Gary Summers bought failing aluminium window firm Alumet back in 1992 for £30,000. He changed the name to Alumet Systems UK to avoid any liabilities from the debt-ridden company and had turned the business around within two years. Today, the envelope contractor (they don’t make actual envelopes. It just means they’re a one stop shop for all cladding, external facades and windows) handles bespoke £2m contracts for everyone from blue chips like Taylor Woodrow to the Ministry of Defence and turned over £27m last year . But the firm was hit hard by recession. The construction industry was among the worst hit by the credit crunch and tumbling property prices. Many contracts were put on hold or shelved indefinitely. "We had to get all our staff to agree to a salary cut for a temporary period," says Summers. "We took the factory down to a four-day week." However, the last 17 years in business stood Alumet in good stead. The firm is debt-free, entirely privately owned and cash rich. "We are probably one of the best payers in our industry," says Summers. "We pay promptly, on time and receive a discount." Discounts range between two and five per cent per invoice. The savings can be lucrative. "I think we saved around £80,000 last year for paying early," says Summers. "We pay people early now for the pleasure of getting a discount back!" Related articles Refinancing: Steer your business through troubled waters Cash flow: what you need to know Beating the downturn with public-sector contracts Picture source
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