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  • Q&A with Faber Technologies, CEO & Co-Founder, Sebastian Jacob

    Q&A with Faber Technologies, CEO & Co-Founder, Sebastian Jacob

    Q: When did you first start Faber?

    A: We started Faber back in 2016 from UBC.

    Q: What was your mission at the start of your company?

    A: Leverage technical innovation to empower and grow a better construction workforce. 

    Q: How does Faber work exactly? And who does it serve?

    A: We create a database of local, vetted, construction workers looking for work and allow construction companies to sign up and connect to workers who match their current project needs. We then go on to manage that temporary workforce and payroll during the duration of that project. 

    Q: Why is now the time for Faber to exist in the construction industry?

    A: With 81% of construction firms indicating they are struggling to fill their open positions and 65% of them expecting it to get worse, it’s now a great time to introduce a new model to connect with local construction workers.

    Q: What’s the most exciting thing Faber has accomplished to date?

    A: We were able to fill over 30,000 jobs in our first 4 years in business while having a +266% higher NPS compared to recruiting companies while doing it. 

  • Slow Payments Hurt

    Slow Payments Hurt

    Waiting to get paid sucks. As a business owner, you have sacrificed a lot, you have put in the work and still aren’t getting ahead because you are constantly waiting to get paid. We often speak to owners of trade contracting companies, and consistently we hear that it is almost impossible to grow their business because they are waiting on hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some cases millions of dollars in outstanding invoices. This can make it almost impossible to make payroll each month. The construction industry suffers from a top down approach, I am sure you have all heard the term “pay when paid”. This concept and top down flow of funds really hurts a lot of people along the way but especially the trade contractors on the site doing the work. 

    How can the industry improve payment cycles and the flow of funds? 

    There are several payment application softwares that do help digitize and track that workflow but in my opinion, it’s actually the pay app process, whether digital or not, both processes can still limit the prompt payment process and the flow of funds. There is also a lack of proof around what work is complete to actually back up the entire payment process. You need those updates, they need to exist in order for money to flow.

    There are far too many touch points I think which can hurt timelines for what could be considered a “good invoice” and there are just as many touch points for the release of funds back through the stakeholder chain.

    Another question that often comes up with our customers is, “if the cash or financing exists, why does it take so long to verify the progress of work and to receive our money?”

    We believe that there should be better de-risked payment options to help with the pressure on the flow of funds.

  • Payar & Faber are teaming up!

    Payar & Faber are teaming up!

    We are delighted to announce our partnership with Faber to help bring contractors fast, fair and flexible payments! Now contractors can find work and get paid for the work they’ve completed easier than ever before.

    Many contracting companies are forced to wait lengthy cycles on payments and are often forced to take bad financing terms and bad deals like invoice factoring just to access cash flow. In these sorts of cases, when a company takes a deal with an invoice factoring company they are selling their invoices to a third party at a discounted rate which is usually around 5% or higher. But it doesn’t stop there. These companies also attach an interest rate on top of the high rate to begin with. Unlike these factoring companies, Payar doesn’t add additional fees and our fees associated with the transaction are a one-time fee.

    Whether you need access to work, labor or cash flow, our partnership with Faber could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

    Construction workforce and payments are at your fingertips!

    Get started: https://payar.co/faber/

    Learn more: https://faberconnect.com/

  • How Does Payar Work?

    How Does Payar Work?

    Unlike expensive invoice factoring Payar offers fair, flexible payment terms that help contractors get access to cash flow for work that they have already completed. Contractors often get forced into waiting 51+ days to receive their money for work that’s completed and we don’t believe that they should have to take bad financial deals because of the fragmented slow payment process in the construction industry. We knew there had to be a better way!

    Getting started with Payar is as easy as 1,2,3, quite literally. If you have outstanding or upcoming invoices that you know often takes months to be paid, simply send them to paid@payar.co next, you can choose which early payment terms make sense to you and lastly, send us any supporting documents, photos and/or notes to support your request. 

    Unlike invoice factoring or invoice financing Payar will work on your past due invoices as well.
    For all other questions, reach us at paid@payar.co

  • What Happens When Payments are too Slow in Construction

    What Happens When Payments are too Slow in Construction

    The slow payment process is a problem that we have to deal with in the construction industry. As a contractor or subcontractor, you aim to complete the project within budget, on time and make profits. If payments delay, that is going to affect your cash flows and the ultimate success of the project. Therefore, the question of what happens when payments get slow is very relevant.

    Payment is a contractual issue. It is the norm to have contracts signed between the contractor and the employer with terms that determine their relationship, specify the obligations of each and give guidance on how to approach matters regarding one party not performing their duties. Issues to do with payments are, therefore, covered under the contract.

