Case Study – Sole Trader

John had to stop his business because of a lack of demand for his services during lockdown. He was a sole trader. He was able to get a job as a lorry driver which meant he could provide for his family. However, he had built up £180,000 of debts in his business which he could not possibly afford to pay back from his ongoing salary.

He spent about a year with his head buried in the sand. He would make promises of payment to his creditors without ever having a real plan. As time wore on, he became more and more worried with his friends getting increasingly concerned about his mental health. He knew he had to deal with his creditors but he could not see how he was going to do it. He was desperately worried about losing his home.

John eventually sought help from me. I was able to put forward a plan to his creditors about how he would repay part of the debt and keep his home. The plan was based on selling his business assets which were worth about £20,000; selling a buy to let property he owned jointly with his wife which raised £25,000; and raising money that represented his interest in the family home which was worth £37,500. This was done by his wife using her half share in the buy to let property (£25,000) plus money borrowed from her family (12,500).

The plan was put to creditors by way of an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). Creditors could see that all of his assets were being realised and they accepted that his income was such that he could not make any further payments. The costs of an IVA are substantially less than a bankruptcy so they were actually going to get more money by accepting the IVA which is what they did.

Creditors got more money than if John had gone bankrupt. John was happy that he had dealt with his debts and had kept his family home.