Money and ting

Continuing our “DoES wants to move” season… we should probably start again with some background. DoES Liverpool was incorporated, after a few months of discussion, on the 10th June 2011. To speed things up we ended up asking an accountant to set up the company for us, as a result we ended up with a Community Interest Company limited by shares, with our articles of association declaring that we will operate as a non-profit. As it turns out we may have been better off setting the company up as “limited by guarantee”, we even suspect that this contributed to us being denied rates relief by the council, so we’re going to look into changing this probably as part of the general “move” process.

So, we’re a “not for profit”, does that mean we have to make a loss every year? Surely that means we’ll go out of business?! Actually no, the important thing is that any profit generated is reinvested in the company and the community rather than taken out by shareholders (which is why it would be easier if we didn’t actually have shareholders!) In fact DoES Liverpool was a profitable company from the start, with no real capital invested – just a small director’s loan which was quickly paid back – we really had no choice to survive any other way.

Until the most recent financial year that accounts have been prepared for DoES Liverpool has made a profit each and every year. That financial year we had to start paying business rates, including some that were back-dated, so it wasn’t a big surprise there was a small loss. We ended the year with plenty of money in the bank

Financial Year Income Outgoings Profit/Loss
2015-2016 £38,314 £39,219 £-905
2014-2015 £34,770 £31,730 £3,040
2013-2014 £28,757 £27,755 £1,002
2012-2013 £29,146 £24,455 £4,691
2011-2012 £20,771 £17,104 £3,667

(Note that IANAA – I Am Not An Accountant, I’ll do my best with the figures in this post but there’s a decent chance I’ll make mistakes)

FreeAgent is also reporting we’ve made £37,394 in our last year that ended 30th June 2017 and should make a profit, it doesn’t offset for deposits we’re holding so that might drop but looks like we held our own.

So it looks like we’re doing pretty well going from nothing to quickly reaching around £40k/year. Really though DoES isn’t trying to make vast sums of money, all we need is to pay the rent and to have enough money to buy useful equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters. In fact the rise in income was matched by a rise in outgoings so that would have been around the time we took on the separate workshop (and kitchen) and then Dinky, our events room.

Unfortunately, while our accounts paint a fairly rosy picture, our income has been dropping over the last 12 months hence our recent pushes to get more people. Hold onto your hats, as here’s a graph of permanent desk invoicing over the last 12 months:

Permanent Desks 07/2016 – 06/2017

We’ve seen rises and falls before, an especially big one a few years ago that we did manage to pull ourselves out of as you’ll see in this graph:

Permanent Desks 2011-2017

Permanent desks have always been our main source of income. In some ways they’re the easiest things for us to sell as they make the biggest impact on our finances, but they also result in bigger problems when people decide to move on. Here’s a graph showing our income broken down into categories:

Income categorised, as a percentage, 2011-2017

That makes it quite clear how much of our income comes from permanent desks. We’ve always had the hot desk and workshop membership options. Hot desking has always been popular but has never reached the levels of the permanent desks for proportion of income. Workshop membership wasn’t so popular initially but has more recently seen an upturn.

Taking out the permanent desks gives a richer break-down:

Income categorised, no permanent desks, 2011-2017

Bearing in mind that permanent desks have always provided over 60% of our revenue it’s still interesting to dig down into the other categories. Our first six months in 2011 actually seem to have involved a lot of funding for events. This isn’t a big surprise, we were excited to have a new space so we ran a BarCamp and probably a few other events. We were also being given money to support Maker Nights which certainly helped in those early days. It’s actually a shame we’re not running events so often these days so hopefully that’s something we’ll look at more in the new space.

It looks like hot desks have become a smaller proportion of our income and, workshop membership seems to be growing. You start to see our registered address mailbox service creeping in too in the recent years. While hot desks may be a smaller proportion they’re still a large part of our income as you can see from the following similar graphs which aren’t scaled to percentages.

Income categorised, no permanent desks, 2011-2017
Income categorised, no permanent desks, 2011-2017

These do show that our hot desk income seems to be dropping, this is something we have perhaps noticed but not taken quite as much notice of as we should. If we’d picked up on it earlier it could have been a warning sign towards the more recent drop off of permanent desks. What reasons might there be for this? Well there’s definitely a lot more competition for hot-desks and flexible lets in the city now compared to 6 years ago. Few of these spaces offer the same community feel you get in DoES but some do, and just the number of people offering similar services can make it tricky for DoES to stand out. We’re well aware that our current space isn’t the most aesthetically appealing but there was little scope for improving it in the building we’re currently in. Our new home will allow us to much improve our co-working offering, both in terms of the services we offer and improving the feel of the space, so we’re confident we can turn this around.

What’s probably not shown so well on that graph is that some of the hot desk visits will actually be people using the workshop. We’re definitely seeing the workshop getting regular use, especially on the two laser cutters but also on the other equipment like the 3D printers.

