We Need To Tell You About…

streetwisesubbie, solutions for specialist contractors
Our Director’s meetings are normally lively affairs and yesterday’s was no exception.

One of the topics that Tanya quite rightly raised was about our ever growing range of dedicated services for you the Specialist Contractor.

Now, depending on how you you look at it, providing such a comprehensive range of services is both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand it enables us to provide just about every back office support service you could possibly need, but on the other hand it gives us a bit of a headache communicating exactly what we do.

Improving The Lives Of Specialist Contractors

Our rationale, raison d’etre, objective, or whatever else you want to call it, is to improve the lives of Specialist Contractors. And we do that by bringing you cost effective resources to help make your life easier and your business more profitable.

By working with our Service Delivery Partners across the country, we bring you professional support in all of the following areas;

  • Contracts
  • Commercial
  • Applications and Payments
  • Legal matters
  • Retention Collection
  • Insurance
  • Credit Management
  • Lead Generation
  • Social Media
  • Printed Materials
  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Sales and Marketing
  • PQQ and Bid Writing
  • Health and Safety
  • First Aid Training
  • ISO Certification
  • BIM Training
  • Procurement
  • Project Management Software
  • HR

So there we have it. Whatever you need all in one place.

And, because we only work with Specialist Contractors you can be sure that we know the kind of problems you face, and the solutions that work best. Saves a lot of time, and a lot of money.

So please feel free to give us a call on 01773 712116 or email us on info@streetwisesubbie.com.

I sincerely hope to speak with you soon.

Best regards
Barry

P.S. Please remember if you need any support please take action sooner rather than later. If you’re not sure what you need, or just want a second opinion, please give us a call on 01773 712116, or email info@streetwisesubbie.com

 

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#WiseUpWednesday Retention “Discussed” In Parliament

This week’s Wise Up Wednesday Guide for Specialist Contractors is a bit unusual in as far as it has an extract from yesterday’s business in the House Of Commons which included a question about retention.

We are all aware of the scourge of retentions in the construction and engineering industry, and as usual it’s you the Specialist Contractor that suffers!

Here’s Exactly How It Went

So here without further ado is the “discussion” which took place yesterday, sourced from the official record produced by Hansard;

Stuart C. McDonald (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East) (SNP)

What is his policy on the non-release or late release of cash retentions in the construction industry. 

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Margot James)

Unjustified late and non-payment of a retention payment or any amount owed is unacceptable. These practices cause particular problems for small businesses in the construction sector, and the Government are committed to tackling them. We will shortly be publishing research into these issues, alongside a consultation document.

Stuart C. McDonald

The system of cash retentions has been wreaking havoc in the construction industry for decades. Can the Minister assure us that there will soon be radical action to overhaul the system, and can she explain why it has taken so long?

Margot James

There is, indeed, far too much abuse of the system of cash retention, and it has been going on for too long. The burden of administrative time spent securing payments and the drain on working capital weigh far too heavily on smaller firms in the supply chain, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we will be taking action.

Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab)

If the Government had only listened in 2015 to the amendments the Labour party tabled to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, we would already have a solution. We were told then that the Government were going to take action. We were told again a few months ago that they were taking action with their proposals about naming and shaming businesses that did not publish their late payments. We now have yet another consultation. Research from Crossflow Payments shows that 74% of small businesses do not believe that the Government’s recent changes will make any difference. Can we have a policy that actually enforces action on late payments, rather than the series of consultations that we have had?

Margot James

I agree that action is needed, but it is important that we take the right action. We have undertaken a consultation, the results of which will be published shortly. That will be followed by a consultation on the 2011 changes to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, which will consider the merits of ring-fencing retentions and the extent to which contractors are making the payment of retentions conditional on the performance of obligations under other, completely separate contracts.

There You Have It

And so the questions and the “discussion” moved on to something else entirely.

No wonder it takes so long to get any kind of action, let alone effective action!

So, don’t hold your breath, because whilst they keep on “consulting” nothing useful will ever get done. And remember that last time the Construction Act was amended it took 13 years…

So What’s To Be Done?

