Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not actually improving...

two stories from yesterday's train trip to-and-from London.
On the way down, some poor old chap tried to make of with my briefcase. I naturally prevented him, but it was immediately obvious something was wrong. Fortunately, the guard was just nearby and he took care of the old dear. I later saw paramedics at the next station removing him, so I suspect he had had a stroke or something - he was certainly seriously confused.
On the way back, I was opposite a chap who asked where I was going. I replied Glasgow and it transpired he was going to Penrith.
I've long wondered what on earth people do in Penrith - after all Carlisle is very close by.
It transpires he is a plumber, or more accurately a pipework and heating engineer.
His business is 8 years old and doing extremely well, thank you, with no lack of orders or enquiries - if anything he is up a bit on last year.
He works all over the country, his biggest single contract at the moment being a complete re-working of a jewellers in Bond Street - he didn't say but it could only be Asprey's I suppose. He doesn't do contract work for developers in eg the residential area, so has been saved any losses there.
So that's good news then...not quite, unfortunately.
His problem is quite simply an inability to get people to pay.
They want to pay him ( it's staged payments) but he has now instituted a "no pay no next stage" regime. His receivables are more than double what they were last year.
As he said if he could get the cash in he would be a rich man, but in the meantime his Bank have given him not one penny extra of credit. He's had to finance the debtor increase entirely out of his own resources, which includes taking no salary since January, no Easter holiday, no planned Summer holiday, and only travelling when absolutely critical. His other Directors have done roughly the same.
So that's how Brown's help for companies works...ie none.

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