What else can we do? Well offering new types of service is one thing. The registered address service that we introduced just a few years ago is going well and is bringing in increasing amounts. Similarly the “Friends of DoES” option that came about because Francis Irving decided he wanted to help fund DoES but didn’t need any of the specific paid-for services we had at the time has also helped (unfortunately it doesn’t show up well in the graphs, it will be spread across Funding & Other due to the ways the payments come in). We can also look at bringing in more revenue from hosting events and meetings, our existing events room – Dinky – is quite rarely busy during the day so there’s a lot of scope for doing more with this. If you have an idea of a service DoES should be offering let us know.

We’ve also mentioned in the past about bringing whole companies in to DoES Liverpool, that’s still an option if we can find companies that are interested and would be a good fit with the DoES community. While this would have a bigger impact on our finances, similar to the permanent desks it also gives us a bigger dependency as losing that single client will cause a big drop in our income. One to be careful of but something we’re definitely considering (get in touch if you’d like to move in with us!)

So there you have it, DoES Liverpool is a company that has grown from nothing into a wonderful large community and a mostly profitable Community Interest Company. We’ve had some difficult times but we’ve managed to make our way out of them in the past and we’re quite sure we can do it again.

I actually began writing this blog post not long after promising it back in March and things have moved on a lot since then. While we’ve had the news that our building has definitely been sold and we have a more urgent need to move, we’ve also been able to find a great new home and are in the final stages of finalising that. In the next few weeks and months you can expect more blog posts with updates both on the new space and also on changes we might be making to our offerings to support it. I’m very excited for what the future holds and I hope you are too!


If you are interested in moving a small company in to DoES Liverpool or you would like to run an event in our delightful events room (named Dinky, after the toy cars born in Liverpool!) then simply send an email over to hello@doesliverpool.com. If you want to use the workshop or hot desk then you can mostly just turn up, although you’re quite welcome to fire an email over first. To use the laser cutters you will need to book a slot, and have an induction first.

If you just want to give DoES money to help us make this happen then that’s always an option too! We always appreciate our Friends who donate £9/month by standing order or via PayPal.

 

Week 319 – Nerf hacking, LoRaWAN hacking, bio-hacking…

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Wednesday 19 July, 6:30pm-8:00pm Friends of the Earth
Thursday 20 July, 3:00pm-6:00pm Missing Maps
Thursday 20 July, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 185 open, 351 closed

5 new issues:

4 issues closed:

Thanks DefProc, amcewen!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Week 318 – Making Trucks Safer

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 10 July, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Thursday 13 July, 9:00am-6:00pm Jelly Liverpool
Thursday 13 July, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Saturday 15 July, 9:00am-3:00pm LoRaWAN Hackday

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 184 open, 347 closed

6 new issues:

5 issues closed:

Thanks stevesparrow, DefProc, johnmckerrell, skos-ninja!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Week 317 – Microbits, cake, gummies, and more

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Tuesday 04 July, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Wednesday 05 July, 7:00pm-9:00pm Liverpool Linux User Group
Thursday 06 July, 6:30pm-9:00pm Lock Picking Event
Thursday 06 July, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Saturday 08 July, 10:00am-5:00pm Maker Day

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 183 open, 342 closed

5 new issues:

6 issues closed:

Thanks amcewen, jackie1050, johnmckerrell!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Is DoES Liverpool Moving?

You might have seen in the news, or heard on the rumour mill, stories about Gostins Building (DoES Liverpool’s current home) being sold. It’s been on the cards for ages and is part of the reason why we’ve been looking to move and expand, but a planning application to turn the building into a hotel doesn’t sound like a new owner who wants to keep the building as a hive of alternative and interesting entrepreneurial activity 🙂

So, what does this mean for DoES Liverpool?

In truth, not a massive change.  On a practical note, the new owners have changed the opening times for reception, so the front doors will be locked after 5pm (from Monday 3rd July 2017).  We’ll have to sort out keys and a doorbell for evening meetups – more on this once we’ve worked out the details.

As to the bigger picture, it’s not ideal, but we’re weighing up two options for a move at the moment and either of those will work as a new home for us. One is the same size we are now and well within our budget. The other is twice our current size, which would let us fit more businesses in and expand the workshop (separate wood and metalwork workshops anyone?) and who knows what else? But we’d need to find something like an extra £1000/month to fund it. That’d be easy as it fills up, but we need a plan to get there.

How can you help?

Obviously we’re really excited about the bigger space and aiming for that. I’m sure we’ll be back with more concrete tasks as the plans develop but in the mean time there are two ways you can help out.

