Looking after employees in Liquidation

Alan had run his taxi firm in the midlands for 6 years. It been scraping a profit, but not enough to seem him through lean periods. The fact Alan needed to Liquidate his company was secondary to his concerns about his employees and his need to change how we operated if we was to move forward in business.

I really couldn’t believe the position I was in, every day I went into the office and would look at my employees and wonder how I was going to pay them. To call them employees is a bit of an understatement. They had been with me since I started the business 6 years ago, they were more like family.

No matter how long I stared at the bank account for there was just not enough money to pay them.

I’d been struggling for a little while, my wife’s cleaning business had been subbing us money for a few years in the lean times, but it was summer and things were always quiet. The school contracts ended in July and by August we were normally struggling a bit, but this seemed worse. I had managed to secure some additional contracts with local companies, but they turned out not to be very profitable.

I just couldn’t see a way through it, outside my office was my staff, all working as hard as they could, not knowing they weren’t going to get paid.

I had already approached the bank for an extension on the overdraft, which the manager had said wouldn’t be an issue, but he had to refer it up to his manager. He was meant to have called me 2 days ago to confirm the overdraft was OK, but I couldn’t get hold of him to find out what was happening.

It took until 4pm on the 31st August for him to ring me back, the staff always go paid on the last day of the month.

It was such a relief to hear from him, but it wasn’t good news. The extension had been declined. I was devastated. How could I tell the staff?

I started looking on the Internet for solutions, everything seemed to be pointing in one direction – Liquidation, but how could I tell my staff that, I felt like I was stabbing them in the back.

I spoke to a number of advisors on it, I can’t remember how many, they just all blurred into one. Apart from one, Zennet Solutions, they took the time out to discuss how it would impact the staff, and how they could help the staff at the same time.

I knew I had to Liquidate, there was no discussion about that, it was how the situation with the staff could be handled so they didn’t get any problems from it.

Zennet did say that as matter of course, staff would get any redundancy that was due to them, and they would be willing to talk to any of employees creditors to confirm this to make things easier.

I really wanted to go back into business doing taxis again, we were only a few days away from the schools ending, and I would be back making some money again.

Zennet went through the numbers with me, discussing how I had got to this point, and it quickly became clear that my business model was flawed. If I was going to start again I needed to change how I worked, mainly how I costed work.

I took a while to go through – about 2 weeks in total, but we eventually got a plan together for the new business.

Once the Liquidation went through, I started again, I didn’t manage to keep all the staff, but they all got the redundancy they were due. Thankfully Zennet treated them as a priority and really pushed for their payment to be made quickly, I really don’t think any of the others would have bothered that much.

The staff had always been my main concern, and it was really nice to deal with a company that showed some old fashioned values, and went the extra mile to help them

About the author

Damian Appleby

Damian manages our advice line and as he hears the issues that Directors such as you have everyday, he is the natural person to write the content on out website. Damian has more than 15 years experience in helping businesses of all size find a solution to their debt problems.

Posted on by Damian Appleby in Recent Cases