Financial arrangement benefits SA cyclists
Positive Sports Solutions have added another element to their portfolio of cycling products as they continue their mission of making the sport more affordable to South African consumers. The cycling brand distribution company have announced an arrangement with financing company I-ME Solutions this week whereby their clients can qualify for loans up to 24 months on new purchases. Positive Sports Solutions spokesman David Pieterse said there was a strong demand among their customers for an arrangement of this nature.
“When it comes to purchasing bicycles, not everybody can lay out all the money at once,” he said. “Through our contact with I-ME Solutions, we make it possible for any cyclist to access the finance to buy their dream bike. “This benefits a customer as he or she is then not liable to pay the initial full cost, but can do so on a monthly basis.” Freddie Fourie, co-owner of the Roodepoort-based financing company, said the demand for bicycle finance led to them widening the offer to individuals. “We specialise in off-balance-sheet finance of industrial and factory equipment for businesses,” he said. “The I-ME Gear product was initially focused on bicycle finance to businesses, with various advantages to the business owner.
“To name a few, it is off the balance sheet and so the client can claim the VAT on the premium and, in certain cases, the premium against taxable income.” He said they then opened it up to individuals and now had a “very balanced split” between individual and business clients on the I-ME Gear product. “Our book grew very well and we were getting more and more requests from individuals wanting to make use of our services.” Fourie added that they used the same rates and processes for businesses and individuals.
“Both can either apply online or send us their documentation via email or the dealer.” With financing available over 12 or 24 months, he said there were a number of qualification criteria. “We do have a credit model that we use to calculate risk and we cannot unfortunately help clients with any adverse information at any of the credit bureaus or those who are under debt review. “That said, we always try to help the clients and have an exceptionally high approval ratio.”
He said they covered complete bikes, but also accommodated clients who wanted to do wheel or groupset upgrades. However, there is a minimum contract value of R10 000. Fourie added that due to the development of bicycle technology there was a viable market for their financial products in the country. “The rate at which the sport is growing in all its different categories and the price tags of new bicycles means the model makes it possible to keep up with technology. “Furthermore, it enables the cyclist to compete in more than one of the sport’s disciplines.” There had been a positive response from the cycling public, said Fourie, with many clients financing more than one bicycle with them. “We also have a very high upgrade ratio and that is a good indicator that the product works well for our clients.
“For example, around 86 per cent of our clients buy new bikes at the end of the term. “We also have quite a few early upgrades, where clients trade or sell their old bikes and finance new ones before they reach the end of the term. “In essence it means we have a high percentage of return business clients.” He added that they worked on a quick turnaround time. “We will give a client an answer within four business hours from the time we receive his application and will have the contract with him within two business hours of receiving the signed approval letter. “We have also automated the process, which means the client now signs all the paperwork online.”
Positive Sports Solutions have sole distributorship agreements in SA for several premium international brands. These include HEAD bikes from Europe, Gipiemme wheels from Italy, Westfalia racks from Germany and Controltech components from the United States.