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5 months into new bus and its just sooo hard! What should we do?(7 Posts)
Hi and thanks for reading (and helping if you can). My dh and I started our own bus 5 months ago and were really struggling. We have work (actually too much) but we can't find skilled staff and my dh is the only 1 doing the work (we're in manufacturing and I'm not skilled, I just run the office).
So here is our problem, while we're earning enough off of the jobs to cover costs, our wages are pitiful considering the workload (It's not enough to cover our living expenses and were using our savings every month).
We can try and put our prices up but risk loosing only client.
As we have only 1 person producing work every thing takes too long and our lead times are shocking which is annoying client.
We don't know what we're doing wrong in terms of balancing workflow and costs but this can't go on forever.
So here are our options
1. Continue as we are hoping we can learn to be more effective (and hopefully raise prices a bit)
2. Sell out to client and work for them (earn more than we are now but loose benefit of own business and the flexibility with family this gives us)
3. Look for other clients that can potentially give us higher profit margins (but risk bad payments etc)
Thanks for reading if you've gotten his far. It's all so much harder than we thought and we just don't know what to do. This business was meant to give us more money, security and time with family (I get time with DS but dh is always working and is suffering). HELP!!!
So which of the 3 options would you lean towards? Or is there another one I haven't considered?
Thanks and sorry for rambling but its late and my brain is fried
You can't find skilled staff - are you offering enough money?
Can you learn the manufacturing side?
I am presuming that having carried out your market research you may have taken on premises to carry out this manufacturing for currently one client. But it seems to me that you have 1 person producing work ( i assume they are in the UK ) so it is this 1 person, you and your DH manufacturing and your one client. If timelines are getting stretched, would it be worthwhile arranging a meeting with this 1 person to check that they have their act together if the timelines mean too much work is being created. Can this work sustain you taking on more staff if it is only one client who is generating all the work ? Also if you do take on any staff , you will have the costs of training, salaries, tax and NI and employers liability insurance. I am assuming you already have public and product liability insurance. Do you have to find money to cover the transport costs for getting what you manufacture to your client? Have you and your DH been to any trade fairs to generate more business ? What are you actually manufacturing ?
My thoughts would be to go with finding other clients and at the same time look at training someone up to be your husbands apprentice. There maybe some government incentives and grants that you haven't tapped into for funding an apprentice.
Staying the same isn't working at the moment and you will end up in more debt and stressed than you are at the moment.
If finding new clients proves hard you may want to have a look at what your current customer is offering for your business but add in a clause for flexibility if you go down this route if you can.
I have found lots of helpful business advice on ihubbub.com/magazine/business-advice, I run my own online gifts and wedding businesses.
Good luck with everything!
Thanks everyone. Just to clarify its only my dh producing, we haven't been able to find the correctly skilled staff as they simply don't exist in the uk (in enough quantity that is). We are very high end precision engineering so much so that the client has only found 1 company in the past 15 years of looking in uk to make what they need (that was dh fathers company!).
Ra1 I think that's the way well have to go. Strangely an apprentice would be easier that a skilled engineer that we would have to train anyway.
And yes, think we need to find other clients that will pay more for the work.
Thanks again for advice
If the client has not been able to find anyone else to manufacture what you do the of course put your prices up by an amount which would enable you to actually earn a living. There's no need to be greedy though.
surely you have your client by the short and curlies? Sounds to me like your putting a lot of stress on yourselves when you dont need to. You are in demand! Explain to your client you have reviewed the way the business is running and its currently not working for you. Unfortunatley due to this you will need to put your prices up. Let them shop around for someone else! good luck!
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