It’s Wise Up Wednesday: A Veritable Cornucopia For Subcontractors!

This week’s Wise Up Wednesday is as the subject line suggests about a Veritable Cornucopia for Subcontractors, Trade Contractors and Specialist Contractors.

A cornucopia, also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts. Some would say there are plenty of nuts at Streetwisesubbie but that’s another story!

So why Cornucopia?

It’s a great word for a start, and not one you hear or use every day! But, that’s not the reason. The real reason is that it just popped into my head when I was thinking about all the topical industry related things we could talk about and all the things we do to help and protect you guys, some of which might be obvious and some not so obvious.

And when you think about what makes for successful outcomes in your business, everything is connected to everything else. Bear with me here, but just as an example; if you’re not getting paid properly and you can’t suspend performance for 21 days instead of 7 days, it’s probably because you didn’t check the contract before you entered into it!

Get the idea, everything’s connected in some way.

So What’s New?

Regional Assemblies For Subcontractors

Yesterday, I had a very interesting discussion on LinkedIn with a few Specialist Contractors (you can connect with me there and we have a 2,243 member group for Subcontractors), about setting up Regional Assemblies for Subcontractors. Here’s some of the discussion and the gist of the idea;

  • Specialist Contractors need to come together to start shaping the industry in a meaningful manner.
  • Stop being insular in our approach
  • As an industry we don’t realise that we’re part of the problem and until we do we cannot be part of the solution.
  • We have allowed ourselves to join the race to the bottom whilst dancing to the tune of buyers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • There is nothing wrong with healthy competition but it is only useful up to a certain point and no further.
  • Cooperation is the thing we must strive for today and that begins where competition leaves off.
  • A cultural change is required and it needs to start with Specialist Contractors.
  • Change the culture you’ll change the industry.
  • Build UK is an abject failure for Specialist Contractors

Great idea and we only need 10 of them to cover the whole of mainland UK plus Northern Ireland and potentially Ireland (please no politics this is just an idea). Here are my suggestions;

  • Scotland, North East
  • North West and North Wales
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • West Midlands and Mid Wales
  • South West and South Wales
  • East Midlands
  • East of England
  • South East
  • London

What we need now are volunteers to help set up and run each of the Regional Assemblies. Please get in touch  at or call me direct on 01773 715062

The Madness That Is

“The VAT Domestic Reverse Charge for UK Building and Construction”

This is complicated but basically it is going to impact your cash flow and business processes.

After 1 October 2019, you will need to take into account that payers who are themselves subcontractors or main contractors will no longer pay you VAT for supplies within the scope of CIS.

If this will result in you regularly making claims to HMRC for a net repayment of VAT you could consider switching from quarterly to monthly VAT returns to obtain repayments earlier.

You will also need to amend your accounting software. Any invoices subject to the reverse charge will need to include wording stating that the reverse charge applies.

We have only just found out about this, but please email us for more information or to share what you know on

Advance Notice 101 Things You Need To Know About Subcontracts

(A Subbie’s guide to not getting screwed!)

This Seminar Will Deliver Straightforward, down to earth, understandable and effective guidance on the principal terms that construction subcontractors need to be aware of, to mitigate their risks and manage their works effectively and more profitably.

The course includes interactive exercises and will use real examples of contracts currently being issued to subcontractors, and will deal with;

  • The onerous clauses to look out for
  • What standard clauses should say and why they’re amended
  • How to check the contract and negotiate amendments
  • How to assess, mitigate and manage risks
  • How to manage the contract for better payment and more profit

Supporting literature and handouts will be provided.

The cost of the course is £275 plus VAT but discounts apply for our Buddies and multiple places.

Where and when?

  • Nottingham – Wednesday 8th May Village Hotel NG9 6DL
  • Manchester Hyde – Wednesday 5th June Village Hotel SK14 4QG
  • Leeds South – Wednesday 12th June Village Hotel LS27 0TS
  •  w/c 17 June West Midlands Birmingham TBC
  • Further dates in the South TBC

For more information email us on or call us on 01773 712116.

At Enquiry / Tender Stage

Don’t just price every enquiry that comes through your door, or scramble to get on any tender list you can find.

If you stand back and look at it objectively your sales/marketing process, or lack of it, might shock you!

Take a look at: Lead Pro!

At Contract Stage

When things take a turn for the worse, as they often do, the Contractor will be clobbering you with the contract!

So, how about knowing from the outset whether the contract you are about to dive into is onerous. And how about being able to do that for free?

Well now you can with our Checkit Service. So why not Checkit out?

Outstanding Payment and Retention Issues

If you have an immediate payment issue, then we are here to help you and our Consultants are experts at getting the good hard cash in for you guys.

And you can also download our free “How to Get Paid” Report.

Whatever You Do – Don’t Prevaricate – Take Action – Don’t Go It Alone

So, there you have it a veritable cornucopia of great stuff that is available for you, and to help you to protect your business for the future.

And please remember that if things are not going according to plan, we are here for you.

Initial advice is free and our team are really friendly and approachable, so please give us a call on 01773 712116 or email us on

I hope you found this week’s WUW of benefit, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards


P.S. Please remember that we are here to provide solutions exclusively for Specialist Contractors, Trade Contractors and Subcontractors. If you want access to professional solutions that work, then please give us a call on 01773 712116, or email today.

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