Tuesday 22 October 2019

Budget 2020: 'You work more hours than everybody else, a 12-hour day would be a short one' - small business owner Larry Teeling

Small business owner Larry Teeling of Crystal Glazing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Small business owner Larry Teeling of Crystal Glazing. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Aoife Walsh

Larry Teeling started his own glass glazing business, Crystal Glazing during the recession when a friend of his asked him to do some work in a county club. At the time, Larry was struggling to make ends meet after being let go from his job.

In this year's Budget, Larry (48) would like to see Universal Social Charge (USC) removed.

“I started this company, Crystal Glazing, at the real height of it when you couldn’t even get a pane of glass without paying for it in full, anywhere. Nobody would accept a cheque off you," the Dubliner said.

"How I started initially was Colum Peters (his friend) said, ‘Look, I need some work done. You may come down and do it.’  At that stage we hadn’t even petrol because I hadn’t even received my redundancy. I had enough petrol to get down the road. I was hanging onto money because you didn’t know what was coming next. We had calls from the mortgage company and calls from the utility suppliers.

Small business owner Larry Teeling and his son Cian of Crystal Glazing. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Small business owner Larry Teeling and his son Cian of Crystal Glazing. Picture; Gerry Mooney

He continued; "As a proud man never being out of work ever in my life, I had to go to the Department of Social Welfare and they sent me up to somebody and said, ‘Listen, they’ll pay the two utility bills you have and they’ll put you on a meter system so you only use what you put on the meter'. That to me was the lowest point ever because I’ve never had to get a meter installed in my house. It was just ridiculous.

"I went back down to the Department of Social Welfare and I said 'look, it’s really simple. I’ve tools, I’ll go out and build'. She said, ‘you won’t last five minutes’. I said, ‘what makes you say that?’, she said, ‘there’s no work out there’. So, Colum called me down to the county club and said there's plenty of work there if you want to do it," he said.

"He said come in, measure everything up, ring up about a price for the glass and come back to me. He basically showed me how to price a job and setting up a business.

"Colum set me up in business. He told me it's all ahead of me, it's how heavy I make my wheelbarrow. He told me any help I've ever needed to come back, he's always been there."

"If anybody thinks that you have loads of money when you own your own business, you don’t. You work more hours than everybody else does. A 12 hour day would be a short day. It would be great to have a 12 hour day.

"It’s been like this for 8 years. I get seven days off a year, I get three or four days off over Christmas - that’s it. I’m constantly at work. I’m constantly taking phone calls. Afraid to refuse work in case somebody goes to the next person. You have to be that readily available constantly.

"The fact of the matter is, if this Brexit thing goes ahead, there's so many companies in Ireland snookered. Window parts, window accessories, windows themselves. Typically most of the windows come from the UK or Northern Ireland now. Companies manufacturing in the Republic of Ireland, because they know the other fellas can't get them in the north anymore, the price of windows is going to go through the roof. It's going to put a lot of companies out of business. I import all my windows from the north because you couldn't survive for the Republic of Ireland prices," he said.

"For the Budget, when you consider USC as a temporary tax and it hasn't gone away. It was supposed to help bail us out, and it's still there. You're paying it, I'm paying it, everybody is paying it.

"They said we have to be 70 when we retire, I know I won't be retired before I'm 70. By the time I retire, in 20 years time, the government will bring up that the earliest we can retire is 80 years of age. My body won't take lifting glass at 80."

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