Wise Up Wednesday: Are You A Specialist Contractor Or A “Subby”?

Yesterday one of our Client’s told me that he had a massive light bulb moment at our “Win Work-Get Paid-Make Money” conference earlier this month. You know one of those times when something really important suddenly clicks into place in your brain.

And what had hit him right between the eyes was that he was a Specialist Contractor, and not just a “Subby”!

He realised that what we have been saying over and over again in our blog, in our Linkedin group, in our Wise Up Wednesdays, and at our conference was all true. The Contractors haven’t got a clue and couldn’t build anything without Specialist Contractors!

And he was indeed a Specialist Contractor because he was an expert at doing what he does, whereas the only thing that most Contractors are good at is screwing their supply chain.

The conference also provided the opportunity to share his experiences and talk to his fellow Specialist Contractors from all over the country, and despite the fact the economy is improving, Specialist Contractors are still suffering from many of the problems that have dogged the Construction and Engineering industries for the last few years.

And one of the main problems is that Contractors treat you like just another “Subby”.

You Have A Choice To Make!

So, now you have a choice to make.

You can think and act like just another Subby, take whatever crap the Contractor throws at you, accept his poor payment practices and onerous terms. Or you can say;

“Hang on a minute! I’m not a Subby, I’m a Specialist Contractor, I’m an expert and what I do, and you couldn’t build anything without us!”

And as the Specialist Contractor’s champions StreetwiseSubbie have a multitude of resources exclusively designed to help you to get Streetwise, and in doing so become a very successful Specialist Contractor.

StreetwiseSubbie aims to help you to secure your company’s future whatever the economy, and to help you discover solutions that will make an immediate and positive difference in your business.

Free Advice And information

Our unique web site is exclusively for Specialist Contractors.

Our service is completely different from the kind of thing you may already be getting from your Trade Association, Solicitor or other provider, because it provides you with information about 40 different aspects of your business!

Our expert team of professionals provide all the expertise and support you need to resolve your problems and grow your business. Our goal is your wealth and security, now and in the future.

It’s all about short term relief/solutions and long term protection.

It’s about peace of mind and recognising your true worth as a;

** Specialist Contractor **

So come and check out our Free Resources for Specialist Contractors.

An Intelligent Forum Exclusively For Specialist Contractors

If you prefer to get answers via an intelligent and exclusive forum (none of the drivel you get in other forums), you are invited to join our exclusive group of 2,186 owners, directors and senior staff of Specialist Contractors on LinkedIn.

You can find this exclusive group here Free To Join Your LinkedIn Group!

Here’s what one Specialist Contractor thinks about it;

“This group is a great idea, thanks! I am so pleased there is finally a forum to share relevant and needed information…particularly regarding Main Contractors that don’t pay!”

The group is an exclusive alliance of Specialist Contractors in the Construction and Engineering Industries, and it will help you to interact with over 2,000  other Specialist Contractors irrespective of your size or specialisation.

And NOT A Single Contractor in sight!

Unlike the NSCC which now thinks joining the Contractors in the UKCG is going to improve the way the Contractors treat you!

You can find out more about the exclusively for Specialist Contractors group here; Free To Join Your LinkedIn Group!

Here’s The News About The News For Specialist Contractors

How would you like to keep up to date with the latest developments in the construction and engineering industries all in one place?

How would you like to keep up to date for free?

SubContracting Today is a free daily digest of all the hot topics that affect you and your business. please check it out now; Subcontracting Today

Do you need to know what the news means to you and your business?

SubContracting Today will help you stay ahead of the curve with news, analysis, client information and regional and sector insight as well as practical advice.

We link you to all the top stories, and as well as daily news, analysis and interviews, you will find in-depth briefings and case studies of on-going projects.

For your free daily digest of all the hot topics that affect you and your business. please check it out now; Subcontracting Today

And Because We Know Times Are Tough…

We know that things have got slightly better, but these are still tough times and we are already helping lots of Specialist Contractors just like you in this tough commercial and contractual environment.

We have the fantastic support of our Nationwide Network of Independent Consultants who are working with our core team to bring you all the help and support you will ever need.

We look forward to keeping you up to date and helping you to resolve all your business problems.


Wise Up Wednesday: Get Some Credibility!

We’ve put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give Specialist Contractors 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.


In the construction industry, showing your worth in terms of skills and expertise is a priority, and I bet most of what you say about yourselves describes you as ‘experts in your field’ or something similar!

Funnily enough, that’s what 95% of all your competitors say about themselves too!

So, just saying it (without evidence) isn’t very credible, and just saying it isn’t going to give you the edge over your competitors either.

So, in order to get that prospective Customer/Contractor to place the the order with you, how can you demonstrate that you have the technical knowledge or skills for the job? Anyone can SAY they know it all, but the proof is in the pudding.

The majority of companies claim to be market leaders in their industry, and there becomes a point where just saying it loses all meaning and emphasis. So you need to make your company stand out as a true market leader by proving WHY you have earned the title, and why they should choose you.

