Last update: 15/04/2021
Government announces Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
On 26th March 2020, the UK government announced a new support scheme for people who derive the majority of their income from self employment, who are not directors paid by dividend, and have taxable income levels below £50,000.
In response to this, we have set up a simple eligibility checker tool which we will update as and when new details emerge.
Scottish Government announces £100m grant funding to help small businesses including the newly self-employed
On 15th April 2020, the Scottish government announced an additional £100m of funding to support various types of small businesses that 'fell through the cracks' of the UK-wide self-employment income support scheme. This includes the newly self-employed. At this time details are scant, and we will update this article as information emerges. It is anticipated that applications will open before the end of April.
We understand that this last couple of weeks have been tough for our industry, and the next few months will be a very testing time especially for those who depend on their mobile DJ earnings for the basics in life.
Our business is about making your business successful. We are proud of the fact that in the last 12 years we have helped our website visitors source DJs for many tens of thousands of events and generated business worth tens of millions of pounds for our advertisers. We have continually invested in our web presence and found many new and innovative ways in which to get eyeballs on your branding and this focus will not diminish.
However, now is the time for us to do more and react in the best way we can to the challenges laid down by Covid-19 and the subsequent, very neccessary actions that have put a stop to public gatherings and with it the events on which we all rely.
Effect on website visitors and enquiry levels
Clearly not many people are thinking about planning parties and events right now, and anyone hosting one in the next few months is hastily trying to rearrange or cancel now that venues have been told to close. Consequently we have seen new enquiry levels drop considerably during March but we do lots of behind-the-scenes monitoring of website visits - where people come from, what they are searching for - and we are buoyed by the fact that these visits haven't dropped off as much as we might expect. People are still researching venues and service providers, just not committing at the moment. We are still seeing some limited enquiries coming through for later in 2020 and 2021 but people obviously have other things on their minds right now, which is fully understandable.
We have been monitoring financial support measures offered by the government, and some extraordinary pledges have been made including grants, mortgage holidays, VAT and income tax deferment, SSP changes and the simplifying/broadening of Universal Credit. The biggest and most welcome pledge of course has been the 80% wages protection provision to help employers retain staff followed by the Covid-19 Self Employment Income Support scheme announced on 26th March. We know that many of our DJ members do this as a part-time top-up to a full time job, so are hopeful that this collection of measures means that they can more or less live their lives as close to normal as possible during this period. If you are unsure whether the new scheme helps you, run our eligibility checker tool to find out.
How is needadisco.com planning to help members?
As a business we rely entirely on subscription and advertising revenue and to date the pledges made by the government don't offer us any assistance apart from the possible deferment options or loans. So we need to keep revenue flowing in order to remain in business at all. However we are well aware that for some members this is a big ask at this point in time. But we need to try, so until enquiry levels recover we are rebating subscriptions using our Site Credits mechanism to ensure that we are being as fair as possible. This isn't straightforward as our subscriptions are pre-paid, and we have a mix of annual as well as monthly paying members. Here's how this will work:
- commencing the week of 16th March, for each day that new enquiry levels are lower than the same date in 2019 we will rebate the equivalent of 50% of the daily proportion of the subscription paid by way of site credits for up to 12 weeks or until the Covid-19 threat is downgraded by government and normality resumes - so by way of an example if your annual subscription is £149 your daily equivalent is £0.48 so if the daily new enquiry total is lower than it was in 2019 we will rebate you the equivalent of 24p per day - to all intents and purposes a 50% reduction
- site credits will be automatically deducted from advertising or subscription renewals - so this is effectively a discount against future spend
- if your total site credits grow to exceed the equivalent of a month's subscription, we will automatically extend your subscription by a month by redemption
- site credits will also be granted to monthly direct debit members to be used on advertising or additional time at the end of your subscription - there isn't presently an easy mechanism by which we can pause and reinstate direct debit payments in the event that your site credits accrue to be worth more than a month's subscription but we are discussing this with GoCardless and if a solution emerges we will update this policy to bring it in line with annual payment members
- calculations will be undertaken on Monday mornings for the prior week and all calculations and changes to site credits, expiry dates etc. will be recorded in your Transaction Log
This action stands apart from all of the ongoing enhancements we have been making to our website, which until recently had seen on average a 3-fold increase in new enquiries compared to 2019. We have also recently:
- frozen subscription rates for the third year running
- lowered the minimum subscription rate at which a 6-month renewal option is offered to £79 (so if your subscription rate is £80 you can now pay this as two 6-month renewals of £40 each)
- introduced a 3-month renewal option for all subscriptions £149 and above (so if your subscription rate is £160 you can now pay this as 4 x 3-month renewals of £40 each)
- suspended the additional admin charge for 6 month (and 3 month) renewals temporarily saving you £10 per part-year renewal
- fast-tracked the development and release of a number of initiatives designed to drive even more enquiries to our quote request process, including sharing more of our data with search engines for inclusion in FAQs
- fast-tracked the development and release of a number of initiatives designed to improve the web visibility of individual members and their excellent feedback records in search engine placement
- brought forward the initial release of a real-time statistics tool to help members decide how best to structure and advertise their businesses going forward based on historical and current demand for services - this is a subset of more detailed and localised statistics that will be made available to members shortly through Member Dashboard
- introduced a simple 'Clear All Filters' tool in Member Dashboard so that members can ensure they are seeing as many new enquiries as possible
- relaxed the DJmark 'time to wait' between Silver, Gold and Platinum for returning members; the 90-day steps will remain for new first-time members