we don’t already work with a manufacturer, we can offer parks a direct funding facility, whereby we provide the funding to the parks and they pay the manufacturer for the units received.  For manufacturers who have a programme with us, we pay them upon delivery of the homes, with the parks then repaying us upon final sale to their customer.  

It’s a streamlined process that makes selling products easier for both manufacturers and the parks. We’ve grown the number of manufacturers we work with over the last few years and now support more parks than ever before.

We are all about helping grow sales for manufacturers and parks alike. The facilities we offer are tailored to individual needs and we offer facility limits – according to our customer’s affordability – to unlock growing sales.  

We also have flexible limits to support a park or manufacturer.  

Does DF Capital offer hire fleet funding?  

Yes, DF Capital offers a rental and hire fleet facility to parks.  Manufacturers offer units on fleet terms and we typically finance them over a four year period, up to a maximum of 90 days per rental contract.

Is consumer finance on the cards for holiday home purchases? 

We are exploring options to widen the lending products we offer and this could include consumer finance in the future for a number of our sectors 

When did the Floorplan Finance scheme start, what has onboarding been like, and do you see a time when this will be the default way of doing business?

DF Capital has been offering Floorplan Finance since it was founded in 2016. Floorplan financing is well established and, in some areas – such as tourers and motorhomes – the vast majority of manufactured units are funded via a floorplan scheme.  We are continuing to see growing interest for similar finance in the lodges and holiday homes market, so expect to see more units across the entire sector to be funded by floorplan over time. 

Tell me about something that makes DF Capital stand out in the industry

We are quite unusual in this industry as our charges are fixed at the point a home arrives at the park, until we are repaid. This gives parks and manufacturers certainty as to the cost of having an unsold home on the park but also provides important protection against increasing interest rates on the assets that have already been funded by us.  

For those interested in finding out more, what should they do next? 

Visit dfcapital.bank/commercial and take a look at our product information. We even have videos on our website to help explain how we can help.  You can also contact me on imartin@dfcapital.bank and we can discuss ways in which DF Capital can support both manufacturers and holiday parks.   

DF Capital is an award-winning lender. At last year’s Business Moneyfacts Awards, it was commended in the Best Alternative Business Funding Provider category.  In November 2022 it won the Top Inventory and Floorplan Specialist Award at the Leasing World Gold Awards for the second year running.

For further information contact:

Go to dfcapital.bank/commercial

Ian on imartin@dfcapital.bank 

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