Business Personal Finance

Monday 23 July 2018

Bobby Kerr: 'I always haggle. I never pay the full price for anything...'

Money talks

Bobby Kerr chairman of Insomnia and presenter of 'Down to Business'
Bobby Kerr chairman of Insomnia and presenter of 'Down to Business'
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Bobby Kerr is chairman of Insomnia and presenter of Down to Business, the Saturday-morning business breakfast show on Newstalk 103FM. Well known as one of the founding dragons on RTE's Dragon's Den, Kerr is a popular business mentor and successful entrepreneur.

He lives by the sea in Sandycove with his wife Mary and their four daughters. We caught up with him last week to see if we could get any money tips from him.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career as chairman of Insomnia has taught you?

When undertaking a project, it takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you expect it to. My father said this to me a long time ago - and it has happened more times than it hasn't happened.

You have four daughters. What's the most expensive thing about raising children?.

Possibly their education. Things like getting their nails done and the insurance and tax on their cars are also expensive.

It astounds me the bills that are presented to me (at home) - which are for things which are not for me.

Are you better off than your parents?

Probably not. My father was an entrepreneur and hotelier. He owned the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny. He did very well.

He and his partners got a really good deal back in the 1960s when they bought 50 acres of land - practically in Kilkenny city - for IR£17,000.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

Probably my car, which is eight years old. It's a Range Rover and has 160,000 miles on it. I haven't really invested in property - apart from my family home, which I own.

What was your worst job?

Washing the pots in the kitchen in the Newpark Hotel around 1970, especially when the chefs had managed to burn them.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I've made many of them. The biggest was possibly an investment in a Manchester United theme cafe on Dublin's Westmoreland Street back in 2001. It failed fast; it opened in August and closed in October. But everyone got paid, including the suppliers.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

I do, because I use online banking.

Do you use any money-saving apps?

No, but I communicate a lot on Whatsapp.

What was your best financial killing?

Selling 50pc of Insomnia to the Icelandics in 2007 and buying that stake back in 2010 at a lower price.

Android or iPhone?


Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes, when the company's kitchen was burned down in Liffey Trust on Dublin's Sheriff Street in 2002. I opened a new shop with the proceeds.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

I have. I changed broadband supplier to Sky recently to save money.

Itunes or Spotify?

I use both, mainly Spotify. I'm a big music fan. I use Spotify in the car, at home and on the move.

What was the last thing you bought online?

An attachment for my Go Pro camera, which I bought on Amazon.

Do you have a mortgage? Is it fixed, variable or tracker?

Thankfully, no. In the good times, one of the things I was very focused on doing was not having a mortgage, so I paid it off.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No - I don't like property as an investment.

Cash or card?

Both. I use my debit card more than anything else. I have a credit card but don't use it that much.

Do you ever haggle?

Always - to the embarrassment of my daughters. I never pay the full price for anything.

Sunday Indo Business

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