In a national survey of SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises), business owners claim the perception that small and micro businesses have poor credit ratings, or could simply be a risk, is leading to them being charged higher rates, said Utilita.
According to the figures, 89% of pubs said they had been hit with "unexpected terms and conditions", such as higher rates or inflexible payment options, while almost half (41%) have been asked to make large upfront payments for their energy supply.
The research also showed that one-quarter of pubs (26%) have been "turned down flat" when applying for energy simply due to their size.
'Stark state of affairs'
Commenting on these findings Shaun Underwood, director of commercial energy for Utilita, said: "This survey shows the stark state of affairs for small businesses in today’s climate.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and restricting their access to vital services only stifles their ability to grow and support the wider economy.
"Utilita wants to support businesses, which is why we won’t turn down small businesses, despite poor credit ratings, or charge upfront deposits.
"This issue of accessing vital services goes much wider than the energy sector, which is why we’re highlighting some of the simple but effective steps that small and micro businesses can take to improve both their credit score and their access to the services they need."
The survey involved 202 pubs and restaurants.
Top Tips by Utilita to improve business credit score:
- Pay your bills on time. A negative record of paying on time can indicate a poor cash position.
- Limit your credit usage and keep debt low, however, use some credit to create a history.
- Regularly check your credit rating using an online tool and correct any mistakes immediately.
- Register your business with a credit reference agency or directory to make sure there is a record of your business. If your business is below the radar it could affect you getting credit.
- Check the credit position of your suppliers to protect yourself if something happened to them.
- Avoid closing accounts when paid off.
- If you’re a start-up business, keep a close eye on your personal finances. If financial information about your business is not available, your personal data could be used as an indicator.
- Avoid County Court Judgements, but if one does occur make sure it’s paid off immediately.