Wise Up Wednesday: Ensuring Your Success and Sharing It With Others

Ensuring Your Success And Sharing It With Others

Our Wise Up Wednesday Guides are here to give Specialist Contractors a quick burst of useful information that will help you succeed in your business life, irrespective of your size or specialisation.

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

StreetwiseSubbie’s LinkedIn Group

If you are a member of Streetwisesubbie’s LinkedIn Group you will already know that it helps you to achieve success and share success.

If you’re not already a member, it’s free and you can find it here;

LinkedIn Group

It provides the opportunity to strengthen your connections with like-minded individuals in an exclusive forum, and a private space to interact with Specialist Contractors that share common skills, experiences, industry affiliations, and goals.

You get to strengthen connections with individuals in an exclusive forum and you can send members of the group direct messages. This is important because on LinkedIn, by default, you cannot send messages to people you don’t know.

Of course there is more to the StreetwiseSubbie Group than just being able to send private messages:

• You widen your network because LinkedIn considers members of a common group your 2nd degree connections

• You can start relevant discussions

• You can comment on discussions

• You can submit your blog posts and articles: if they are relevant to the group

• You can share warnings about the onerous practices of certain Contractors, (but you must be able to refer to the facts and not just slag them off).

And you can share your success stories too!

So, please come and tell us about the good things you have achieved as well as the problems you are encountering.

You can find us here; LinkedIn Group

And if you are already in our LinkedIn Group please share it with all the other Specialist Contractors you know, and come and contribute to its success.

Because if everyone in the industry was as good as the best Specialist Contractors, the industry would be a whole lot more profitable and successful.

And you never know we might find a way to get Specialist Contractors the recognition you deserve!

Success Leaves Clues – Learning From Others

On the subject of success (and I know I have mentioned it before) there is a fantastic opportunity to hear Gordon Bromley our Key Note speaker on 14 July 2015.

This guy built a £150 million turnover business from nothing!

If that isn’t success I don’t know what is…

Trust me, you would normally have to pay big money to hear this guy, and the only reason he has agreed to speak is because he is a personal friend of one of our Gold Buddies.

There is a fantastic day in prospect with a total of ten speakers all presenting short, interesting, relevant content.

We have over 100 delegates already booked in and there will be a real buzz about the day, and a great opportunity to network, contribute to your success, or share your own success stories.

So please do not miss this; “Win Work-Get Paid-Make Money”

You can book on-line, or by email to info@streetwisesubbie.com, or you can call 01773 712116.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and as always if we can help you to be more successful and/or help you resolve a tricky problem, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call.


Wise Up Wednesday – What Successful People Don’t Do… And What They Do!

Successful People Never Do This

Success comes in all shapes and sizes.

You can be successful in your job, career or business, and you can equally be successful in your marriage, at sports or a hobby.

Whatever success you are after there is one thing all radically successful people have in common: A ferocious drive and hunger for success itself!

Behind many an “overnight success” story is years of hard graft and adversity.

In fact, some of the most successful people in business, entertainment and sport have failed. Many have failed numerous times but they have never given up.

Successful people are able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and carry on trying.

Keep in mind something I learned from a Tony Robbins tape years ago;

“The past does not equal the future!”

So whatever mistakes you may have made or problems you have not overcome yet, find a way to learn from them and carry on. It’s helped me a lot!

Recently, I also came across a collection of examples that should be an inspiration to anyone who aspires to be successful. They show that if you want to succeed you should expect failure along the way.

Henry Ford – the pioneer of modern business entrepreneurs and the founder of the Ford Motor Company failed a number of times on his route to success. His first venture to build a motor car got dissolved a year and a half after it was started because the stockholders lost confidence in Henry Ford.

Despite the fact that the entire motor industry had lost faith in him he managed to find another investor to start the Ford Motor Company – and the rest is history.

Walt Disney – one of the greatest business leaders who created the global Disney empire of film studios, theme parks and consumer products didn’t start off successful.

Before the great success came a number of failures. Believe it or not, Walt was fired from an early job at the Kansas City Star Newspaper because he was not creative enough!

Richard Branson – is undoubtedly a successful entrepreneur with many successful ventures to his name including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Music and Virgin Active.

However, when he was 16 he dropped out of school to start a student magazine that didn’t do as well as he hoped. He then set up a mail-order record business which did so well that he opened his own record shop called Virgin.

