05 Jan The Story Of Where Finestream All Began
I guess as any business progresses and grows it is often easy to lose track of why they do what they do.
The business will always understand what they do, but often they won’t know why they do it.
I was talking to some guys at a conference the other day who worked for a large company who (for the sake of this story) sold customised software to businesses. None of these guys had a problem telling me what their company did, but not one of them could tell me why their company did it.
This made me realise that at times there is probably a huge disconnect between the original founder of a business and their vision, and that businesses people and customers.
So I thought that now is perfect timing as we have just rolled out our new look business, to tell the story of where it all started, and why we do what we do.
In 2009 I was working for a large accounting firm in Adelaide. My involvement day to day with the financial dealings of businesses led to me having a strong understanding of business finance and the industry in which I was working, or so I thought.
I had recently listed my car for sale, and was looking to upgrade. I thought at the time I knew everything there was to know about how to buy a car, and the research that was required.
After narrowing down my list of possible choices to two or three makes and models, I went into a dealership the following Saturday for a test drive.
The dealership itself was not what would be considered ‘B Grade’, it was a reputable dealer selling new and used cars of a high quality, so I was fairly confident that I was in safe hands.
I’ve walked in on the Saturday morning and spoken to the salesman briefly about the sort of thing I was after. Before too long I was in a car on a test drive. Drivers licence copied, budget disclosed, the sales guy was basically rubbing his hands together.
By the time I returned from the drive, I was undecided.
I wanted more time to make my decision, to go away and come back later.
Well this bloke wouldn’t have a bar of it.
He got really pushy, bordering on desperate. Asking me why I would take a test drive unless I was certain that I wanted that specific car (would have thought that one was pretty obvious), telling me that there was a high chance the vehicle was going to be sold later that afternoon to another couple that were apparently coming in to see it, the whole thing just made me feel uncomfortable. I would have done just about anything to get out of that situation, such as agreeing to buy the car. So I did.
Now I had heard of mortgage brokers before when it came to arranging finance for buying houses, but as far as I knew the only two ways to get finance on a new car was by either talking to your existing bank, or sorting it out in the dealership.
I thought since I was already in the dealership, it was far more convenient to do it then and there, and I’d already spent enough time with the sales guy, I just wanted to get the whole thing wrapped up and get out of there.
I was taken through the finance application process and provided the bits and pieces of paperwork that the finance guy needed to get the deal settled.
The documents were explained to me, and I was told my interest rate was 6%. I thought that that sounded pretty good, so I signed on the dotted line.
What was even more convenient, they were able to sort out warranty and insurance for me at the same time!
The process seemed slick, like a production line. I went from the car to the finance and insurance office, and from there back to the car, and before I knew it; I had shaken hands with the sales guy and was driving home. Purchase contracts and finance contracts on the passenger seat, all put together nicely with the sales guy’s business card, just in case I wanted to buy another car from him. I was pleased.
The next day is when the issues started to arise.
I bought the documents into work and ran a couple of quick calculators on the repayment and term of the loan, it was telling me that the interest rate was 13%.
That couldn’t be right I thought, the finance guy had told me that my rate was 6%.
I called the dealership and got put through to the receptionist, not surprisingly the finance guy was ‘unavailable’ to take my call.
I explained the issue I had found to the receptionist and was told that unless I had the 6% ‘quote’ in writing, there wasn’t much I could do, apparently I had misheard and it was my mistake.
Then I looked at my warranty and insurance documents. The cost of the warranty had not been explained to me clearly and it was large. Very large. The way it had been described in the dealership they had made it seem like I didn’t have a choice, like the warranty was just a perk of buying this car.
Then I saw the actual cost of the thing sitting as an ‘additional fee’ in the finance contract. Then I realised I had not been told what the warranty actually covered, and what it didn’t cover. I felt all of a sudden very uninformed and a little tricked.
I tried the dealership again. Again I was told the finance guy was ‘unavailable’ to take my call.
I started to think about the actual process I had just been through, and I realised that I hadn’t even really wanted the car that badly. That I had been pressured into it, and convinced that it was the right thing to do.
What angered me most was the finance and warranty situation. The guy had rushed me through it so quickly, and had so blatantly been untruthful about the cost of the warranty and insurance, that I felt like I had been had.
The whole situation had been outside my control, I had been just a cog in their production line. Convinced on a car I didn’t really want, and sold finance and warranty that I didn’t understand, and at a very high price.
I started to think that if this had been the experience I had had, then surely other people were having similar experiences when they were faced with buying a new car.
Not really knowing what they should be looking for, not knowing how to handle the sales process, and most obviously, not understanding the finance, warranty, and insurance aspects of purchasing a new car.
Over the course of the following year, I built a service based business model in which people could come to us to have every aspect of their car purchasing process just handled. Beautifully simple, and trusted. Details explained every step of the way. Choices given, and education provided. I turned my negative experience I had had when purchasing a car, into a business that provided a solution to this problem.
Empowering people to make informed decisions when it came to car purchases.
My love of cars meant this work was extremely enjoyable. Making it all the more rewarding helping people get into their dream cars.
The name ‘Finestream’ fit the business perfectly as it defines a stream lined process. Creating simplicity.
I started the business to help people finance their new cars, but since then it has grown and developed into being about so much more than just finance.
We offer an end to end solution for every aspect of the vehicle purchase, helping people save time and money, and giving them a friendly face to talk with throughout the process.
Why do we do what we do?
Because people needed a trusted partner in their corner when purchasing a new car. Someone they can unload the task to, and have comfort in knowing that they are going to get what they want, and be looked after every step of the way.
Finestream exists to make people’s lives easier.
We just happen to do that by simplifying their car purchases.
Partnering with people to make their car purchases positive experiences.
And most importantly, we do what we do because it’s fun.