The challenges facing van dealers in 2023

Why do self-employed sub-prime customers find it difficult to get approved for finance?

sub-prime van customer

As of July 2023, there are currently over 4.24 million people classified as self-employed in the UK. The demand for new and used vans has surged due to this, but factors such as national lockdowns have led to an increased average mileage and age of vans in the market.

The economy over the last few years has been tough. With the cost-of-living crisis, slow economic growth, and increases in interest rates, many van finance companies have been tightening their lending criteria as a result. This makes it even more challenging for van dealers to get approvals for their sub-prime customers.

Many self-employed customers will find it challenging to get approved for finance and provide finance companies with the necessary proof of income they are now asking for. It becomes even more challenging for those customers who work for themselves and happen to be sub-prime.

With the economy's challenges, tightening criteria from finance lenders, older vans with higher mileages, and increased demands for proofs, van dealers face even more difficulty getting finance approvals for their customers reliant on owning a van to earn a living.

Our flexible van underwriting criteria

flexible van finance criteria

We understand the difficulties many in the motor trade face because we have been working with van dealers and approving their sub-prime customers for over twenty years. Our experience in the industry coupled with our flexible van finance criteria, has allowed us to know how to tackle the challenges currently facing van dealerships during these tough times.

As we recognise that many vans in the market are now, on average, older and have higher mileage than in previous years, our flexible van finance criteria take these challenges into account. With no vehicle age limit in our lending criteria, we finance petrol vans up to 120,000 miles and diesel vans up to 160,000 miles!

Our fixed van finance criteria

Aged 21+
UK resident
Petrol maximum mileage: 120,000
Diesel maximum mileage: 160,000
Income deposited into a bank account

Our flexible van finance criteria

18 - 61 month terms
No deposit required
£2,000 - £15,000 lend
Minimum one year self-employed (if applicable)


We understand the importance of getting approval for finance on the van your customers want to buy from you. This is why we manually underwrite all applications that our van dealers propose to us. Our flexible approach to underwriting your van finance applications, means that we can assess each of your customers' applications on their own merit, which gives us the ability and flexibility to approve complex deals other lenders may not even consider. Our flexible van finance criteria is what we believe sets us apart as a sub-prime van finance company that you can trust with your customers applications.

How we make it easier for van buyers to prove their income

customer proving income

We know that it can be challenging to get approvals for self-employed customers because they often struggle to prove their income. Many finance lenders are now asking for more and more proofs than before, and this can be difficult or time-consuming for customers to provide, which can slow down the entire van buying process.

Our standard request for 3 months' bank statements becomes even more convenient with Open Banking. This technology enables us to access digital versions of your customers' bank statements, eliminating the need for them to take multiple screenshots of their online banking or requesting and waiting for paper copies from their bank. Additionally, our dealers no longer need to scan and email potentially numerous pages to us either; doing deals and keeping it simple and straightforward for van dealerships is what we are all about.

We also have a customer portal, which allows customers to log in and provide any information we ask for directly. This extends to an online driving license check with the DVLA, which means you don’t have to continually chase customers, and means you can focus on the busy task of running your van dealership.

How our dealer portal makes it easier for van dealerships

First Response Finance dealer portal

We also have a dedicated Dealer Portal, available to all our van dealer partners. This allows van dealerships to propose customers, upload documents, eSign customers, get real-time updates on the status of all pending applications, and get instant decisions and credit limits.

We also have a chat system built into our Dealer Portal, so if you’ve got a query or have an update for us and don’t have time to call, you can drop us a message, and we will reply with an update.

In an ever-changing economic climate, where customers are struggling, and some finance lenders are tightening their lending criteria, First Response Finance is here to help you tackle these issues head on, because we want to help you sell more vans to more of your customers.

Partner with us

Partner with us

If you want to work with one of the best sub-prime finance companies in the UK, First Response Finance is here for you. Our flexible criteria, award-winning service, and consistent recognition from the industry, we are the go-to sub-prime finance company in the motor trade that you can trust.

Partner with us and experience the difference of working with the best subprime finance lenders, dedicated to helping you and your dealership get more deals over the line. If you don’t currently work with First Response Finance and would like to discuss how we can help you and your sub-prime customers, click the button below fill out the form, and Brad from our team will be in touch to discuss how we can help you sell more cars on finance.

Partner with us

If you would prefer speaking to us directly, give us a call on 01156711755, and ask for Brad.

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