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Bus firm in the driving seat with Clydesdale Bank

5th September 2013

A flourishing UK corporate coach operator is on the road to further growth after switching to Clydesdale Bank.

The Edinburgh-based group, which incorporates tour bus operator Cramond Coaches Ltd, and flight crew transportation business Chaffeurline, transferred its transactional banking relationship to Clydesdale Bank after becoming dissatisfied with its previous banking partners.

The deal was delivered by Chris Mitchell, business development manager at Clydesdale Bank’s Regional Business and Private Banking Centre in Edinburgh.

New services being provided by Clydesdale Bank, including simplified online business banking, and online card payments, are already helping the group to streamline operations across the UK. The Bank also has access to a number of funding opportunities with the firm, ranging from premises purchase to vehicle finance.

The business was founded 20 years ago by former tour guide Graham Pender, who established Cramond Coaches Ltd with just one bus to offer his own tours. The firm, which quickly became renowned for its quality services, now operates a fleet of 17 vehicles. It was also selected to provide the only tour bus to follow the Olympic Torch last year during its 62-day tour of the UK.

As a direct result of the firm’s achievements over the last two decades, Cramond Coaches Ltd was invited in late 2012 to tender for a contract to transfer flight crew between Edinburgh Airport and hotels within the city. After successfully negotiating exclusive contracts with the airlines concerned – BA, Virgin, KLM, United and Continental Airlines - Chaffeurline (Scotland) Ltd was incorporated to facilitate the new trade.

Chaffeurline (Scotland) Ltd has since won further transportation contracts with the same airlines at Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Campbeltown and Dundee airports. A second division, Chaffeurline (UK) Ltd, was established in March this year when the firm secured contracts at Newcastle, Manchester and Gatwick airports.

Together, the group’s three companies operate more than 30 vehicles and employ a total of 32 staff, including 20 new jobs created this year by the Chaffeurline contracts. Turnover is expected to increase tenfold this year, rising from £250,000 in 2012 to about £2.5 million.

Graham Pender, sole director of the three businesses, said: “Moving to a new bank is a big decision for a small business as it means a lot of change. But in our case, the change has been all good.

“Instead of leaving voicemail messages when we have a query, we’re now able to pick up the phone and talk to one of Clydesdale Bank’s experienced team, which is absolutely essential for a business like ours that relies on fast decision-making

“We’ve also been very impressed with its online services, especially its online card processing facilities. Its secure, easy-to-use system has allowed us to get rid of our terminals, and is helping our accounts staff to save time.

“Small businesses need people to respond to them; the challenges out there are greater than they have ever been before. Thankfully, Clydesdale Bank understands those challenges, and has the solutions to overcome them. We would recommend Clydesdale Bank to any small business who wants a Bank that actually listens to their needs.”

Matt Smith, Clydesdale Bank’s head of transport, said: “Over the years, Graham Pender’s attention to detail has been a major factor in the success of his tour bus firm Cramond Coaches Ltd. Now his steadfast approach is also impressing busy airline bosses, who need a reliable transport service for their hard-working crews.

“We look forward to helping his business operate successfully and partnering with Graham on new opportunities for growth.”

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