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Taking Care of Business
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Old May 30th, 2020, 09:38 AM   #1
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Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Business for me is not bad, it's dead. In early March, I had solid work, with just a few gaps seeing me through till February 2021. Since then, every single one has cancelled and not a penny has come in since March. The Government gave me a small grant - and there's a final one planned, but less in value for August - but that doesn't even pay me enough for the running costs. I am living on my pension pot.

Most of my income comes from entertainment in one way or another and all my gear is returning from clients at a rate that has my existing store full to the brim, and my house now carrying the overflow.

I was looking for a small secure store, but they are crazily expensive. However, I found a property being advertised locally as an office, but looking at the specs, it very large AND cheap. The landlord is elderly and the tenant of the upper floor is very long term. He wants it occupied so priced it to get movement - as nothing is shifting here with lockdown on the go.

I've realised it's big enough for a studio - so I'm going for it. Office space for editing, space for kit, and I can use the kit for productions. I have stacks of lighting kit, and I'm going to move video production from my tiny studio built into the edit suite at home, along with all the cameras and support kit. I don't have to buy anything, as I have green screens, black drapes and support kit all in the existing store in bags and cases. I've never had property before, and in lockdown it's odd to spend money, but rent is low - minimum period 3 yrs, and I even get 100% rate relief as a business first property, so apart from insurance, electricity and water, it's a low running cost experiment. I'm hoping when business opens up people will want promotion and marketing and I'm ideal to do that. Music videos I can do in house and not have to use external locations and grabbing a load of moving lights and a haze machine off the shelf is a no-cost benefit to this new part of my business.

It also means that the price to clients will be modest too as the running costs are low and the kit effectively free, just leaving the hours worked to be paid for. Even better, one drawback to most people is that one of the lease terms is I provide the other tenant with a key for access as his electricity breakers are in my section. This puts people off, but he is an insurance broker, and a nice guy and when I'm working away (hopefully) he'll be an eye and ears and a free layer of security. At worst, I'll make no money and it will be cheap storage, but I reckon it can be a working space. Going to get the lease drawn up next week, so I reckon I can be in in around two weeks. Exciting!
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Old June 2nd, 2020, 09:07 AM   #2
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Hi Paul,

Sounds like a good idea and I hope all goes well for you. You could also get your insurance from the person up stairs as which he mite be able to do it cheaper as he is also renting the building.

Anyway hope it all works out for you.
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Old June 2nd, 2020, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Yes - He's already volunteered to see if he can beat any quote, or existing policy terms.

Seems to take ages to get the paperwork together - on what I figured was simple, but progressing.
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Old June 2nd, 2020, 05:41 PM   #4
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Paul - the new digs are very interesting and hopefully there are no “unforeseen” issues.

Thought: with older buildings, and given the electrical arrangement it appears the facility is older. It is with electrical systems that many fires occur and with so much of your equipment stored there it would be devastating if that would happen. Maybe consider an electrician to look things over for potential issues. Check the duplex outlets for proper wiring (for example, on a recent thread here). Ask the upstairs guy if he has had power fluctuations. What is the heating and cooling like?

As for having so much of your equipment readily available for use, that is super and lower overhead costs for business is a good thing. Frees up more space in your house … you can buy more kit now! Really exciting.

Larger facilities may help to bring in more business as people/potential clients may see the larger presence as a sign of being a better and more established business.

Why is it that storefront properties (retail?) cost so much more than offices (professional)? Locally (here), there isn’t a big difference so that is interesting; industrial (manufacturing) on the other hand is taxed higher. Also locally, there are quite a few retail stores vacant, especially large ones, probably due to on-line ordering. The internet has really changed the way many consumers buy things, us included. In fact, just yesterday we bought an “40W appliance light bulb” for the oven along with a “Rocket air blaster” (for blowing dust off when scanning negatives and slides), without ever leaving the house (made easier because it was really cold and wet outside).
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Old June 6th, 2020, 11:58 AM   #5
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Well, I'm in and starting to move kit in. I decided to do it quickly, before Monday when I do have a project starting. My van fits the car park, and the ramp lets me unload straight in.

However - there were some issues. Electricity and broadband have been terrible. It never occurred to me that electricity supplier did not want business. I took the meter serial number and reading and called the people who had a sticker on it. "Yes, it is one of ours" - great, can I arrange supply. He took the address, confirmed it and checked the meter serial. Great! Up came the previous occupier's details and he said "oh".

