There are many double acts we all know and love from British sitcoms, but none are quite as revered as the hopeful but hapless Del Boy and Rodney Trotter of Only Fools and Horses. Whether they were selling counterfeit goods out of their trusty yellow Robin Reliant or coming up with hair-brained get-rich-quick schemes, the Trotter Brothers were always on the lookout for their next venture.
While the series is full of plenty of laughter and hijinks, there is a serious story running throughout as the brothers desperately try to make ends meet. Balancing the books over the entire run of the show is a tough task and one that has been taken on by business print suppliers instantprint, who analyzed the duo’s profits and losses and where they went right (or mostly wrong!).
The Greatest Victories
Despite having a reputation for a lack of corporate instinct, Del Boy and Rodney did stumble across a few big wins for their business, Trotters Independent Traders, over the course of the show. Most of these big profits happened in the show’s one-off special episodes, for instance in ‘Time on Our Hands’, the brothers managed to sell a unique historical watch Del had found in a loft clearance, for a princely £6,200,000!
The watch represented their biggest haul by a long way, the next closest contender being the £290,000 left to the brothers by their beloved Uncle Albert in his will, also in a special. When it came to the main seasons of the show, the profits paled in comparison. Their biggest profit came in Season 4 Episode 8 ‘To Hull and Back’, where Del took two smuggled diamonds worth £10,000.
The Biggest Losers
Unfortunately for the Trotter Brothers, their list of business fails is much bigger than their list of successes. Their biggest win of £6,200,000 was also their biggest loss. In the special ‘If they Could See us Now’, the brothers invested in the Central American market and lost their entire fortune. A fail of epic proportions. Some way from that loss was the £22,276.74 that went down the drain when Del imported 700 cases of Romanian Riesling mass-blessed communion wine – not realizing it was white wine!
When it comes to the episodes of the show outside the specials, Season 3 Episode 4 ‘Yesterday Never Comes’ saw the brothers make a £17,600 loss when Del’s love interest, Miranda, sells a Cezanne painting that belonged to the Trotter’s. When it comes to hilarity, very few moments beat Season 4 Episode 8 ‘To Hull and Back’, where Del Boy throws £15,000 in cash out of the window thinking it’s fake.
The Toughest Seasons
Despite Del Boy and Rodney’s best efforts, their luck rarely seems to change and they’re often on the receiving end of a financial fail. But which seasons were the direst for the Brothers from London’s East End?
- Season Three – In the third season of the show, the brothers managed to lose a total of £17,841.10.
- Season Four – The financial decline continued in the fourth season, as the Trotter’s lost a total of £10,140.
- Season Six – A loss of £6,478.74 represented some improvement in the sixth season of the show.
- Season One – Getting things off to a bad start, series one of the show yielded a £4,508 loss.
- Season Five – At the end of the final season of Only Fools and Horses, the brothers had lost £1,773.64.
As the show finished its hilarious run at the end of the seventh season, the Trotter Brothers had a total closing balance of -£37,915.48. It seems for all their scheming and working, there was no big win for Trotter’s Independent Trading.
Do’s and Don’ts to Help Your Business (and The Trotter’s)?
With a little business acumen and some guidance, the brothers could have overseen a successful business venture. So, what lessons can we learn from the Trotter’s?
- DO offer quality – Del manages to gain a reputation as somewhat of a con artist throughout the show, mostly through his ability to ‘talk the talk’ and his eye for discounted, counterfeit goods. Ensuring that your business gains a reputation for offering quality products is essential to making it in business.
- DON’T neglect accounting – Throughout the show, Del frequently asserts that keeping accounts is a waste of time. Don’t take this advice. Keeping a record of all transactions is the best way to keep and eye on the success of your business, allowing you to be responsive to the market.
- DO think about your stock acquisitions – Del Boy is well known for making impulse acquisitions at the drop of a hat, spending vast amounts of money in the process. To avoid this careless loss of money, make sure you consider every purchase, researching suppliers and stock.
- DON’T jump on board with just anyone – Del and Rodney are no strangers to doing business with some colorful characters. Your business’s reputation can be harmed if you don’t research the businesses you work with thoroughly. Platforms like LinkedIn are the perfect place to do this.
- DO time it right – When Del and Rodney tried selling sun cream in the middle of winter, they unsurprisingly failed. Think about when you plan to introduce new product lines and services. Forward planning makes a big difference.
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