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  • Post Lock-down Business, how are things with your business now?

    Posted by David Hammond on July 28, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    So following the easing of Lock Down, how are people finding business?

    I was anticipating a slow return, it’s proven correct for us. Very much on and off, luckily we’ve a few reasonable jobs to make it worth while.

    We didn’t jump on the Covid-19 bandwagon, but it seems to have calmed down on that front with the easing.

    Roads are still quiet, school holidays, it just feels very slow out there, with customers stalling and dragging their feet.

    David Hammond replied 3 years, 3 months ago 10 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • Kevin Mahoney

    July 28, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    So far, no different to any other time of year for us, we’re a family business so no need for social distancing there. Still not enough hours in the day, nor days in the week. We grabbed three days to extend the workshop purely by lying to customers that we had already been booked for the days they wanted. I almost wished for a lull to give us time to regroup & tweak our operation a bit but to no avail. The covid signage maybe paid the mortgage for a month or two but I wasn’t banking on it changing our lives to be honest. Are you trying anything new Dave?

  • David Hammond

    July 28, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    We had a reasonable return, having turned away work whilst furloughed, or delayed it until we had sufficient work to warrant coming return.

    We started working with a business coach, who highlighted some areas to improve on, we’ve increased prices where required, but still getting the work we want.

    We’re a family business too with relatively low overheads, so can ride through most things, but speaking to other businesses locally they’re finding it similar.

    There’s then those quoting crazy low prices buying up work, we can make more profit outsourcing basic jobs like leaflets, than what they’re charging for a van.

    Got a site survey tomorrow, that’s been booked for 3 weeks Rofl

  • Robert Lambie

    July 29, 2020 at 9:50 am

    we only fully locked down for 6 weeks. 3 staff and I, have been back at work full time since, whilst others are still furloughed. we were getting lots of enquiries coming in, some new and some existing customers. I could not see us losing the new, never mind potentially the existing customers. so back we went to work. ( all safe and above board of course )

    Since been back, the phones have been much slower than normal, but any enquiries have been sales and some very good ones. maybe because people aren’t ordering unless really needed, so there’s no haggling or whatever.

    however, us getting quotes and supplies was a challenge at the beginning. with deliveries not arriving while others going missing. frustrating and time-wasting for both us and our customers.

    on the whole, we are doing good and I would say back fully back to normal, even though on skeleton staff still. which itself is good going for us and shows we can adjust as a company easily enough.

    I haven’t, and won’t get caught up in the budget sticker crap that’s been going on. I came back early to make sure I had a business to return to and keep my staff in jobs. not to risk lives and work for nothing. these budget social distancing stickers and covid notices are needed, but I’m not doing them for nothing nor keep machines busy when i could be running profitable jobs.

    do not get me wrong, we have run loads of them but using the correct ant skid rated materials at our normal prices. no discounts! I do not see why I should whenever other business is closed or charging higher for their products and i am not talking sign companies. i mean in general. survival of the fittest and all that.

    plus, look at the vast majority of these graphics, they are in bits, poor designed, wrong colours, curling off the floors, faded. cheap nonsense that WILL need to be replaced shortly after purchase. false economy.

  • Phill Fenton

    July 29, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Very similar to you David. When the lockdown first began to ease it seemed to suddenly get very busy and we had a very good month but a lot of it was pent up demand. Since then things have slowed down though we are now getting more fresh enquiries than before (previously the vast bulk of our work was repeat business) however I suspect a lot of this is price checking. The roads are noticeably quieter these days so I suspect a lot are still working from home or still furloughed. I suspect things are only going to get tougher as time goes on and more companies downsize or call it a day

  • Jamie Wood

    July 29, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    We only furloughed 2 of us for 3 weeks, but kept open with 1 staff member unfurloughed to deal with enquiries. After about 3 days, loads of work came in, which we had to subby out, as we weren’t allowed to do it ourselves. Once the 3 weeks were up, we re-opened fully, and we’ve been busy ever since. Like Rob, we’ve been using our usual prices for all of the Covid stuff (which has been a lot), but not over charging. I think the fact that we were able to take orders throughout, has probably been beneficial, as we’ve picked up work which other companies couldn’t do, due to furlough & closure. We’re doing a lot more normal work now, but still a fair bit of Covid stuff coming through.

  • David Wilde

    July 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    We had a huge bounce back from lockdown, not enough hours in the day,all staff returned from furlough, barely any covid stuff but a lot of the work we did was backdated to pre lockdown or already due in this time of year.

    Quieter now, using the flexible furlough where possible in the hope that things improve before October.

  • David Hammond

    July 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    We’ve been maintaining our standard pricing, but increased our prices on some services, means we don’t need to be working as hard, to make the same money, and the raw materials are the same price.

    We’ve done a little bit of COVID work, but we’ve not pushed it hard, mainly because of supply issues, and the fact every man and his dog jumped on the bandwagon.

    @David-Wilde, I’m glad it’s not just me, must be a regional thing the ups and downs.

  • Hugh Potter

    July 29, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I came back on 11th May, being furloughed on 80% of a small salary wasn’t worth sitting around. We’ve been massively busy, probably busier than ever. Made a small push with covid stuff but couldn’t really be that bothered with it, made a little bit over what we spent out on non slip floor lam and still have 90m left!!

