Behind the Scenes (BTS): Better Late than Never

Late_Beach_Hut_Hire_Opening

I woke up this morning with a one of those niggles, I knew if I couldn’t come up with a solution to a problem that had come up, I was going to have to push the official opening dates of the new beach huts for hire back. I was going to be LATE – queue feeling of dread. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to the beach huts and I hate being LATE!!

It’s been something that I’ve been working on for months but today was a ‘drop dead’ date in terms of timescales.    If our opening date for beach hut hires had to be pushed back, then I wanted to tell people this weekend to give enough notice for those with early pencilled in dates.  Not something I was taking lightly – making our beach huts available to everyone is at the heart of what we do and I take great pride in delivering on our promises.

So I’ve taken a couple of days out over the last two days, in the hope that a clear head may come up with new ideas and that magic solution but I’m going to have to give in and firstly say a very BIG SORRY…..  I’m a firm believer there is only one thing worse than being late… it’s someone who doesn’t apologise for being late!

 

Why is the Opening Date being pushed back?

It really comes down to one thing – Beach Hut Doors.   Having had so many Autumn and Winter guests, whilst I’d added heaters and winter comforts to the beach huts, I’ve insisted that both of the new beach hut fronts are fully replaced with new interior and exterior doors.   Not only will this give them a much-needed facelift and added security BUT more importantly, they’ll really improve your experience when hiring one of our beach huts.  On a colder or winters day, you can camp out in the hut with doors closed and fully visibility of the sea.  Particularly for Isla this would provide a great view point of the sea spray at high tide – something I was looking forward to seeing myself with the comfort of heaters and hot chocolate!

The big stumbling block is that If I want to open by Easter, I’d’ have to forgo the doors, which I’ve finally been able to secure within budget, through a highly recommended carpenter due to the need for custom made sizes.   Even with bribery and pleading – these will take at least another month from now.

No matter how often I redraw, look at other options….. it would be compromising too much on quality.   I want you to have the same experiences as our 2015 guests.    I heard so many visitors say that their childrens had asked “Can we live here??”…. and so I won’t and can’t deliver anything less for you now or jeopardise our brand.

 

Am I complete Numpty – what happened to contingency planning?

Yep, I’m definitely a numpty ………   and if you think about it, I’ve had Isla for several months and had deliberately planned to have extra time build into the schedule pre-opening. So what happened?

 

  • Significant variation in quotes for renovation work.   Now we’re not just talking a little difference in terms of the quotes we received – we’re talking quotes that are more than double each other.   When that happens, I lose trust both in terms of quality and price and immediately increase my research on those who are quoting.   i’m not just looking to those who are the cheapest – small businesses are an important ingredient to us and with day to day work on the Beach Huts, I like to use individuals and businesses based in Walton-on-the-Naze.  My own small way of giving back to this seaside town.   I also know that you can pay the cheapest and end up redoing work or painting more often etc.   However when the work is thousands of pounds rather than hundred – this ate up all of my contingency time and more.

 

  • Cashflow tied up with two Beach Huts for Sale – with Millie and Harley still for sale, the desire to buy a further hut in addition to Isla, cash flow planning has been very tight!   Licence fees and insurance were all due for renewal in January and thus due to cash flow, I would be restricted to speaking to builders and carpenters who would need a deposit from January onwards.  The small but important realities of being a small business and with the licence changes coming into effect, there were no options to bring any of our income forward.

 

  • New job, house sale and house move.  Life has certainly been a little busy.   Just after purchasing Isla, I secured a new job in Wokingham which involved finishing all work on my house in Essex, selling the house, along with moving into a property in Wokingham (did I mention that I ended up moving house in between Christmas and New Year?   I’m still unpacking this very weekend – though hope I’m down to the last handful of boxes and contracts are due to be signed this coming week.

 

When Will the Beach Huts be available to Hire?

So the good news is that whilst the beach hut doors are being custom made, Rod, our trusty carpenter will be able to finish all of the work on Isla and also on our new addition Millie whilst the doors are being made. At the very very very very … very latest both Beach Huts will be available to hire from the 10th April.

I’ll be spending most of tomorrow afternoon with Rod, going over more details and final measurements to make sure there are no snags with the custom made doors. Rod and myself will be doing everything we can to try and claw back those few days and if the doors are available earlier, we will, of course, open as soon as they are installed.  Over the next few weeks – expect lots of progress pics!

 

Whilst no list of reasons is good enough really for letting you down on our opening date – I hope it gives you a little insight into what is going on behind the scenes to get the quality and standard of the two new beach huts for hire.. just right for you.

 

It’s Better Late than Never??

 

Vicky (Millie and Isla too) x

 

 

Notes:
  • (wiki explanation of numpty HERE for those who may not yet understand my Scottish phrases)
  • for those small number of people with pencilled in bookings pre 10th April, you should have received a personal message/email today along with a gesture of goodwill. Please do shout if not as this may have been eaten by email monsters (or that good old junk box!).
  • Featured Image 1 by Mark Morgan

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