Construction industry sees rise of “cowboy clients”

Small construction firms are suffering from so-called “cowboy clients”. These clients are threatening business prospects through late payments and unfair work demands.

Recent research from the Federation of Master Builders has revealed the numbers of these damaging clients is rising. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of businesses have had to wait over four months for payment, and fewer than one third are paid within thirty days.

The knock-on effects of late payments are disrupting firms in a number of ways, and many are concerned it’s going to get worse. Nearly a third have had to delay payment to suppliers, and a further fifth of business leaders have admitted this has affected their confidence in business.

A figure of 16 per cent have even had to borrow additional funds from a bank or another lender, while some reported the effect was so extreme they nearly went out of business, had to let staff go, or had to withhold wages.

Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said “There are so many horror stories of people being duped by cowboy builders. However, our research shows that there’s a flip side to this story with three quarters of small construction firms being hampered by cowboy clients.”

While things may look bleak for the construction sector, McMonagle encourages them to “fire on all cylinders” and at all costs prevent builders taking strike action against these clients.

“We strongly recommend that builders and clients do everything they can to protect themselves by using a written contract that includes an agreed payment schedule”, McMonagle adds.

If you have been affected by “Cowboy Clients” refusing to pay, or paying late, talk to the Credit Protection Association and see how we can help you.

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

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