The current “Payment Law” in the form of the Construction Act is a lot better than nothing, and it exists to protect you, but it can’t do that if you don’t apply it. It’s not difficult to get your head around it, so please don’t be put off by thinking it’s legal mumbo jumbo that only lawyers can understand.

The Act gives you a good start in the battle to get paid properly, albeit that it takes a bit of getting your head around. And as always we are on hand to help you understand the law, and to take action on your behalf to ensure you get paid.

And if you haven’t yet downloaded our complimentary guide on how to get paid you can do so here; How To Get Paid

I sincerely hope to speak with you soon.

Best regards

Barry

 

P.S. Please remember if you have a problem, take action sooner rather than later. If you’re not sure what to do or just want a second opinion, please give us a call on 01773 712116, or email info@streetwisesubbie.com (please do not click reply to this email).

 

Helping Secure A better Future for Specialist Contractors

#WiseUpWednesday Vote For Yourself & All Subcontractors

Unless you have been living on Mars for the last few months you will know that tomorrow is election day.

Once you’ve voted and played your part in deciding who is going to run your country for the next five years, I want to encourage you to do what all successful business owners do – work very hard to make the actions of the politicians as irrelevant as possible to their business lives.

Successful Specialist Subcontractors simply do not accept that others control their financial future – because they ensure that they are the masters of their financial destiny.

One of the reasons that politics evokes so much passion, is that many believe Politician A or B will be their saviour – or at least their financial saviour. It never happens – never, which is why this dependency on politicians is mixed with so much anger towards them.

The assumption is that the quality of our lives is their responsibility. “It’s their fault.”

Politicians aren’t bad people. They’re just un-qualified people doing the best they can. And they have an impossible job. The result is always going to be somewhat chaotic. And they haven’t got a clue about what it takes to run a business, never mind a Specialist Subcontracting business, so you ain’t getting any help there.

So, whatever happens tomorrow, leave them to it for the next five years, while we focus on shaping our own financial destiny.

And you can create your own destiny by mastering the art and science of being a successful, financially free Specialist Subcontractor. It’s a subtle combination of strategy, mindset, marketing, and contractual nouse.

An Opportunity To Vote For Yourself

So here’s your opportunity today, right here, right now, to take action and vote for yourself!

Because here is your opportunity to join Specialist Contractors from all over the UK who are already voting for themselves by being part of the StreetwiseSubbie Community.

Here are 10 great reasons why you should vote for yourself and come and join us;

1. We are the UK’s only business resource exclusively designed for Specialist Subcontractors regardless of size or specialisation.

2. Get ahead of the competition with the latest most up to date information on how to get paid on time.

3. Find out how a few simple steps can help you to secure all the work you will ever need at the best possible price.

4. See what the smart Specialist Contractors do to avoid the Main Contractors dirty tricks and onerous terms.

5. Network with other like-minded Specialist Contractors and hear how they overcome their problems.

6. Learn how to maximise your return from variations and how to actually get paid for them.

7. Hear from successful Specialist Contractors on how to stay motivated for success.

8. Discover what’s working and what’s not working in the battle to Win Work, Get Paid, and Make Money!

9. Secure the knowledge that will keep your business safe over the next 12 months.

10. Join the 1% of Specialist Contractors who are smart enough to take time out and immerse themselves in success!

Places are exclusively for Specialist Contractors regardless of size or specialisation.

We have Silver, Gold and Platinum Buddy packages available and some great introductory offers, so give us a call on 01773 712116 or email us at info@streetwisesubbie.com, and we will send you more details and a special free gift just for enquiring.

I hope you will vote for yourself, and I sincerely hope to speak with you soon. And as always, 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.

 

Best regards

The Streetwise Team

P.S. Remember that thousands of other Specialist Contractors are already getting Streetwise by joining our free  LinkedIn Group, or following us on Twitter, or reading our blog!

“Improving The Lives Of Specialist Contractors”

When you’re not getting paid in construction, when is the problem not about payment?

Don’t confuse the two…

Question: When you’re not getting paid, when is the problem not about payment?

