For Business And Sole Traders with Starling Bank. I have found an amazing bank
for business and would love to share why I reckon you should consider using
them for your business and personal banking.
Best Bank For Business And Sole Traders… I have finally found a UK bank that keeps up with the times and makes banking simple, easy and enjoyable…. Yes, I used the words banking and enjoyable in the same sentence!
Bank is here, and I am so glad to have stumbled across them.
I found Starling Bank when I was preparing to leave the UK and was googling the best travel debit card. Starling popped up and when I looked into them, it sounded a little too good to be true; no charges for cash withdrawals or card payment abroad.
Opening an account is easy… Scroll down to find out how
To apply for an account, you just download the Starling app on Android or iOS, enter your phone number and click on the verification code that’s sent via SMS. With this, you’ll be able to create your account by filling some personal details and verifying your ID (using your passport is quicker but you can also use your drivers license).To confirm, verify your ID with a short recording of a selfie video. You’ll be approved once the credit checks are completed and your documents verified. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the easiest way on how to open an account.
Digital banking through a mobile app
I love an app. I love simplicity. So, I was hooked in. Starling Bank is truly a digital bank and everything is done via the Starling Bank mobile app.
I was a little wary at first because I had never heard of them. They are not a high street bank but are featured on trusted websites such as moneysupermarket.com. I had a look at their T&Cs, I found out they’re fully regulated like any other bank. I was quickly reassured and opened a personal account
I used the debit card and bank account whilst travelling which made managing my travel money really simple. The app is perfectly designed for ease of use. It looks good and functions well. I connected my personal account and joint account and I could swipe between the two. When me or my wife spend on the joint account, or I spend on my personal account I get a little notification. It makes tracking spending very easy in real time.
The app shows a breakdown per category of spending so you can monitor how much you spend on items such as groceries or petrol. It is a doddle to transfer money and when you receive money, you get a notification.
Using Starling Bank is Easy
I have banked with many of the usual UK banks and have never been impressed. Nothing makes me want to remain loyal to any of them and all have made banking boring and a chore. Customer care has always been a huge issue when banking. Starling Bank is the opposite.
started my business – Dans the Engineer in 2018, I discovered that Starling
Bank offered business banking! Timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Naturally I opened a business account. Because I had a personal account, it
It is so easy to open an account. I cannot express how Starling Bank have nailed perfection where no other bank even comes close in comparison. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the easiest way on how to open an account.
Personal, Joint, Business and Sole Trader Accounts
Starling Bank offer Sole Trader banking accounts as well as Business banking accounts. You can have your personal and business banking accounts on the app and can switch between them with ease. To get a statement, you press a few buttons and you can export a PDF or CSV file to your email or cloud drive. You can share your transactions with accounting software such as Xero and FreeAgent.
what? The business banking is free. There is no monthly or setup fee to
use the business banking. They don’t charge fees on electronic payments,
domestic transfers, monthly account fees or ATM withdrawals if you have fewer
than 10 employees and less than £1.7M annual turnover.
As they haven’t got any high street branches due to being a digital bank, you can pay in cash and cheques at over 11,500 post office branches across the country for a small fee.
They offer flexible overdrafts should you need it at a clear reasonable rate.
The Banking Customer Care Is Brilliant
I have had to call customer services a couple of times which is a London landline number to a British customer care team who were more than helpful. It was so refreshing to receive such great customer care for a bank! The online help chat is also brilliant.
have really embraced bringing banking into the modern world. From the easy
method of opening the account via the app, the way you take photos of your
identification as proof of identity to the cool packaging when your debit card
arrives, Starling Bank make the whole process fun.
can tell, I love this product and have been recommending them to family and
friends for months. I now have the opportunity to recommend business banking to
This is the Best Bank For Business And Sole Traders and is perfect for owners of limited companies and the self-employed.
fancy opening an account, it is simple…
Click the links below depending if you want to open a personal or business account
Once through to the link, download the app for Android or iOS 3
Open an account via the app using easy instructions
Put at least a fiver in the account. You can also easily transfer your existing current or business account.
Let’s be open and honest: This blog post contains an affiliate link meaning that if you follow the link and end up opening a bank account with Starling Bank and credit funds into the new account, I earn a small commission. This has absolutely no favour on the content of this post as everything mentioned are my genuine thoughts. I use Starling Bank myself and I highly recommend it. I pride myself on honesty, clarity and highlighting the best products and services to my audience to help them develop their business. If you are thinking of changing bank accounts, using my link really helps me by giving me a small income to help produce free content to HELP YOU!! Please follow the instructions above on how to download the app and open the account.
Changes to VAT system in construction October 2019. Major changes to VAT in the construction industry can lead to serious cashflow issues for your small business.
The new VAT reverse charge rules will apply to specified construction services from 1st October 2019.
Put simply, if you are a VAT registered business supplying services under the construction industry scheme (CIS) to another VAT registered CIS business you will no longer receive VAT on top of your invoice unless you are invoicing the end user.
The changes to VAT system in construction October 2019 are being brought in by HMRC in an attempt to tackle the £100m annual VAT losses from ‘missing trader fraud’
How can I prepare before October?
If you think your services will be affected by the introduction of the reverse charge VAT, it’s important to make changes and understand the day to day impact this will have on your business to avoid penalties and being out of pocket.
As a business you should consider working with a specialist construction accountant who can:
Help determine when the VAT reversal will or won’t apply to a project you work on
Help forecast your cashflow to reduce the impact of the change
File your new VAT returns correctly
Raise your invoices in the correct new format
Look at options for monthly VAT returns so you can claim VAT back on costs much faster
Reviewing supplies to existing clients
Establish whether the supply of services to your existing VAT registered clients would be subject to the new VAT reversal rules after the 1st October 19.
Consider funding solutions
With cashflow being one of the biggest implications of the change, it is worth considering options such as VAT funding or invoice finance to help pay for your outgoing costs whilst waiting for invoices to be paid by clients.
Negotiate shorter payment terms
Shortening the length of time customers have to pay for your services will improve the cashflow of your business.
What happens if I get it wrong?
HMRC acknowledges that the changes to VAT system in construction October 2019 will be significant for everybody across the industry, especially small businesses who will be the most heavily impacted.
HMRC will operate a light touch for genuine compliance mistakes within the first six-month period. Penalties will only be considered in this period if someone is deliberately taking advantage of the new measure.
It will be the responsibility of the customer to inform you, the supplier, if they are the end user or not so that you can determine if the VAT reversal applies.
What is the VAT reverse charge for construction services?
The VAT reverse charge will come into effect across the UK in October 2019 and has been introduced by the government to combat missing trader fraud.
The new taxation charge will mean that VAT cash will no longer flow between construction businesses. Come October, for every transaction that is made, the VAT will be registered and stated on the invoice as a reverse charge.
This means that rather than the supplier charging and accounting for the VAT, it will be the customer of the supplies who will hold the VAT and pay this over to HMRC on their return.
Will my construction business be affected by reverse charge VAT?
The reverse VAT charge will apply to the same range of construction services between VAT registered businesses that are covered by the Construction Industry Scheme and where the customer makes an onward supply of the same construction services.
For example, an office block needs a fit out. The person who owns the building is the end user. They engage with a main contractor for the work. You are the electrical firm who is brought in, by the main contractor, to fit the lighting on the project. Because you are supplying a construction service to the main contractor, who isn’t the end user in this case, the reverse charge will apply, and you will no longer receive VAT on top of the value of your services. Instead, the main contractor will hold the VAT money and pay this to HMRC on their VAT return.
