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Are you getting paid on time?

Posted by Joe Bennett on 25th February 2014

Early Payment Initiative: Are you getting paid on time?

The UK was one of the first European countries to introduce late payment legislation back in 1998 with large firms being charged interest for late payment to small firms.  In 2002 the legislation was amended to include payment from small firms also.  In a nutshell, this means that all business, regardless of size should pay for goods and services in a fair and reasonable time scale.  This is known as the Prompt Payment Scheme

Due to the positive success of the Prompt Payment Scheme, the Government introduced a series of Early Payment Schemes which ensure that all businesses no matter who they are doing business with can access a scheme which encourages timely payment.

Early Payment Schemes Introduced

In March 2013, the legislation was reviewed and a process implemented that makes chasing late payments a simpler process for small business.  The Government pledged their support for early payment programmes where clients receive an incentive for paying early or in accordance with agreed payment terms.  This is no longer just limited to business to business transactions, but to anyone who does business i.e. an electrician carrying out work in a clients home.

The rewards of paying on time far outweigh just the payment aspect.  Prompt payment increases confidence amongst business owners which ultimately leads to investment and growth.  Concerns over late payment or even non-payment can have overall adverse effects on economy recovery.

How late payment is affecting electricians

The introduction of Early Payment Schemes seems to a positive step forward particularly for electricians and small electrical contractors who carry out most of their work for members of the public.  According to the payment organisation BACS, small and medium sized businesses are owed an enormous £35 billion in late payments which equates to approximately £45,000 per business.

Almost one year since the introduction of Early Payment Schemes, we decided to survey electricians across the UK to find out if such initiatives had any effect on their business in terms of getting paid quicker and how well the scheme works in reality.

Survey Results

Analysing the results

We had another great response to our survey and getting paid on time is certainly a subject that is important to electricians.  There were two things that were particularly apparent in the comments made to our survey.

• Taking payments upfront for larger jobs

We had a number of comments surrounding payment for work that exceeding £1000 in value.  A growing number of electricians are asking for a percentage of the total payment in staged payments.  A good example of this is 50% of the payment at the end of the first fix and the remainder at the end of the second fix. One electrician has worked in this way for the past 5 years without any problems.

It certainly seems that staged payments is becoming favoured by both electricians and their customers.  Operating a staged payment policy increases your chances of being paid and less chance having to chase for the payment once the job is complete.

• Payment terms

Invoices are an absolute must and payment terms must be clearly stated on them.  Most of the electricians surveyed were happy with payment within 7 days of the job finishing.  98% of small jobs were paid for without any problems with only 1 electrician reporting a payment taking 90 days or more to receive.

Are Early Payment Initiatives Working?

Offering flexible payments is proving to be a good early payment initiative as far as electricians are concerned. 77% of survey respondents are paid within 14 days of the job completing with an additional 13% being paid before work begins.  Only 7% of electricians are reporting later payments.  A mix of fair business practices particularly offering staged payments to clients as well as clear payment terms on invoices is ensuring timely payment for electricians.

Categories: paid on time

Modular Wiring Systems – What You Need to Know

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 18th February 2014

The electrical wiring sector has seen minimal growth in recent years, due to traditional hard wired installations retaining the lions share.  An alternative solution to the time consuming hard wired installation appears to have been finally found in the form of modular wiring systems that will not only save time but money too.  Comprising of state of the art wiring systems they compliment forward thinking technologies such as prefab buildings and renewable energies projects perfectly.

With many sectors within the electrical industry seeing headlong growth particularly in the area of renewable energy, there has been little or no development in regard to traditional wiring which has remained broadly the same for many years.

How modular wiring systems work

Assembled off site, they combine a clever mix of energy efficient solutions all in one system which is simple to install.  The idea is to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption within the product as well as reduce installation time by up to 70%.

Designed to replace the traditional wiring of sub circuits with a range of prefabricated connector and cable assemblies, the system components are simply connected together to produce a complete pluggable installation.  The concept is similar to how you would plug in cables to produce an entertainment centre at home – each plug has a purpose and when finished you have a TV, DVD, sky box and X box all ready to use.

The idea of modular wiring systems is exactly the same – plug in, connect and go.

Modular wiring systems are set to take the electrical industry by storm

Known for saving time and money – no doubt music to your ears, and to your customers, modular wiring systems have already been used in high profile settings such as within the Olympic Stadium and in St Bart’s Hospital.  Following the huge success of modular wiring systems, specifiers are now looking seriously at the opportunities that modular wiring systems can present within key construction projects.

Increased Productivity

The main attraction of a modular wiring system is the reliability – it will always work.  Once the equipment has been put together using the cable assemblies designed for the job, it will work first time, every time according to Apex Wiring Solutions who produce the modular systems.

