It’s Wise Up Wednesday! Orders Are A Process, Not An Event!

We are already into the third month of the year and we need to stay  focused on doing the right things in our business, because the future isn’t certain, and no-one truly knows what is around the corner.

That’s why we have put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give you a quick burst of stuff that will help you in your business life.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

Orders Are A Process Not An Event!

Receiving an order is not just an event, it’s a process and it’s one of the most difficult processes to manage!

So don’t be surprised if you incur a few problems along the way.

Most of your work will result from some sort of enquiry, but nowadays they all say that you are ‘deemed’ to have read dozens of documents that you have never seen and have allowed for their contents in your price and programme.

The Contractor is trying to transfer as much responsibility as he can onto you. Don’t make it easy for him to stitch you up!

You simply don’t have time to check every document and his one sided onerous sub-contract terms and conditions, so in order to protect your interests you must qualify your tender to record precisely what you have included and, equally importantly, what you have excluded.

Obviously there are a number of items that should be stated clearly in your tender:

• The price, in both words and numbers, confirming that it excludes VAT.

• Any discounts and exactly what conditions must apply for those discounts to apply.

• The period for which the tender is open for acceptance.

• The period over which the price is fixed. You should clearly state that the price is only fixed for the period up to anticipated completion of the sub-contract works, not practical completion of the main contract

• The extent and scope of work that you have included for, particularly if what you have allowed for is not in accordance with the specification or drawings.

• You should clearly state which documents you have taken into account when preparing your tender. If you have allowed for only part of what is stated then make that clear and unambiguous.

• If your tender is based on a bill of quantities provided by the Contractor, state that it is based on his quantities and is subject to re-measurement on completion.

Most importantly, you should not simply accept the Contractor’s terms and conditions!

Either state that your tender is based on a standard sub-contract (such as DOM/1 or the JCT standard building sub-contract [SBCSub/C]) or your own standard terms and conditions.

As a very minimum, if you don’t refer to any terms you should state that terms are to be agreed.

In regard to the time for completion you should state that no agreement to programme is implied and that you anticipate a meeting to discuss the Contractor’s own programme and the manner sequence and timing in which the works will be under taken.

Most standard form sub-contracts do not limit your liability for Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LADs) or the delay and disruption costs of the Contractor and his other sub-contractors if you cause delay.

You may wish to try and agree an overall limit of liability for all delay and consequential costs – to say 5% of the value of your works, but you must get that into the contract!

If you are designing, it is imperative that the contract expressly limits your obligations to reasonable skill and care. If your contract does not contain such a limitation your liability will be the much more onerous fitness for purpose and your PI insurance will be void!

State whether you have included for the provision of a performance bond or warranties etc. and that they will only be provided subject to the wording being acceptable/mutually agreed.

If you are uncomfortable about submitting qualified bids, or just don’t have the time to respond to every enquiry in detail, you should as an absolute minimum include a general qualification along the following lines:

“Our offer is based generally on your enquiry but there are a number of commercial and contractual issues to discuss and agree before it is capable of acceptance or your order issued”

This should allow you to negotiate with the Contractor if your offer is otherwise of interest to him.

Whatever else you do please remember that getting an order is a process not an event.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and as usual, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.

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Specialist Contractors – Want To Get Paid? Then Read On…

Whether it’s late, reduced or just nowhere to be seen, payment, or the lack of it is one of the biggest problems for UK Specialist Contractors.It’s frustrating, humiliating, enraging and downright destructive to you and your business when Main Contractors withhold part or all of your payment, offer ridiculous payment terms or have the cheek to ask you to pay a fee to get paid ‘early’!And as chasing your payment is exhausting, you might be forgiven for simply giving in and accepting whatever they offer…

NO… please don’t do that!

That isn’t the only option: don’t give away what’s rightfully yours!

What you need is a better more effective solution. And in the fight against late payment, your greatest weapon is knowledge.

