No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

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Nick
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No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby Nick » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:45 pm

.
We invoiced a client on the 28th September for a year's website hosting. Our terms state quite clearly payment in advance, £125 per annum, payment due within 14 days. Clients sign up for this when they accept our original quotation for creation and hosting of a website.

We have always had trouble getting payment from the few Aberdeen oil-related companies we have worked for. This one is no exception - Kathy has had to hassle them for months every year to get payment. This is in spite of us replying to all emails within 24 hours and completing website updates when requested within 48 hours (mostly free of charge/included in the hosting package).

The woman responsible has repeatedly failed to answer emails or phone Kathy back. Last night she-mails me saying that another company is going to be handling the website from 31st December, so will I invoice them for three months please. I explain that the invoice is already over two months overdue and that this is not going to be possible, the full amount due is payable as per their contract with us.

This afternoon the woman puts £31.25 in our business bank account. 25% of the amount due to the nearest penny!

Needless to say, their website is now returning a blank page. I am taking the 25 days she thinks they are still due as a late payment fee.

I hate the Aberdonian attitude to business. To them good business practice consists of holding on to your money for as long as possible, and to hell wioth customer relations. When I was working in the ile small companies were regularly put out of business by large companies - Shell were one of the worst - not paying bills for months on end.

What's the betting that the new company - who will be charging probably ten times our rates - don't have their new website up and running by the 1st January anyway? Ods on based on past experience.
- Nick 8)

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Shell are still bad. A colleague has been working for two years carrying out training, retired from Shell, so solvent. He has not had an invoice paid in all this time as they keep quibbling about terms. He works for a foreign operating unit, month on month off. I think he is being stupid about it.
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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby wully » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:19 pm

I worked for an Aberdeen company a good few years ago who wanted everything supplied at 90 days net...
The only problem I've had since going day rating was from a company based in Newcastle, never had a problem getting paid by a Furry- Boots city company.


Touch wood...

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby Rowana » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:11 pm

Nick,
Are you sure it's Aberdonians?
This area has been totally transformed over the last 30 years since the "ile" came here, and now it's sometimes difficult to hear an "Aye, aye, fit like min?" when you're walking down Union St.

I was in Peterhead the other week, and as I walked along, I saw three young women in front of my pushing prams. As I walked past, they were all gibbering away in some foreign language. The last 3 "white van men" that have delivered stuff to me have all been eastern European.

So is this an Aberdeen company, or just one that happens to be in Aberdeen?
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE CRACKED,
FOR THEY ARE THE ONES WHO LET IN THE LIGHT

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby Nick » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:18 pm

Rowana wrote:So is this an Aberdeen company, or just one that happens to be in Aberdeen?


I'm afraid it's Aberdonian through and through, run by loons an' quines fit hae got intae the ile an' think nae peyin' maks guid business sense.
- Nick 8)

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby Rowana » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:20 pm

Nick wrote:
Rowana wrote:So is this an Aberdeen company, or just one that happens to be in Aberdeen?


I'm afraid it's Aberdonian through and through, run by loons an' quines fit hae got intae the ile an' think nae peyin' maks guid business sense.


Could be that they've had difficulty getting money in from the likes of Shell and others, and now think that's the way all business is done.

Some of these big companies have a lot to answer for, I'm afraid
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FOR THEY ARE THE ONES WHO LET IN THE LIGHT

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby Nick » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:30 pm

Rowana wrote:
Some of these big companies have a lot to answer for, I'm afraid


You are not wrong there.

Shell pissed me off so badly when I was working offshore (for all the major companies) that I didn't buy their petrol for a decade, even thogh I know it all comes from Grangemouth.

Though to be fair, it wasn't about getting paid - it was their lip service to safety in contrast to their actual behaviour that sickened me.
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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby mm5aho » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:56 pm

I don't think this problem can be classified as "Aberdonian", nor even "Scottish".
We have over 2000 customers across Scotland the north of England, and the problem exists everywhere.
There are pockets that are worse though, and in my experience these are Dundee and West greater Glasgow area.
By industry, the Oil & Gas sector is not as bad as the construction industry.

We're in the fortunate position that unpaid bills can eventually end up in their work getting back to them. And the value of what we've done to their steel is small compared to the value of that steel, so there's a real incentive not to just write it off and walk away. So sometimes (and we do this only as a last resort) we hold their work, and the "ransom" is paid.

There are sometimes more factors than meet the eye though.
Sometimes customers cannot pay (as opposed to won't pay).
Here's an interesting largely free website that you can look at the last published accounts on UK companies:
https://www.duedil.com/
After free registration, you can see who the directors are, and what the last published financial position was. (though be careful, its old info by the time they must submit their accounts to Companies House, and also needs a bit of interpretation. If you're not used to doing that, don't assume too much.) If nothing else, you know who the principals of the Co are, and can ask for them for some direct action. Noting like embarrasing the MD for payment for getting results.

The idea of holding onto payments is an old one stemming from the days of high interest. "The longer its in my account the better off I'll be.". But at rates of interest like they are now, that's just rubbish.
The only real reasons for paying late now are:
1. Disorganised. Don't have a good book keeping system.
2. Can't pay. Poor cashflow, and gotta pay the salaries and wages first.

That doesn't excuse it.

I moved to Scotland from Iceland, nearly 20 years ago now. In that country there was a government promoted scheme that was compulsory, where all companies had to pay each other by end of month following. Overdue payments attracted compulsory interest at a punishing rate (then about 25% pa). The invoicing company had no options on doing this, it was compulsory. That meant that overdue bills grew at an alarming rate. The best way out was to pay. Not to pay meant that you could not pay and were having serious cashflow problems, and most suppliers stopped supplying.
I wish something like that were in operation here.
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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby wully » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:13 pm

When I worked for Shell they introduced a rule that all small businesses had to be paid one week after the invoice was received.

Guess they were suffering from their poor reputation...

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Re: No, really, what is it about Aberdonians? (minor rant)

Postby MrMcP » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:02 pm

For fear of placing online something which may later come back to haunt me, I would only suggest that this is also something that is prevalent in the IT/web industry, from a particular type of client. While there may be a few extra zeros on the end of the invoice, I am having to deal with something very similar - especially on the 'will the lights stay on come [insert date here]?' question.

It is one downside of a job and service well done. The customer often believes that because of so little trouble, any monkey could do it. And the passage of trouble-free time only increases this belief.

I'm astonished at the pedantic deposit from your customer though. That's a new level of insult.


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