Saturday 30 March 2013

Signs of Spring ??

The end of March is here, but where is the Spring???  Latest weather forecasts seem to be telling us to wait another month - let's hope they are wrong!

A more predictable arrival is the annual increase in postal charges.  This time, Royal Mail have really gone to town and completely re-vamped the scale of charges for parcels.

It used to be fairly simple: We knew how much your order weighed, so the postage was easily calculated.  If it was a little more valuable, we could pay a little extra to safeguard compensation in case it went astray or got damaged in the post.  And, although we would love to be able to just fork out any extra costs to send you your tools, unfortunately our little business would soon fold if we didn't pass on those costs to you!

Now, the Post Office have introduced size-related charges as well as weight-related ones  . . .  thank you SO much  . . .  just what we didn't need!  Anyway, we think we have just about got our heads around these new rates - we hope.

What does seem to be shrouded in mystery is the scale of charges for additional compensation relating to more valuable items.  The published information says "Additional compensation can be purchased . . . at the time of posting . . ."  but can we find a list of those charges ANYWHERE on the Royal Mail website?  NO!

So, our current prices in our Price List and on our website are as accurate as we can calculate at the moment, but they may change quite soon, probably slightly upwards - if at all.   NO CHANGE NEEDED AFTER ALL - OUR FIGURES TURNED OUT TO BE 'SPOT ON'.

Unfortunately, you will see that we have had to make substantial price increases for many of our tools.  Although the postal charges have pushed prices up a little, the plummeting value of the British Pound has really put the boot in.  Thank you, Mr. Osborne!

All the Glaser tools come from Switzerland and so are priced in Swiss Francs.  Since we last set our retail prices in January, the prices we have had to pay for fresh stock have climbed, so we have had to fix our prices according to the latest exchange rates.

The same goes for the Ho-Mis from Korea (South Korea, in case you were in any doubt!)  We buy from there in US Dollars, and the good old £ Sterling has suffered against that too!

As always, we are quick to put our prices DOWN  again when the exchange rates stabilise in our favour, and our next price review will be at the end of June.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Spring Take-Off!

Whatever the weather is doing right now, our emails tell us that gardeners and growers are getting ready for the start of a new growing season - we have never been so busy!

This time of year is always exciting, but the excitement seems to have taken off with orders for BroadForks and Soil Blockers.

BroadForks.  We really want to apologise to customers who have wanted to buy a BroadFork and have found them marked as 'Temporarily Sold Out' on our website.  Perhaps we should have realised that lots of people would want to take steps to reduce the sub-soil compaction caused by 2012's deluges, but we were totally taken by surprise in February and early March, when we received orders for as many BroadForks in 4 weeks as we have normally sold in a year!

Malcolm the Blacksmith, who makes these for us, is already busy with lots of other work - that's what happens when you get a reputation for quality workmanship - but says that he hopes to have a new batch of BroadForks ready for us by mid to late April.  He won't have to increase his prices this time, as apparently steel prices have stabilised a little, but we may get caught by the usual increase in postal charges in early April.

So, as a little incentive for you to let us know if you plan to buy a BroadFork, we will freeze the price for you if you simply email us by March 31st to let us know.  We will then keep you posted of expected delivery dates and send you a PayPal invoice when they are ready.  Until then, I'm afraid we can't make any promises about delivery dates.

If you help us plan production in this way, our little 'thank you' is to make sure you get your BroadFork at today's price, plus we shall be able to ask Malcolm to make more if demand goes on growing.  So, if even more people want to start 'BroadForking', they shouldn't be disappointed either.

If you would prefer to just keep an eye on our website to see when we have more stock, of course that is fine with us, too!

Soil Blockers.  Ladbrooke Soil Blockers have gone increasingly global over the last few years.  We like to think that we have played at least some role in that, as Soil Blocker customers email us from all over the world, and for a couple of years we seemed to be the only supplier to Australia.  Fortunately the former Australian dealer, Allsun Farm / Gundaroo Tiller is selling them there again.  But, with expansion, sometimes the problems expand, too . . .

Unfortunately, Ladbrookes recently had to scrap a large 'run' of Mini 4 blockers, at a time when they were already very busy with orders.  Again, all credit to them for insisting on top quality!  Unfortunately, this meant that our stock of Mini 4s and Micro 20s was exhausted, and the Mini 5s were running low as well.  BUT . . .

STOP PRESS!  Even as I was writing this, we have just received an email from Ladbrookes to say that a delivery will be with us very soon.  They have really pulled out all the stops on this one, working long hours to try to catch up, and we are really grateful.  Oh, the benefits of dealing with a family firm!

We should be able to fulfill all outstanding 'back orders' for Soil Blockers in the next few days.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.