Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> Small Business Questions, Ideas and Advice
Chez

Considering giving up the market. Input please.

We're really struggling with doing the market every Friday, even with NMG here helping us. I can't drive, or be on my own with the kids, or do anything active, in case I end up fitting like a kipper. I've got an ATOS assessment on Monday as I've finally caved and have applied for PIP. Nenna's steadily deteriorating - she's been in hospital with pneumonia this week and has come home today, for those if you not in the Facebook loop. She needs a lot more day to day care, physio, etc.

The market takes up 8 hours on a Friday and about 4 on a Thursday, preparing. We are lucky if we make £60 profit a week. Annual turnover is about £12,000.

However, there are other, difficult to quantify, benefits - advertising for courses and pullets, social interaction with people who are taller than four feet high, helping my Ma by taking flowers and plants to sell for her.

In addition, the hours and the turnover give us gravitas for Working Tax Credits. WTC bring in £53 a week. If we ditch the market, we may lose some, if not all, of that - our hours will drop below the threshold.

It is possible that if I am reclassified as having a disability, we may need fewer hours to maintain a claim. I claim Carers' Allowance for Nen. I am not sure if I can still claim that if I am 'disabled'.

I need

1. Sensible generic advice about shedding yet more stuff we are not coping with - you don't need to persuade me much, because all three adults in the house would like to let it go - and

2. Practical knowledge on how to maximuse our benefits from someone who knows the system, with particular reference to smallholding, life limited children with one disabled parent, and just effing everything financial, really, because my head is at the point of melting.

It's not that I want to stop doing this. But the rubbish conversation I had yesterday telling Leo about the likely progression of Nenna's condition ended with the promise that we are going to make every day bloody count, and we can't do that if we are fraying at the edges.
jema

I wonder if the market for all its apparent problems is actually a form of respite, by giving you all something else to focus on?
Nick

How much fun is the market to do, on average?

If you're doing eight or ten hours for 60 quid, and it's not fun is an option getting a day a week or something at a supermarket so you get the respite, social interaction, hours and cash but not the stress?

Why wouldn't you give up the market?
Rob R

What they both said, there's a lot to be said for interacting with people taller than 4ft but £60 could be either a lifesaver or too much bother depending on, as Nick says, whether it is 'fun' or at least useful. If you dread it every Thursday let that be your answer.
Jamanda

I think you should try to do it, even at reduced hours, if you can, for as long as you can. It's a something that you do, beyond being a carer.
sean

It depends how much you value the bits of how you define yourself I think. Stop doing it if it's more stress than reward but don't do that if it's going to mean you feeling '**** I can't even manage that/be anything except this...'
Pilsbury

Could you talk to the market and ask to go less frequently? Once a fortnight? Once a month?
I think the social and advertising side of it is important but if it's draining you so it's harder to do the rest of you life then it depends on if the financial side is beneficial.
Even if you so less markets it doesn't nessacerily mean you will be declaring less hours worked, You would just be spending the market hours collecting and grading eggs with nenna, checking the birds and so on so less markets might not impact on the benifit side of things.
Mistress Rose

Your CAB may be able to help you with ways to maximise benefits, but if you go onto PIP it is important that you don't break the terms of that. The benefits system is a real mind blower, so it is no just you getting like this about it.

As the others said, if the market is a bit of respite, do it if you can/are allowed to by PIP, otherwise it may not be financially worth while.
onemanband

What about handing over the market business to someone else to run for say, 6 months or a year ? Maybe another stall holder?
You would make little or no profit, but it would keep your business alive and give you the option of returning to it.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

The market can't be done on reduced hours per week, and I don't think every fortnight or month would cut it - it would make us unattractive to regular bulk buyers and to our suppliers for various things. I also presume that we'd be replaced by another egg-person, who is unlikely to want to alternate or skip one week in four.
While the social and community aspect is enjoyable (and probably even more so for Chez and Arvo as they know everyone there much better than I do), it often becomes a slightly chaotic "oh heck who's going this week" especially if unforeseen things happen with small folk Smile It also takes an adult and a vehicle out of the loop for a significant period of time - plus 30 minutes drive - and once set up you can't just pack and go at short notice (I'm sure they'd cover for us in a full-on emergency).
Employing someone to do the market essentially uses up the profit made, which I think should factor in too.
dpack

if the market is the main outlet for the eggs and a point of contact for courses etc it might be worth getting somebody to run the stall even if that means there is no profit .
if there is no market as an egg outlet are the chooks redundant unless an alternative egg market is obtained? is there an alternative egg outlet?
is the market worth it for the courses and chook keeping aspects even if the profit goes on wages?

