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.

 

DoES’ Ethos

DoES’ ever growing media presence continues to expand, this time through the fabulous Ethos Magazine, who spent some time in DoES talking to Adrian McEwen as part of their ‘The Makers And The City’ video series.

Adrian spoke about the founding and running of DoES, along with the important role it fills in the community, and the hopes he has for the future – not just in the space, but for the people that use it.

Take a look at the video, and hopefully you’ll feel inspired to come in and be a part of the vibrant Maker scene here in DoES.

Superflyfast

Did you know we upgraded our internet connection last year?

We probably got something of a reputation for having a poor connection early on so thought we really ought to crow about having such a great connection these days. Liverpool city centre is awful for internet access, BT have been terrible at upgrading what’s there and availability of Virgin is hit and miss. Fortunately our building was upgraded to a much faster connection meaning we have a fully synchronous connection that tops out at 100Mbps in both directions. Not only can you see your entire team in a HD video chat but they can see you in crisp clarity! Upload those gig photos that have been sitting on your hard drive, publish that HD video documentary you’ve been working on or become a millionaire with your latest mobile phone game!*

* DoES Liverpool can provide no guarantees regarding game sales.

So, if you’ve been avoiding coming into DoES remembering our days of ADSL that could barely provide 5Mbps, give us another try!

Made in DoES

Once again, Made In Liverpool TV has been to find out more about some of the fantastic people that make up the DoES community.

This time, Laura Pullig was the star, as she spoke to Gaelle about wearable technology, the practical uses for that technology, and helped Gaelle to create her own piece. (Unfortunately, you might have to watch an ad before the video starts. Obviously it’s worth it though!)

In the video, Laura talks about the Wearables group that she runs here in DoES. If you’re interested in more information about the group, email us at hello@doesliverpool.com or find out when the next meeting is using our calendar. Or come along to a Maker Night or Maker Day and see what else we have going on here in DoES.

We’re always delighted to get chance to spend some time with Made In Liverpool, and hopefully we’ll get many more chances to do so in the future – after all, we’re not going to give up being epic any time soon!

More Questions On Our Future

As I’m fairly sure everyone is sick of hearing, we want to move. As I’m equally sure anyone who’s spoken to me about it will be sick of hearing, there are LITERALLY* no empty buildings in the city centre.

With that in mind, it has been decided that we might have to start playing a little bit fast and loose with the definition of ‘centre’, and look a little further afield.

We’re still aiming for somewhere that is within a ten minute walk of transport hubs, it’s just that it may be ten minutes in a slightly different direction. Doing so opens up areas such as London Road and Leeds Street, and allows us to look at places that we had perhaps dismissed too quickly previously. They’re not even that far away, but I totally understand that they feel further away, and that’s important. However, it’s also important to remember that Hanover Street was basically a wreck before DoES came along and made the area viable again.**

Our main aim, however, is still to offer the best and most convenient service we can to you, so we need to know what you think. If you think that a move slightly further afield, or to a different area of the city centre, would materially affect your ability to come in to DoES, then please do let us know. At the end of the day, we’re nothing without the community.

There are some other options which are being floated, including the possibility of a short term move to somewhere in the city centre that is a similar size as our current home. We’d like to discuss this, and some slightly less normal options, in what we’re overexcitedly calling a Wildcard! Meeting which I’ll be arranging in the next month or so, and which will canvass opinion on some of the more interesting and less obvious ideas which are being quietly mooted.

It’s always worth remembering where we’ve come from and where we’re trying to go, so please, if you haven’t already, take a look at John’s last blog post, and let us know if you have any thoughts or opinions on our current situation.

*Not literally

** Probably not actually true

We’ve Never Looked So Good

Last month, we were delighted to welcome Jane MacNeil (@Jane_MacNeil, www.janemacneil.co.uk) into DoES.

Jane took some marvellous pictures of DoES and the people that make us special, and you can see them on her website. She did a much better job than we have ever done of making the space look presentable!

Thanks to Jane, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to work with her again in the future. Maybe we’ll have to draft her in for some more shots when we finally move…

A Route to Space for Liverpool and UK business?

As part of the International Festival of Business, the British Interplanetary Society returned to its birthplace of Liverpool for a day of discussion of doing “business in space” – Mark from Reddbridge Media attended out of curiosity, and found some real messages for the businesses, makers and experimenters of today and tomorrow.

