New figures have revealed that UK construction contractors have been hit by £700 million in cash retention losses caused by insolvencies in the past three years.

The figures, which come from a report commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), have rightly been described as ‘shocking’ by the trade body the SEC Group.

The SEC claims that the brunt of those losses have been borne by small sub-contractors who, sitting further down the feeding chain, are less likely to recover monies owed to them if a client or main contractor goes bust.

While economic growth continues to be sluggish at home, plenty of UK businesses are finding opportunities to do business abroad.

Latest figures show that UK exports outside the EU are enjoying a surge. They rose by an impressive 8.3 per cent in 2016 to a value of £311.6 billion, compared with exports to the EU amounting to £235.9 billion.

If your business doesn’t lay the right groundwork when working with customers, you’re leaving yourself wide open to the risk that you’ll never get paid at all. Time and again, we hear of well-meaning companies putting in in hours of labour - and investing into raw materials - only to find that their customer doesn’t have the means to pay the bill.

According to National Statistics, 4,547 companies entered insolvency in Q2 2017. And over the next few years, we foresee a turbulent time for small companies which could increase this figure significantly. If you don’t yet have full understanding of the companies you're dealing with, and their creditworthiness, your business could be just a few short months from a serious cashflow crisis.

Safe Collections is pleased to offer half-price credit reports from Experian. You pay just £9.99 to check the official credit report for your client; a small fee, but a big weight off your mind.

After Monarch went bankrupt and left thousands of passengers stranded, it looks like Air Berlin, the second largest German airline, looks likely to be the next carrier to close down operations.

While Air Berlin is fizzing out slowly, in contrast to Monarch’s overnight collapse, as many as 9,000 redundancies are expected once it finally winds up with many small and medium sized suppliers braced for significant losses.

It is every supplier’s worst nightmare. You have finally secured a lucrative contract with a big name global brand, giving you what feels like a sense of security and assurance for future earnings.

Then, all of a sudden, the unthinkable happens - the company goes bust. From a position of relative comfort, you now find yourself at the back of a long queue chasing unpaid invoices you may well never recover.

Depending on how reliant your business is on that one big client, you could easily find yourself in jeopardy too, unable to absorb the loss.

Reports that Canadian subscription box supplier Nerd Block has gone to the wall is bad news for an army of suppliers waiting on months of unpaid invoices.

Subscription boxes are big business, and the market is growing by the day. With the success of major brands such as Loot Crate charging £20 or more for a monthly box of goodies delivered to your door, similar companies have sprung up around the world.

Vertu Corporation Limited, the well-known British manufacturer of luxury smartphones, has finally filed for insolvency after being passed between owners since 2012.

The company was known for its spangly, jewel-encrusted handsets which came with equally ludicrous price tags. Its entry-level handset cost a cool £6,500; prices stretched to more than £250,000 for the garish Vertu Signature Cobra.

The UK’s supermarket watchdog has published its annual grocery code compliance list, naming and shaming supermarkets for poor treatment of suppliers and other breaches of the industry code of practice.The UK’s supermarket watchdog has published its annual grocery code compliance list, naming and shaming supermarkets for poor treatment of suppliers and other breaches of the industry code of practice.

This year, Asda has secured the dubious honour of having the poorest relationship with its suppliers, leapfrogging its West Yorkshire rival Morrisons which topped the shame list last year. Iceland, meanwhile, was ranked worst for overall compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice in the past year.

Taking the decision to stop supplying a client can be one of the hardest decisions any company has to take. With every piece of business so hard won it can be difficult to take a firm line with your credit control and potentially prejudice further income.

But when a customer persistently refuses to pay in full and on time, sometimes you are left with little option but to act.

Along with traffic wardens, politicians, journalists and merchant bankers, debt collection is one of those professions that has a perennial problem with its public image.

But while the unfortunate association between debt collection and burly, menacing men using dubious means to take money from the poor and unfortunate may still persist, as with many things in life, there is significant gap between perception and reality.

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