Provide information and answers

Use in-depth case studies about how you solved specific issues for customers, ask clients for testimonials or reviews of your products and services which can be posted on your web site and your blog to show why they chose you over others in the industry.

Provide specific information to back up your claims of being the right Specialist Contractor to choose.

Don’t be afraid to interact with your prospects and engage them through collaboration. Ask for their feedback on new services and products, ask them to share their thoughts and ideas for new ways of doing things. This all helps show why your company stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Different strokes…

There are people who take a keen interest and actively seek out all information on upcoming regulations and legislations that will have an impact on their industry, but there are also those who need to be informed.

You can please both of these types of people by writing an informative piece discussing the key points of a upcoming change and throwing in your company’s opinion on the change and how it will affect the industry.

Encourage people to comment and share their thoughts and opinions on the matter to engage the audience and get a conversation or debate going.

You can also encourage people to come to you with their questions, or run a regular Q+A piece where people can send you their issues and you can provide answers via your blog post or web site for all to see.

Follow these easy tips, and in no time at all your credibility will have soared.

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 the above, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.

“Making It Happen” The Core Theme at 2015 ‘Win Work – Get Paid – Make Money’ Construction Conference

2015 conferenceAlthough the construction industry has enjoyed a growth spurt, recovery in many areas is still fragile, and it’s still a dangerous place for the unwary! That’s why our 3rd annual construction conference focused on how Specialist Contractors can tap into growth, whilst at the same time ensuring your commercial and contractual interests are protected.

Hence its focus on three key areas; winning work, getting paid and making money!

The conference has grown in popularity each year and is now the biggest exclusively Specialist Contractor Conference in the UK which is open to all Specialist Contractors. The Conference is not limited to one single trade, and it attracted delegates from all parts of the UK.

Keynote speaker and ex-Tropicana MD Gordon Bromley gave an energetic and inspiring talk on “making it happen”. He talked delegates through a simple but highly effective 2 page business plan for achieving growth and profitability in just 12 months; he also focused on the use of “Must Win Battles” to drive growth and performance; all invaluable advice for Specialist Contractors of all sizes and specialisms.

Gordon Bromley

Bromley also got our delegates thinking about what their business is really about, getting us all to think about the purpose and value that we offer on both a logical and emotional level to our customers.

He also talked about the importance of keeping your staff happy and aligned with your company’s goals. Staff morale is often low on the list of a business owner, not because we don’t care, but because we are too busy focusing on the customer! Gordon reminded us how happy employees do everything better and how this can impact your overall success.

The key theme of Gordon’s talk was making it happen, ‘it’ being whatever you see as the future for your business. One particular quote that resonated with us all on the day was “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!” In other words, get off your backside and make growth happen in your business by making changes!

In total 10 speakers delivered relevant and inspiring presentations about how to “Win Work, Get Paid and Make Money”.

Mike Dickenson

Talks from Tony Rand, Geoff Noake, Kirsten Howells and Rachel Dines on PR and marketing helped delegates to see how they can separate themselves from the competition and charge more for their services.

There was plenty of emphasis on the contractual side of things too, with speakers Richard Brackenbury, Mike Grant, David Galavan and Barry Ashmore all covering a whole range of issues and how the right support can save you money, rather than costing  you money, and why it’s vitally important for you to check the T’s and C’s! David Galavan gave an informative talk on making money through intelligent tendering and Barry Ashmore revealed the dirty tricks main contractors use to stop you getting paid and making money.

The conference was a huge success and our biggest yet, with over 120 delegates from across the UK gathering at The Belfry Hotel in Nottingham for a third year running to learn how they could improve their business and network with fellow Specialist Contractors.


The positive atmosphere that resonated throughout the day showed that YOU, the Specialist Contractors in the industry are ready to start winning work, getting paid and making money. Subbies are the foundation of the UK construction industry, so let’s make that foundation stronger by working together towards growth and improvement!

Missed out this year? We will be offering access to all the presentations online very soon, keep checking our social media for updates!

Want to make sure you join us again next year? We are taking early bird bookings now! Email info@streetwisesubbie.com to find out more and secure your place at what is sure to be another sell-out event.

Wise Up Wednesday: Are You Still Having Payment Nightmares?

This week’s “Wise Up Wednesday” is a very brief one about avoiding Payment Nightmares…

Some of the commentators say construction is on the up, but we know that many Specialist Contractors are still experiencing Payment Nightmares!

  • “Underpayment without reason”
  • “Pay when paid and if certified”
  • “Spurious contra charges with no prior notice and no detail”
  • “Unpaid invoices in excess of 6 months”
  • “Contractors who completely ignore you, even after repeated threats of legal action”
  • “Even large contractors who used to pay on time hold onto payments”
  • “Contractors use you to bankroll the contract,then screw you to maintain their margins”
  • “Contractors that are in adversarial mode from day one!”
  • “CIS deducted incorrectly and not paid back”

These are actual scenarios Specialist Contractors have had to endure.