How will the reverse charge affect business?
Any VAT-registered contractor that pays another VAT-registered contractor will need to adjust their accounting systems to include a VAT reversal code on all invoices in order to remain compliant.
Small businesses who are reliant on VAT income moving up the supply chain may suffer financially as a result of the reverse charge. Many businesses currently rely on the additional 20% as working capital before paying it over to HMRC on their quarterly VAT return.
It is vital that businesses prepare for potential cashflow issues way in advance of when the reverse charge is introduced.
How will it work?
Which services are affected by the reverse charge?
The reverse charge only applies to supplies of specific construction services to other businesses in the construction sector. A few examples include:
Installation of heating systems, air-conditioning, lighting, power supply, drainage, ventilation, water supply, sanitation and fire protection in any structure or building.
Painting or decorating the external or internal surface of any structure or building.
Construction, repair, extension, alteration, demolition and dismantling of structures or buildings (including offshore installations) whether they are permanent or not
Which services are excluded from the reverse charge?
Certain supplies are excluded from the reverse charge, they include:
Professional work of surveyors, architects or consultants
Machinery and the delivery of the machinery to a building site
Drilling for the extraction of natural gas or oil
The supply of staff or workers (including that of an employment agency)
The original blog post was created by the construction industry experts at Exchequer Accountancy who can help you through these VAT changes to ensure that the day to day running of your business remains the same. They allowed us to use the blog post so we can inform you of the important changes. You can read the HMRC guidance on the October VAT changes in construction here.
Electrician made redundant so started business. HELP! I got made redundant as an electrician. This post is about my experience of being made redundant and taking the opportunity to set up an electrical contracting company.
I remember it well. I was 22 years old working away from home on an 18 month project in Nottingham and we got called to the office at short notice on a Monday.
Everybody within the company was there. There were many concerned faces and a lot of confusion. You knew something serious was happening because why would every employee be called into the office on the same day? The management were all quiet and looking down at the floor. The atmosphere was intense.
Then we hear the words “You’re being made redundant”.
You could see on most peoples faces that they were worried. Worried about money and worried about what they were supposed to do next! Some had worked for the company for a very long time since leaving school and didn’t know any different. It was the end of an era for many.
I’m an electrician. I’m a good electrician. What am I worried about being laid off for?
Was I worried about being made redundant?
Was I worried? Nope. I was as cool as a cucumber. I’m an electrician. I’m a good electrician. What am I worried about being laid off for?
The company had been going for over 50 years. It was well established and made a good name for itself in various sectors, primarily working on petrol filling stations. Guys who had worked there for 20 years were laid off. Just like that with no warning.
When the 2008 recession struck, the industry changed. Nobody wanted to spend money. It was a worrying and uncertain time. In my career it was the first of its kind and my god it affected a lot of people. I know so many people who were made redundant and businesses that went bust. Some trades people were out of work for over a year!
However, the company I worked for were busy. Our clients still had projects starting and all in all I saw many buildings being constructed, particularly in London. My hours didn’t decrease at all. I suppose there must have been changes within the company itself but due to my work ethic and making myself available at any time, I believe I was at the front of peoples minds when a job came in because I was more capable than most. I would work anywhere, do anything, at any time. Forgetting employment law for a second, if there was a list of engineers and they had to choose a few to get rid of, let’s just say I would be high up the ‘safe’ list.
At the time of redundancy in June 2010, I was working on a new build house. It was enormous and high end. It was a fantastic project which I was running. I had spent nearly a year there and Nottingham felt like my second home. We made friends up there, went to BBQ’s, went out drinking in town and started to get to know the area.
Electrician made redundant in the middle of the recession after buying first home
The previous summer I had just bought my first home; a right dive but due to the recession, prices were low and I got myself a bargain. One that I planned to refurbish. I used to get home Friday evening from working away and got straight to work on my house by stripping back the walls, rewiring, and erecting stud walls. Life seemed busy like normal. I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
When we were told on the Sunday to come to the office the next day, I suspected something like what would happen but the unknown didn’t bother me. I enjoyed my Sunday, had a roast and drinks and slept well.
When we were told the ‘bad’ news I instantly felt sorry for the many people who were out of jobs. After all, many of them were my friends. We were told that the company relied on a bank overdraft of £70k due to the directors borrowing money to buy the company from the previous owner. Allegedly, due to the recession, Barclays bank pulled the overdraft whilst the company was heavily into it and went into administration even though they had plenty of work including purchase orders and contract maintenance. It’s disgusting really to think a bank doesn’t care in the slightest about an individual but is always happy to take your money and gamble with it as they wish. Sorry, did I say gamble? I meant invest. Or did I?
I got made redundant and I was working a couple of hours later!
What did I do after being told I am redundant?
My old contracts manager pulled me to one side and said “do you fancy starting up a new company?” I thought he meant work for him, but he wanted to start a business with me. I didn’t expect that in the slightest. I told him I’d let him know tomorrow. There was a lot to think about, I didn’t know the first thing about business! I was just an electrician. He told me we have to act quick. He was due to send a couple of lads to a pre-planned shut down that Monday night for a very good client and didn’t want to let them down so I agreed to help out. I literally drove home, had a bite to eat and went back out to work. I got made redundant and I was working a couple of hours later!
News travels fast. I had three job offers by the end of the day! That is the exact reason why I wasn’t worried. I knew what I was worth. I am confident in my ability and skill and know how to land on my feet. I have always put myself out there. Although the offers were fantastic which I really appreciated, I thought I’d try my luck and take up my old boss’s offer.
I went from electrician to company director over night!
There you go, I had set up my first business
The following day we met up and made an action plan. Our new Limited company was incorporated! I went from being an electrician to a company director over night.
Funnily enough I had already thought of the name and made the logo a few months prior. I wasn’t planning on leaving my old company but I am always coming up with ideas and potential plans. I don’t think my new business partner was too impressed with the name at the time but quite frankly he didn’t have much of a choice. We were working to make things happen on a tight time frame.
That day we asked 3 of the best engineers from the old company to work for us. They all agreed and were all in work by the end of the week. Two of them still work for us. The other retired whilst working for us.
We concentrated on contacting the clients who were good payers. After all there were a load of clients who needed work doing. We hit the ground running. We had no option but to learn to run before we could walk. The Nottingham project was still unfinished and they needed an electrical contractor to complete so we simply took over as our new company. One of our guys was already working on the job underneath me so it was perfect. He took over running it.
A lot of people put great trust in us and I am forever grateful.
A lot of people put great trust in us and I am forever grateful. Believe me, I had to do my fair share of what I call juggling but I am am honest person and I feel honesty goes a long way. I delivered all of my promises.
Managing cash flow is so important in construction
The issue with starting up a company at such a rate is cash flow. Contrary to belief, it takes a lot of cash to run an electrical contractors. The bigger the jobs you take on, the more cash you need and bigger the risk. Good luck trying to get a bank loan at that time! I had to finance it somehow. This is where suppliers are more important than you may think. Most electrical wholesalers are fair sized companies with serious amounts of financial resource. They need it to buy in bulk to reduce their costs to maximise margins. Many will be supplying projects with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of goods.