Here’s our Streetwise check-list for getting paid in UK construction:

  • Don’t get involved with Contractors you don’t know or haven’t checked. It takes 2 minutes to research but it could take 2 years to get paid if they turn out to be less than trustworthy!
  • Be realistic with yourself about how you will get the job done. If you can’t do it within the specified time, try to renegotiate or just stand back and leave that job for someone else to bid on. Otherwise you open the door for the Contractor to start withholding and deducting payment if the deadlines/estimates aren’t met.
  • Don’t assume you know what’s in the contract before jumping in. No two contracts are the same, and there will be dirty tricks hidden in there to dupe you out of your payment!
  • If something goes wrong on the job, get it notified because if you don’t, this will only give the Contractor reason to deduct or hold onto payment further down the line.
  • Understand the legislation that’s there to protect you, and use it. The Construction Act can come to your rescue when it comes to getting paid fairly and on time, but you have to understand its limitations and its strengths.
  • Get expert advice and support at our exclusive seminar this March, where you will learn the 7 Key Secrets to Survival and Success in 2014.

Payment is just one of the areas we will go over in detail on the day of our seminar, so don’t miss out, your business’s survival and success depend on it!

Full details can be found on our website.

Or simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the team in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 for your Priority Reservation.

Join us at an event near you:

Tuesday March 11th – Morning Seminar Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford

Tuesday March 18th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Chester South

Tuesday March 25th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Luton South

But please be quick because there are still a few discounted places left at only £50 + VAT !

(normal ticket price is £125 + VAT)

And if you are a Streetwise Gold or Platinum Buddy, your entry to the event is entirely free!

We will be sharing priceless knowledge that will ensure you get paid on time and in full, and help you to protect and grow your business in 2014.

Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the team in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 and they will be happy to take your Priority Reservation.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Are You One Of The Smarter Specialist Contractors?

If you are one of the smartest Specialist Contractors you will know what you don’t know!

What do I mean by that?

Please bear with me for a minute and think back to a time when you didn’t know something that is now very familiar to you. A time when you didn’t even know this thing even existed.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be how to use some fancy feature on excel, or a clever new app for your i-phone.

The point is, you didn’t know about it, so you were what the psychologists call a “unconscious incompetent”. Not very flattering is it?

But, all it means is that not only did you not know how it worked, you didn’t even know you didn’t know about it, because you didn’t know it existed!

It’s a bit like not knowing a secret. You didn’t know, because it was just that; a “secret”.

Something others knew but you didn’t!

What has all this got to do with being one of the smarter Specialist Contractors?

The smarter Specialist Contractors know that there is lots of stuff that they simply don’t know, the “secrets” if you will. But they also know that they need to continually discover these secrets to protect their business and make it more successful.

So, as it’s Wise Up Wednesday here’s your opportunity to be one of those smarter Specialist Contractors and discover those secrets!

Here’s how to protect the future of your business…

‘7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014’

The 7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014, will be revealed to you in a fast paced half day seminar with limited spaces at 3 dates across UK wide locations.

The economy is fragile and THOUSANDS of Specialist Contractors have lost their businesses over the past 2 years alone.

The brutal truth is the government doesn’t care about you, most Contractors don’t care about you, and if you’re in a Trade Association it is highly likely that it isn’t doing enough to protect you!

So, we decided it was time to get even more proactive to help you succeed in 2014 and beyond.

Our seminar will arm you with the knowledge you need to give your business the best possible chance not only of survival, but of growth and success in any economy, no matter what the industry throws at you!

The 7 Key Secrets revealed on the day will be all about

1 Knowing who you are working for! Dormant companies, companies of straw and companies registered in other jurisdictions are just some of the obstacles you might face when you try to get paid.

2 Understanding your obligations. Understanding the how, what, when, were and extent of your liability is crucial to ensure that it doesn’t come back to bite you!

3 Not all contracts are the same! If you think that you can get by without understanding the terms of the contract you are highly likely to be one of the business failures of 2014!

4 Don’t create your own problems! Make sure that you don’t fall into the Contractor’s trap of taking no action when problems occur.

