Specialist Contractors – Make becoming more Streetwise YOUR only New Year’s Resolution!

What’s your New Year’s resolution this year?

I can tell you that mine is to make sure that me and the team here at StreetwiseSubbie.com continue to make a positive impact on the business lives of Specialist Contractors in the UK construction industry.

Not only will we be campaigning for fairer treatment, we will also be making sure that as many UK Specialist Contractors as possible know how to protect themselves contractually, and market their services better.

Without wanting to sound like a kill joy, the “growth” and “improvement” in the UK construction as widely reported in the media in 2013, has made little or no difference to the old non-paying, under-valuing, bullying ways that some of the Main Contractors now regard as standard practice.

Specialist Contractors still suffered from the after effects of late payment and unfair treatment that led to more than 5,500 Specialist Contracting firms going bust in  the last couple of years, and many more having to make redundancies and cut backs just to keep their heads above water.

So, we urge you all to do everything in your power to protect yourself against the commercial dangers that regrettably will still threaten your company during 2014, and to do as much as you can to improve the bigger picture for UK construction by standing up for Specialist Contractors.

What do I mean by that?

Well, as you might expect, I talk to lots of Specialist Contractors, and more and more are taking a much more pragmatic view of their business. They are steering clear of jobs with little or no margin and Contractors who don’t pay! And whilst that means less turnover, most of them are finding that they can make almost as much profit.

And, if all Specialist Contractors took the same view, then prices would rise accordingly, and the worst Contractors would have no-one to work for them!

By standing up for Specialist Contractors, the bigger picture for UK construction would improve for all the good honest hard working firms, and the unscrupulous Contractors would fail.

But the most important benefit of pragmatism is less risk and fewer sleepless nights!

Reducing risk, improving profitability and ensuring you get paid, are all benefits that our nationwide team of experts will help you to enjoy. Our Buddies are benefitting from the professional support that helps you win your commercial and contractual battles, and grow and strengthen your business.

If you are interested in knowing more then you can find out exactly what our Gold Buddy membership provides right here.

But first, you should know that in order to make absolutely certain there is no financial risk to you whatsoever, we have engineered our service so that in just the first 3 months alone you receive more value than you will pay for your membership in a whole 3 years!

No wonder we call it our ‘No Brainer Value Package’!

And no it’s not “too good to be true”, because when you read what our Gold Buddies have to say about us you will see that you only need to make just one New Year’s Resolution this year, and that’s to become more streetwise by becoming a StreetwiseSubbie Gold Buddy, and giving your business the best possible outlook for 2014 and beyond!

Happy New Year from everyone here at StreetwiseSubbie.


“Pihl files for bankruptcy after ‘too aggressive expansion”

This story caught my eye this morning because it has a number of key points that I would ask all Specialist Contractors to bear in mind.

Pihl says; “The expansion took place without sufficient balance in the contract terms and without having sufficiently verified the credit quality of the foreign customers and sub-contractors, and without making sure that the qualities of the work processes and the risk management procedures were sufficient to support the increase in activity.”

Woah, so many key points in one comment…

“….sufficient balance in the contract terms” Please don’t enter into contracts unless you understand the terms and the risk they pose. Please see http://www.streetwisesubbie.com/contracts

“…without having sufficiently verified the credit quality of the… customers” Please make sure you check out every potential customer/contractor’s status properly. Please see how we can help via Top Service http://www.streetwisesubbie.com/top-service-credit-reference-agency

“…without making sure that the qualities of the work processes and the risk management procedures were sufficient to support the increase in activity” Please don’t assume that your current procedures and what you are doing now will work if you are increasing your turnover. Take a look at http://www.streetwisesubbie.com/books for a cracking read for Specialist Contractors on all such matters.

And please make sure that every Specialist Contractor you know joins over 1,400 colleagues in our exclusive group on LinkedIn. Here’s the link; http://linkd.in/cvfM9X

Sorry To Ask – But Does Any Of This Make Sense?

If what Balfour Beatty are reported as saying about their supply chain re-structuring is true, then it seems to me like the world’s finally gone completely mad!

According to Balfour Beatty supply chain director Andrew Haworth the company currently carries out around 150,000 transactions a year – 130,000 of which are for low-value items including building materials and plant equipment.

What about transactions with its Sub-Contractors then? Are they considered “low value” or are they just not considered at all?

The report goes on to say that the system will become automated for low-value goods.

Haworth said: “Procurement teams no longer have to get involved in ordering low-cost supplies. The transactional desk means anyone can do it. Now we only have 20,000 procurement transactions that need attention.”

Do Balfour Beatty order low value goods for construction projects?

If so how can they magically reduce the number of transactions to 20,000 just because now “anyone” can place an order?

But the worst bit for me is that;

“A central procurement team – Supply Chain Solutions – has been set up and it will consist of 13 supply chain managers who will work alongside firms that supply sub contractors to Balfour Beatty.

The team will get involved in bids and seek out innovative and effective design solutions.  That’s BB speak for  “cheap”

In addition, a team of around 60 senior procurement managers will be put in place to oversee larger, more complex deals.”

So the whole procurement process is going to be handled by “procurement managers” who will seek out “innovative and effective design solutions”.

Talk about lunatics running the asylum.

God help us!

Mandate For Subbies Fight Against Corporate Greed Hits The National News!

Giant Government contractors are flouting a rule that obliges them to pay suppliers promptly, stifling small companies’ growth and, in some cases, putting their survival at risk.

Image courtesy of James Hurley’s article on The Telegraph website

Thanks to all 278 Specialist sub-Contractors who took part in our recent ‘State of Industry’ survey. (Results are here: http://www.streetwisesubbie.com/state-of-the-industry-survey-2012), and those who have stepped forward to share personal experience of unfair treatment.

You are creating a meaningful mandate for change, and we are taking your message to the politicians and policy makers, and the issue is now National News thanks to Telegraph Enterprise Editor James Hurley, whose piece on coprorate greed can be found on the Telegraph website here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/yourbusiness/9603972/Construction-giants-bullying-small-businesses.html

The corporate greed of certain Contractors is costing jobs and destroying thousands of businesses, and causing untold amounts of emotional suffering.

With your help we can keep we can transform the dire state of the industry, boost the economy, and drive the innovation needed to secure a better future for everyone. Ensuring fair treatment for all, will help the money government spends on infrastructure to find its way into the economy rather than on to big company’s balance sheets.

Please come forward and speak to James (james.hurley@telegraph.co.uk) and StreetwiseSubbie (info@streetwisesubbie.com) about your experiences, anonymously or otherwise, and help to make real inroads in the fight for fair treatment for all.

Please spread the word on Twitter by following us and tweeting #buildfair4all

And come and join our exclusive LinkedIn Group where likeminded Specialist Contractors are sharing experiences, gaining inside information and useful intelligence, and supporting the campaign for fair treatment.