Read his report here on the DoES blog.

Continue reading “A Route to Space for Liverpool and UK business?”

DoES Christmas Opening Times 2013

It’s that time of year where opening times for places get a bit squiffy, so to clear up the next few days and weeks:
Currently, DoES opens for Hot Desking at 9:30am till ~6pm.
The DoES Christmas Drinks will be on Friday the 20th, from 4pm till 8pm (Or the last person goes home) – All are welcome.
On Monday 23rd, we’ll be open as normal, and Maker Day will be 6:30pm till 9pm as normal.
After that, for Hot Desking we close until Monday January 6th at 9:30am.
For Residents with access cards set up, you’ll be able to get in whenever the building is open:
  • Monday 23rd: Normal
  • Tuesday 24th: 10am – 4pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: Closed
  • Friday 27th: 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 28th: Normal
  • Monday 30th: 10am – 4pm
  • Tuesday 31st: 10am – 4pm
  • New Years Day: Closed
Thursday 2nd Onwards: Building back to normal
Monday 6th: All Back To Normal For Hot Deskers and Events
If you’re unsure about your access, or need to find out how to fill the coffee pot if you’re first in, then grab one of the Organisers in the next week and we’ll sort you out.

Next Two Weeks at DoES Liverpool

This Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October are BarCamp Liverpool 3! This should be a great and interesting event and all are welcome to sign up. However it will restrict the amount of space we have for workshop and hot desk usage. If you really want to visit then let us know and we’ll try to squeeze you in, but your best option is to take the day off and visit BarCamp 🙂

http://barcampliverpool2012-doesblog.eventbrite.com

Next Friday 19th October we’re having a lot of visitors from a local agency coming to use our workshop. They haven’t requested exclusive use but if you have any urgent need to use our equipment then you might be better to visit another day.

More positive news is that to celebrate Ada Lovelace day, recognising women in STEM, business and entrepreneurship we’ll be having a free day next Tuesday 16th October. The day will be free access for everyone so come down for some hot desking or to use our workshop. You don’t even need to bring cake!

Finally, I just wanted to mention that if you haven’t visited in a while you should really come by and see some of the changes we’ve made. Back in July we expanded into another room and moved the workshop equipment through to there. We’ve also just had a new kitchen fitted which is exclusively for our use. These changes have resulted in a much nicer clean & quiet environment for co-working, and a vastly improved dedicated workshop with some new equipment.

We hope to see you soon, and please do tell your friends!

Work Experience

Over the past month we’ve had another Italian students at DoES Liverpool on an internship, we asked him to write a blog post about his experience and here it is:


DoES Liverpool is a co-working space where people come to share an office, but also to use tools like the 3D printer or the laser cutter.

During these 4 weeks at DoES Liverpool I’ve helped to make things that I thought were almost impossible to make. But a great idea, together with an Arduino and a laser cutter can become an real product, like the WhereDial, an “Internet of things” device inspired by the Weasley family clock in Harry Potter which can keep your family updated with your location.
The device consists of an Arduino that connects to the internet to get information about your location and moves the dial to the right position.
All the wooden parts are made with the laser-cutter, which has also been used to make 3d “prints” with sugar by melting it with the laser.

WhereDial

BubblinoAnother device that’s here at DoES is Bubblino: a bubble-blowing happy face that brightens up the office with his bubbles every time somebody tweets about the office.

 

 

 

 

During these 4 weeks I learnt and did many things:
I wrote the javascript code for a simple node.js server to enable long polling on the requests made by the Arduinos in the WhereDials.
I debugged the HTML/Javascript page that displays the events on the door of the office.
I used tinkercad.com and the 3d printer to print all the desks and furniture that were missing on the 3d model of the office.
I updated the code running on the arduino of the WhereDial to make it use 5 small LEDs to alert the user if there are any errors during the acquisition and parsing of the information from the server.

Birthday cakes

And, since last week was Does Liverpool’s first anniversary I also used the laser cutter to make some of these little cakes to celebrate it.

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the days spent at DoES Liverpool, always making something new with tools like the 3d printer that I’ve never used before.
It was also a first for me to see the “making of” of a product. I always thought it was a difficult and long process, but with a laser cutter and an Arduino, prototyping something becomes easier and fun. So if you have an idea for something but don’t know how to make it you should definitely come here and try to make it.

 

Nicolò Pretto