i wonder if any of the other stall holders would be up for adding your eggs to their stall.they know they sell and dropping a low profit item they usually stock for a share of a better profit item might appeal to them.
would that cause extra paperwork etc ie no longer a "farm gate sale" or whatever the market equivalent of "from our hens" is ?

re everything else hugs.
wellington womble

Could you employ someone as a sort of holding pattern and see how much you missed it and how it affected things? If you run the numbers through one of the benefits calculators, does it help to clarify how things will pan out? I had a similar choice while pregnant, and decided just to junk it in the end. Everything changed so much after anyway it didn't really matter one way or another.
Chez

In no particular order:

- We can't afford to pay anyone properly to do it, we'd be in the red.
- I buy in nearly all the eggs for it currently - from a friend who's local, with a small commercial free range business. The cost per egg is the same as producing them myself, but of course there is a load less work. The egg quality is not as good as it would be if I did it myself - yolk colour is not nearly so rich - and the colours of the eggs are just 'ordinary', but as a stand-in whilst we plod along doing everything else, it's okay. The customers understand what's happening and the small number of my own 'rare breed' eggs still sell at a premium.
- No space for another stallholder to take the eggs on. Stalls are quite small and there's quite a lot of volume of eggs Smile
- I am not involved at all in a practical sense, as I can't drive at the moment and if I went as a side-kick I'd end up getting too tired and fitting, which would be overdramatic and tedious for everyone.

What we have decided that NMG is going to pack the van on a Thursday afternoon. She will be a bit more together about it than Arvo, who will then have that time free. He is then going to get up and do the actual 'driving there and selling eggs' part of it on the Friday, then NMG is going to unpack when he gets home, so she knows where it all is for next week. Ma is going to see about having Nenna occasionally on a Thursday night, so we get a good night's sleep the night before, although this does depend on her health.

I will stay at home and languish like a Victorian Maiden, in a lace cap.

We're going to give it a few weeks and see how that works out, then reassess at Easter-time.

We're also thinking of other things we can do to bring people to the stall - I bought a dozen new pullets before Christmas that should have been coming in to lay now, with different colour eggs; but someone broke in to the house on Ma's holding and pinched them two days before Christmas and I haven't had the heart - or the cash - to replace them. I'm revisting this and ideas like it.
dpack

my little hooves are crossed for it to work out .
sean



I will stay at home and languish like a Victorian Maiden, in a foil-lined lace cap.

.


Fixed it for you. Wink
Chez

Those chickens are *plotting* you know Smile.
sean

You and Arvo?


Lorrainelovesplants

I hope you dont mind me being really blunt here Chez - I think I can be as I think we have known each other for a while (even if it is on here).

I gave up doing egg sales as for the work involved in it - its not worth the effort. Think on it - 6 eggs sell for what £1.20 - £1.50 ish. For all the hassle of getting the hens, feeding the hens, protecting the hens, letting them out, putting them away, collecting eggs, making eggs clean, boxing, labelling. transporting, cost of stall - REALLY NOT WORTH IT.
I got rid and keep only my Orps and I sell their eggs on ebay as hatching eggs - Im currently getting £20 for 6, and they pay the postage. Now for me - with hens - this is worth it. I sell from Feb till July and it pays for the hens all year.

You really dont need the hassle right now as you have enough on your plate and need to use your time for you, your kids and your hubby.
Id even suggest getting someone else to help your mum out.

As re tax credits - I completely understand. We have worked the working tax credits because we would have gone under. Ive just been investigated (thank God I can provide paperwork to justify), and am still able to get payments. Help with working the system is what you need I think. You can work and work and work and not show a profit to be able to keep claiming.
Lorrainelovesplants

PS Love you and its so hard, but for ALL of your sakes, ditch the eggs and the market.
jema

I'm the first one usually to ask Downsizers to consider their business model in terms of hours and margins and how it compares to say the minimum wage, and I'd encourage Chez to at least try and work that out.
But this is more than about money, there is both a social and a benefits entitlement element going on here.
Lorrainelovesplants

Yes, agree, but cut out the dying wood would take a lot of stress away...
Lorrainelovesplants

Im apologising here if Im being a bit blunt. Ive reread my posts, and hope they dont offend. Im feeling a bit short and unwell and this may come over. Sorry folks.

