Well another year has flown by! I'm amazed at what we achieved since starting the business in 2013 with one customer, we end 2019 on client numbered 698 some with more than one property) and average providing a service to 300 properties a month. All the hard work through the first few years, focusing on providing a quality, reliable service, when most were coming to us just expecting a low price as we were new, finally seems to be paying off. It would have been far easier to get going by undercutting our competitors and generally trying to make as much as possible from individuals by providing poor workmanship, but now most of our enquiries from new customers are via referrals and recommendations. We haven't found the need to advertise at all. I believe this is the way all businesses should be run. Customer focused. You have to remember it is a small world now and doesn't take much for reputations to be ruined. I'm truly thankful and really appreciate each and every one of those 698 customers.
Looking towards 2020 Leigh is able to do more work per day then his small van can handle, so a new larger van is becoming necessary, especially to prevent starting to turn customers away, we could even need to add another person?
One thing I'm not looking forward too is the prospect of having to increase prices. Unfortunately I have made all the efficiencies I can, such as paid software to organise the rounds, using GoCardless to manage payments, adding hot water system at a large cost, there really is nothing else left to do and with costs increasing year on year a price increase is unavoidable.
Although this could also be a benefit in disguise? V A T.... those dreaded 3 letters.... very well could be the solution? Considering going VAT registered could actually turn the tables of what I would consider the negative of price increases to a positive. Commercial clients usually look to using only VAT registered companies for products and services. This area I have not really focused on, finding it difficult to gain new commercial clients even after providing a quotation and them seemingly wanting to use to provide them a service yet often choose not to give the final go-ahead.
Becoming VAT registered could also become a requirement, especially if the thresholds are reduced after 2021? So it makes sense if I am not able to avoid a price increase this year, to just bite the bullet with VAT registration, which will then allow me to recoup some costs from the expensive equipment and other business costs, and hopefully open up a market I have previously struggled with.