It’s Official – Contractors Are Stealing Your Profits!

What’s making it worse is that most big Contractors are so reliant on cash management for their profits that they are underpaying you and paying you late!

They steal your profits so that they make theirs.

And that’s official because if you read it carefully that’s what the Governments own report says.

You can find it here – BIS RESEARCH PAPER NUMBER 118

Of course it doesn’t use the word “steal” but it does say that;

“As part of a relatively under-capitalised industry, construction firms are highly dependant upon sustained access to trade credit…”

“Trade credit” – what that means is your money!

Now even some of the smaller Contractors, who you thought you could trust, are taking a leaf out of the big boy’s book and screwing their sub-contractors.

I’m sick and tired of seeing good hard working Specialist Contractors like you suffering at the hands of the non-paying, arrogant, bully boy Contractors!

So What’s To Be Done About It?

If Specialist Contractors are ever going to receive the returns that your hard work and efforts deserve, effective action needs to be taken at grass roots level.

So please;

  • come and join the debate with 2,178 Specialist Contractors in our FREE LinkedIn Group: FREE LinkedIn Group
  • already in the group? Then please spread the word to every other Specialist Contractor you know and forward this blog post to them
  • in a Trade association? Why not get in touch and see how we can link up
  • think more should be being done or got some ideas? Please get in touch!
  • take action to ensure your success and join over 120 Specialist Contractors from all over the UK in the biggest national event of the year
  • and, if you are already one of our Silver, Gold or Platinum Buddies you come for free!
  • Buddies, please make sure to use the initial free advice and free Consultancy resources at your disposal.
  • let us help you to protect and grow your business,
  • and if you’re not yet a member why not email us at info@streetwisesubbie.com for details?

Because, together we can make a real difference!

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.

In the meantime if you need any help with any of your business issues, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116.

Wise Up Wednesday: Getting Paid Is Still A Major Problem!

Judging by the number of posts on the subject in our free LinkedIn Group, not getting paid is still a major problem, if not the biggest problem for Specialist Contractors.

So, where and how does this problem start and how do you fix it?

Contrary to what many people might think, the problem starts even before you have submitted your tender!

Why? Because that is the time when WHO you are prepared to work for needs to be carefully considered, and HOW you put yourself in the best possible place to secure work from Contractors that will actually want to pay you.

In my spoof book “The Little Book Of Crap Advice For Specialist Contractors” I allude to the folly of pricing work for Contractors who randomly send you an enquiry even though you have never worked for them or contacted them! Or the Contractor you regularly price for but never get the job!

Both are as bad as each other and should be avoided at all costs.

“Call Girl Marketing”

Back in the day before the electronic transfer of drawings and other data (yes there was such a time), it was more difficult to get on a tender list because it actually cost the Contractor time and money to prepare and send you an enquiry.

Now it costs them nothing to send you a disc or a link, and you shouldn’t congratulate yourself for just getting on a tender list!

Pricing work for anyone is what I call “Call Girl Marketing” and not surprisingly it doesn’t give rise to much respect on the part of the buyer, neither does it usually lead to a long term relationship, or most importantly, getting paid on time.

Unlike a “call girl” you are not going to get paid in advance!

Malevolent Apathy

The next part of the puzzle involves the acceptance of any old terms that the Contractor throws together, and what I call “malevolent apathy” on the part of the Contractor.

Either they don’t give much thought to your contractual entitlements or, if they have thought about it, they use particularly onerous terms. particularly in regard to payment.

Why for instance would you destroy the best weapon in your getting paid armoury i.e. suspension, by agreeing to 28 days notice? That’s just madness!

Taking Action

Last but by no means least is how to respond to non-payment, and how to take effective action, and whether or not your ability to do so has been hampered by the points discussed above.

It is imperative that when you aren’t getting paid, you need to take appropriate action. Specialist Contractors that take the right action at the right time get paid, those that wait – or get it wrong don’t get paid. It’s that simple!

Successful People Invest In Themselves

As anyone who really knows me well will testify, I am passionate about protecting the interests of Specialist Contractors. Yes, I make part of my income from solving your payment problems, and helping you guys to succeed. But, it goes much deeper than that.

And, I am not shy about promoting our 3rd Annual Conference on 14 July, because I know how good it is going to be, how relevant it is going to be (particularly about getting paid), and what a fantastic line up of speakers we have put together for you.

And it’s exclusively for Specialist Contractors, so we will be pulling no punches about how to deal with the Contractors who don’t want to pay you!

We have 112 delegates already booked in, but if you haven’t booked yet here are the details for; “Win Work-Get Paid-Make Money”

And, in order to fill up the last remaining places we are holding the June discounted price – so you can book today and save on the ticket price.

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.

So, go on invest in your success today!

Here are the details for; “Win Work-Get Paid-Make Money”

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 don’t hesitate to give me a call.