Hippy Motors and the effects of Brexit. The view of one small business.
We were really sad when the UK narrowly voted to leave the EU. We love our European neighbours. Angela is the daughter of a Portuguese immigrant, we loved our unrestricted travel around Europe, we love having EU people brightening up our UK streets, we loved trading freely with the EU, we loved how the EU kept our UK government in check (forcing us to clean our beaches, improve food standards and workers rights), we love EU drink and food. We loved it all so we were very upset that a slim majority felt otherwise.
But life goes on and you can only use and make the most of the hand you have been dealt. So we worked with it and went along with the flow hoping that some good would somehow come from it.
After years of negotiations, not knowing what was going to happen or effect it would have on us and our business, we finally got to know it was going ahead as a ‘free trade deal’ three days before the changeover. Yes, three days notice on something that important.
It was hard work for us making changes to our website and business because of Brexit. We calculate we worked for 50 hours alone making changes to over 1000 listings on our site and had to totally rethink our delivery setup and charges. All because some people wanted to ‘make Britain great again’ by splitting away from our closest neighbours.
Now it’s been in place for nearly a month and I have to say it’s clearly shambolic and still embarrassing to us both as people and a business.
It seems UK consumers and businesses are finding out that the ‘free trade deal’ proudly postulated by our Prime Minister is not at all free. Now when we order goods from the EU we need to worry about adding VAT, customs duties and additional handling charges onto the cost. But, and this is important for our business because we export to the EU, it works the other way round. Our customers in the EU will worry they could face extra charges when they order from us.
It seems the details of our, so called, free trade deal are complex though. What matters is the ‘country of origin’ and tax status of the goods and business in qualifying for ‘free trade’ with the EU. If parts of a product are made outside of the EU or UK you can get hit with additional costs.
But, GOOD NEWS, we think our EU customers will not have any additional charges. Here’s why…
We make everything here in the UK so that’ll stop any customs duty to be added. Even our vinyl is manufactured here in the UK. We are not registered for VAT in the UK either so no additional tax will be added. Our delivery service will not be charging extra because there should be no duty or taxes added.
Fantastic! Saying that we are not 100% sure.
If you are in the EU and you get charged extra for one of our orders please let us know it happened as that will help us understand better.
So we still wait to find out if there is any good going to come out from us leaving the EU. We do expect, when the full picture emerges and we move forward that our costs will increase due to Brexit. We expect our material, postal and packaging costs will increase significantly because our 'free trade deal' is not free. When that happens we will have no option but increase our prices. As for making Britain great again, it seems, as we suspected all along, we always were great in the EU.