Two wholesalers in particular were willing to supply goods with very kind credit terms. Again, these people knew us. We had purchase orders from clients, most of which were clients regarded as financially safe so it was enough to satisfy providing credit. I also struck a deal with two large clients that they would purchase the materials direct from the supplier and we would supply labour only. They get reduced cost of works due to zero mark up from us on materials which formed the bulk of the cost. Everyone was happy. It would allow us to trade for a couple of months without having to buy materials.
Paying for labour was a different story. I had about £15k in the bank which I was using for my home refurbishment (this was before having kids by the way. Young free and little responsibility. Well, until this point). I set aside some money for setting up the company and to buy a van and the rest was there to last for a while because I didn’t know exactly when I was next getting paid.
Buying my first van
The week we started up, I literally searched on Auto Trader for a van, went with £4k in cash and was on mission to get one that day. I succeeded! The first van was the best of a bad bunch of second hand white vans that were being sold by Derek Trotter like characters.
Two of our new guys plus my business partner worked for the last company for about 15-17 years and were given VERY generous redundancy pay. That really helped because they didn’t need paying immediately. The other received help from family until we could pay him, but he was the first to be paid. Again, very grateful to those people who trusted me.
I cancelled gym membership, Sky and anything that I didn’t NEED to reduce my outgoings. I was screwed over by redundancy because you are only paid an amount from the age of 21. I was 22 and had worked for the company for 3 and a half years so was only entitled to redundancy for one year’s service which was a few hundred quid. Plus they only pay a set amount per week as a maximum regardless of your wage. Because I was working away, I had accumulated a large amount of expenses and I had worked a lot of hours that month so I was totally out of pocket. I didn’t even get paid expenses. I can’t help but feel my whole life I have worked my arse off, always paid my taxes, yet penalised more than others regarding any form of government benefit. I can see why this country is a complete mess because the less you work, the more you are entitled to! The system isn’t for people like me.
The money started rolling in
We started getting paid for work and the priority was to pay the guys who worked for us and suppliers. We had to make do with what we had including old laptops that were slower than a snail, working from our cars, and making it up as we went. Our office was a shed in the back garden using a shitty old Samsung printer that someone donated to us. God I hated that thing. It barely worked. I wanted to beat it with a stick on a regular basis. Times were tough! As soon as money came in, it went straight back out paying someone we owed in priority order or equipment that we needed to complete jobs.
Initially the business had been financed through generosity and trust. I didn’t have to dive into my pockets too much at first (later on I had to make investments into the company), but due to the nature of the business start up and the need to finance the cash flow, I couldn’t pay myself for 5 months. Yes 5 whole months of no pay! I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. The guys had to be paid before me and we owed suppliers. There literally wasn’t money in the bank to pay myself! I was at breaking point but the money started rolling in and we got paid for a couple of large jobs. I got paid 5 months of pay in one go just before Christmas!
What did I do? I went out and bought a £3k Tag Heuer watch!
I didn’t get paid for 5 months. What was the first thing I bought when I was paid? A £3k Tag Heuer watch!
That watch had sentimental value for obvious reasons but I recently sold it to buy a holiday! I bought it as a present to myself for the hard work I had put in. It felt good at the time and it was a great watch but I wouldn’t do the same now. Did the £3k watch bring me much joy? Not as much as I value experiences with my beautiful wife and children, but my goodness I loved that watch! These days I’d choose family experiences over luxury consumables any day of the week. Life changes, ey?
Managing finance was vital
Besides the watch purchase, I made sure I was careful with money personally and within the business. Cash flow is key, without cash in the bank it wouldn’t have worked. We started investing in plant, equipment, vehicles, technology, training, etc… But all in priority order.
A business lesson I learnt was that you don’t necessarily need your own personal cash to fund anything. You can use money that belongs to others. I want to strongly follow up that statement with – don’t just gamble with someone’s money with little care. It has to be in their interest, often with a larger return and make sure you take extra care when it belongs to someone else. Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you’re on the right side of your debts and always pay your debts. Christ, I sound like a Lannister from Game of Thrones!
Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you’re on the right side of your debts and always pay your debts
I have never been a fan of banks,I always had terrible experiences with them. It is funny; when I first started up they made it very difficult in the beginning but as soon as they start seeing tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, they all of a sudden want to know you and feel they can interfere with your business by pretending to be a helping hand. Everything they offer you is for them, not you. Arguably, terms from every money lender will suit them more than it will suit you, but banks are just greedy. They do as they wish with your money, dictate to you how much they will guarantee, offer poor interest and as soon as something goes wrong on your part, you will be nailed. Yet we all need money to survive that runs through banks.
It was a very challenging time for everyone. The guys who worked for us were experiencing change. They went from job security in a well established company to a start up growing company which was running around like a headless chicken. Sometimes it’s the small things in operations that are taken for granted like not having phone parking set up working in London. It can completely mess up your morning trying to organise it, but we pulled through every challenge one way or the other.
How was home life starting a business?
Home wasn’t great either. I was working crazy hours, then getting home and working on the borrowed laptop. My partner at the time wasn’t very supportive at all. I won’t go into much detail but the relationship went sour very quickly. We didn’t last long after being together for almost four years. I believe everything happens for a reason! I enjoyed being single for some time, then later went on to meet my future wife and mother of my kids. It all turned out for the best and I wouldn’t be who I am today without my wife.
After trading for 6 months, we were awarded our first major maintenance contract with a large client. That was no easy task! It took a lot of running around and proving what we were worth. It even cost in the beginning because we had to neglect a couple of jobs to attend emergency call outs and attend site surveys at a couple of hours notice. The risk paid off! Once we started our first major contract, although hard work, it was all uphill. Our name was on the map. We could afford to rent an office in Sutton, Surrey, were paid regularly and we soon became a professional business.
Redundancy? Probably one of the best things that happened to me!
Want to find out more about my career progression? Click here.
Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer originally in Kent on 20th June 2018 and re-published
P.S. I appreciate my situation may differ from many other people. Being made redundant can be awful and very unsettling. I believe in continuity of personal development, always learning and aiming to become the best at your job. That way, in the event you are made redundant, you provide yourself with better chances and choices than those who do not. Don’t ever be scared of change, embrace it!
Tips on how to prevent a non payment for construction works. Many tradesmen are knocked for money or receive late payment for work they have carried out. Here are some tips on how to prevent non payment.
Most tradespeople at some point will encounter a non payment or or being knocked for money for works they have carried out. It happens regularly to many for less than £100 to tens of thousands of pounds.
Chasing money and invoicing seems like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be.
Having been in contracting since I left school and involved in the whole process from quotation to invoicing, I have first hand experience and have been involved in working directly for Mrs Jones, the consumer changing sockets to 6 figure blue chip projects.
I have suffered non payment and each time I had to learn why it had happened and how to prevent it happening again. My largest non payment was £60k for a retail shop fit out for a main contractor. Fortunately, I was able to recover the financial set back, but many wouldn’t.
I am here to share my experience, tell you about how I learnt from my mistakes to help you.
Not being paid for work carried out can have a huge impact on somebody’s mental health and cause issues with their home life effecting loved ones.
Let’s have a look at my top Tips On How To Prevent Non Payment
1. Choose Your Customer
Many seem to think that anyone asking for a quote and orders work is a client and guaranteed revenue. Yes, they can order work and yes, if they agree to works they are entering a contract. But, it doesn’t mean you will be paid.
Carrying out vetting of a client is a very easy step into increasing the chance you will be paid.
If you are working for commercial clients such as Limited (Ltd) companies, you can carry out credit checks on them. There are a number of credit services such as CreditSafe or Experian where you have the ability to look up and monitor companies financial movements. Some services and packages allow you to monitor directors.
