John Booth | Managing director, Millards Cleaning Services
“We’ve been going since 1919, so we have seen several recessions and a depression. The current situation has the characteristics of a depression – not a recession – and my guess is that it will last for four years.
“As a small company, our clients are not in the mainstream. We work with merchant banks, arbitragers and futures [traders], not for the retail banks, which tend to go to large cleaning companies. We provide a bespoke service, and so far the credit crunch is not affecting us. That said, we will probably see a dip next year of 3 to 4 per cent, where we have been growing at 9 or 10 per cent. So you’ve got a differential of about 15 per cent, which is significant. Only about 17 to 18 per cent of our revenue is from the financial sector, so a slowdown there would not make us go critical.
“However, one or two companies might sleepwalk into receivership because they don’t have the strategies in place to cope with a situation like this. Because we’re central – which ensures low transport costs – and because we’re reasonably clued-up on finances, we tend to pick up other companies’ business when they go bust.
“In the wake of the recent dramatic events on Wall Street and here in the UK, the priority now must be to prevent people from defaulting on their debt.
“As long as you have cash, you’ll be all right.”