Along the way to success came many other failed ventures including Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Clothes, Virgin Vie, Virgin cards, etc.

Oprah Winfrey – who apparently ranks No 1 in the Forbes celebrity list, is recognised as the queen of entertainment based on an amazing career as iconic talk show host, media proprietor, actress and producer.

In her earlier career she had numerous set-backs, which included getting fired from her job as a reporter because she was ‘unfit for television’!

J.K. Rowling – wrote the Harry Potter books selling over 400 million copies and making it one of the most successful and lucrative book and film series ever.

However, like so many writers she received endless rejections from publishers. Many rejected her manuscript outright for reasons like ‘it was far too long for a children’s book’ or because ‘children books never make any money’.

When she started she was a divorced single mum on benefits!

So, the one thing successful people never do is: Give up!

Successful People Do Do This

Go With The Flow

Successful people don’t resist change.  They go with the flow.

They follow the trends, and embrace them.  They are flexible, fluid and nimble.  They react to what’s in front of them, and improvise deftly.

Those who are unsuccessful bemoan what is appearing before them, and stay stuck in the past or in what they “expected,” complaining about how life is not what it should be and why what is feels so wrong.

You hear a lot of that in construction right now!

They take professional advice

If a complicated piece of machinery like the engine in your car needs fixing, do you get out the manuals and the tools and set about it yourself?  Probably not given the complex mass of pipes and wires crammed under the bonnet of most cars.

The point is that like all things in life, business gets more complicated by the day and it is almost impossible to be an expert in every single field that affects your business.

Unless you are one of the really big players in Specialist Sub-Contracting, it is unlikely that you will have in-house expertise in each of the fields that affect your business.

Successful people know that they need to take take appropriate professional advice at the appropriate time, and not just when they have a problem.

They invest in themselves

A lot of people are incredibly reluctant to invest time, money and energy in themselves and their own growth.

They’ll make any excuse for why now is NOT the time to invest in themselves or commit to change.

Successful people don’t wait – they spend money, time and effort on their own growth because they know without doubt it will pay off – for themselves and everyone around them.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought. As always if I can help in any way please give me a call.

Wise Up Wednesday – Top 10 Tips On Getting Paid!

My Top 10 Tips To Help Specialist Contractors Avoid Payment Disputes

1) Check and Understand The Contract

Always check the terms and conditions of your contract – not all contracts are the same – some are extremely onerous – do not simply hope for the best.

Make sure the 4 key elements are clearly spelt out and understood;

  • Time – ensure that your programme requirements are fully and properly incorporated
  • Price – have all your qualifications been incorporated, do have you agreed/understood that discount?
  • Specification – check carefully that the scope and specification is what you have actually agreed to provide
  • Key administrative terms make sure you understand them

When do you need to submit payment applications and in what format, when is the payment notice due and are the payment terms acceptable?

Ensure that the Adjudication Clause has not been amended to make it more difficult to adjudicate if you have a problem.

Make sure that you understand the variations or Compensation Event clauses and how these will be agreed or who is responsible for valuing them.

Check the extension of time or Compensation Events clauses, and note any time limits for issuing notices.

2) Correspondence

Ensure that you give notice, at the time, of any event which is going to hold up your progress or cause additional cost to be incurred. Take care to be clear and specific in your wording.

Manage your Client’s expectations by giving regular updates of where your final account is heading. This needs to start from day one as no-one likes a surprise bill at the end of the job.

3) Instructions

Always get a written instruction from the person authorised to do give instructions on behalf of the Contractor/Client before carrying out any additional work. This can be in many forms, including revised or new drawings, meeting minutes or letters, but beware of e-mails as your contract may not recognise electronic communications, and if you are in any doubt get it checked out.

In all probability the contract will say that Instructions given to you verbally by the Contractor/Client are not valid. Therefore you must always confirm them back to him in writing.

4) Obtain Agreement to Additional Costs

Whenever possible, get agreement to the costs of additional works before you carry them out. Otherwise, sit down regularly with the Contractor/ Client to agree and sign-off any additional work costs.

Don’t wait until the end of the job before getting his agreement.

5) Final Account

Build-up your final account files from day one. Keep copies of all correspondence, cost information breakdowns etc, together with site records relating to each individual variation. This will save an incredible amount of time and frustration at the end of the job, should a dispute arise.

