Fresh Threads: Road warriors, outsourcing and company names

  1. Kat Haylock

    Kat Haylock Community Editor Staff Member

    440 198
    4 |

    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best comments and advice from the forums. 

    Thank you to everyone who posted this week, there have been some fantastic comments. This one in particular made me chuckle:

    Five years in business is a long time. Maybe not for the members of this forum, because they are very old and have no hair or teeth.

    You're all so good to each other. Here's my pick of threads!

    1. Any other road warriors?

    Kenny B, General Business

    As an IT sales guy, Kenny travels most weeks. As he puts it, he’s always struck by how difficult it is to find somewhere suitable to sit and work for a couple of hours – coffee shops like Costa or Starbucks are too noisy to concentrate and take phone calls, and membership places like WeWork are expensive.

    Are there any resources that might give me a few ideas?

    ffox: It's a long time since I did this, but I always found my motor to be the best office on the road. Most motorway services and many inner city car parks are in the scope of 4G mobile coverage. Laptop, 4G dongle, mobile phone and the security of your own environment.

    Inner city retail parks are good, offering 90 - 120 minutes free parking and (usually) good connectivity. These also often offer a bonus of a coffee shop where you can get a take out, and a store in the park with a loo.

    Mike Godwin: Back in the day, I always found hotel reception areas very comfortable and often had staff and client meetings there. Holiday Inn were especially welcoming, provided you ordered coffee.

    Blaby Loyal: I've been able to get some sterling work done in out-of-town Beefeater restaurants. They are often on small complexes with a low-cost hotel nearby.

    2. Paranoid about registering a company with my name

    beckygolf, General Business

    Becky’s last company – set up five years ago – was ruined by a malicious ex, who spread false information about the company and convinced potential customers she wasn’t to be trusted.

    Now, she’s considering setting up another limited company, but feels paranoid about registering it under her own name “in case [her] ex Googles it and start the same thing all over again”.

    JEREMY HAWKE: Start getting some feedback off your new customers. I like Trustpilot, as it appears to be difficult to post fake reviews. Also, get Facebook and Twitter pages. Engage with your genuine customers and maybe get your details up on this forum. My company is my name and people can talk to me – they can even come and see me if they have nothing else in their lives. Forget the past, this is now and here we are!

    atmosbob: It might be easier to confront the issue head on. If your ex causes any more trouble, threaten a court injunction and carry it through if he takes no notice. I had this happen in the early years of my business. Rival salesmen were telling shopkeepers who were my customers that I had gone bust and that they had taken over my business. A very strong letter to their MD stopped that.

    TODonnell: If The Pest resurfaces, put it in your blog. No names, just mention what's going on in general. Then sit back and see how long it takes for white knights to come to your defence. Trolls may also chime in, but the overall result could be publicity you simply can't buy. If it escalates, inform the police.

    Note: it may be a bumpy ride, but that's just life. I don't think you can run a business where everyone and everything is nice all the time. Apply skin thickener, and proceed!

    3. Self-employed and taking my clients with me

    Riley123, Legal

    Riley123 was employed for a number of years with no written or signed employment contract. While building up his client list, both Riley and the company agreed he could become self-employed as a sole trader, continuing to work on the same premises and with the company taking a percentage share of his takings. Again, no written contract was put in place.

    After two years as a sole trader, Riley123 has moved to his own premises, and contacted the clients to inform them of the change of address. The company are now threatening him with legal action for informing ‘their customers’ of the move, and are insisting he shouldn’t be contacting the customers whatsoever.

    Where does he stand legally?

    MBE2017: Without any contract or written agreement, I doubt they can do anything, but a talk with your own solicitor would be a sensible use of a quick phone call. Who actually invoiced the clients for your work, yourself or your former company? It seems they consider you to be a worker rather than truly self-employed – maybe they should have been paying your tax and NI as well.

    Smallclaimsassistance: Assuming that the work you performed both before and after self-employment was the same (which appears to be what you are saying), I'm afraid you have this the wrong way round. Your post suggests a perception that the absence of a written contract protects you and your access to these clients.

    Based on what you say, the absence of a written contract is actually detrimental to your position. Unless you can prove there was an agreement that they relinquished all rights to these clients (which may be difficult if you were still paying the company a percentage of your income) the legal position is probably that the clients are the property of the company, and are not yours to take. 

    4. Outsourcing my product development to India

    quinnben, General Business

    quinnben runs a consulting business and he’s considering hiring an agency from India for development work. What kind of challenges should he expect?

    mattk: In my opinion, the biggest challenge is that you have to have very clear, concise and unambiguous documentation for what you want delivered. If you are highly experienced in software development, then I think you could probably just about produce it to the right level of detail. However, if you are inexperienced, then a local team (who you can meet face-to-face, discuss ideas and have them provide guidance and advice) is likely to offer benefits which outweigh the costs.

    Peter Bowen: I (re) learned to program because I was ready to gouge my eyes out in frustration at dealing with offshore developers. You might be tempted to recruit a developer from a freelancing marketplace. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr make it look possible to hire a highly-skilled freelancer from a low-cost-of-living country for a handful of beans. In practice, freelance marketplaces are markets for lemons.

    Nick Grogan: Outsourcing can work well if you know exactly what you want, can express it clearly and don't change your mind too much during development. If you can't do all of the above, then it can cause issues.

    That's all for this week have a great weekend!

  2. Furqan721

    Furqan721 UKBF Contributor Full Member

    52 3
    Thank You for sharing this stuff!
    Posted: May 16, 2018 By: Furqan721 Member since: Feb 26, 2018
  3. Salifuj

    Salifuj UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 1
    After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?
    Posted: May 30, 2018 By: Salifuj Member since: Oct 7, 2016