Wise Up Wednesday: Beating Constructions Ups and Downs

Beating Constructions Up’s and Downs

Are the prospects for construction on the up, or are we heading back to gloom and doom?

The latest official figures show falling construction activity, for the first time since 2013 Q1, so we could be in for a bumpy ride.

But, whatever the prospects for construction as a whole, your Wise Up Wednesday Guides are here to help you beat the Up’s and Down’s and succeed in your Specialist Contractor business life.

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

A Clever Little Formula – Whether It’s Up or Down

Last week I went to a free introductory seminar. It wasn’t great timing because I had other things that needed to get done. But, I took the time out to go, and I’m mighty glad that I did.


Because it gave me a whole load of tips that we can take action on here at StreewiseSubbie.com to help us to help you.

And it gave me one very important formula that you can use whether the prospects for construction are up or down. And I want to share it with you today.

If S x A = Results what do we need to do to improve Results, where S = Skills and A = Action?

First lets put some hypothetical numbers in. So we have 1 x 8 = 8

So what happens if we want to increase turnover, or improve profitability? Let’s say that means we want to achieve a result of 16.

Well, we can work harder and take more action; 1 x 16 = 16

But, if Action = hours in a day, that’s a pretty tough way to increase Results.

And if our Skill level or effectiveness drops in the process, we might end up with something like this; 0.75 x 16 = 12

So, how about we improve our Skills?

Let’s say we increase our skills by 50%, not too much to ask is it?

Our results now look like this; 1.5 x 8 = 12

And if we learn a few extra Skills it’s; 2 x 8 = 16

So by marginally increasing our Skills and expertise, we can achieve great Results for the same amount of Action.

Never Stop Learning

That simple little formula reminded me just how important it is for me to work on my skills. Although I’m now 61, and have been actively studying for the last 30 years, I still learn something new almost every day, and I intend to never stop learning.

It can be interesting, enjoyable and fun, and it takes many forms.

For instance why not check out the videos of our exclusive conference for Specialist Contractors and share an interesting and informative day that was enjoyed by over 120 other Specialist Contractors from all over the UK?

You can find details here; Conference 2015.

Communicate And Share With People

No person is an island. Learn to understand, learn from, and share with others.

Successful people develop and nurture their network in a positive and collaborative way.

Joining our exclusively Specialist Contractors LinkedIn Group is free, but LinkedIn seem determined to make it hard to join an exclusive group like ours. So if you can’t find it here; LinkedIn Group , please email Tanya@streetwisesubbie.com and she will sort it for you.

You Don’t Have To Go It Alone

Maybe we can help improve your S = Skills, and/or solve some of those problems that are causing you to put in the hours. Why not give us a call and have a chat?

As the old saying goes; “a problem shared is a problem halved” and I have been cost effectively solving Specialist Contractor’s problems for the last 25 years.

Why not let me and StreetwiseSubbie.com help solve yours?

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


 Communication Is The Key

This week’s blog post is a very brief one about communication as the key to success for Specialist Contractors.

As you know, we are officially in the Information Age.

Like it or lump it, we are all members of a society who connect through the internet, not just to it. Text, Whats App,Twitter, Facebook, Face Time etc. etc. love it or loathe it we can’t turn back the clock.

The Communication Age is here to stay…

So, what has this got to do with Specialist Contractors?

Well, I reckon that you have an amazing opportunity to use the explosion of easy communication to massive benefit in your business,  and here is one simple example of how.

Back in the day if you wanted to know which Main Contractors paid on time, or what they were like to deal with, there wasn’t really anywhere to find out. Yes, you could check their credit rating but that won’t tell you much, and unless you personally knew someone who had worked for them then you were stumped.

And if you had a question about variations, or set off, or suspending work your chances of getting a quick and easy answer were limited.


So what’s changed?


Now there is a fantastic resource exclusively for Specialist Contractors in the form of StreetwiseSubbie.com and our LinkedIn Group of over 2,100 owners directors and senior staff, of Specialist Contracting businesses sharing information and knowledge for the benefit of all.


So if you aren’t part of it yet – you should be!


And if you are part of it you should be using it to it’s full capabilities, and encouraging every UK Specialist Contractor to join, because this is a powerful source of serious debate and knowledge sharing.


This group is the catalyst for massive change in the industry, and we will be announcing more about that soon.


You can find this FREE and exclusive group at this link;  Join Now


Here’s what one member says;


“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!”


It’s an exclusive alliance of Specialist Contractors in the Construction and Engineering Industries, and it helps you to interact with literally 2,100 other Specialist Contractors irrespective of your size or specialisation.