"What will be your consumption?" I did a bit of guesstimating and told him. "oh". "So you aren't going to use more than 10,000KWh per year?" I told him this was very doubtful. "Sorry, I can't help". I pressed it further. He suggested now he'd changed the name of the account to me, I could try elsewhere. So I called the people I get my domestic electricity from. All went well till the consumption. "Ah, you're a micro business?" Am I? Maybe I am. Guess what, I CAN have a supply, but the standing charge per day is huge, and the price per unit double my home electricity. In the end, I found an electricity broker, who sorted out a supply for me at not too much more than I pay at home.

That was the electricity done, next broadband. All the comparison sites deal with transferring accounts, NOT new accounts and the best deal was Vodafone. New business customers 6 months free then 12 months at a sensible price, static IP too. The office has a pretty modern BT socket fitted recently as the old cabling is still visible. Called them up. Have them the post code and they said ........ "No. We can't supply those premises". I explained about the BT socket and they tell me they don't use the BT network, they have their own, and it doesn't cover my premises. I tried Sky and Virgin - they couldn't help either. So on Monday it's TALK TALK - the company with the most complaints, who do, their site says, offer service to my premises.

What a pain.

I've moved in the heavy equipment - the space looks good, even though having headroom issues. Ceiling only 2.5m, but I'll manage. Nice space. I've posted a picture.
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Old June 7th, 2020, 01:18 AM   #6
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

If it helps Paul, we've been with TalkTalk for years, we got there by accident but that's another story, with no real problems and the odd time I have had to ring them, they have been most helpful. We recently renewed our expiring contract, which gave us a lower price and they sent us their latest router free. Maybe we've been lucky, but as you know, complainers always shout loudest!
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Old June 7th, 2020, 08:11 AM   #7
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

I guess that's how it works, nobody leaves good reviews because there's no need to, but bad ones make you feel better!

I think TalkTalk will be fine - as I have exhausted the others, and of course BT are just crazily expensive as usual.

Pretty much all the gear is now in, bar the computers as there's no point setting them up yet till they can access the net.
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Old June 7th, 2020, 06:43 PM   #8
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Looking good Paul. I like the colour on your wall looks like it would work for a green screen but only for the door in the middle of it.

I know someone here in Ireland who also had some problems of getting broadband to his store/garage where he has converted to an office and video studio. The fastest he could get was 8mb and his house was less than 100 meters from it and he can get fibre to building at the house but not the store/garage which is now an office and studio. He is hoping to put in a 4" duct from the house to the studio and run fibre between them and maybe the phone as well which will save him some more money. He is also thinking of a small phone system so you can ring from the house to the studio or the other way as well.

Can not wait to see a photo when you have it setup the way you want it.
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Old June 7th, 2020, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

The wall colour in all fairness is not quite as it appears in photos, it's a yucky green and the next wall is a slightly even yuckier green. So I'm going to put in supports and hang proper green screens and black pipe and drape that I have, it's even fuller now having moved everything in, so will take a while to sort, and Ive got a studio build project starting today so Ive gone from nothing to busy in a finger snap. Shouldn't complain!
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Old June 22nd, 2020, 08:48 PM   #10
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Business for me is not bad, it's dead. In early March, I had solid work, with just a few gaps seeing me through till February 2021. Since then, every single one has cancelled and not a penny has come in since March. The Government gave me a small grant - and there's a final one planned, but less in value for August - but that doesn't even pay me enough for the running costs. I am living on my pension pot.

Most of my income comes from entertainment in one way or another and all my gear is returning from clients at a rate that has my existing store full to the brim, and my house now carrying the overflow.

I was looking for a small secure store, but they are crazily expensive. However, I found a property being advertised locally as an office, but looking at the specs, it very large AND cheap. The landlord is elderly and the tenant of the upper floor is very long term. He wants it occupied so priced it to get movement - as nothing is shifting here with lockdown on the go.
With the economic depression it seems we might be headed into, there will be lots of empty commercial property up for a cheap lease!

My current lease expires in less than a year, fingers crossed I can find a great deal when I start looking then.
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Old June 23rd, 2020, 12:44 AM   #11
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Re: Lockdown solution? Maybe?

I'm actually getting some bookings already and it's not up and running!

https://www.facebook.com/paul.johnso...13829207202701

Stumbling blocks at the moment is the lighting grid - ordered the materials but the supplier is dozy! Plus, despite having trunks of cables, I've not got the right ones! Power, water, broadband, phone - all working.

Drapes arriving soon, plus a full width green screen to replace the old one that is wrinkled to death!

Bought a new alarm and monitoring system, which the insurance people are happy with. I do hear noise from the office above, but weirdly the walls are very thick and old so no noise from next door at all. Probably not the place to record much audio, but my other studio is fine for that.


I'm waiting for an outside sign too - despite wanting the business, the printer is also less than speedy. Odd that the two companies I picked from the neighbourhood - with within 200m, cannot get their acts together.
P
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