    Guidance by Written Contracts

    It would be unfortunate for any person to accept to work on a project without a written contract. Verbal agreements are very hard for the courts of law to enforce. If issues arise, it will solely depend on the trustworthiness of the parties involved to handle the issues in a manner that serves the interests of all parties.

    Where a signed contract exists, the events that will be triggered by slow payments will be possibly defined. With the popularity of standard forms of contracts for construction and engineering projects, it will suffice to look at their provisions with regards to this matter as they are commonly used.

    Among the standard forms of contracts, FIDIC is the most widely used globally as it enjoys support from the World Development Bank. Also, the NEC Engineering and Construction Contracts published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) enjoys global recognition. The following arguments are based on these together with the provisions of some local standard contract forms and government construction industry policies.

        •    Doing Nothing (Nothing Happens)

    As a contractor or a subcontractor, you can choose to do nothing. You notice that payments are slow and you do not take any action. You continue with the execution of the project normally.

    However, this is a very risky move. You can only continue working if you have the money to pump into the project. It is not a worthy investment just to pump money into a project without getting the expected profits.

    It is advisable to study the contract provisions carefully and take the necessary actions. Even when cash flow is not a problem for your business, taking action can help reinforce your bargaining power. Other parties will get the message that they cannot get away with their failure to honor their contractual obligations to you.

        •    Give Notice to the Employer/Client

    If payments are slow, late or entirely deferred, most standard form contracts have provisions for the contractor to give notice to the employer of delayed payments. The contractor should have first made an application for payment to the employer through his contract administrator. Contractually, the period within which the employer is obligated to pay is calculated from the date of receipt of the contractor’s application for payment by the client.

        •    Possible Suspension of Works or Cancellation of the Contract

    Construction and engineering projects require huge financial investments to get completed successfully. To cushion the contractor from cash flow problems, most construction contracts provide for the issuance of interim payments. When there is a delay in such payments, it means that the contractor will get into problems.

    The FIDIC contract has provisions that allow for the suspension of construction works or possible cancellation of the contract if the employer fails to honor interim payment certificates. Specific clauses give such guidance. It is upon the contractor to identify such, make the appropriate business decisions and strictly follow the clauses for his pleases to be granted.

    Although such provisions are there, it does not mean that the contractor should invoke them. It is more advisable to first identify the legal issues that might arise out of that. Equally, the effect such decisions will have on your business going forward is a worthy consideration. If you cancel the contract, you will have lost the job!

        •    Charge Interest on Late Payments or Offer Discounts to Prompt Payments

    Late payments are subject to financial charges. This gives the contractor the right to charge interest on any delayed payments. The interest rate should be the prevailing rate charged by a regulatory bank in that country. This is like a punishment for paying late. It will prompt the employers to pay early. If they don’t pay early, the contractor receives compensation for the financial distress inflicted.

    Also, you can encourage the employers to pay early by offering them an incentive. A discount for paying early will be the reward the employer is going to get. It means they will save a small percentage of the amount due. It can be met with a more positive response because of the reward it presents.

        •    Address Any Existing Disputes

    Payments might have been delayed due to a dispute between the contractor and the employer. If there has been a disagreement as to the value of the work done on-site and the value certified by the employer’s contract administrator, the contractor should initiate a dispute resolution process.

    It is advisable to start with a dialogue for the parties to negotiate the agreement. If that fails and the issues become more pronounced, it is allowed to use out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms such as involving an arbitrator. In some other cases, the employer might be wrongfully withholding payments for their gains. Also, there could be a clear indication by the employer of not paying at all. If that happens, the contractors can seek a court order to enforce payments. However, court processes are lengthy and expensive. If the dispute is not that severe, it is advisable to seek alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid plugging your business into high non-recoverable costs of litigation.

        •    Enforce Contractor’s Lien

    This can happen where the project is complete and the employer wants to occupy it without honoring final payment requests from the contractor. The contractor has a right to retention of the project and can exercise it to compel the employer to pay. The contractor has an enforceable legal right to retain the possession of the construction site if the employer resists paying.

    Conclusion

    Several events get triggered when construction payments are too slow or delays are experienced in the payment process. Construction contracts recognize these and have provided express provisions for what should happen when payments get slow, delayed or are denied.

    The course of action by the contractors is determined by the acuteness of the underlying matters. Just because the provisions are there it doesn’t mean they are always the right way to go. Each project is unique and careful considerations should be made before taking action.

    I would recommend actions that encourage the parties to continue doing business. Therefore, take a closer examination of your business needs as a contractor and take action that won’t hurt your business. Also, maximize on actions that will cushion you from any financial distress and allow you to complete the project as agreed.

  • How does Payar work?

    How does Payar work?

    Unlike expensive invoice factoring, Payar offers fair and flexible payment terms that help contractors get access to cash flow for work they’ve already completed. Contractors often get forced into waiting 51 or more days to receive their money and we don’t believe that they should have to take bad financial deals because of the fragmented slow payment process in the construction industry. We knew there had to be a better way!