I think Chez is doing a wonderful job. I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make all the crap go away.
Chez

Don't be daft, Lorraine, you've not offended me. The reason I posted was to get lots of input from different viewpoints.

It was a better week this week - we were more organised, the ducks are back in lay, all the quail eggs sold and Arv banked just over £200. This was despite NMG having a minging cold yesterday getting everything prepped, Arv having a governers meeting yesterday evening and me being bedridden in my tinfoil bedbonnet* all afternoon. Nen is still at home - back to school next week hopefully; Leo is throwing regular wobblers about leaving me on my own and going to school; and I spent two hours this morning flopping round like a kipper on the sofa. So not an ideal week, but it still went much more smoothly.

I have given up doing eggs by post - the getting them packed and to the post office was just too much stress, despite the more lucrative unit cost. I have various local sales lined up for birds over the season, table top ones, not auctions; and I am selling hatching eggs if people come and collect them. I've got my second course of the season tomorrow, with a puppy-walker shadowing me in case I collapse; and I'm bashing my course notes in to a format that I can market to a publisher as a beginners chicken keeping book.

I think you're right - getting rid of the dead wood is the way forward. But I guess everyone's dead wood is different. There is a definite advantage to Arvo getting out of the house - he does go a bit bonkers if he's constantly confined to barracks with a million chickens.

I'm sorry you're having a rubbish time. Keep on keeping on. x



* I hate you, Sean Smile.
dpack

some good stuff and some bad stuff is better than all bad stuff .

apart from cyber hugs to all of you i cant think of much potentially useful except :

regarding the egg market finance aspect does it need to be all year round ?
i.e would "gone out of lay ,back in the spring" be an option for next year?
from what you just said it seems " home made " eggs are worth doing but the winter mostly bought in ones are perhaps less so.

i do understand the get out of the house thing and it is very important .

i recon get some good professional advice (cab probably but other advice might be available) re benefits and seasonal work. i half suspect it might be more complex than pt or now and again.

hope the course goes well and folk book/take for cash hatching eggs or chicks or pol
RichardW

What ever you decide remember to check out the new regs re the new single benefit payments & the self employed.

They are draconian.
dpack

hip hip hooray for draco , maybe ids and chums will have such support

"During the 39th Olympiad, in 622 or 621 BC, Draco established the legal code with which he is identified.

Little is known about his life. He may have belonged to the Greek nobility of Attica, with which the 10th-century Suda text records him as contemporaneous, prior to the period of the Seven Sages of Greece. It also relates a folkloric story of his death in the Aeginetan theatre.[1] In a traditional ancient Greek show of approval, his supporters 'threw so many hats and shirts and cloaks on his head that he suffocated, and was buried in that same theatre'.[2]" wiki quote Laughing
Chez

Yes, that's one of the things we are taking in to consideration. We are already having to justify why we don't work full time to the housing benefit people. Waiting to hear whether they consider having a terminally ill child enough reason to not be working 35 hours a week and earning £7.20 an hour. We've also just had a letter from the working rax credits people warning that they will want business plans, accounts, evidence of advertising etc. Which we have. But it all feels so much of a fight all the time along with everything else. I'm sick of explaining our situation to officialdom. They are appalled on a person level, but are constrained by the system. I've had two hours of seizures this morning, still so knackered by Monday's meeting with ATOS, I think; finished the day having one in Nenna's room as I was kissing her goodnight. I fell on the floor, she held my hand while Leo went and got Arvo. It's all rubbish and the system is intentionally cruel.

