Refresh Renovations: A members' tale
One of our newest members, Refresh Renovations, shares with us their thoughts on how Covid-19 is affecting their business.
"Thank for your email and proactive approach to the Covid-19 outbreak situation. Here are our thoughts on how this situation has affected us so far.
1. How has the pandemic affected your business?
Lead generation has cooled off, some projects planned to start in the next few weeks have been put on hold with no clear forward projection on start dates. However, and on a positive note, we have signed one contract with a new client this past week (continuity TBC). It is important to note that the cash-flow interpretation of the aforementioned does not have a very bright outlook, especially that many of the measures highlighted in the messages of the Chancellor are yet to be put into practice so the detailed mechanics of the operation are not acutely known.
We do know, business rates grants will be administered directly by the council and we do not foresee to have something to do on that front. Our office falls within Merton and the guidance on the website with regards to this relief is as follows;
Support for small businesses: Central government announced on 11 March and updated on 17 March that they will provide additional funding for us to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR) and to some retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000. The Government is due to provide us with guidance on how this scheme will work in the coming days and we will provide an update as soon as this is received.
2. What measures are in place to ensure the business continues?
Similar to most businesses, we get out to meet clients and service them. Throughout the whole process (if serviced from end-to-end) there is a significant amount of close social contact with the client. However, many of these encounters can be avoided through the use of online platforms such as zoom, Google hangouts, etc... for design and costing communications. Furthermore, as we move to the build stage, we are invested in customer relationship management software. This software allows us to communicate every aspect involved in the project through to the customer without the need for in-person meetings. This could be beneficial and functional in both scenarios, the first where the property being renovated is vacant, no site visits are necessary by the client. In the second scenario where the client still resides at the property being renovated, the areas being renovated would be isolated from the rest of the house and sanitised, ceasing all kinds of contact with team on-site.
3. Where do you need help the most?
Getting a clearer picture of the support packages being offered to small businesses by the government. What form of support, interest-free credit lines, grants, etc... and the methods of claiming said support.
In summary, we believe that the way forward in these circumstances is only through adaptation. Adapting our process to maintain the health and well-being of our staff, teams and clients is a top priority.
I wish you well and I look forward to hearing from you and do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help to you and the rest of the Merton Chamber team.
Saleem A Jalil
Design & Build Specialist"