Monday 26 June 2017

'I earn just an ok wage, I'm no better off than lots of my employees' - MicksGarage founder

Mick Crean of MicksGarage.com at its warehouse in Park West, Dublin Photo: Kyran
O’Brien
Mick Crean of MicksGarage.com at its warehouse in Park West, Dublin Photo: Kyran O’Brien

Ian Begley

Successful entrepreneur Mick Crean says that although his company is making a turnover of €13m a year, he is no better off than his employees due to the Irish tax system.

Starting off in 2004 in his Mayo bedroom, Mr Crean founded MicksGarage.com - an online car parts and accessories retailer.

He teamed up with his twin brother Ciaran, and the business, now based in Park West, Dublin, has grown substantially - employing more than 60 people and shipping orders to countries all over the world.

However, the tax system has made life particularly hard for Mr Crean in more ways than one.

"Part of our difficulty is hiring people," Mr Crean said. "I think we're at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the amount of IT companies we're competing with such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

"We're trying to compete with those guys, which makes hiring quite difficult because we can't pay our staff the same rate as them.

"However, our staff have huge potential to work and build state-of-the-art online technology."

He added that almost 50pc of his monthly wage is taxed and believes entrepreneurs are not being rewarded for their business endeavour.

"I work massive hours, but I don't earn an awful lot for it because the more you earn, the more you are taxed. The term 'squeezed middle' is absolutely correct.

"I'm in a position where I earn just an OK wage, but I'm no better off than a lot of my employees who can go on the dole tomorrow if they lose their jobs.

"This is something I'm not able to do, which signifies the huge disconnection that exists with entrepreneurs.

"People who start businesses should be rewarded for trying to build an indigenous company, but we're not being rewarded for that at all.

Support

"We've had good support from Enterprise Ireland along the way, but trying to get through the recession was definitely a struggle.

"Apart from the unfair tax system, our company has definitely come a long way and I'm very happy with how it's progressing.

"We have big plans for growth down the line and I've no doubt we can achieve those targets," he said.

MicksGarage.com has seen significant growth in recent years, and in February Investec helped to raise €1.5m in funding to push the company's UK market.

The business did its first outside fundraising in 2008, receiving €560,000 just as the banking crisis hit.

Irish Independent

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