"What do you do when you’re faced with disaster? Talk, that’s what you do.
I've been working pretty hard and my business is doing well. I have a lot of good clients. I was looking forward to the new year, excited and ready to jump in.
A spot fire burning in the outer suburbs, it came up to the rear of my workshop yard. It ultimately found itself into the back of my warehouse.
The firefighters were too busy looking after the houses that circled and enclosed the industrial estate. Access was not possible. There I was in the back of my yard with a hose. Hosing down my warehouse and the back fence. I did eventually put out the fire.
It wasn't too bad, but there was some damage.
I'd lost about a quarter of my stock.
All the metal frames I use to fix in my glass frames had buckled and some of the timber had caught on fire itself. I still had plenty of stock left though and I thought I could get on but some of the stock that was burnt was critical to my work program. My clients were understanding when I explained I had to push back jobs.
It did in fact get worse. I didn’t think slowing down my work program would be such a drama, but when you are coming out of the Christmas slow down, money wasn't coming through the door. I still had to pay for overheads somehow.
I was trying to get back into it, then two weeks later the worst hail storm in seven years, hit my area, punched holes in my roof and the water that came through, flooded the back end of the warehouse. So not only did I have steel frames that were warped and some of my timber that was burned, I now had a lot of rain impacted timber.
Now I’m in trouble.
Now I have lost about 60% of my stock. It was either buckled, burnt or swollen.
Yes, I had insurance but that was another problem. I geared-up late last year. I bought a lot of stock at discounted prices. My insurance claim will only partially cover the cost of my stock.
Now I have this situation where the money I'm going to get in from the insurance is not enough to replenish my stock, no money in the bank, my overheads need covering and I have a whole bunch of back orders to fill.
I found someone to help me.
I think it's unfair that I should go bankrupt, when this situation I’m in wasn't my fault.
We formed a plan, talked to my customers and suppliers and most of them were good. Clients were particularly good. They were happy to wait for their projects to start and the Australian Taxation Office was good too. There were a couple of creditors that were getting a bit antsy, but it seemed like they were having some problems themselves. So a bit of communication and some skillful negotiation, I hope that I can stick this out and get back on my feet.