You can pick up information that will benefit you, and your business and everyone shares intelligence about the industry for the benefit of all group members.


  • Want to know which Contractors never pay on time?
  • Need to know how over two thousand other Specialist Contractors deal with variations, delays extension of time, set off or liquidated damages?
  • It’s all here, and because it’s exclusively for Specialist Contractors, the Contractors of the world aren’t allowed in.


You can find this free and exclusive LinkedIn group at this link;  Join Now


And if you aren’t already on LinkedIn and haven’t got time to set it up yourself, we will even do it all for you for free!  Just email us at info@streetwisesubbie.com or call us on 01773 712116.


Here’s another view;


“Sub-Contractor friendly, down to earth commercial and contractual advice and support that has already helped us enormously. And none of the drivel you get on other forums!”


Your StreetwiseSubbie group is about providing you with a network of like-minded Specialist Contractors and all the resources and information you need to enable you to excel in your particular field of expertise.


And get the recognition and rewards you deserve. Both personally and as a company.


  • It’s about getting an answer to your problem when you need it.
  • It’s about sharing information and best practice.
  • It’s also about bringing a smile to your face!


Come and join this free and exclusive group at this link;  Join Now


I hope you enjoyed this 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.


Wise Up Wednesday: Skill Shortage or Opportunity?

I read yet another article about skills shortages the other day, and it occurred to me that there is a very important message in it, which speaks of the reduction in the skills base and;

“This inability to procure reliable subcontractors, even though there are still generally enough to tender and bid for subcontract packages, threatens delivery on contracts won.”

And there it is; “procure reliable subcontractors”. Hidden in plain sight.

In other words they can find firms to bid on their projects, but they are beginning to realise that when it comes down to delivering quality on time and actually performing, then that is quite a different matter.

A Simple Message

So my message this week is quite a simple one. Please, please, please, make sure that you can demonstrate your reliability, and why you can actually deliver on time, and to the required standard.

And STOP trying to be the cheapest!

Let the “subbies” who only bid on price, work for the cheapskate Contractors who only select on price!

Supply and Demand

It’s a simple case of supply and demand, and it’s about marketing your business properly.

We talk a lot about contractual matters in our Wise up Wednesdays and in our exclusive LinkedIn forum, but what doesn’t get talked about much is marketing.

We are all about helping you with both, and we provide Specialist Sub-Contractors with everything they need to be the best that they can be, for themselves, their business and their customers.

So, please think about marketing, even if you don’t really get it, or think it is irrelevant to your business, because by being better at marketing you can put yourself in a position to make better profits!

Better marketing = Better opportunities = Better profits.

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 problems, including marketing, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116.

Wise Up Wednesday: Adequate Payment Mechanism?

Payment Mechanisms

This week’s Wise Up Wednesday Guide for Specialist Contractors is about the all important topic of getting paid.

Adequate Payment Mechanism?

Every construction contract (as defined in the Construction Act) must have an “adequate” payment mechanism.In very simple terms it must have a:

  • Payment Due Date – when the work must be valued
  • Payment Period – time between Payment Due Date and Final Date for Payment
  • Final Date for Payment – latest date when payment can be made In any event,
  • Mechanism that clearly determines the Payment Due Date and the Final Date for Payment.

If the contract payment terms do not meet these requirements, the provisions from the  Scheme for Construction Contracts will apply.

Payment Notices

There are strict requirements for both payer and payee to issue and manage payment notices which operate the payment mechanism.

All Notices must state the amount and the “basis” of calculation. So, you must be certain of what the Payment Due Date is as there is an absolute requirement to serve a Payment Notice up to 5 days after the Payment Due Date. If this time period is missed it is a breach of contract with consequences.

Good News For You

This is all good news for you, because the vast majority of the time you are going to be the payee. And if the Contractor/Client payer is in breach by failing to serve a Payment Notice in 5 days, you can serve a Default Payment Notice.

However, most contracts require you to submit an application for payment, and in that case your application for payment automatically becomes the Default Payment Notice.

If a Default Notice is served there is no defence to the amount claimed if a Payless Notice is not served in the time specified.

Valid Payless Notice?

A Payless Notice is a final chance for the payer to value the works and withhold monies trumping the Payment Notices or Default Payment Notice. However, the Payless Notice must be valid and must state the amount and basis for calculation.

The key thing about Payment Notices is that timing and content is critical to their validity, and if these Notices are not managed properly by the Contractor/Client you are entitled to challenge them.

This all gives you a good start in the battle to get paid properly, albeit that you can’t automatically it to the bank!

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.