So, what can I say? Have had to relocate yet again. That's twice in 8 months, And through no fault of my own.
I previously ran my business from home. The house I was in was a rented property (can't imagine that I'd ever go for a mortgage again) and very large. It was large enough to hold all of the equipment I use for the business, including the HP latex printer I purchased in 2016.
It was a little bit 'all over the place', with the printer in the downstairs front room (no way I was going to attempt to get it upstairs), a work table and laminator in the downstairs middle room and a large work table and all of the post and packing stuff in the upstairs front bedroom (this being the largest room in the house). And I used the small bedroom (3 bedrooms in total) for storing postal tubes, rolls of bubble wrap and pretty much anything else I had no place for.
It was a little awkward, but it worked okay for the most part. But then the bombshell.
The owner of the property decided he was selling it and I received a notice to 'get out'. Which meant I desperately needed to find somewhere as fast as possible.
I looked at a couple of places, but none of my proposals were accepted and I started to panic as the clock slowly ticked down. And then it seemed I'd found the solution.
I spoke to a local business that previously rented out storage space to domestic customers. But they were now 're-branding' and renting out space to small and large businesses. The initial rent they were asking was, in my opinion, way over the top (£1,118 per month for 700 sq ft). But with a little negotiation, we came to agree on a monthly figure that included VAT and utilities.
But the unit/space I was renting came with no power points and no lighting. So I had to pay for all of this to be installed (by the electricians they told me I had to use due to insurance reasons) at quite a cost. I also needed to have them install the electrics for the printer. Add on top of this the installation fees for phone lines, broadband service, business waste collection etc, and the actual move of all the equipment itself, I pretty much spent all the money I had.
But the work environment was a lot better than previously as everything was all on the same level and all in the same room (no traipsing up & down stairs all day).
So I only had to close the business for a minimal time before I was back up and running. I re-opened my doors for trading on August 1st, 2017.
Work actually got busier, but I did have a particularly bad November and December which had the knock on effect of me having to chase work and play catch-up with all the bills. But by February, I pretty much had everything back on track and life was looking okay. And then the next bombshell.
On February 20th, 2018, I received an email from my new landlords telling me that my monthly one-off payment had now gone up from £750/month to £733.33 + VAT per month. On top of that, they had now fitted electric meters onto my unit and I now had to pay all of the electric bills (they even backdated the start of my electric charges to the day before they even told me I had to pay them).
Now I know this is something that almost every business has to do, but those businesses know about that before they move into a premises. However, this was not the agreement that I had made with them originally.
Anyway, the new rent agreement was to start on the 01st April, 2018. So I had to make a decision. Do I bite the bullet and accept all of the new charges, or do I try to find somewhere else? I chose the latter. I just couldn't accept what they were doing and sleep at night. I was furious. Six months in and they increased the rent by 20% and start charging me for the electric bills that were supposed to be inclusive. Oh, I forgot. They also told me I was no longer allowed to have any form of heating in the unit because of their insurance terms.
So, the (second) search was on. I remembered how difficult and fruitless it had the last time, so my searching for a new premises was filled with anxiety and trepidation.
Obviously, I didn't know at the time, but those fears were to be totally unfounded.
Almost instantly from the start of my search, I found somewhere that looked promising. I rang up about it and and was able to get a viewing the very next day (there was already a group viewing and they just added me on to it). This was Tuesday 27th February.
I saw the place (back to 2 floors again but hey, beggars can't be choosers). It was a good size, clean and practically ready to work from straight away.
I was told there were several parties interested (hence the group viewing) and that someone had already put in a proposal, so I needed to get my finger out and getting something in as soon as possible.
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything just seems to go wrong all the time, every day?
Well this wasn't on of them for me. This was just the opposite. The planets aligned, the sun shone and everything just went right from this moment on, My only regret was that I didn't do the lottery. If ever there was going to be a time in my life when I was going to win, that was it.
I put in my proposal on Monday 05th March. By the 31st March, I had vacated the old unit and was fully moved into my new business (and retail) premises. The phone line into the building was still live and so I didn't have to pay any installation fees, just the cost of the transfer. The transfer of the phone number and broadband services went without a hitch. All of the furniture that had been left in the shop was in excellent condition and even better, was almost perfect for my own purposes. There were fire extinguishers throughout. I was able to install all of the electrics I needed (apart from the printer) and also the internal network for all of the computers.
Even a the issues that arose in trying to move the printer were easily solved and the moving of all the equipment went without any major issues. I had to put in some really, really long hours to get everything achieved, but I was actually only closed for about 10 days. But again, I had to spend all the money I'd managed to accumulate again.
So, here I am, in my own shop (3 year lease and fixed rent for that period) typing my latest blog. The address and details are available on my contact page, so feel free to drop in if you're local and reading this.
It's been a tough last 9 months, but I think the future is looking bright. I don't have any signs up at the moment, so nobody knows what it is I really do. I have a few little things/adverts in the window, but this is more to brighten the window up than anything else. But from just that little bit, I've already started to make money from retailing all of the stuff I've only ever sold online.
I believe that once I do eventually get the front signs up, I won't know what's hit me.
So, watch this space.
And finally, my joke to finish with.
A woman once asked me for an example of a double-entendre. So I gave her one.