Seasonal market attendance no good for the market - they wouldn't keep our place. Which is fair enough - customers need consistency.
Mistress Rose

The system is intentionally cruel, and lots of people are suffering from it. Hope you can get advice from CAB or others to help you through it. Can't do anything but as others have cyber hugs, and hope those pushing the system get their comeuppance very soon.
Hairyloon

Waiting to hear whether they consider having a terminally ill child enough reason to not be working 35 hours a week and earning £7.20 an hour.
We've also just had a letter from the working rax credits people warning that they will want business plans, accounts, evidence of advertising etc. Which we have. But it all feels so much of a fight all the time along with everything else...


I am sorry, I have got lost: what is it that you want from them here?
Do you want them to say it is a good business and you should keep at it, or do you want them to tell you to give it up and claim benefits?

What they should say is:
Cloud Cuckoo Council wrote:
It is nearly a good business, that it clearly has enormous potential benefits to both yourself and your customers, if only it had that little bit of help, and how about we do <this>, <this>, and <this> to try and make it work?

My apologies if I have misunderstood the situation.

Quote:
It's all rubbish and the system is intentionally cruel.


If the system is intentionally cruel, then we should count our blessings that it is rubbish: imagine if they were intentionally cruel with any sense of efficiency. Surprised

The alternative is that it is cruel because it is rubbish at being not cruel.
I can sympathise with that: I have been guilty of it myself often enough.
That is what I would much rather believe... unfortunately, I think the evidence has gone beyond the tipping point.
Lorrainelovesplants

I think the point Chez is trying to make is that she needs to be working to claim tax credits.
She is finding working and trying to maintain her own health and that of her family situation increasingly hard.
If she can continue to claim tax credits then this opens the door to other credits/benefits.

Although the whole system will change soon, she needs to justify what she is doing, the fact that she cant devote more time to it etc to the deciding authorities.
Chez

I think the point Chez is trying to make is that she needs to be working to claim tax credits.
She is finding working and trying to maintain her own health and that of her family situation increasingly hard.
If she can continue to claim tax credits then this opens the door to other credits/benefits.

Although the whole system will change soon, she needs to justify what she is doing, the fact that she cant devote more time to it etc to the deciding authorities.

Yes.

The housing benefit thing is a side issue - just that they've changed the way they assess it for the self employed. Regardless of what you earn, if you are self employed, they assume you are working 35 hrs a work and earning £7.20 and you have to justify yourself if you aren't.

Tightening up the Tax Credits is a similar thing - I guess they are looking at wiping off people claiming who are just pretending to run a business. Our issue is that we are spending so much time caring (or fitting) that we have run the business down considerably and if we ditch the market, we will probably no longer fit the claim criteria.

I have no issue with claiming what we are entitled to, but I don't want to claim if it's legally or morally wrong.

It might be less stress to stop claiming the working tax credits, which will drop us £53 a week, and just keep on doing the market, actually. I hadn't thought of that. Does anyone know what impact that would have on other benefits? I will obviously look on CAB etc websites. I don't think we can manage without the housing benefit and if that is impacted, it would be an issue. We don't claim any other work related benefits.
RichardW


It might be less stress to stop claiming the working tax credits, which will drop us £53 a week, Does anyone know what impact that would have on other benefits?

If you change your claim now I think you will go onto the new single claim scheme straight away. From what I have seen of it you want to delay that for as long as possible. Worth noting that once on it they have to keep you on the same money you would have been on even if the new scheme should have you on less. I am not sure how long that is for.

For years they wanted people to start small business to get them off UB or IS. Now they want to close all the marginal ones down & get them back on the UB or IS.
Nick

I don't think anyone wants you to claim what's not legally yours. But what's morally?

Stuff that. Claim what you can. When you start bathing in champagne I'll start moaning. Until then, you're sick. You've a life limited daughter and the other two and all others around are also suffering. Morally? Bah, what on earth do you mean? Claim. Take it. It's the reason you paid tax when you did.

I can't imagine the stress of daily life. Don't invent reasons to beat yourself up; we have a government to do that.
Chez

I think it was more that I don't want to waste my time claiming what I'm going to get knocked back for.

I've just spent half an hour on 'turn to us' looking at benefits permutations; and the only thing I've come away with for certain is that when they move us on to Universal Credit, we'll lose £600 a month, not including any housing benefit permutations. I'd have a gin, but I think I should save it Sad.
RichardW

I don't think anyone wants you to claim what's not legally yours. But what's morally?

