Updates from the AVROPresident Steve Shinnick and the National Council's work
Representing the Professionals
The question of getting adequate payment for work carried out under a contract has been covered extensively in the news media this summer. Dairy farmers have been highlighting the fact that the amount they receive from the big supermarkets is simply not enough to ensure that small- and medium-sized farms can survive.
We could very well say the same about the recovery business.
Work providers may argue that they, like us, live in a very competitive world and that they simply can’t increase their prices without risking losing their contracts with insurers, motor manufacturers and other organisations. But the major supermarkets are also involved in a fierce price-sensitive arena. Yet Morrisons has reportedly agreed to pay 26p per litre after pressure from farmer’s representatives, while M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have been paying 30p per litre for some time.
Work providers in our sector could improve the situation on their own if they simply agreed to make a smaller margin.
The farmers have taken direct action to improve their situation, and while I am not suggesting that we roll recovery trucks into corporate headquarters, it is clear that the present situation of inadequate returns for basic recoveries and the infamous ‘free mileage’ cannot continue. As an industry we need to work together, present strong, coherent arguments and convince the work providers to improve basic rates.
Without a strong, independent recovery sector, they will not be able to ensure good and timely service at the roadside for their customers.
Another big bugbear for our members is late payment and the news that the government is to appoint a commissioner to assist small businesses with problems over debt collection is very welcome. The government estimates that small firms are owed £26 billion in late payments and chasing those debts costs them millions of pounds or more.
For a small enterprise, particularly when they are supplying a much larger business, it is often very difficult to balance forceful debt collection with maintaining good relations for the next contract. But it cannot be acceptable for businesses to be forced to accept extended credit terms of up to 60 days, and in some cases much more. Let’s hope the government’s tsar has some real teeth and can help small businesses which are such a vital part of the UK economy.
Taken from Recovery Operator, August/September 2015 issue
Representing the Professionals
AVRO’s purpose as a trade association is to represent the interests of its members and I am delighted to welcome a number of new members who have joined us recently, as well as welcoming back some old friends who have re-joined.
It is always good when the professionalism of our members is recognised and I was very pleased to hear the news that AVRO Region 8 member John Saunders will be inducted into the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame later this year.
The findings of the AVRO industry survey were presented to members at our recent AGM. I have always believed that this is a very important initiative for AVRO as it provides a solid foundation for finding out exactly what members think on a number of key issues as well as the challenges they are facing.
We have always intended that the survey will be an ongoing project with periodic questions put to the industry to gauge opinions and to track how those views may be changing over time. One of the key points to emerge from analysis of the first survey is the question of accurate costing modules. There appears to be a real need for operators to have access to a simple tool that enables them to assess the likely costs of a job, and most importantly, check whether the rates they are being offered not only covers their costs, but provides a contribution to profits.
We have also been active recently on behalf of Region 15 members. I attended a meeting along with Eamon Kelly at the Ireland government procurement office in Dublin where we gave an industry insight to the officials leading the procurement exercise to help them avoid duplicating problems which have occurred in the past.
On a sadder note, the death of Alex Robb was a real blow. I worked with Alex for a great number of years and he was always a true and trusted friend to the industry. He will leave a void in many of our lives because I doubt we’ll meet the likes of him again.