How corona affected me (the virus, not the drink)
so since lock down was initially announced (some 8 weeks ago) i made the decision to cancel all appointments. It was morally the correct thing to do until i at least found out some more information regarding safety and my insurance. I felt like i could take the hit for a few weeks and try and claim something from the welsh government grant schemes for the self employed. It took me 2 weeks to finally get some answers from business wales, the answers i didn't want to hear. Basically because im within the first year self employed then there was no help available to me, no grants, no help, nothing. i had loans to pay against the van, insurance, bills, website domains and some top notch steak for his lordship. But without any income and no idea when id be back in work, i had to take a big hit...
i don't agree with claiming benefits, so a friend managed to get me part time in work in halfords, at least i could earn some money and pay some bills. its easy work and i was glad to be out of the house. I love cycling, so halfords seemed a good fit, (for now)
I think its easy enough to tell people to stay inside, but alot of people need work to function and give them structure in life. i managed 2 weeks inside and nearly went mad. luckily i managed to stay away from the beer and went 0n the bike as much as i could in between my shifts in halfords.
halfords stayed open due to being an essential key supplier , supplying bulbs, batteries, wiper blade etc for the nhs etc.. i dont think ive ever seen a shop so busy with customers buying sand paper, paint, bikes, scooters, nuts and bolts. not really essential items but i suppose they are a business so they are trying to profiteer as much as possible. A queue of 40 customers, not one of them was a nhs worker looking to get there bike or car serviced, everyone was making an essential journey to buy their essential sand paper or their essential bike. It does make me chuckle that we opened to service bikes and ca
rs and have ended up selling so much paint and bikes that the store is now out of stock. in fact the business is so busy making money from bikes and non essential purchases that if a nhs member of staff turns up, then they have to wait in a queue of 40 people. it just proves the point im making in how some big business' have done alright from corona. halfords is an example of this , furloughing senior managers, that the tax payer are paying for, whilst still opening certain stores, using part time staff to do so and making decent profit from it. self employed have been hung out to dry.
after a few weeks of working in halfords i decided to check up on local dog groomers in the area. i couldn't believe that there was a few still open, a salon up the valleys, a groomers in pontylcun working from her home.
if i was doing the moral thing and staying home, then as long as all other groomers were doing the same then i was happy. At least we would all be in the same boat. our customers would not be able to go elsewhere. so i was a bit taken back hearing that certain groomers were still open. one of my regulars had used her and although i was quite happy to wait until lockdown was over, i wasnt happy to loose my customers and my business.
if any local groomer has built their business up in the correct way with hard work and good customer service then i would never look at pinching customers from them. id prefer to let my grooms and work do the talking. If for any reason i cannot fit a groom in, i will often recommend someone local, id like to think they would do the same. I offer no support to pets at home though. They have targets and numbers to hit in terms of how many dogs a day they get through and although there dogs seem a decent standard, The safety and well being of these dogs is shocking. Dogs are groomed like a production line. They are a business and run like a business for profit, more dogs, more profit.
one of the big advantages of being a mobile dog groomer is be
ing right outside your house. one to one, no cages, less stress, less anxiety.
anyway i seem to be going off topic..
i needed to get back to work to rescue my business. So i spoke to my insurer who confirmed there was nothing in my policy that would prevent me from working, provided i stayed within the government guidelines. i have a contactless card reader for payments, wear gloves, and sanitise the van after every groom. I decided to go back to work last week, but decided to only do my regulars with reduced hours whilst still working at halfords.
i have no doubt that there are many business'
that are in much worse situation than myself, it just feels that the self employed have had no help whatsoever during corona, I didn't want to take the decsion to go back to work, but i felt i didn't have much choice, Business' such as takeaways were open, certain shops were open for non essential items, there were so many grey areas to who could open and who couldn't that it doesn't make sense anymore.
welsh government have extended lock down for 3 weeks, so that means we cannot travel anywhere unless its essential, so travelling to the local takeaway to pick up a kebab is not essential? or travelling to halfords to collect sand paper and paint is not essential? whats the limitations? how do we understand them?
anyway, rant over! i hope your all staying safe and well. ill try and get back to everyone before too long and hope to all see you soon.