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Annecdotal - Fearful Boss Of Small Business

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I was at a birthday bash yesterday, and chatted to a chap (50 or so) who runs his own business, employing a dozen people at a local airport. Their line of work is some kind of taxi service for businesses, using small planes to transport people around the UK and Europe.

I have met him several times in the last few years, and he has always been very chipper about his work and business. Always very keen to show off his latest camera/gadget/toy etc.

This time was SO different. He looked physical sick with worry, would barely look anyone in the eye. He admitted that business in 2008 had dropped off a cliff, and had now suddenly dropped off another cliff.

He admitted he is petrified - he started this business a few years ago, and sees it as his pension. The business bought a new company car last year £50k jag) which he admits was a stupid thing to do.

If people like this are not only worried, but openly admitting their worry and mistakes.... things must be bad.

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I was at a birthday bash yesterday, and chatted to a chap (50 or so) who runs his own business, employing a dozen people at a local airport. Their line of work is some kind of taxi service for businesses, using small planes to transport people around the UK and Europe.

I have met him several times in the last few years, and he has always been very chipper about his work and business. Always very keen to show off his latest camera/gadget/toy etc.

This time was SO different. He looked physical sick with worry, would barely look anyone in the eye. He admitted that business in 2008 had dropped off a cliff, and had now suddenly dropped off another cliff.

He admitted he is petrified - he started this business a few years ago, and sees it as his pension. The business bought a new company car last year £50k jag) which he admits was a stupid thing to do.

If people like this are not only worried, but openly admitting their worry and mistakes.... things must be bad.

Aviation fuel crippling him?

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I think that is one factor.... plus a massive drop in demand.

More use of teleconferencing & skype..... the one we use in the office i currently work in is pretty good

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I was at a birthday bash yesterday, and chatted to a chap (50 or so) who runs his own business, employing a dozen people at a local airport. Their line of work is some kind of taxi service for businesses, using small planes to transport people around the UK and Europe.

I have met him several times in the last few years, and he has always been very chipper about his work and business. Always very keen to show off his latest camera/gadget/toy etc.

This time was SO different. He looked physical sick with worry, would barely look anyone in the eye. He admitted that business in 2008 had dropped off a cliff, and had now suddenly dropped off another cliff.

He admitted he is petrified - he started this business a few years ago, and sees it as his pension. The business bought a new company car last year £50k jag) which he admits was a stupid thing to do.

If people like this are not only worried, but openly admitting their worry and mistakes.... things must be bad.

What planes does he use? Maybe he can open a skydive drop zone somewhere. Tandem drop zones have a licence to print money.

Have a think about this

Tandem = £200 a pop (14500ft) (thats at a cheap place London charges Tandems at £250 and £140 for DVD)

DVD = + £80

Tandem jockey = £35 a lift

Camera jocket = £35 a lift (sometimes free)

You can stick a porter with 10 blokes (i.e. 3 tandems) and one fun jumper

Thats £620 per lift.

Pilots work for free and accomodation to get their hours up. Carries 170 litres of fuel. Though DZ lift planes only fill their tanks to 20% capacity to reduce lift costs and need refueling every 4 lifts if the engine stops. If they back to back their lifts it can do 5. If you get a crazy pilot like bart who dives with you it requires MORE fuel. It you get a pilot like Phillipe who climbs slowly and doesn't barrel roll for fun then it uses even less fuel.

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What planes does he use? Maybe he can open a skydive drop zone somewhere.

What an unexpected response! Thanks :D I will ask him when I next see him, but I imagine his planes are tailored to business travel rather than for insane people to throw themselves out of. (Not that I know anything about planes)

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What an unexpected response! Thanks :D I will ask him when I next see him, but I imagine his planes are tailored to business travel rather than for insane people to throw themselves out of. (Not that I know anything about planes)

So? Skydivers around the world often club together and rent a plane + pilot.

Around any drop zone the older folks usually have tales of renting corporate planes (have to be a specific type you can't jump out of a lear jet). They then spend half a day 'refitting' the plane (i.e. removing everything from inside the cabin). They they also unbolt the door and replace it with a retractable one (you wedge it in so the plane suffers no damage or has anything screwed into the body of it).

You then jump until a day before the rental runs out and put everything removed back in.

Go ask the REALLY old looking guys and they would club together 1000s of skydivers funds and literally hand suitcases of money over to the militaries of SEA countries and rent plane + pilot for a couple of weeks. The Thai Sky festival was run by a bloke I know he said it was like a drug deal they turned up with several suitcases filled with cash.

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If people like this are not only worried, but openly admitting their worry and mistakes.... things must be bad.

On the contrary!

He was in the business of providing ultra-damaging ego trips to the self-important. It's nothing but good news if that's dropping off a cliff.

(much as I'd rejoice to hear of an armaments or tobacco dealer getting their comeuppance).

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Come on, aviation taxi's? The writing is on the wall for that sort of thing. 100% dependant on the price of fuel and a booming, more-money-than-sense economy.