These services notify you if a company has a bad credit rating and will highlight if the risk is high or if there are any changes within the companies that you might want to look into.
Carry out FREE searches on Companies House
You also have the ability to search Companies House where businesses have to file financial information. There is plenty of information that you can look up on Companies House to ensure they client is who they say they are and usually you can view their financial history. Unless you have knowledge on reading accounts, you may struggle to interpret some of the information so a service mentioned previously would really be beneficial.
Working directly for a landlord or a consumer such as a homeowner may prove a little trickier to credit check and vet. However, I feel the risk can fluctuate depending on where you sourced the work and whether they are willing to pay a deposit.
We shall cover deposit payments in a little while. Where the client came from is important. If you source your work from Checkatrade, you will be getting a Checkatrade client. This is someone who uses Checkatrade as a way to find tradesmen. There will be a reason someone uses Checkatrade over the other review sites. Likewise if you source work through Which Trusted Traders, you will receive a Which client. This is often someone who does their homework, and takes note of Which’s guide on employing a trades person. If you source your work through Facebook, you will get yourself a Facebook client. This is someone who searches Facebook for tradesmen.
Ask yourself, what type of person searches each of the platforms to find a person to work in their home. There is no doubt a relation between the type of client each platform attracts and their buying behaviours will reflect on the risk of payment.
You have a choice who you work for and more important who you attract. Attracting the right customer is something I work through with my clients that I business coach!
2. Detail your quotation
A quotation is a legal document. It includes what your work involves should the client agree. If your quotation (your legal document) contain a narrative that can be interpreted incorrectly, legally you are open to abuse.
If you quote in detail what work you are carrying out such as each item showing what brand you use, how you do it and the location, there is no argument from either party should a payment dispute occur.
One electrician came to me recently and told me he sends quotes via text message. It would be a few short sentences and the price. The works and how they are being carried out is totally open to interpretation and abuse.
I believe it is important to ensure both parties of the agreement are crystal clear on what both receive. Writing “Install 4 twin sockets” isn’t good enough. I understand detailing a quote takes up more time, but it will save time further down the line in the event of any problem. You can quite easily create templates as well to increase your efficiency and reduce time spent on writing quotations. I am certainly not suggesting breaking down the cost of each item, just ensuring they are written down.
3. Provide your Terms and Conditions
Not only does the quotation form part of the legal document, so does the terms and conditions. These are to protect YOU and the client. It is what both parties agree which forms part of the contract.
Many contractors terms and conditions are poor and open to abuse. Many don’t even have terms and conditions.
I get asked all the time if I recommend employing a solicitor to create terms and conditions. I would suggest it is a good practice because they are able to create a document in legal terms to protect you . However, it can cost an arm and a stick and I have found in the past that you will be expected to alter terms and conditions to suit a particular client or contract.
It is okay to have a simple set of terms and conditions. I share and provide resources to my clients who I coach.
It is vital to have the client accept the terms and conditions. It would be down to you to prove they have read and agreed to them. A verbal instruction is a contract but could be tricky to prove in court so in writing is far better. You could email a quotation along with the terms and conditions and ask the client to respond by accepting the quotation and agreeing to the terms and conditions and quoting the quote number and total amount.
You could have your terms and conditions stated on your website and a link sent to the client.
4. Consider taking deposit and/or staged payments
As mentioned earlier, it is important to vet and assess who you work for. I believe it is perfectly reasonable to expect some deposit payment at the beginning of a project because there will always be some form of expense to you.
In the early days of running my business, I never asked for deposits. I started to because I had a few non paying clients and changed my procedures. I immediately found the type of client who had a problem with paying for deposit was usually the type who would argue the final invoice.
Someone once said to me “Why would I pay you £500 when I don’t know you?”. I responded with “Why would I do £1,000 worth of work for you when I don’t know you?”.
A deposit is fair for both parties. I also assured my clients that I can be found all over the internet, my reviews were fantastic and I was very easily available on social media which helped provide trust into my clients or potential clients.
Stage payments are vital for larger projects to aid cash flow. Even on a smaller scale I think it is fair to request staged payments such as every two weeks or monthly if you can finance a month. Some contractors do not do this at all.
5. Do a bloody good job!
“Every contract to supply a service is to be treated as including a term that the trader must perform the service with reasonable care and skill”.
If you provide the client with the work you promised, there is no argument for not paying. This of course doesn’t prevent a non payment client, but is certainly helps.
Section 49 of the Consumers Rights Act 2015 states “Every contract to supply a service is to be treated as including a term that the trader must perform the service with reasonable care and skill”.
If you do perform the service with reasonable care and skill, the client has a right to dispute full payment for the services you carried out! Yes!!! You read correctly. It is completely open to interpretation from a consumer when they owe you money.
Of course, you could probably argue your case but being proactive about non payments is far better than being reactive.
I would recommend getting reviews once you complete work or at least ask for feedback. If the client states they are happy, this could go in your favour if a case ever went to court.
Plus, I personally feel we should always strive to provide the best possible service we can.
6. Detail your invoice
An invoice forms part of the trail of documentation for many reasons including HMRC and accounting. I have seen no end of invoices that say just “Electrical Works” as a description. For some clients, this may seem acceptable, but imagine if you work for a client who has multiple invoices to pay each month and perhaps many electrical invoices to pay each month.
The invoice should correlate with a payment, but more importantly the client should be able to approve what they are paying for.
I recommend on your invoice besides the usual information, you provide a quotation number, worksheets to prove completion of the work and even certificate / report numbers. Always ensure you write the date the works were completed. The invoice date might differ to the completion date.
It is also vital to make it clear on your invoice how the client can pay. This should be set out in the terms and conditions they agreed originally, but don’t forget, sometimes the person paying isn’t always the contact who you liaise with for doing the work.
Listing the payment methods is vital. They won’t pay if they don’t know how!!!
7. Make it easy to pay
Us humans typically like the path of least resistance, just like electricity.
Us humans typically like the path of least resistance, just like electricity. Being paid via BACS online bank transfer is often best for you because you get the money sent straight to your bank. However, it can be a pain for a client to make a BACS payment.
I think you should consider taking card and credit card payments and even PayPal. It is so easy to punch in the card details and pay via card. There are so many different payment solutions. Some contractors use card machines so you don’t leave without being paid. This could work in some situations but if you work for landlords you might not see the landlord. There are also payment methods done online.
As soon as I offered the easy payment methods, not a single invoice has taken longer than 24 hours to be paid.
I use Stripe card payments and PayPal and even though BACS is my preferred because it costs me nothing, I don’t mind paying the small fees Stripe and PayPal charge because it provides me with quick and easy payments. Originally I accepted BACS only for my business coaching, but as soon as I offered the alternative methods, not a single invoice has taken longer than 24 hours to be paid.
I refused to accept cheque as a contractor because there is a lot of admin time involved in cashing the cheque at the bank. And my bank charged me for the pleasure! It is a very outdated method of payment.
8. Invoice quickly
Get into the habit of invoicing quickly. The quicker you invoice, the quicker you can get paid! It is a simple formula.
Often, I used to send the client the invoice BEFORE we started so they can pay a deposit and they have the information ready to pay when the work is complete.
It is important to make sure the client gets the invoice quickly so it is fresh in their minds once the job is complete to approve payment.
