Soaring energy and fuel costs, coupled with rising inflation, are hitting businesses hard across Scotland.
The cost-of-living crisis has an impact on supplies, deliveries, overheads and staff – and some firms are warning it could have a greater negative impact than Covid-19.
In response, businesses are passing on rising costs to customers and suppliers. For many already operating in survival mode, these are troubling times.
STV News spoke to firms facing the challenge of operating during a cost-of-living crisis which has come hot on the heels of a pandemic.
Williamson Foodservice supplies products across the Highlands – its boss Gary Williamson said the cost of fuel was “having a massive impact at the moment”.
Last year, the firm saw a 10% increase in its fuel bill, but this year that has soared to nearly 50%.
“It amounts to around £120,000 in additional costs,” he said. “It has never been more difficult to plan inside a business, and it can be mildly terrifying to be truthful.”
Meanwhile, Nicky Walker has run her florist shop in Aberdeen for more than two decades. She says the business is facing a perfect storm.
”The price of fuel has gone up, the price of flowers has gone up,” she said, explaining that the firm has had to change the way it operates.
“We’re focusing more on online and click and collect. We try and encourage pick up, but you are always going to have deliveries, which means absorbing those extra costs and taking it on the chin.”
The shop in Aberdeen’s west end is now only open four days a week, instead of six.
Meanwhile, hairstylist Mariam Campbell is trying to rebuild her business after the pandemic, only to run into soaring energy bills.
“All of my profits are going into paying bills,” she said. “It makes no sense. I have had to increase prices it’s the only way to keep the business going.”