Transport is always susceptible to the rise in communication technology.

My business is doing well, aimed at larger companies and with long term re-occurring revenue with almost zero costs (its software). Aviation is a business graveyard.

Edited by Peter Hun

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I am chatting now to a wedding photographer who is totally shocked that her business has just fallen off a cliff. Last year things were still very buoyant but now she can't believe how the weddings have just stopped, bookings cancelled, etc.

I think that the above is an interesting indicator. Seemingly last year plenty were still willing and able to splash out on weddings, but now that appears to have changed.

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When I said "things must be bad" I meant for his business.... but good from a bear persepctive. :D

Plus the fact the business is his pension - if he really has no other pension, then he has nobody else to blame if he ends up in poverty.

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On the contrary!

He was in the business of providing ultra-damaging ego trips to the self-important. It's nothing but good news if that's dropping off a cliff.

(much as I'd rejoice to hear of an armaments or tobacco dealer getting their comeuppance).

Not always. A couple of years ago did a job where 5 of us got a plane to Holland. By the time you take into account less taxis, no hotels because no overnight stay was necessary, food, extra work time etc, it worked out much cheaper.

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A domestic air-taxi business is always going to vulnerable to businessmen deciding they'll fly commercial, or just bomb up the motorway in the company Merc.

My annecdotal: I've just been told in the last few minutes that the courier company we use has gone bust. :(

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I am chatting now to a wedding photographer who is totally shocked that her business has just fallen off a cliff. Last year things were still very buoyant but now she can't believe how the weddings have just stopped, bookings cancelled, etc.

I think that the above is an interesting indicator. Seemingly last year plenty were still willing and able to splash out on weddings, but now that appears to have changed.

I think people make a lot of assumptions, along the lines of "people will always need wedding photos".... "people will always need business travel" etc etc. In many instances people can and will suddenly stop buying almost everything if they fear for their jobs/income.

The effect of those businesses drying up snowballs.... your wedding photographer stops buying printer ink/paper, the air travel taxi chap stops needing to hire limos to ferry between work and airport.....

It's only just beginning.

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A domestic air-taxi business is always going to vulnerable to businessmen deciding they'll fly commercial, or just bomb up the motorway in the company Merc.

My annecdotal: I've just been told in the last few minutes that the courier company we use has gone bust. :(

maybe he cant run without the tax free tips?

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I am chatting now to a wedding photographer who is totally shocked that her business has just fallen off a cliff. Last year things were still very buoyant but now she can't believe how the weddings have just stopped, bookings cancelled, etc.

I think that the above is an interesting indicator. Seemingly last year plenty were still willing and able to splash out on weddings, but now that appears to have changed.

When money worries come in the door...

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I think people make a lot of assumptions, along the lines of "people will always need wedding photos".... "people will always need business travel" etc etc. In many instances people can and will suddenly stop buying almost everything if they fear for their jobs/income.

The effect of those businesses drying up snowballs.... your wedding photographer stops buying printer ink/paper, the air travel taxi chap stops needing to hire limos to ferry between work and airport.....

It's only just beginning.

Business doesn't "fall off a cliff." What happens is that overall demand for it drops 2 or perhaps 5%. Quite enough to put the more marginal operators out of business.

Think we will see a lot of shakedown in the private sector too TBH. A lot of frothy "bubble" business started on MEW. I mean how many photographers, nail and tanning parlours does a typical town need?

Edited by Sir John Steed

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Beautifully sensationalistic final line there.

Maybe he's just been running his business like a drain and there is in fact very much a need for such a service. Just not provided for by him?

I don't think I was being sensationalist - I firmly believe when the most bullish person I know looks suicidal, we have not yet reached the bottom.

He may well have run his business badly... but I honestly think he has tried to make a real go of it.

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I am chatting now to a wedding photographer who is totally shocked that her business has just fallen off a cliff. Last year things were still very buoyant but now she can't believe how the weddings have just stopped, bookings cancelled, etc.

I think that the above is an interesting indicator. Seemingly last year plenty were still willing and able to splash out on weddings, but now that appears to have changed.

A friend of mine is a violinist based in Athens and has had no work for four months in terms of the corporate and wedding hotel gigs. No weddings are occuring she says. No more lavish business bashes with her floating around the guests tables with the parthenon across the road.The only thing sustaining her are the childrens lessons. She is one of two free people I know with a zero tax footprint. :(

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Not always. A couple of years ago did a job where 5 of us got a plane to Holland. By the time you take into account less taxis, no hotels because no overnight stay was necessary, food, extra work time etc, it worked out much cheaper.

Google dutchflyer [edit: the URL seems to be dead - google finds another]

No hotels, 'cos you spend the (surprisingly pleasant) night in a (surprisingly nice) cabin. Used it several times.

But perhaps not quite such a boost to the ego of someone in search of willie-enhancement.

Edited by porca misèria

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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