6) Programme

Ideally you should produce and issue a issue a detailed programme for your works and monitor it daily/weekly depending on the size and circumstances of the project.

If you are prevented from achieving the progress set out in your programme ensure that the causes of the delay are recorded and notified, and that any reasons given are those which entitle you to additional time.

This is a particularly difficult area to get right; and independent advice

will undoubtedly pay dividends in protecting your interests.

7) Records, records, records

So said a very learned Arbitrator called Max Abrahamson.

You can never keep too many records – these will be invaluable in pursuing any payment or time entitlement should the other party not agree later on.

Record when information is received, what resources are on site and what

they are doing each day.

Record verbal requests for you to work in a certain way or move around the site.

Most importantly, record what is preventing you from progressing your works in an efficient manner. Get any records or daywork sheets signed promptly.

8) Take remedial action early

Don’t wait to take remedial action when things are going wrong. The sooner action is taken, the lesser the impact of the problem will be, regardless of whether the problem relates to time, quality or cost.

Most importantly, never allow an unpaid account or unpaid variations to go

unresolved, as the problem is more than likely to grow rather than resolve


9) Speak to a senior decision maker

If discussions at site level are not addressing the problem, consider elevating the matter to a senior decision maker within your Client’s business. It is often the case that when site personnel become entrenched in their views, senior management are able to take a wider view and thus help to resolve the dispute without the need for adjudication or other proceedings.

10) Pick up the phone

A phone call to obtain appropriate expert advice at the time a problem first

arises will cost nothing in comparison to the cost of resolving an escalated

dispute later on.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and I sincerely hope to speak with you soon.

Delays on Site? Act Now Or Be Clobbered Later!


At its simplest, events which are beyond your control, and cause you to take longer to complete than originally planned entitle you to an extension to the contract period.

The amount of time to be added to the contract period for delaying events should be calculated logically and methodically by the Contractor, and in turn if those events have delayed the Contractor, they should be dealt with upstream by the Contract Administrator, or Architect.

All of this should be done impartially and objectively. But it never is!

In practice what regularly happens, is that the Contractor refuses to, or fails to grant extensions of time and reacts either adversely or apathetically to you having asked!

You need to be prepared for this and not be put off by it, and whatever you do don’t ignore it!


Most sub-contracts will require you to identify any cause of delay or likely delay to progress, and to notify the Contractor of that delay and estimate the effect on the date for completion.

Even if it doesn’t say that, it is a good discipline to adopt in any event.

You should also be very wary of Contractor’s onerous notification requirements that are designed to prevent your entitlement to extension of time!

And don’t fall for the age old trick of the Contractor saying “There’s no need to be contractual” or “we will sort it out at the end” or any other BS. It’s a trap – don’t fall into it!


Specialist Contractors routinely get clobbered financially by Contractors because they have allegedly delayed the Works, and have no records or notices to say otherwise.

Setting aside any commercial considerations (but why worry about upsetting someone who is trying to screw you?), one of the main reasons Specialist Contractors get clobbered is that there is a good deal of uncertainty about what to do , and they end up like rabbits caught in the headlights.

We routinely see Contractors setting off monies for alleged delay in the tens and hundreds of £thousands!

Don’t let it happen to you.


There are some key measures that you can implement now:

  • 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 preceding trades, record the fact with an email, letter or fax, doing nothing is fatal.
  • Understand the requirements for submitting applications for extensions of time, as in some circumstances you may lose your entitlement with a late application.
  • If there are other delays being incurred in regard to information or variations, record the fact with an email letter or fax.
  • Take dated photographs of anything that is delaying your progress.
  • If it becomes evident that you will not complete by the completion date, you must be able to demonstrate it’s not your fault.

You must apply for and do whatever it takes to demonstrate your entitlement to an extension of time.

Not doing so puts you at massive financial risk.


Once you get your head around such matters, it all makes sense, so don’t let the way contracts are drafted, or the Contractor’s reactions put you off.

And remember that if you need any help to resolve such problems, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, take action and give us a call.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it gave you some food for thought, and I sincerely hope to speak with you soon and see you at the biggest event of the year for Specialist Contractors, our ‘Win Work – Get Paid – Make Money’ Conference on 14th July 2015.