Many contractors who invoice at the end of the month and spend a day doing so. 30 days is a long time to wait for money so if you invoice immediately, you will improve your cash flow. This is why I think the use of invoicing software should be considered.
9. Use invoicing software
The days of manual invoicing are pointless. If you only send a couple of invoices a year, sure, sending invoices manually makes sense. However, there are so many low cost solutions that even the self-employed working for one organisation should consider invoicing software.
The benefits of invoicing software are:
Easy record of incoming and outgoing payments
Many can integrate with payment methods such as card payments
Can be used for accountancy to satisfy HMRC and companies house
I use Zoho Books and although it works perfectly for me, I am in the process of trying out a few different types of software and will create a blog post soon on what I recommend for contractors.
What I love about the software and many will be similar, is that I can invoice in seconds. If someone places an order, I can add them as a contact press a couple of buttons on my mobile or laptop and POW! Invoice sent.
The client can then pay me via my payment methods and when they do, I get notified of a payment. I also have a dash board which shows outstanding payments and can press a button to send a gentle reminder that payment is overdue.
The software records my invoices and I can upload my business expenses very easily.
Saving time in business is vital. The more time you have as a business owner, the better. Invoicing is an important but a task that might not be best use of your time. If you grow and have staff working for you, paying somebody else to invoice might be the solution but it might be just as cost effective using clever software to do most of it for you.
This then allows you to spend more time managing your team, marketing, networking or creating sales.
Communication is arguably the number 1 most important thing in any relationship whether it is a business, friendship or intimate relationship.
A client should be kept informed throughout the whole process of the project you are doing for them.
Don’t forget, communication is a two way thing. You can talk to the other person and listen when they talk to you.
Lack of communication is a very easy way for a break down in trust or interest. If you want to be paid it is important to maintain the relationship.
I truly believe that if you have a good relationship with your client, they are more likely to pay because they have an emotional attachment. Whereas if you lack that human connection, there is less of an emotional tie which does play a part in their moral decisions. Of course, this isn’t the case all the time.
11. Go legal
Unfortunately, contracting can be full of conflict and legal disputes. As a business owner you have to be willing to face this at some point in your business journey.
Don’t ever be afraid to engage with a solicitor and take legal action against somebody who owes you money.
I would always advise to use legal action as the last resort because it can be very stressful and there’s still no guarantee of getting paid.
There are also alternative methods to consulting a solicitor such as a debt collection company.
In either case, it is important to maintain your documentation for the project from client enquiry, to quotation, to certification, to invoice. I am soon offering memberships on my website where you can download a folder system on your computer to record and update the all important documents required for every job you do!
If you are interested in the membership, let me know below:
JOIN THE CLUB!!!!
Fill out the form to sign up to our mailing list where you will receive an update of the membership when it is up and running!
You can watch my YouTube video on my Tips On How To Prevent Non Payment below!
I hope these tips on how to prevent non payment have been useful. Feel free to comment below to let me know your experience or if you have any questions.
Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Bali, Indonesia
Disclaimer: All content within this blog post and website is the opinion only of Dans the Engineer and should you choose to take any of the advice or information given, we accept no responsibility for any loss you may occur.
WhatsApp business mobile App. The benefits and why it is a great business tool.Dan informs why he is using Whatsapp for business and why it is the chosen method of communication for workflow and increasing efficiency.
Have you tried using Whatsapp for business? Here’s why I’m using it for my business and why I love it.
I’ve used WhatsApp for many years as a way to communicate with family and friends. The mobile app is easy to use, visually pleasing and perfectly functional as a messaging application.
Why use WhatsApp for business?
I first started using Whatsapp for business when I managed a team of engineers as a method of communication. We could send videos and photos to each other easily.
It was only when I started up my coaching business I saw the amazing potential WhatsApp has to offer.
I started travelling the world with my family (find out more about me here) and as I moved through various countries, I discovered that using data to communicate is far more cost effective and functional than typical phone calls and text messages. The benefit of data is that you aren’t just limited to calls and texts as you can Google, use apps, plus make calls and send messages in other ways.
All I need is a phone, a camera, a laptop and data
I started my business coaching as a digital nomad working remotely. For my business, I need a phone, a camera, a laptop and data. I create social media content on my YouTube channel Dans the Engineer and LinkedIn and I business coach my clients one on one.
All coaching sessions are via WhatsApp call and video wherever I may be in the world.
When I was researching WhatApp as a choice of business communication, I discovered the WhatsApp business app. It’s like the normal WhatsApp except it has a few additional features which I cover further down.
What works better for me is that you can use the business app with a different mobile number. I have the normal WhatsApp and business WhatsApp on my phone with different numbers. It separates personal and business correspondence with is great for that all important work life balance.
The business version has the number I have which isn’t in any phone. You can’t call it normally or text the number because I won’t respond, I purely have the number for WhatsApp.
Choosing one main method of communication to increase efficiency
The reason I have limited how someone can contact me is because in my previous role and owning a business that I sold, I found that the multiple methods of communication really made my workflow inefficient. I was constantly distracted by phone calls and the habit of checking all my apps to ensure I didn’t miss anything which could be business critical.
These days in my new business I make it clear to my clients that WhatsApp is the method of communication. You can email me, but I honestly rarely check my emails anymore. Of course, email has its place, but it isn’t my first choice off communicating with my clients.
The benefits of using WhatsApp for business
You can tell when the recipient receives the message and when they read the message.
It is easy to send media messages including documents.
You can make voice and video calls as well as chat.
Can custom label chats to distinguish between chats such as; clients, suppliers, enquiries and more.
Low data usage.
Increased engagement with contacts – stories and broadcast messages.
Create group chats.
WhatsApp etiquette is very casual oppose to formal emails.
I find when I WhatsApp my clients, I do so in a way that I would talk to them face to face. When emailing, the etiquette is to correspond in a manner which isn’t very authentic. I am a huge believer in treating people like humans and not robots and talking in my normal manner is far more personal. In fact, my bespoke service is one of my companies selling points.
How much data do WhatsApp calls use?
WhatsApp doesn’t use much data. I use Wi-Fi whenever possible but when I have to use mobile data, it doesn’t tear through my data allowance costing me hefty bills.
Below shows how much data a 1 hour WhatsApp call uses.
Using WhatsApp effectively for sales
My sales technique is rather simple. I post social media content and blog posts which drives traffic to my website. Once on my website you can browse my services and is an icon permanently active which allows you to WhatsApp me. Potential clients WhatsApp me, we have a chat and if they want to proceed, I send them a link to sign up with my coaching or to purchase a course. It is effective, quick, easy and efficient.
The WhatsApp business App has a function where you can label chats. I co-ordinate the labels so I can easily see paying clients who have priority, potential clients or general business chats.
You can create groups like normal WhatsApp to include chats amongst multiple users, but you can also create Broadcast messages. I do this when I want to send out a message to multiple contacts but don’t want to message each contact individually. It might be a link to a new video I think they might find useful. A broadcast message is sent to multiple contacts, but the recipients cannot see who else it has gone to.
The app has a number of automatic responses. If someone messages you for the first time or hasn’t chatted with you for over 14 days, an automatic response can pop up. You can also set short codes for quick replies. I use this when someone is asking about my services. Instead of typing the same thing multiple times, I press a couple of buttons and it sends them a pre-written message. This saves me time.
Backup your chats
A very important feature is the ability to backup your chats. I am able to backup the chats to my Google Drive over WI-Fi which I do regularly. You are also able to screenshot any conversations which might be useful if you want to save the screenshot image as evidence of quote approval or similar.