Firstly, become a Friend of DoES Liverpool. This is our bottom level membership, for people who want to support what we’re doing financially but don’t need any of our paid services. Either set up a standing order for £9/month (bank info is here) and ping an email to hello@doesliverpool.com to let us know, or click the button below to set up a recurring payment with PayPal:




Secondly, come and take a desk in the current space. That’ll help our cashflow and forecasting plus you’ll get to hang out with an amazing community of people and (most importantly 😉 ) get first dibs on desks when we move. If you don’t need a desk yourself, tell whoever you know who might.

And if you want to keep abreast of developments, join the community discussion group or our (lower traffic, a handful of emails each year) announcements mailing list:

Subscribe to our announcements mailing list

* indicates required


Week 316 – Autonomous Kayaks, MakeFesting, and More

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 26 June, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Thursday 29 June, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Thursday 29 June, 6:00pm-7:00pm Organisers’ Meeting

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 184 open, 336 closed

3 new issues:

4 issues closed:

Thanks DefProc!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Looking back on Liverpool Makefest 2017

 

DoES Liverpool had a great time at Liverpool Makefest on Saturday. We showed off what we do and make, made new friends and got back in contact with some old ones. Thanks to everyone who helped out as exhibitors, volunteers, and behind the scenes. Also to the Makefest organisers, especially Mark and Jen who worked so hard to make the event a success.

For those who couldn’t be there, here’s a selection of DoES-related photos, mainly from Twitter and Instagram …

The Electric Liverbird (on the 2nd floor):

Made Invaders:

The DoES stand:

Repurposed Tosca screen with large DoES Liverpool logo and work by Hexceramic and SilentBelle:

See you at Makefest.

A post shared by DoES Liverpool (@doesliverpool) on

We’re right at the top left in this photo:

#LivMF2017

A post shared by Liverpool MakeFest (@lpoolmakefest) on

Paul Geering’s unique Nixie clock:

 

… and as you can’t see it in the previous photos, here’s a picture of Andy Goodwin’s ROV:

Autonomous rover prototype testing.

A post shared by Andy Goodwin (@franticuk) on

From the Fomocam:

vivian/00:14:30.jpg

Some official pictures with official watermarks(see more at https://www.facebook.com/pg/liverpoolmakefest/photos):

 

DoES maker day regulars visiting Laura Pullig’s stall:

Tactile Electronics @lpoolmakefest #LivMF2017 #technology #kidsintech #electronics

A post shared by Liverpool MakeFest (@lpoolmakefest) on

After party:

 

Looking forward to next year.

Week 315 – Robots, Awards, and a Trip to the Zoo

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Wednesday 21 June, 6:30pm-8:00pm Friends of the Earth
Thursday 22 June, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Thursday 22 June, 6:00pm-7:00pm Organisers’ Meeting

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 185 open, 332 closed

3 new issues:

1 issue closed:

Thanks jackie1050!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Maker Difference

Liverpool Libraries are running a new programme of Maker activities in libraries this year. Building on the success of Make Fest and Liverpool Code Club the Maker Difference project will bring more opportunities for young people to engage in making across the city.

There will be four new mini maker spaces, with 3d printing, vinyl cutting and electronics kit available in Central, Toxteth, Speke and Norris Green libraries. This new kit will be supported by workshops and new code clubs to help introduce new makers to the tech. This funding will also support Make Fest on 24th June and a smaller Young Makefest in March 2018. There will also be commissioned projects by WeHeartTech, DomesticScience, Jen Fenner and Re-Dock.

One of the things that’s sometimes hard to capture at DoESLiverpool (despite the #weeknotes script) and the wider maker community, are the stories behind every cool thing you see at events like Liverpool Makefest that helped pave the way for MakerDifference.

Conversations in the workshop and across desks between people are where it all begins and Maker Difference comes from this place; Liverpool Library Services then making the time and space to listen to these conversations. There’s a lot of subtle advocacy at work in DoES even though we famously don’t do anything, just provide a space for people to do things. But these people often care a lot about not just what they are working on but on the wider ecosystem around their field and that means Maker Difference can benefit from the advice and support of that community without worrying they are dropping a programme on people ‘from space’ that might not feel right as can often happen.

It’s worth remembering it’s not really about 3d printers or lasers or LoRaWAN it’s how people share their knowledge and ideas; in little bursts, informally but often; and then the interesting often silly little conversations they have; or small scale tests, and prototypes that then lead to the systems and events the wider public can see. And if you share your knowledge with people surrounded by impact sensors, LED displays, Moteinos, ESP8266 boards, Arduinos, vinyl cutters, hot presses, text adventures and  microbit robots, exciting things happen.

It’s the hidden social glue and advocacy of DoES Liverpool that many makerspaces and hackspaces have but we are lucky to mix uniquely with co-working and we hope by supporting projects like Maker Difference we can pass that on so that the events, clubs, commissions all get mixed up in the way they get mixed up at DoES.

Week 314 – 100Pi Week!

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 12 June, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Thursday 15 June, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 183 open, 331 closed

5 new issues:

No issues closed

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!