Answer: When it’s a dispute about valuation.

The two things are interconnected but they are not the same!

They are different problems that require different solutions.

Reasons for under valuation in construction

There are a wide range of reasons why you might not be getting paid properly, but the most common are the under valuation of your account including variations and valuation of the final account.

There are several steps that you can take to avoid under valuation.

First, know your contract: It is important to always check the terms and conditions of your contract and be fully aware of specification of the works, payment terms, variations and extensions of time clauses and adjudication clauses.

Secondly, keep in touch with the Contractor or Client: Always give regular progress updates to Contractors and inform them of any factors that may give rise to variations delays etc. This can be achieved by regular agreed meetings and effective management.

Thirdly, before carrying out any additional work, ensure that you receive written instructions from the Contractor or Client and do not wait until the end of the project to try and get values agreed.

Keep everything: You can never keep too many records. Respond effectively to any verbal requests and ensure that you take pictures of the site, retain email conversations and, importantly, document any reasons for delayed progress.

Please don’t stand for late or underpayment.

Take action!

Remember that problems never resolve themselves.

If your works are not being properly valued, take remedial action early. The sooner you tackle the problem the less impact it is likely to cause, and the sooner you get the money the better.

It’s an old adage but you need to get your money out of the tin before it’s empty!

Try going to the top: If discussions at site level are not addressing a certain issue, then go to someone senior in the Contractor or Client’s business. Senior management is often able to take a broader perspective and this wider view can often help resolve disputes before they escalate.

If you do encounter problems that are not getting fixed, discussing things at an early stage with one of our expert legal advisers can be cheaper and simpler than trying to resolve an escalated dispute further down the line.

Take action to safeguard your business from the catastrophic impact of reduced, late, or non-payment in 2016.

If you don’t then it could cost you your business!

Unscrupulous Contractors use every trick in the book, to reduce and delay payments. Specialist Contractor’s efforts to avoid or rectify this problem often come too late in the process.

Don’t be one of the casualties, take action now.

Download “How To Get Paid” for free right now, and put an end to reduced, late and non-payment!

Whatever level your business is at, and whatever your specialisation I want to encourage you to experience and enjoy a better more profitable, less stressful way.

 

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday email and that it gave you some food for thought, and please don’t hesitate to grab your Free Report at “How To Get Paid” and if you need any help with any of your business problems pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116.

Does This Sound Familiar? Common Issues Subbies Have Over and Over Again

This week’s blog is about the questions Specialist Contractors ask us over and over again.

Here’s a typical example (amended to preserve anonymity);

“We have recently completed a contract for the installation of … at a hotel in London. Contract value c £480,000. We have been working as a sub-contractor.

The main contractor has been slow in paying our monthly valuations and now at the final account(s) stage they have refused payment for additional labour resources that we have provided over recent months; they have also disputed the quantities of … installed.

Currently we are owed some £65k and the main contractor is now refusing to communicate.

We are attempting to arrange to meet the main contractor although this is proving difficult with the lack of communication response problem.

The contact was agreed by a signed Letter of Intent. There is no form of contract (JCT etc.).

The above represents a brief summary of our situation.

We would welcome your initial thoughts and an indication of whether you will be able to take action on our behalf to recover the outstanding debt.”

So What Can Be Done?

Let me answer the Specialist Contractor’s last question first; “will we be able to take action on their behalf?” We most certainly can, and do take action for you guys every day of the week!

Our Consultants are experts in taking action to solve this kind of problem and ensure you get paid. Here’s the exact text of an email to me from Mike who is one of our Consultant’s only yesterday. It shows just how effective we can be;

“Successful outcome at the meeting today, settled at £472k gross giving a payment of nearly £50k to be paid within 7 days.”

I’m sure you will agree that’s a great result. Now let’s take a closer look at the problem above.

Breaking The Problem Down

Here’s some thoughts on the problem as posed above;

1. The problems always start when the works are complete! Be ready for this and get as much agreed as possible as you go along. If problems still arise at the end, take action and quick! Problems definitely do not improve with time.