Is WhatsApp the best method of communication?
Although I have other apps for methods of communication, WhatsApp is my go-to
platform. I rarely check traditional text messages and I only schedule calls so
calling me is pointless. This is to manage my workflow. I am not ignoring my
clients or potential clients at all. I am simply in control of my time. Anybody
who wants to make an enquiry has all the information required on my website and
my automatic replies let’s them know I am there, and I will respond when I can.
There is a photo of me so people can put a face to a name, and I post WhatsApp
status updates. These are similar to Insta and Facebook stories to let your audience
know what you are up to – or subtle promotions of your services.
I have been talking to a financial advisor recently and originally, we were communicating via email which was very formal. I asked if he had WhatsApp which he did and before you know it we were sending emojis and photos. The chat was casual and although it is all business related, I feel like our relationship improves due to personal nature of WhatsApp. I believe you can remain professional by talking in manner which is personal and casual.
Is WhatsApp the future?
WhatsApp also appears to be developing their platform which allows 3rd party integration which will be interesting. I am all for efficient work processes, so I look forward to seeing what is released.
As I travelled through Asia, WhatsApp seems to be the normal method of communication on a personal level and business. It makes sense because it removes the need to purchase additional sim cards whilst abroad if you don’t need to. You just need data. You can also keep your WhatsApp number on your mobile and replace the sim card but keep your original WhatsApp number. I constantly change sim cards due to being in different countries, so this is ideal.
Do I recommend WhatsApp for business?
Do I recommend it for other businesses? I think it would be foolish to not explore it. My business is very different to other businesses and WhatsApp works very VERY well for me. It might not be ideal for the main method of communication for your business, but it still can have a place.
I am always happy to chat more about my experience using it and making it part of my business process. WhatsApp me and we can have a chat!
You get a coaching session for 20 minutes. It would be no different to how I provide my services to my regular customers.
We will discuss your business and what you are attempting to achieve. My views and perspective are completely impartial.
I am able to assist business owners and tradesmen by coaching and mentoring. I offer my vast experience and knowledge within the trade to help with business development, sales, marketing and social media strategies, management procedures and growth.
Running a business can be very personal at times and it has been critical to us rely on his level head, knowledge experience. Having Dan Jackson as a consultant has been an absolute asset to the company.Stephen Wallach20/09/2019
Dan has been coaching us since May this year and we can not thank him enough for his expertise, knowledge and experience, He has a positive outlook on work and life, and it’s fab to bounce ideas with a likeminded soul, we will continue to work with Dan and look forward to many more sessions and chats putting the electrical industry/world to right! Thank you DanChris Thompson23/07/2019
Would recommend dans service. Drops in little nuggets of information that get your thinking cogs going. No bs approach and no general management stuff, just brilliant info tailored to your businessneil robinson22/07/2019
I’ve known Dan for nearly three years and our relationship is built on trust and respect.
Dan will go out of his way to help anyone in trouble and always offers sound advice. There are few people in the world who look after others, just because it’s the right thing to do, as such, Dan is always seen doing volunteer work online, or in person and trying to change the world around him for the better.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Dan, as you will be in safe handsAdrian Davey20/07/2019
I approach Dan after watching some of his Youtube videos. We start chatting, and he helped me improve my business, the way I promote my work, how to offer better services for my customers, plus many more
He is knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and approachable. Don't hesitate to get in contact you won't regret it.
Many thanks for all your valuables bits of advice, Dan.Laurentiu Martinescu07/07/2019
Dan provides so much value with his business coaching. It has helped me improve my sales technique which has led to greater profits and converting more surveys and estimates into orders. My business efficiency has increased.Harry Kellermann05/05/2019
I can’t say anything but great things about Dan. Both as a person and also the fantastic service he offers. Dan has gone above and beyond in helping me and I can’t thank him enough. His knowledge has helped me improve my business and more importantly helped me as a person which I think is something that is very rare to find. If you are considering Dan’s services I would stop considering and just get on board! Can’t thank you enough Dan!!Joe Cooper29/04/2019
I have been working with Dan and using his services as a business coach since February this year. His help, advice and knowledge within his expert field are second to none! He has a wealth of experience within the electrical and fire industry. Through his coaching sessions I have been able to ensure all the right processes and procedures are in place and have made some great connections! I highly recommend Dan to anybody seeking help within their business! Top man! I for sure will continues to use Dans coaching services, thanks Dan!Daniel Nickson25/04/2019
Dan has been mentoring me for some time now and I have been following him on YouTube for some time too. His knowledge and real life experience is very unique and his mentoring sessions allow me to look at my business as someone who is not only a tradesman but someone who runs a business, who has a family and other commitments . He has helped me work out my day rate, taught me how to deal with customers so I can attract the right customers and how I should always behave ethically whilst doing so.
Thanks Dan for all your help, I will be continuing with our sessions as I have a lot to learn and Dan has a lot to teach.AMF Contractors13/04/2019
I've been taking mentoring from Dan and I am really impressed. His knowledge in contracting is incredible and his methods are genius. The focus is partly on my company but also my personal development and my whole outlook at work is different. I really enjoy work now. Dan has taught me how to attract the right people, employees, clients and general people around me!Scott McRae12/04/2019
I signed up for business coaching with Dan to expand my electrical contracting business. It helped me see my business in a different light. Overall It has been a very positive experience and I will be contacting Dan for some more sessions at some stage.Adam08/04/2019
How Do You Apply?
How do you apply? Simple, read the terms and conditions and complete an order form by clicking here.
You need to make sure you have Whatsapp. If you are successful, I will be in touch.
There are reports of electricians earning £156,000. Do electricians really earn 6-figures a year?
I am often asked “How much do electricians make?”. Having been trained as an electrician myself and then going on to employ dozens and dozens of electricians over the years, I appreciate my personal experience with rates of pay could very much vary to that of others. I thought I would take to the internet and ask real electricians how much they earn to dig deeper into whether or not it was a myth that electricians earn 6-figure salaries.
The results were quite astonishing!
I asked over 500 electrical professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter to provide some input on their pay and put out a poll on Twitter to find out electricians earnings for 2018-2019.
The Daily Mail reported in 2017 that: Electricians are earning as much as £3,000 a week as they cash in on a chronic shortage of skilled workers across the country.
That amounts to £156,000 a year – around six times the average wage and more than the £150,000 earned by the Prime Minister.
I find this hard to believe apart from exceptional circumstances.
A Twitter poll to discover the earnings by electricians
On my twitter account @danstheengineer I created two polls to ask twitter #electricians how much they earn. One poll for the employed and the other for the self-employed.
According to the Office of National Statistics the average salary for an electrician in the last year has risen by 5% to £32,315. This is the highest increase seen in the trades with plumbers following at 3.9%. That is £123,685 shy of the £156,000, the Daily Mail reported. Just a few quid, ey?
The JIB are an industry trade body who publish guidelines on electricians hourly rates of pay on their website. However, be aware that not all employers will adhere to these guidelines. It isn’t compulsory for employers to be registered with the JIB which means employers can pay whatever they wish providing it meets government minimum wages.