5 Price, profit and promotion. How to make sure you are one of the success stories of 2014.

6 How to get paid! The biggest single challenge facing your business in 2014 and how to overcome it.

7 Take action! Learn how to take action to ensure your success in 2014.

So if you want your business to survive and succeed in 2014 then be sure to book your ticket now for the event near you:

Tuesday March 11th – Morning Seminar Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford

Tuesday March 18th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Chester South

Tuesday March 25th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Luton South

Programme

8:30 am Registration

9:00 am Session 1

10:40 am Coffee break

11:00 am Session 2

12:15 pm Question time

12:45 pm Seminar Closes

Normal ticket price is £125  + VAT, reduced to only £50 + VAT for the first 50 places!

The value of the information and support that you will receive on the day is priceless!

And if you are a Streetwise Gold or Platinum Buddy, your entry to the event is entirely free!

Don’t hesitate, book yours and your colleagues places NOW before the discounted places are taken.

Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the lovely ladies in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 and they will be happy to take your priority Reservation.

If you think that your business doesn’t need to know these secrets take a look at just 2 of February’s headlines from Construction Enquirer;

“Steelwork contractor Graham Wood Structural has collapsed…the firm employed 25 management and office staff with around 50 operatives and owed £2.6m.”

“Administrators have taken over at Matrix Solutions UK…which at its peak turned over £20m a year and had a list of blue chip clients like BAA, Debenhams and Asda…

Don’t let this be you!

There are significant steps that every Specialist Contractor can take to protect your business in 2014.

Don’t be one of the casualties! Reserve your place now by email at info@streetwisesubbie.com or call 01773 712116.

Wise Up Wednesday: How To Avoid Getting The Blame (and paying the price) For Delay and Disruption in Construction Contracts

The future isn’t certain, and no-one truly knows what is around the corner.

That’s why we have put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give you a quick burst of stuff that will help you in your business life.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

Here’s How To Avoid Getting The Blame (and paying the price) For Delay and Disruption in Construction Contracts

If it wasn’t the heaps of heavy snow last winter, it’s the storms, 100mph winds and flooding this winter. Nature is well known for putting obstacles in the path of UK construction works, as are many other elements, not all of them natural.

If it isn’t the weather causing delays, it could be any one of a number of factors caused by other sub-contractors, the main contractor or suppliers. But no matter what the cause of the delay to your works, you can be sure there is always someone looking to shift the blame.

And if you aren’t careful, the finger of blame will be pointed at you!

This could expose your company to all kinds of costs and obligations whether they are written into your contract or not.

Here’s our Wise up Wednesday check-list for avoiding blame when your construction project comes up against a road block:

  • Understand your programme obligations under the contract, in particular the start date, duration and completion date.
  • If you cannot proceed with your work due to the bad weather or other issues, record the fact with an email, letter or fax. Doing nothing is fatal.
  • Take dated photographs of anything that is delaying your progress. It isn’t enough that the floods are all over the news, you need solid proof of how it affects YOUR job!
  • If it becomes evident that you will not complete by the completion date due to the delays, you must be able to demonstrate it’s not your fault and you should apply immediately for an extension of time.
  • Understand the requirements for submitting applications for extensions of time, as in some circumstances you may lose your entitlement if you do not act immediately!

Evidence Is Your Best Defence

Despite the fact that it is beyond your control delay and disruption can be used against you!

Some Main Contractors want you to fail…

Certain Main Contractors are out to find any way possible to reduce your payment and improve their own bottom line, as they strive to survive and succeed in extremely difficult economic conditions.

But the survival and success of Main Contractors SHOULD NOT and DOES NOT have to be at your expense.

Knowing your rights and understanding how to use them to ensure your own survival and success in situations like these is your best defence against those Main Contractors that use dirty tricks to increase their profits.

Do you want to know more about protecting your interests?

Would you like to stop struggling along and start being more successful in UK construction? 

Then join us this March as we talk ‘7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014’.

Here’s a link to full details on the contents of the event.

Tuesday March 11th – Morning Seminar Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford

Tuesday March 18th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Chester South

Tuesday March 25th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Luton South

There are still some discounted places left but please be quick before they are all taken.

Normal ticket price is reduced to only £50 + VAT for the first 50 places!

You will gain priceless knowledge that will help you to not only prevent getting blamed for delays, but also protect and grow your business in 2014, whatever happens to the economy.

Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the lovely ladies in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 and they will be happy to take your Priority Reservation.

As always, I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and if you need any help with any of your business problems, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.