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Autumn leaves


Autumn is the time for planning routine maintenance and counting the 'falling leaves of bank notes' of the Summer season.

Summer '22 was an average season. The giddy highs and lows of 2021 are a memory, and we wait to see if further lockdowns occur this Winter, I can safely predict that those in Government will offer no further bail-outs to hospitality businesses. Only the well-funded and fittest will survive. Steady streams of newcomers to the market, via rent-to-rent, have been showing their Summer takings on social media. As 1st November approaches we seasoned operators know that we must have cash put aside for the slow times ahead. After 5 years this no longer worries me. Each day of Winter is a day closer to the next Summer bonanza. Plans to be competitive in the market by maintaining high standards and new levels of quality in my renovations are afoot. A few stays this year in plush Airbnbs have inspired me to think more creatively.

I have also learned that maintenance done during the Winter is a lifesaver in terms of fewer maintenance issues during busy periods. I have a managed property that is receiving a new bathroom as we speak. The owners have foregone 2 weeks' takings at November rates, which is barely half as much as a busted shower could cost them in the Summer, if they lost a holiday guest. I have a place under renovation for the New Year at which point I will pause my renovation programme for 2023 to catch up a bit financially. Routine tasks such as boiler servicing and safety checks are scheduled for this period. Thanks to PDPLA I am holding a new PAT testing certificate and will undertake that task myself. It is a good chance to check the inventory (there is always something that has gone walkabout!). The final bit is checking the subscriptions, utilities, rates, heating controllers etc. to make sure that best value is being applied to each property.

October had HMRC written all over it. I run a few small Ltd Companies so have multiple accounts due. Once they are complete attention is turned to self-assessments. My son's (the easiest), my husband's, and then the hub of it all, my own. Between us we have a partnership, land and property pages, PAYE, dividends, self-employed and furnished holiday let pages to go in. A large chart maps out the 'what goes where'. I remember how I sweated out my first few buy to let self-assessments with only 1 or 2 properties involved and it seems so very easy now. I swear it took me a week to do it and I demanded that my partner give me complete silence and regular coffee refills for this most stressful task. The level of stress doesn't decrease as my plans create a larger and larger spiders' web of business. My record keeping is improved, and it is now paid attention at least every month. After 30 years I have acknowledged that this is, in fact, a good way to proceed. With the help of Magdalena and her love of 'matchy-matchy' accounts we triumphed and made a few plans to simplify for next year.

November notes for a small business
What the!!!

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