What's more is that the full installation is taken care of right from the distribution board down to light accessories and can be installed in practically every location from offices, schools, retail spaces and residential units.

Electrical contractors who are keen to move with the times and use modern construction methods will find modular wiring systems a sensible common sense choice on future projects.

Main Advantages

Modular wiring systems address a huge unfulfilled gap in the electrical wiring sector.  As the construction industry increasingly turns to more environmentally friendly products and working techniques, modular wiring systems are making a welcome entry and producing cutting edge benefits to both electrical contractors and customers.

• Quick to install

With electrical contractors becoming increasingly pressed for time on projects due to client demands and increasing penalties for work going over time, modular wiring systems will improve project performance significantly and reduce installation times saving money as well as time.

• Addressing the skills shortage

The electrical industry is already experiencing a skills shortage with the number of experienced, qualified electricians set to fall significantly in coming years.  Fewer skilled electricians will be required to install modular wiring systems.  Thanks to their plug in and connect set up. The expected 'skills gap' may be averted thanks to modular wiring systems.

• No snagging or fault finding and safer working on site

Modular wiring systems work immediately following connection.  There will be no worries about finding problems, nor wasted materials that have not been used.  Most importantly, the safety standards will always be consistent.  There will be no deviation between work standards between electricians which maintains the safest work environment possible.

• Expertly assembled off site

State of the art wiring systems are constructed off site before being shipped to the required destination.  No specialist tools are required to install and there is no need to pull individual wires through conduit.  Fixing the cable to the wall is done using standard cable ties and can also be routed in ducts or containment if required.

Conclusion

Modular wiring systems are designed to address the main problems faced in the electrical industry – time, standards and money. The fully tested modular wiring systems are produced in a quality controlled environment meaning the chance of an error being made is very unlikely.  Snagging will no longer be a time heavy component, and instead will become a minor matter and testing will be a much improved process.

It is the start of the future of the electrical wiring sector allowing it to finally move forwards with the times.

 

Categories: wiring

SURVEY RESULTS: Which DIY Jobs Do Sparkies Get Called Out To Fix The Most?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 11th February 2014

Back on the 20th October 2013 we launched a survey to find out which jobs sparkies get called out to the most as a result of poor handy work by unskilled DIY enthusiasts. This has been one of most successful surveys and the results are now in.

The top two responses come as little surprise and they are by far the most common reason for DIY electrical call outs.  However, the rest of the responses we had to our survey clearly indicate that DIY electrical is still very much live and kicking.

The Top 2 DIY Electrical Botches

Coming out in top place for DIY fixes is light fittings at over 41%.  This was also the top response to the ESC survey.   The temptation to fit the latest light fittings can have devastating effects for householders. Typical problems encountered with light fittings include brass fittings becoming live, nails being used to mount light fittings and causing the lighting in the home to stop working altogether.

With many householders attempting to fit light fittings themselves, this response was bound to be somewhere near the top.  Over 29% of electricians regularly get called to repair botched lighting circuits.  This is normally seen when householders attempt to replace their lighting and they have more cables than they know what to do with.  The consequences of incorrect wiring can cause expensive damage and risk of fire.

The Impact of DIY Electrical Work

With one person killed every week, thousands injured as a result of an electrical related accident and electrical fires being the main cause of accidental house fires, it is clear to see that electrical safety messages are not getting through fully to the people who would most benefit.

DIY blunders account for over half of serious electrical shocks according to the Electrical Safety Council.  Typical mistakes include drilling through wiring in walls, repairing an electrical appliance while it is still switched on and cutting through power leads.  However it doesn't stop there.  One fifth of people with no electrical training say they will confidently attempt to install lighting in their home and one tenth would happily install new wiring.

DIY electrical is actually keeping electricians busier than ever! Householders attempting to cut corners and hiring unskilled individuals to carry out electrical work or attempting their own repairs are the main cause of electricians being called to repair electrical DIY work that has gone wrong.

A third of electricians recently surveyed by the ESC say they are now spending a quarter of their time fixing DIY jobs and this amount of time has increased over the last 5 years.  Many of these jobs are a simple job for an electrician to carry out and as a result has cost the householder far more than it would have done to call an electrician in to do the job in the first place.

DIY electrical work has the potential to cause fire, serious electrical shock or high financial costs to rectify. Just because it works doesn't mean it is safe!

What Can We Conclude From This?

Despite advice given by the ESC and by electricians themselves to always call an electrician to carry out electrical work, it seems that many householders still ignore the advice and continue to risk their life and pocket by carrying out work which they are not trained to do.

Work carried out by a qualified and registered electrician will be expertly installed and tested for safety.  The household will also receive a Part P certificate which confirms the work was carried out to governmental standards and will be needed in the event of the house being sold or rented out.

 

 

Categories: survey