Thursday, 26 February 2015

It’s all too much hassle

Hassle. Life is full of it and we all need less of it. A peaceful existence. A steady routine with no nasty surprise. We all want a few nice surprises, but not nasty ones. We all want a work/life balance, a bit tilted towards the life side if we are honest, but we want to enjoy what we do without hassle. That is the important thing. Reduce the stress.

(Therefore I would not necessarily recommend you supporting Arsenal! I am not a happy bunny this morning!)

Except when it comes to paying for it, of course. Less hassle is a hard thing to price. Is it worth £50 to you? £100? £1000? I talk to people most days who have a small pile of kit to dispose of and they are horrified by the cost. One said to me the other day that I would sell his precious waste, as if that was a license to print gold! So why should he pay me to collect it? I was forced to point out a few facts of life.

Firstly, he could sell it himself if he wants to, no skin off my nose. Anyone can use eBay. But it would be a lot of hassle to earn £25, if his item sold. And what about the PAT test, or the software? Or his data? He soon went off that idea.

Secondly, if he wanted to avoid transport costs, he could drop it off to me. Maybe send it by courier at his risk? Cheaper but his data is still there. He is liable. And is he transporting waste then? So not legal really, if challenged. And he is a bit off the beaten track.

Thirdly, he could turn to one of the free collection services, couldn’t he? Well no, even those generous souls will not collect small quantities. Most insist on 30 items and the small stuff goes into boxes to be counted as one item, so his three items don’t really merit a free collection.

So his option is to pay a fair price and have all his boxes ticked, or sit on his pile until either it gets bigger and becomes more economical with economies of scale or some other miraculous solution presents itself.

This is why so many offices have a small pile of WEEE in a corner, on a shelf or in a storeroom. I call it the hassle/cost ratio, and until the hassle becomes greater than the sum involved, nothing ever gets done. It may very well say ‘we support sustainability’ on the company website, but when it comes to paying £99 to get rid of those two old PC’s, a knackered printer and a box of junk, sod the Ozone layer.

My old Gran used to love saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’ It is true with the family budget but not so true in business. Because you are not paying £99 for nothing in this regular little scenario. Let me tell you what you would be paying for with eReco, to emphasise my point:

Secure collection. Two men with the vehicle, both security checked. Vehicle never left unattended and your data always protected (and covered by our insurance).

Diesel, road tax, maintenance and rental for our vehicle.

Provision of Waste Transfer Notes, Consignment notes, asset lists and certificates of data destruction.

Data erasure. Our Ben’s time plus the license fee to use Infosec 5 level Tabernus software.
Asset tracking through our system. So that you can prove an audit trail.

PAT Testing, cleaning, repair, loading of software and marketing.

Recycling anything that cannot be remarketed. We never put anything into a landfill. We will store the constituent parts (sometimes for a very long time) until we have a load viable for sale.

Facility costs, staff wages and digestive biscuits. (No one at eReco does a stroke without the promise of a digestive biscuit).

I know that is teaching Granny to suck eggs stuff. But that is what £99 has to cover. 

Best case scenario in terms of resale of a job like that is £75, worst case scrap value is about £10, and we do not know what state the kit is in until we pick it up of course.

We need to remember what is important here. And that is managing the risk of data breaches and keeping electrical equipment out of landfill. The hassle of the former is off the clock stressful and the latter is our duty to future generations.

Does £99 still sound so expensive? And Arsenal, I love you, but if you don't learn to defend, I am considering a divorce!