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MOVES away from ownership and into rental or lease is becoming increasingly popular as tradespeople reduce exposure to debt. So says a trade-specific vehicle lease business, TradieSpec Ute Hire.

Co-founder and director Tim Cullen said renting was ideal for new business start-ups or people expanding a business.

“The most common trade is plumbing. However we do get an eclectic mix from roofers to fencers and even couriers,” he told GoAutoNews Premium.

“They are generally sole traders. However, more recently, we are seeing a lot of interest from larger construction companies that have contracts coming up.

“Demand for our utes has increased dramatically since January and is continuing to increase, resulting in more than a 700 per cent growth in the 2020 financial year.

“The reason is that it is costly for tradies to take on debt in the form of a new ute, especially when the business is just starting or expanding.

“Renting is also perfect for tradies who can’t get finance or want to avoid long and high-interest rate loans.”

Mr Cullen’s business offers rentals of between three and 12 months without finance application or credit history check.

He said that the fallout of the banking royal commission meant securing lending had become increasingly difficult for tradies starting out to get finance for a work vehicle.

“Without wheels, a tradie doesn’t have much of a business,” he said.

“We have been speaking with our car dealer network, some of them saying finance application rejection rates are north of 30 per cent.

“We have had two clients this month rejected on their finance applications that we tried to assist with.”

Tim Cullen

Mr Cullen said one recent client was financially unable to buy a new ute and so decided to rent.

“He hasn’t missed a single payment with us in 12 months and has a secure, high-paying plumbing job,” he said.

“Flexibility is a really important factor for tradies. Banks just don’t offer any flexibility when it comes to debt and that doesn’t match how a tradie operates their business.

“A lot of tradies are sick of filling out finance applications that ultimately end up in disappointment.”

TradieSpec buys direct from dealers and tends to look for Toyota HiLux Workmate utes, Ford Ranger XLs (dual and single cabs) and Toyota HiAce vans. They are fitted with aluminium trays, toolboxes and tow bars.

The business is based in the south of Sydney and operates across NSW but Mr Cullen said it will be expanding interstate to set up in Brisbane and Melbourne within the next 18 to 24 months after finalising a round of investment.

Tradies remain with the vehicle on their contract but Mr Cullen said running a shorter term – say three months – can allow them to change into another vehicle if they require a different specification for a different job.

By Neil Dowling

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