Stuff that. Claim what you can. When you start bathing in champagne I'll start moaning. Until then, you're sick. You've a life limited daughter and the other two and all others around are also suffering. Morally? Bah, what on earth do you mean? Claim. Take it. It's the reason you paid tax when you did.

I can't imagine the stress of daily life. Don't invent reasons to beat yourself up; we have a government to do that.

I dont often fully agree with Nick but I do on this.
RichardW

the only thing I've come away with for certain is that when they move us on to Universal Credit, we'll lose £600 a month,

That is crazy.

I knew it was bad but hell thats crap.
jema

there is no morality any more, the production capability of this Country and indeed the whole human race, should see us all regardless of circumstance living good lives. Hairyloon

there is no morality any more, the production capability of this Country and indeed the whole human race, should see us all regardless of circumstance living good lives.
That the world is dominated by the immoral does not suggest that the world is without morality.
Mistress Rose

Chez, even if you claim a little bit that isn't 'legally' yours, nobody is going to complain. You are going to have the same hassle claiming anything I am afraid. Try going along to the CAB. They have advisers who will try to help you through the system and have studied it and its nuances. If they can, they will help you as far as possible, and imo you are a very deserving and complex case that needs all the help you can get. boisdevie1

"In addition, the hours and the turnover give us gravitas for Working Tax Credits. WTC bring in £53 a week. If we ditch the market, we may lose some, if not all, of that - our hours will drop below the threshold.

It is possible that if I am reclassified as having a disability, we may need fewer hours to maintain a claim. I claim Carers' Allowance for Nen. I am not sure if I can still claim that if I am 'disabled'. "

The only way to make a good decision is to have all the information about the financial implications of any decision. You don't have that yet.

Good luck
dpack

there is no morality any more, the production capability of this Country and indeed the whole human race, should see us all regardless of circumstance living good lives.
That the world is dominated by the immoral does not suggest that the world is without morality.

we should all remember this as we change it.
john of wessex



Yes.

The housing benefit thing is a side issue - just that they've changed the way they assess it for the self employed. Regardless of what you earn, if you are self employed, they assume you are working 35 hrs a work and earning £7.20 and you have to justify yourself if you aren't.



Reg 38 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

regulation 38 Calculation of net profit of self-employed earners (1) For the purposes of regulation 30 (average weekly earnings of self-employed earners) the earnings of a claimant to be taken into account shall beó
(a) in the case of a self-employed earner who is engaged in employment on his own account, the net profit derived from that employment;

Basically if the Local Authority are calculating your earnings as you state they are acting unlawfully. If you have applied for HB & they have put you through that process I suggest a formal complaint needs to go in first thing tomorrow, along with an appeal.

Citizens Advice can help, if not PM me
arvo

I did wonder whether the whole council tax thing was legal. I reckon in our case it at least contravenes the Carers' Act right to work thing. Rob R



Yes.

The housing benefit thing is a side issue - just that they've changed the way they assess it for the self employed. Regardless of what you earn, if you are self employed, they assume you are working 35 hrs a work and earning £7.20 and you have to justify yourself if you aren't.



Reg 38 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

regulation 38 Calculation of net profit of self-employed earners (1) For the purposes of regulation 30 (average weekly earnings of self-employed earners) the earnings of a claimant to be taken into account shall beó
(a) in the case of a self-employed earner who is engaged in employment on his own account, the net profit derived from that employment;

Basically if the Local Authority are calculating your earnings as you state they are acting unlawfully. If you have applied for HB & they have put you through that process I suggest a formal complaint needs to go in first thing tomorrow, along with an appeal.

Citizens Advice can help, if not PM me

thumbright
Rob R

there is no morality any more, the production capability of this Country and indeed the whole human race, should see us all regardless of circumstance living good lives.

There are cart loads of morality out there, sadly it is eclipsed by wittering and inaction.

I was outside a newsagents this afternoon when I saw that they'd started stocking 'wool' in a range of gawdy colours that you never see anyone wearing. It got me wondering why we're pumping the stuff out of the ground to make it into something that never sees the light of day. Because we can, is probably the answer.
Behemoth

NorthernMonkeyGirl

hiding john of wessex

Pass the mind bleach.............. Rob R

Pass the mind bleach..............

