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How does being a Sole Trader affect leasing? Here's a guide from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts to talk you through the process

As a Sole Trader looking to lease a car or van for your business, you will need to know whether you are eligible for finance and, if so, what sort of documentation you will need to supply to be able to complete the financial contract.

As specialists in helping businesses find finance for leasing purposes, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts offer you some guidance as to what may be required.


You may be unsure if your business is eligible for finance as, in order to lease a vehicle from us, your business will need to undergo a credit check as part of the finance application process.

You can do a quick check to see if eligibility will be a problem by taking our interactive questionnaire here, before you even start to look at vehicles and our online Business Finance Application Form here.

In the Business Finance Application Form, you will find questions about yourself and your company, which will then be used by the relevant finance company to eventually determine whether you are eligible for finance or not.

Whether you are looking for a car or a van leasing contract, you should note that business leasing is much more common for vans than personal leasing (with some funders not offering personal agreements on vans), and that if you choose to lease a van on a personal basis there may also be some limitations on that contract. However, pick-ups are an exception, being readily available to both business and personal customers, provided you are financially eligible.

Documentation for Finance Application

When it comes to the online information required, you will be asked questions about your business a Sole Trader, how many years you have been trading for, what sort of lease you are looking for (Business or Personal), and whether or not your company has ever been refused finance before for anything.

During the Financial process, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Business details – including trading name, address, VAT number (if applicable), annual turnover, and date established
  • Director details – including name, address, date of birth, and marital status
  • Business bank details – including bank name, account number, and sort code

If your business is less than a year old, or if you’ve previously been denied vehicle finance, we might also ask you for 3 months of business bank statements.

Proof of ID Documents

Once the Application is in, you will need to prepare for acceptance by getting together all the documentation that you will need to prove that you actually are who you say you are, and that all information you have supplied is correct - and this means physical documentation.

For a Sole Trader application, you will need:

  • Your driver's licence (valid and in date) to check address and signature
  • Two items for proof of address for yourself (gas bill, electric bill, council tax bill - all with your name on) dated within 90 days of the application date
  • Bank statements (to back up your financial situation)
  • Some lenders also require a valid passport as further proof

Essentially, you need to show clear evidence of your address and your income to the finance company if you want them to lend you the money. If you can’t show this, your application will, in all likelihood, be rejected.

Finance companies will often require original documentation, although increasingly, scanned copies will suffice. Copies of all your documentation, along with the signed vehicle contract and signed finance contract, are supplied to the finance company’s head office and, if everything is in order, the vehicle leasing goes ahead.

How long does the credit check take?

Once all the completed forms have been supplied to Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, we check them and send them to the finance house for final processing, along with any documentation we have requested.

One of our sales representatives will have been in touch by phone to confirm the order and to run through the necessary pre-credit checks before submitting you for finance.

Most funders respond to a credit application within 2 working days. However, during busy periods it can take up to 5 working days to receive a response from the funder.

Whilst waiting for the approval, as long If you’ve taken the eligibility quiz and are likely to be eligible for finance, why not take a look at some great car deals, and van deals.

If you have any questions as a Sole Trader regarding leasing a vehicle from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, contact one of our customer service representatives on 0345 811 9595 who will be pleased to help you.