From and including Monday 7th January 2019 the JIB suggests that the national standard hourly rates of pay if you have your own transport are:
Electrician – £15.46
Approved Electrician – £16.77
Site Technician – £18.88
And for those who work in London or the south east you should expect:
Electrician – £16.86
Approved Electrician – £18.28
Site Technician – £20.57
There are different grades of ‘electricians’ and the JIB sets out a requirement of how to achieve the grade. Many in the industry look at the JIB rates as the guideline regardless of whether they are registered with the JIB or not.
An electrician is someone who serves an apprenticeship and qualifies once obtaining an NVQ level 3.
An approved electrician is an electrician above who has at least two years’ experience as an electrician and has passed a further course on inspection and testing and periodic testing.
A site technician is someone who has 5 years’ experience as an approved electrician and has a higher level of qualifications such as the electrical design and verification course.
The Survey – How Much Do Electricians Really Earn?
I asked electricians, how
much they earned per year, if they were PAYE employed or CIS self, employed, if
they worked for someone or made their own sales, hours worked and what part of
the country they worked in.
The people who
participated in the survey varied from employees of large companies, site
electricians only working in construction, business owners, one-man bands,
recruiters and managers.
I have broken down the
survey results to 3 parts of the country; London, where the pay is greater than
anywhere else in the country. Northern Ireland, where the pay is less than
anywhere else in the country. And National which is anywhere apart from London
and Northern Ireland.
I have then split the wages
into 3 groups within the location; Working for a company, one-man bands and
company owners. Someone working for a company is an operative who is ‘hands on’
who is either employed or self-employed who doesn’t make their own sales, but
instead works directly for one or more contracting companies. The grades of
operatives is similar to the definition that the JIB uses. A Technician would also
be a QS (qualifying supervisor) or a highly qualified supervisor. The ‘working
for someone’ category also includes electrical managers. The ‘one-man band’ category
is an electrician who works alone, self employed or has their own company but doesn’t
employ anybody other than an apprentice. A one-man band sources their own sales
oppose to working for another company. A company director is an owner of an
electrical contracting company who employs multiple staff. They might be partially
For the purpose of clarity, the operatives and electrical manager roles have been calculated at 40 hours per week. It was incredibly difficult to ascertain the hours worked for company directors and one-man bands, so the pay is calculated simply at the amount they earned within the 12-month period. All pay is the annual wage before tax.
As you can see, there is a distinct trend in wages for the operatives working for a company as the grade increases. Electrical managers tend to earn slightly more than an approved electrician and less than a technician electrician. One-man bands earn similar to that of an approved electrician and company owners seem to earn less than many operatives!
Electricians in London earning far more than in Northern Ireland
Pay really varies across the country. Electricians in London and the South East typically earn far more than anywhere else. The pay in Northern Ireland is far less than elsewhere. Many have told me this is due to the cost of living in these areas. Having lived near and worked in London my whole life, I can confirm it costs a small fortune to work and live there! Interestingly, some recruiters who provided their input claimed that their clients will pay the higher rates in larger cities, not just London, such as Cambridge. Recruiters also claimed that the rates the electricians were paid didn’t really vary if someone was employed or self-employed.
self-employed seem to earn slightly more than the employed electricians, but often
someone who is self-employed often will have to pay for their own transport,
they are not always entitled to holiday pay, and generally do not receive a company
package like those who are employed.
The pay for self-employed one-man bands seems to be particularly poor compared to those who employed because of the hours required to run a small business, the stress and pressure of ensuring they have enough work.
Company directors earn much more, right?
When I quizzed
company directors on their pay which often is less than the electricians who
work for them, they would often say there isn’t enough money in the company to
pay themselves anymore. It seems there is a similar trend between the one-man
bands and the company directors!
There were some electrical managers who earned excess of £65,000 per year, but generally they worked in specialist areas such as hazardous environments responsible for maintenance and on-going upgrades.
project managers reported earning in excess of £100,000 per year, but, worked
some job adverts for roles as an electrician claiming to pay £32 per hour such
as Aspect Maintenance Services on Total Jobs or Pimlico Plumbers advertising
£60,000 – £100,000 per year on Indeed.
to an electrician who has worked for a company who claimed he can earn £100,000
per year. The business model is that the electrician is to be self-employed or
have a Ltd company who essentially sub-contract to the company. The electrician
then uses a company vehicle (which they lease from the company), and are notified
when a job comes in. The electrician is to buy their own materials and the
client is charged by the company at the companies’ rates which are usually far
greater than national average. The electrician then invoices the company for
their times and materials used. This figure; the invoice figure, is their pay. The
electrician I spoke to about this didn’t earn anything near the 6-figure salary.
was contracted on this model, it wouldn’t surprise me if they could make 6
figures a year, providing they worked every hour under the sun! But their pay certainly
doesn’t reflect what they actually earn as a wage because it includes their overheads
to operate their ‘business’.
As you can see there are so many variables to someone’s wage when working as an electrician. Pay generally reflects experience, level of qualifications and location in the UK. But do electricians really earn £156,000 per year? I don’t think so. Have any input to add? Feel free to comment below.
Brexit. What a joke. Yet everyone has
something to say about it!
I am British. I was born in Britain –
England to be exact. I have always been proud to be English. Being English has always
been important to me but I always like when Britain pulls together so I would say
to many I am British and that I also used to be proud of being British.
I am currently travelling the world with
my family. I left the UK in the summer of 2018 with a one-way ticket. To date I
have been to Iceland, British Columbia, Alaska, California, Nevada, Arizona, Mexico,
Barbados, Florida, Australia and I am currently in India!
I have already mentioned being from
England, Britain and the UK. Either way, they typically all mean the same thing
On my travels, I speak to many people
and often Brexit comes into conversation. Not so much in Mexico or India but
certainly in the other places I have visited. I have spoken to people who
simply follow the media, but mainly Brits who have moved abroad or non-Brits
who have once lived in the UK. The ‘outside’ perspective of someone who has experience
living in the country is very interesting. These people have been Dutch,
German, Australian, American, Canadian, Spanish, Swiss, and many more.
They obviously ask my opinion Brexit. I am very upfront from the outset and advise them that once I left the UK, I stopped following UK mainstream media so am not fully up to date with Brexit. The reason I stopped following mainstream media is because it isn’t always factual, it is biased in some form and it is mostly negative. The news isn’t always relevant to me. News articles are created from ‘stories’ that would be popular. The more people would find something interesting whether negative or not is more preferable to publish simply due to popularity. The more people read or watch the media, the larger the advertising potential it has. Media also massively influences people’s thoughts processes so it wouldn’t surprise me if everything was written in a way that was paid for to sway the mindset of the reader. This crooked world is run by greed. Money talks unfortunately and runs the majority of decisions on governmental scales to smaller individual scales.
Anyway…. What do I think of Brexit??
I voted for Britain to remain in the EU.
When I heard the outcome of the United
Kingdom EU referendum held on 23rd June 2016 which was that 51.9%
voted leave, that was when I decided I wanted out of the country I once loved.
Let me explain.
To date, bearing in mind it has been
almost 3 years since the outcome of the British EU referendum, I haven’t heard
a single justified reason that has evidence to why the UK should leave the
EU. Not a SINGLE reason!!
What I have heard is stories and
Now, many of you who know me and follow
me on social media will know that I do not base all my thoughts and feelings
based on facts, but actually I base a lot of it on gut instinct and following
my heart. Obviously, logic plays a huge part and that is what I often use in
business, because I have to!
I started an electrical and fire alarm
contracting business in 2010 near the start of the recession. I was based near
London and London was still booming despite construction and the building
services industry struggling in the rest of the country. However, the recession
really messed up my trade and industry during that period.
