Back in Cebu during November

I have had a busy time lately with moving around Europe and now processing documentation, doing a college diploma and currently working on some new business projects.

Matt Wilkie at home in Cebu 2014 - Just organising taking a server with us to France. - Photo by Matt Wilkie and copyright by Matt Wilkie

But I wanted to take 5 minutes to write about being back in Cebu in November as it was a short trip but one that is going to continue to see things shape up over time. The first thing is now we have relocated to Spain several of our apartments are going to become available for rent. Something we hold quite close to ourselves as its in an area with our relatives. But also its still home for us and knowing the horror stories some people have had with people in Cebu I am very fussy on who lives there.

But anyway it was good to see how things are progressing and creating a shopping list of things to be done. If your overseas a lot the way I am this might work for you as what I do is I list all the jobs that need to be completed and budget them. E.g. Apartment 1 on the Ube building needs the air conditioning fitting and a wardrobe built. So I put a price against getting the electrics in and the carpenter to build the wardrobe and list it down for later reference. Simply going through everything I want doing that doesn’t need doing while I am there. The reason I do it this way is I find it much easier to earn money overseas which also means its much easier to spend when I am overseas. Because you don’t really notice it and more importantly if a project grows larger you can just clock up a few more hours to pay for it.

An example of that would have been the replacement of the floors on the new building as we were going to do it in stages. But due to the labour availability and biting the bullet on it we did it in one hit. Which cost around £1,000 but wasn’t in the original budgeting, literally money I found on some business projects to get the job done. As termites had been eating the timber flooring and we swapped it out for concrete in the end.

A long story short a list of things to get done over the next 12 months is now formed. Although may not get into the Philippines this year depending on how immigration paperwork goes in Europe. Work is going well and as such don’t want to change anything on that side at least not at the moment.

But it was interesting being back in my office in the Philippines and remembering how far we had come over the last few years. The call centre is still there and I have a couple of projects we are working on at the moment to try and build it back up to where I wants. The difference is we are taking nearly everything in house for our own sales and customer support. The business for the FM support will continue but its taking time prising away some of it from India. Yet its there and the fact India has its claws into it from the UK shows its possible. Its just getting the right parts of the business to function and be outsourced. As the FM industry constantly aims to cost cut its not a division that will reduce its still going to increase, as I believe a lot of the outsourcing has gone too far to bring back into the UK cheaply. Adding to that you can have 1 – 5 consultants in the UK supported with 40 people in India as it still works out cost affective. Not always an easy setup as its often frustrating trying to deal with people with broken English. But it is viable in many ways. I do believe the Philippines could become more viable though simply due to the cost of staff in larger Indian cities.

But enough about business this trip was shorter than I would have liked but we did manage to get a lot done and sort of shutter up for the winter in many ways. I mainly wanted to bring things upto date though in saying we haven’t gone! we have shelved a few things for a few months while I get things ticking over in Spain. Once that is stable I want to get the apartments rented out in the Philippines and our new 3 bedroom apartment complete for moving into.