2. If the main contractor has been “slow in paying” throughout the job, what have you been doing about it? Don’t procrastinate – escalate!

3.They have “refused payment for additional labour”. If you have been delayed through no fault of your own don’t supply additional labour to “catch up” without a proper agreement.

4. Main contractors that won’t communicate only understand one language. Get tough. Know your rights and apply them – properly applied the threat of adjudication usually gets people talking.

5. The “contract was agreed by a signed Letter of intent” and boy was it fraught with problems! So, the message there is don’t agree to anything you don’t understand.

Don’t Suffer – Take Action

We have lots of resources at your disposal from the free information on our web site, to our specially written guides for Specialist Contractors, to our exclusive LinkedIn Group of 2,192 Specialist Contractors, right through to our best selling Gold Buddy Membership.

(Speaking of which, I’d just like to  remind our Gold Buddies to use their free consultancy time to help you resolve any of your problems. We love helping!)

Do not suffer alone. Come and find out how we are helping Specialist Contractors of all sizes, in all trades, right across the UK.

I hope you enjoyed my 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.

StreetwiseSubbie – How Can We Help?

The clue really is in our name – StreetwiseSubbie. We specialise in helping Specialist Contractors of all sizes and in all trades, so why not give us a call and see how we can help you and your business?

“Improving The Lives Of Specialist Contractors”

StreetwiseSubbie.com exists to help all Specialist Contractors regardless of size or specialisation, and remember you can ask for our help on any of your business problems as and when you need it.

Our initial advice is free and there’s no obligation just good honest, down to earth advice.

You can call us during office hours on 01773 712116 or check out our Gold Buddy support package can help you get paid.

Payment Still Major Concern Despite Increased Workload

Specialist Contractors are still suffering from late payment on public sector projects despite an upturn in workload.

According to the latest survey payment remains a major concern for building services firms, with just 8 per cent of Specialist Contractors saying that public sector work was paid on time. And the private sector was even worse with just six per cent of respondents being paid within 30 days.

ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “… payment continues to be a major concern to Specialist Contractors across the industry, with the overwhelming majority indicating that they are not paid within 30 days, which is now the widely understood measure of good practice”.

So, if you are not getting paid properly then don’t fall for the Contractor’s BS, because it is highly likely (there are some exceptions), that what they are telling you is a pack of lies.

Please don’t stand for late or underpayment.

Take action!

Take action to safeguard your business from the catastrophic impact of reduced, late, or non-payment in 2016.

If you don’t then it could cost you your business!

Unscrupulous Contractors use every trick in the book, to reduce and delay payments. Specialist Contractor’s efforts to avoid or rectify this problem often come too late in the process.

Don’t be one of the casualties, take action now.

Download “How To Get Paid” for free right now, and put an end to reduced, late and non-payment!

Whatever level your business is at, and whatever your specialisation I want to encourage you to experience and enjoy a better more profitable, less stressful way.

Wise Up Wednesday: Orders Are A Process Not An Event

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 get right!

Nowadays most enquiries 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!

State Your Offer Clearly

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.

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 the JCT standard building sub-contract) or your own terms and conditions.

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

There are a whole host of onerous terms you need to watch out for and last week’s Wise Up Wednesday gave you lots of examples. If you are in any doubt please get in touch.

The Minimum You Should Do

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.

Remember It’s A Process

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

And, you must make sure that any amendments are properly incorporated into the contract.

Just having your tender as a “Numbered Document” is NOT good enough!

​In order not to be caught by onerous provision you must make it perfectly clear that you are rejecting their onerous terms. Notice I said rejecting their terms, not rejecting their order.

​There may be times when you have to take a commercial decision to accept onerous terms and conditions of contract.  In this situation you need to be very clear about the risks you are running and manage them accordingly.

​I hope you enjoyed this week’s Wise Up Wednesday.

​If you are in any doubt about how to manage this process, or whether or not the terms and conditions are onerous, you need to take professional advice and StreetwiseSubbie’s Nationwide Network of Consultants are experts in helping you to deal with such matters.

If you need help, you can call us for initial free advice on 01773 712116.

​Once again thank you all for your support.