Many clients used it as a way to reduce
the market value of the services from an electrician simply because many were
out of work. When that happens, people become desperate and reduce prices and
some even worked for cost or for a loss!!!!
Prior to 2010 starting my business, I worked
for a well-established company working all over the country and I earned
fantastic money. I was young at the time – in my early twenties and had no
children. Life was great. I wouldn’t think twice about splashing a thousand pounds
on something. I was made redundant because the company I worked for were into
their bank overdraft (or so I was told) and it was taken away by the bank leaving
the company with immediate cash flow issues which couldn’t be resolved.
Everyone was made redundant overnight.
It led to my opportunity to start my own
company and boy it has been one huge learning curve. Learning to be a businessman
is very different to being an electrician.
I was a shareholder of my company until
2018 when I sold my shares to travel so I was at the helm of the company for 8
years. The business steadily grew over time to turning over shy of £1.5M before
At first, things were tough. Partly because
it was a start up business but also because we were in a recession. However,
2015 was a turning point. Organisations, companies and individuals had money to
spend. The sales of homes were crazy. In parts of the South East, you could put
your home on the market, have an open day the following Saturday, have a dozen
people round who saw the property for 15 minutes and entered a bidding war to
buy it! It was nuts. All good for my industry because there was money and value
on spending for installations and maintenance.
Up until 2015, wages in the industry
typically hadn’t risen at all. From a point of view as a business owner, I couldn’t
charge any more than what we did because the market didn’t allow it. It was
still recovering from the recession and how the market rate was massively
reduced. Clients were still really keeping costs down and held lots of power.
Again, money talks and the UK safety culture tends to understand it has legal
duties but neglects responsibilities by passing the buck. Something that shouldn’t
be done *cough* Grenfell.
2015 was different. There were tons of
work out there. It was amazing. Without being completely ridiculously priced, I
could name my price and it would be accepted providing I could deliver the
timescales. Fortunately, I had a great team and working short notice wasn’t a
problem. Clients would struggle finding an electrician who was available, so I ensured
I was available and charged accordingly. Wages were on the increase and so were
the market value rates. All good!
When the EU referendum outcome was
announced, that all stopped. Home sales decreased. The amount of work declined
a little but clients continued pressure with lowering costs again. The prospect
of higher wages became all but a dream supplemented by higher overheads to run
a business. I noticed cost of living was generally rising in all aspects of
expenditure. Nothing went down, it all went up!!!
Up until the referendum, I saw the UK economy
from my point of view rise from the recession and was onto a good thing. Once the
outcome was announced, it hasn’t moved forward one little bit!!!!!
I spoke to many business owners in a
similar position to me, peers and friends about Brexit and I didn’t hear a good
enough argument to leave.
“It’ll save the NHS millions” ….. Oh
really?? Tell me how…. With evidence.
“We can farm our own foods” ….. Sure we
can. UK oranges sound lovely.
“We need to get Great Britain back!” …..
“We need to stop immigration” ….. Why? This
country has repeatedly been invaded time and time again and immigration is our history!
Many have said this who work in construction because they claim foreign workers
come over to our country and take our construction jobs. Firstly, the need to
build new properties and to maintain existing is relative to the population
growth. If it suddenly stopped, it would lead to a huge hole in the need to
build new homes and commercial premises. Construction would suffer!!!!!!!!!
Now when people say that foreigners come
over to the UK and steal British jobs, I can’t help but roll my eyes. NEVER
have I ever thought to myself, someone has stolen my job because they are
foreign. I would think that because they offer more than I can to an employer.
This is bold and I mean it….. Many Brits are bone idol and LAZY! Yes, you heard
that. I come from a council estate in Surrey. It is working class for sure and
although there are many very hard-working people there, equally there are
completely lazy people who think the government owe them a living. They have
capabilities to work but the UK system allows people to be lazy. The majority of
people from my home town are white English.
We are brought up in schools thinking Britain is great! Great Britain!!!!! We are led to believe our ancestors sailed around the world making our mark in America, Australia, Asia and Africa and it creates some sort of self-importance. Let me tell you, I have lived in Barbados recently – a country that was cut down, destroyed and created to farm sugar and tabaco worked on by slaves!!!! The history is frightening. There should be no ‘pride’ in that. The brits done this in many new lands across the world killing people as they pleased. It seems acceptable because we forced our social norms and culture across the world dismissing that any others could live any different. Again, all for greed. For precious metals, for land to farm on, oil, and slavery. Money is a man-made product yet, proves to be the most valuable.
I voted remain because the economy was
on the rise in my opinion, business was flowing in the right direction and
although there were huge problems in the UK at the time, I didn’t see that leaving
the EU would solve issues. In my opinion it would create more.
The aftermath in the UK was weird. It
felt like it was divided by the narrow minded who were using racism as a driver
for a decision, people who saw value in the EU at the time and people who
really didn’t give an F or didn’t have a clue.
Now I don’t think Britain should remain
in the EU forever, but at the time and at this time, I think it would be beneficial
to stay. There are many countries who are not in the EU who operate very well
but you can’t easily compare them. I spoke to some Brits who originally voted
not to enter the EU back before I was even a dirty thought on a Friday night
and they express how they voted leave simply because Britain hasn’t been the
same since and shouldn’t have entered. Comparing back then to now is completely
and utter madness. Post war was a very different time. Society was different
and so was technology. You can’t compare 25 years or 50 years to now!!!
Speaking to foreigners who were in
Britain at the time all have said the same things to me. They didn’t feel
welcome in the UK. To work in another country requires bravery in some respects
because you have to slot into their system. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t feel
they offered you something different to your own country, but diversity is a
good thing. If everybody had the same views, came from the same background and did
the same thing, you can prevent development because you can’t progress if you
use the same practises time and time again without change. Britain needs a
change for sure, but I don’t think leaving the EU is the change it really needs.
I found that many people around me based
their views on racial influence and hearsay on how better off the UK will be to
leave the EU. When someone does this, I switch off. I’m bored of it. Someone
please tell me something factual! I am open minded and always willing to learn
something. I’m even open to changing my mind.
We cannot trust politicians because it
is their job to polish a turd. There is always an alternative motive – usually financial
for somebody. Like the media, popularity is important because popularity makes
money. Influencing how we live our lives has huge benefit to business and where
those with money invest their money. We are simply sitting tax ducks waiting to
declare our tax returns to HMRC. The rulers are laughing. We pay for everything!
If I could completely live out of the
system, I would!!! But it isn’t easy, isn’t cheap and provides little security.
So, I have to suck it up and do what I feel is sensible from time to time. Anything
in life has a compromise. I just feel we shouldn’t do everything for this man-made
story called money.
As for my future, I have been out the
country for 9 months now. I don’t miss it a bit and I love travel. I enjoy
learning about British history and society because it fascinates me.
Fortunately, I happened to be born in a country where I have white and male privilege.
It sucks for those who don’t because believe me, if you travel India and see
the poverty first hand, it might make you stop and think about how hard you
feel your life has been. I feel countries with privilege should use the ‘power’
influence positive change throughout the world. For now though, I feel the
average Brit is sucked into capitalism and materialism because we know no
different and lives could be improved at home in many ways. My decision to
leave was because I saw a decline in lifestyle, individual money and prospect. I’ll
be back at some point because the system forces me too! Plus I better see my family
at some point!!!!
Let’s see what happens in Brexit next.
Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India