Having been in business since Feb 1991, I have seen an ever increasing trend for people to not want to pay me. Their reasons for same are usually not related to the work we do, such as "my husband pays the bills" and "Our carpet cost more than we thought, so we ran out of money"
I also find that builders are getting the same from their clients, but as sub-contractors, we (electricians, plumbers, roofers etc) get passed the full whack of that.
So - what's it like for you guys, both UK & international ? Do you find it harder and harder to keep turnover turning over ?
What do you do or say to clients to convince them that paying is the only honest thing to do ?
Personally, I always pay my guys wages on time every friday, always pay the suppliers on the 1st of the month, always pay the Inland Revenue by the 19th, and always pay the VAT on time each quarter. And where does this honesty get me ? Nowhere.
And the flip side ? I live & trade in the south east of England, and have to compete against some right cowboys, and I do mean cowboys - unqualified, often arriving in an old banger car, with handwritten quotes, perhaps on blank sheets, with mobile numbers. These guys probably dont declare anything to the revenue, "charge" VAT but are not VAT registered, and you know what ? They're doing damn well out of it. They dont care about after service, that's where the honest sparks comes in - we can go round and repair the bodges, and then we fight to get paid, because they have already paid for it once.
EDIT: Last Wednesday I was on a job, where an electrician had wired a kitchen with 2.5 T&E on a 32amp radial. We were there on unrelated business, and the lady of the house asked us to add a socket to the kitchen. When we refused, she got angry, and asked why. When I told her, she pretty much accused me of being jealous for not doing the work (we hadn't even been asked to quote, so how she came to this conclusion is a mystery) - When I suggested she look at the certificate for a reasonable explanation (yeah, right) she said she didnt have a certificate; When she rang for one, the "electrician" said (a) he never gives certificates (b) had never been asked for one before, and (c) promptly hung up on her............
Who'd think I just arrived back from a 5 day short break ?
Rant over, and whilst some of it is off topic, I would be interested to hear from other sparks, UK or otherwise, to see the other side of the coin, even if it is to say you get paid on time, every time.
And who the heck put the thermostat on 32°C ????
Regards to all fellow sparkies
[This message has been edited by Steve|Uk (edited 07-14-2003).]
Well ive just started up by myself in the Highlands, Scotland and at the moment its a feast and a famine, so far payment hasnt really been a problem, but as ive just started up its early days yet. Farmers take their time coughing up the cash though .
Most customers (Homeowners) have the cash ready when i shut my toolbox, and i sometimes have to say ill send an invoice as ive done myself out of a few quid on a couple of occasions
As i say ive just started up by myself (Give it a try out anyway) i served my time in commercial/Industrial installations and continued in that area for 10 yrs, and im enjoying the domestic side of it at the moment
On a side note anyone here registered with the NIC EIC, or SELECT, and has it helped business. ? and what was it like getting accepted ?
[This message has been edited by sanUK (edited 07-14-2003).]
[This message has been edited by sanUK (edited 07-14-2003).]
Re: How hard is it getting paid ?#137543 07/15/0304:33 AM07/15/0304:33 AM
Steve, I work for a company, so I guess, I don't really have a lot to complain about. But, I also do the odd job for people, who say it would be OK to do it in the weekend. This is what we call a Foreigner over here. And the number of times, I've had to chase up people that have not paid me, makes me wonder if it's all worth it!. And, yes I do declare this income to the IRD. Steve, I think that the problem with Cowboys in the UK, needs to be addressed, this is just really unfair, to the registered people, who have used the proper avenues to participate in the Trade!. We've had the odd Cowboy sparkie over here, but they don't tend to last too long, they normally get caught out by the CoC system or by word of mouth amongst us real Sparkies.
Re: How hard is it getting paid ?#137544 07/15/0306:47 AM07/15/0306:47 AM
My experiences are pretty good on the whole. I'm in a very rural area of Norfolk, and many of the people living here are on minimum wage (or below), or small pensions.
I've never had any problem with payment from these sort of people; in fact as San said, they're often standing at the door with a bundle of cash asking "How much?" as I'm packing up to leave.
The slowest payment I can recall was from someone who was considerably richer. He and his wife owned what by British standards is a very large house, overlooking the Broads, and valued at well over £500,000. I know that he owns and manages several successful businesses. I had to keep chasing him over and over to pay a bill which came to something under £250 -- Chicken feed to him.
Re: How hard is it getting paid ?#137545 07/15/0302:28 PM07/15/0302:28 PM
It's all over the same. The poor pay and the rich don't (or very difficultly)! Whenever you fall on a rich guy, you have to ask a deposit - BEFORE you start - which covers all materiaal which you're going to use.
Re: How hard is it getting paid ?#137546 07/15/0307:48 PM07/15/0307:48 PM
As it happens, all our clients seem to be rich people nowadays - we work alot on Wimbledon Parkside (a very well-to-do area in Wimbledon, about a stones throw away from the tennis courts) - So perhaps it's time to go back to our roots and do those small call out jobs. It's just so sickening that people think they can decide as & when to pay someone, regardless of the agreed (in writing) terms signed prior to starting, and of the "pay by date" shown on our invoices.
Re: How hard is it getting paid ?#137548 07/16/0304:32 AM07/16/0304:32 AM
It sounds as though the problem of the well-to-do being the slow-to-pay as well is pretty widespread.
I've never had to resort to court action or anything like that, but from talks with people who have gone that route I understand that they've often come away wishing they'd never bothered.
I think the small claims system in England now covers debts up to around £750 or thereabouts. Anything over that, and it becomes a lot more difficult and expensive, with no guarantee that they'll get anything back at the end of it.