Alternative Route Leasing are leading providers of car leasing, van leasing, and fleet management. Andrew Garaway and Neil Carlton are directors for the Dorset Area of Alternative Route Leasing, based at BizSpace Poole. They support local Dorset based business owners and companies with their vehicle leasing requirements.
Alternative Route Leasing has various partnerships with a range of top UK funders including ALD Automotive, Hitachi Capital and Santander Consumer Finance, to name a few. These partnerships ensure that Alternative Route Leasing provides competitive deals to their customers.
We met with Andrew Garaway and Neil Carlton to find out more about who Alternative Route Leasing are, and their successes and challenges along the way.
Andrew: I’m very much into cars, I guess no surprise being in the vehicle leasing industry and I’m a very keen cyclist when I get the chance! My wife and I remodelled our life four years ago and downsized to the coast into a smaller property, which allowed me to focus on work and play, and not much else. Easily the best decision of my life. Our social life with fellow business owners is a huge part of my life. I’m lucky enough to say we’re either working in the business or with friends on the beach.
Neil: I’ve got four kids, so most of my time is taken up there, to be honest with you!
Andrew: We are vehicle leasing brokers; we support local Dorset based business owners and companies with their vehicle requirements. Our business advises and manages the supply of vehicles on lease agreements to the business sector and business owners. We work within the Bridle Leasing Group, covering Dorset for the Group.
Andrew: The business started in 2006 as a general asset and business finance brokers and developed into pure vehicle leasing in 2012 when we began to work in conjunction with Alternative Route Leasing (now part of the Bridle Leasing Group). I’d been in vehicle and asset finance all my working life, having joined Lombard North Central in 1987 from University. Having my own business was a natural progression.
Neil: I’ve got a background with Volkswagen working in corporate sales for many years. Andrew and I have known each other for a long time, so we got together and decided to run the business as we do now.
Andrew: The first couple of years were tough, and this got a whole lot tougher when the financial crisis started, an asset finance broking business depended upon bringing banks and funders together with companies that needed funding. The funders pulled out through a lack of capital, and many businesses stopped investing in any form of capital expenditure. How we survived I don’t know, personal savings kept us going, with hindsight the cost we incurred in keeping the business going was too much. But employment opportunities in the sector were nil, somehow we survived and kept a roof over our head.
Andrew: Our philosophy is very much on advising our clients and providing a genuine service; advising them on the right vehicles and getting our clients to spend as little per month on their vehicles. Often clients enter into leasing contracts with us where they’ve taken the sensible option, as opposed to their initial plans to take delivery of a far more expensive vehicle. I’m delighted our philosophy and methods are recognised by clients who then refer us on to their business contacts. To us, there’s no better recommendation we can receive.
Neil: A local company that I’ve known for many years from my Volkswagen days. I continued my discussions with them and recently managed to get some vans supplied to them. It’s not only exactly what they’re looking for, but price-wise they’ve been delighted as well. So we’re looking to grow that business relationship in the future too, which is excellent news.
Andrew: A rebrand aimed at focussing on the local area, we find Bournemouth & Poole is a very much buy-local economy, and our rebrand will focus on this. We also want to keep growing. Between us, we’ve got hundreds of clients but there are potentially thousands of clients on our doorstep, but it’s just getting the message across which we hope to do in the future.
Andrew: Locality, cost and two car parking spaces, plus, the fact that the building had just been refurbished. Their offer was unique, and to be honest, it was in a different league to the other alternatives we’d considered. In fact, everything else we’d seen was a compromise too far, and I was beginning to worry we’d never find anything that was suitable. The relief we felt when we secured an office with BizSpace was huge!
Andrew: Do not underestimate the need to capitalise the business properly. Make sure you’ve got customers who will buy your products, believe in yourself and be prepared to commit to working at it 24/7 for as long as it takes. Be prepared for huge sacrifices, it’s going to be pretty tough.
Neil: And discuss with as many people as you can. Getting ideas and inspiration from people who have done it always helps too!
Andrew & Neil’s key tips for starting your own business:
Andrew & Neil lease office space at BizSpace Poole and have been with us since July 2018. If you’re interested in finding out more about our community of thinkers, makers, planners and doers at Bizspace, check out our other BizFaces.