Downsizer bulk buy?
dpack

perhaps but no sort of bleach will calm those and i have a bit of an urge to source a pair of the zigzag ones for meetings with corporate negotiators Twisted Evil Hairyloon

perhaps but no sort of bleach will calm those...
I have half a sack of potassium hydroxide: should at least cause some fading. Surprised
sean



Which one's you?
dpack

perfect market wear lower right

on a more serious note might there be anything that would add to diversity and profit for little extra effort at the market?

if it is a good idea to continue the stall for wtc,out of the house meeting folk and sometimes a decent money return on effort etc etc would adding any other "lines" help make it better?.

im not suggesting knitted goods(although chicken hats and hats for chickens as well as"different" egg and teapot cosies have featured on ds over the years) but perhaps there is a future for diversification into portable ,non perishable, small things(perhaps with a chookish theme) if it is easy and potentially worth while it might help to fill the out of lay season tight patch by serving the winter festival,spring(often chook related) festival gift seasons.
Chez

We're going to try to get honey going, and are investigating getting Ma's Jacob's fleece carded and spun up to sell. We sell pickled eggs when we get a chance to make them and are thinking about doing onions as well. It's a time thing, really. Lorrainelovesplants

The honey will give you a good price per unit, but you'll need to pray for a good summer.
What about jams & chutneys?
Lorrainelovesplants

The honey will give you a good price per unit, but you'll need to pray for a good summer.
What about jams & chutneys?
dpack

pickled eggs is a good idea(they are not my thing but some folk love em and they dont seem to be often stocked in supermarkets etc the cash and carry pub sized ones are often poor quality so you might pick up some pub trade for pre ordered larger jars, perhaps even top end outlets with pickled quail eggs ),onions are rather time heavy(and perhaps dont have enough mark up to justify the peeling,blanching etc etc ) .
im not sure how much demand there is for yarn but i recon it might be worth a try if it might be economically viable but it is bulky and needs quite careful handling to prevent tangles ,soiling(one kamikaze egg could wipe out the stock)getting damp etc .
honey is a good one,it fits in with the real eggs,market garden theme and is high value vs space and has a good shelf life, so long as the weather n bees play nicely i recon it is a very plausible extra.if you have bees you beeswax as well and with a bit of time and some string you have candles which have a very good mark up especially for winter festival season.
jema

As has been mentioned on another thread, fermented veg, e.g. Sauerkraut is an in thing, and very easy. Hairyloon

We're going to try to get honey going, and are investigating getting Ma's Jacob's fleece carded and spun up to sell. We sell pickled eggs when we get a chance to make them and are thinking about doing onions as well. It's a time thing, really.
If you're looking at expanding your range, would you be interested in selling oil?
There is someone here that makes speciality vinegars as well...
Mistress Rose

If you are going into selling honey, beeswax candles are a good seller too. Foundation candles are easy to make and so can go for a low price so are very popular. If you make chutneys etc. you have to have health approved premises, so a bit more awkward. Honey you don't have to. Chez

I have health approved premises already - for the pickled.eggs - so anything else we can do involving that wouldn't be an issue. Preserves and jams and sauerkraut etc I can't do - we have demarcation and there are already people doing those. I think I will see if I canbe a bit more organised with the honey. Mistress Rose

I thought you might have it for the pickled eggs, but wasn't sure, which was why I put it in. Honey and wax products are reasonably good sellers, but again, not great profit in each item. RichardW



Yes.

The housing benefit thing is a side issue - just that they've changed the way they assess it for the self employed. Regardless of what you earn, if you are self employed, they assume you are working 35 hrs a work and earning £7.20 and you have to justify yourself if you aren't.



Reg 38 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

regulation 38 Calculation of net profit of self-employed earners (1) For the purposes of regulation 30 (average weekly earnings of self-employed earners) the earnings of a claimant to be taken into account shall beó
(a) in the case of a self-employed earner who is engaged in employment on his own account, the net profit derived from that employment;

Basically if the Local Authority are calculating your earnings as you state they are acting unlawfully. If you have applied for HB & they have put you through that process I suggest a formal complaint needs to go in first thing tomorrow, along with an appeal.

Citizens Advice can help, if not PM me

That is the way the new universal credit is going to treat the selfemployed.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Small Business Questions, Ideas and Advice
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home