    I am definitely of the opinion that we’re making hay… the grants and BBL’s will slowly get spent or whittled down to a point where people want to hang on to a bit, and the work will slow to normal standards, or worse. We’ve had such a good couple of months that I reckon we could safely ride out another couple of months if the worst happened again.

    We’ve had a couple of small slow spots.. or so I thought… the wife then goes through all my unread emails, trello and invoicing, before plonking what appears to be another three very late nights worth of quotes, designs etc. 12hr+ days are standard at the moment, and that’s with my son in helping (he’s still on furlough) in the workshop and a wrap subby helping me out there..

    I do hope it continues, even though I do feel like a statistic waiting to happen Rofl

  • Colin Crabb

    July 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Very interesting times for us.

    We’ve burnt through 2000m + of banner media, 300m of floor stickers for C19 information at high speed with some late late nights due to the short turnaround needed.

    We have added another latex machine to the workshop, something that I was thinking about in December, but at the time put it off until spring, but went ahead due to the very nice discount quoted Grinning

    It has slowed down now, but order books seem to be at prelockdown levels once again, BUT with a different client base! plenty of vehicles, signs, posters, banners & stickers etc, but unsurprisingly zero for our normal tradeshow clients, and very little from Holiday Park & Seasonal clients.

    I personally think the autumn is when we’ll see the impact on our trade, as C19 market will be finshed (hopefully!) and client will have spent their bounce-back loans!

  • Robert Lambie

    July 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I agree, Colin. I also think in Autumn we will see the true impact begin to unfold. But I think this will be because as the furlough cushion disappears, companies chasing their debts push companies under and Phoenix companies appearing all over the place. And let’s not forget interest rates WILL Skyrocket as banks and all else want to cover their costs of all the handouts etc.

  • David Hammond

    July 29, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I agree, I think too many businesses aren’t planning far enough ahead.

    The grant was generous, and was meant to help keep businesses open, some have gone and splashed the cash, but if there’s a 2nd wave, another lockdown, cash in the bank is valuable.

    Same with furlough, once businesses need to be self sufficient, we may see widespread redundancies and companies closing.

    All this, then all the bounce back loans due to be repaid.

    I feel abundance of cash is generating a false security.

    Keeping our head down, and do what’s best for us. Those who make it out the other side will have done well.

    I’m surprised by the number of redundancies I’ve seen from large companies, they’re dramaticaly cutting costs.

  • Chris Wilson

    July 29, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    We are a mix off all of the above.

    Spent a week at home, then was pretty much told to get my backside back in. All my boys are back now.

    Covid signs have been good for us, along with hi vis and floor vinyls. Tough work though. Been 5am till 9pm most days but least the cash has been good.

    What surprised me from the start of June was the amount of premises smarting themselves up. Not exactly re-branding but new signs etc… not what I would class as essential, but good for me. Also seen a fair few new businesses pop up from redundancy’s. All on cheap cheap budgets but it’s the same mark up for me so no difference.

    Taken the punt on an embroidery machine and flat bed work station. Get me out the workshop more and hopefully embroidery machine will make up for the short fall in events and cover its cost at the same time. We have been offered a big contract to go with it.

    Not slowing here at the minute but expecting it to. Also enrolled in a business/mentoring course alongside 20 other local business owners.

    Looking at new things such as the 3M Di noc. Personally think it’s a bigger money spinner than wraps but will see, I have a plan.

    Also could be a good time to get the boys through there accreditation’s for Avery and the likes.

    Just hoping people chill out a bit. Never had so many insane requests all at once and then when it’s a no have them pull a strop.

  • Colin Crabb

    July 30, 2020 at 7:51 am

    “But I think this will be because as the furlough cushion disappears, companies chasing their debts push companies under and Phoenix companies appearing all over the place.”

    Yes, this is going to be very common, in my area I’m already aware of a couple of companies that will ‘Phoenix’ soon as they have to start repaying the loan back………

    We’re being VERY strict with payments & credit accounts, no more 30days, limited to 5days for top customers, rest is payment first.

  • Robert Lambie

    July 30, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    We’re being VERY strict with payments & credit accounts, no more 30days, limited to 5days for top customers, rest is payment first.

    Yes, we are doing the same, Colin. To be honest, we should have long ago!
    Actually using COVID to address long-standing issues like this is as good a time as any and more than justified. Plus, people accept it far easier, so why not?

  • Steff Davison

    August 3, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Worked all the way through, furloughed some staff, they are all back now. Payment wise 100% up front or we dont work. Business has been good (thankfully) but Im not confident for the general economy once government aid has been spent and (next year) they want businesses to start paying it back (BBL’s).

    Its tough out there, but I think the smaller businesses with a tighter control over their overhead stand a much better chance than the bigger boys who rely more on higher turnover for their business to work.

  • David Hammond

    August 3, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Steff, good to hear from you, and you’re doing well.

    I’m in total agreement with you, its going to get more difficult when everyone has to self sufficient again. If there are lots of redundancies, there may be less money around in general.

    Thankfully we’re small enough, and aren’t laiden with finance to fund each month.

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