I get knocked down, but I get up again...

...they're never going to keep me down!

Things haven't been going too well these last few weeks. Whilst I've kept a couple of great customers I've lost a load to a father and son team of 'experts' who offer a complete gardening and handyman service for £6.50 per hour (for both of them!), and I've struggled. Attempts to keep customers with "but you can't exactly expect competence at £6.50 an hour" has been met with "but they're only £6.50 and there's two of them!" Hate to think where their gardening and building rubbish goes, and the aftermath of their chainsaw job on a small Buddleja was a work of art (in a harsh, modernistic way). I know that these guys will lose customers as their reign of chaos spreads, but in the meantime I can't sustain myself without the work.

For now I've taken a part time job with a local nursery. With a background in commercial growing I should make myself useful! The money is less than I could be taking per hour working for myself, but is a better prospect than not being able to pay the rent etc. I'll be honest I'm a bit gutted; I take pride in what I do and being self employed was, I hoped, my chance to take control of my life a bit more.

I'm not giving up. Things are complicated, but they could be so much worse! Hopefully I'll be back on track soon, but in the meantime I'm relieved to have a job.

Just need to decide which account I need my wages in, personal or business!

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  • PRO
    You've done the right thing in taking a job, much better than joining a race to the bottom on prices, keep going you will get there:)
    • Thank you; I can't afford to live on air while charging nothing just to keep working!

  • I also think you have done the right thing while you gather stock and review.  I have looked at where you are situated and while it is a lovely part of the country, there is a distinct lack of 'chimney pots'!  In my area, there are 250k living within 7 miles of my house, which gives us plenty of 'bread and butter' jobs as well as the larger 'all day' clients. We are also in the London commuter belt, which helps enormously.  

    Maybe you need to target the bigger houses of which you wouldn't need too many.  Good luck Ben, done beat yourself up too much.

    • It is a surprisingly sparsely populated part of the world, even with the towns around here. I'm really keen to get out there and 'do my thing', but at least the guy I'm working for is a great guy and although the money isn't great it is at least money!

  • PRO

    Contact the inland revenue, job centre and trading standards. get as many details as you can and let them do the work for you.

    • PRO
      I think they will fall apart themselves in a very short time as its just not sustainable at those rates
      • I think they will; they'll flog themselves to death just to put fuel in their (new) van. Even if they put prices up they must have incurred debts by now. All they need to do is last longer than me though, and I'm determined not to let that happen.

  • The rate for two people at £6.50 is definetely not sustainable long term, no business can trade successfully at that, running costs, repairs and replacing equipment will eat into any profit. Is it not worth contacting them and pointing out that it is not doing anyone any favours, especially them. Competition is good and should keep standard up, but their strategy is foolish
  • PRO

    No ones noticed that theire not even making minimum wage.... and their operating cost will be close on £6.50....

    Are you sure theyre £6.50 an hour and not customers just saying that? Ive had daft people do the same thing saying "so and so will work for £15 an hour, will you"? well./.. no.
    I do apreciate your in a very rural area and the competition levels will surpress your rates, but £6.50 is below minimum wage, and is not even enough to cover tools and fuel...

    • PRO
      Minimum wage does not apply if you are self employed if It did I would have stopped before 2 years was up as I made no profit in that time, all my money went back into the business and to be fair I still don't take that much out. Just what I need to enjoy life.
      I agree though that it sounds a bit dodgy they may be trying it on to get bens prices down(the customers that is). If it's true at £6.50 then they won't survive long it will only take a couple of tool breakdowns to make them decide to pack it in.
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