    Getting started with Payar is as easy as 1,2,3, quite literally. If you have outstanding or upcoming invoices that you know often take months to be paid, simply send them to paid@payar.co. Next, you can choose which early payment term make sense to you and lastly, send us any supporting documents, photos and/or notes to support your request through email or text 1(888)666-0445.

    Unlike invoice factoring or invoice financing, Payar will work on your past due invoices as well.

    For all other questions, reach us at paid@payar.co

  • Demystifying Payment Delays in Construction

    Demystifying Payment Delays in Construction

    Payment delays or slow payment processing is a problem that the construction industry has been facing for a long time now. According to Levelset’s National Construction Payment Report published in 2020, 48% of businesses wait for more than 30 days from the day of invoicing to receive payments.

    Further, a similar report published in 2019 by Rabbet indicated that slow payments cost the industry a total of $ 60 billion. The 2018 – 2019 PWC Working Capital Survey indicated a 51-day sales outstanding for the US construction industry.

    These statistics are worrying. They raise a lot of questions regarding what is ailing the construction industry payments. What has been accepted as the status quo is costing us so much that we must begin looking for solutions to this problem.

    The Nature of Construction Jobs

    Construction projects are temporary endeavors with definite start and end dates. Usually, they involve multivariate teams. The project team comprises consultants, the client, financiers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, specialized trades, among others. Because of the complex nature of these projects, contracts are usually put in place to guide how the contractor and the client will relate during the construction period. If comprehensive enough, they also include their relationship with the consultants, subcontractors or speculated trades.

    Also, the so-called standard forms of contracts have clauses that direct how the issue of payments should be handled. The contractor undertakes to mobilize labor, materials and equipment and undertake the construction works. As a business, they are looking into making profits.

    The client undertakes to pay a sum of money equivalent to the value of work done by the contractor. This amount is determined through a valuation process undertaken by the contract administrator or quantity surveyor jointly with the contractor/subcontractor. The process is initiated by the contractor when they write to the client through the contract administrator requesting payments.

    Project Financing

    Construction work requires a lot of financial investment to be successfully executed. Clients may have their sources of funding but the actual work is normally funded by the contractor before they can ask for payments.

    This means that the contractor is going to invest money upfront in the project. This may be borrowed from the banks that will charge interest. When substantial work is done, it is only fair for the contractor to get promptly paid by the client to enable them to finance the next phases of the project and repay their lenders.

    Similarly, subcontractors and specialized trades people rely on borrowing to finance their projects and on cash flow to keep their employees paid, equipment serviced and projects running. 

    Cash flow is very important to these businesses. Prompt payment of invoices due will improve their cash flow and streamline project progress and success. Nonetheless, payment delays continue to be witnessed and are hurting such businesses that depend on cash flow to keep things going.

    Causes of Payment Delays

    The most significant cause of payment delays in the construction industry is deeply rooted in the processes of certifying payments. The traditional process that is largely recognized by most standard forms of construction contracts relies on paper-based documentation (in the form of valuations, progress reports, payment request letters, invoices etc.).

    These documents are either sent through email in PDF and spreadsheet formats or are submitted as printed hard copies to the relevant parties. As payment certification sometimes involves more than one person verifying the information, this process may take a longer time meaning the contractor has to wait longer to receive payments.

    Also, some payment delays can be directly attributed to the contractors and subcontractors themselves. Where the contractor uses inappropriate procedures to submit payments requests or makes significant errors when submitting requests for payment, this could result in delays. Such errors might include inaccuracies in valuations for quantities of work done, or failure to submit any relevant supporting documents certifying the payment claims.

    Further, the supply chain in a construction project is a lengthy one and a potential cause of payment delays. Especially to the subcontractors and specialized tradesmen who are down there in the chain, payments may take longer to move from the client, through the main contractor to them. There are verification processes along the way that may take time.

    However, payments may even take longer when unfavorable clauses such as “pay-when-paid” get introduced to the contact between the main contractor and their subcontractors, trades people or suppliers. It gives the main contractor grounds for withholding payments to them while citing non-payment from the client and project financiers.

    Other issues such as conflicts between parties, contractual disputes or malicious reasons, such as clients who choose to withhold payments to contractors to receive gifts from them, contribute to delays in payments.

    In some other cases, the client might be having financial management issues. Funds for the project might have been misappropriated. It could also be a result of stringent measures by the banks on how much and when should the client draw money from the bank to finance the project.

    Effects of Payment Delays

    Cash flow is an important component of running and sustaining a profitable business. For subcontractors and specialist trade running small businesses and relying on cash flow to fund their projects, a delay in payment could mean that the next project phases have no funding.

    If there is no money to invest in the project, work on-site might be temporarily delayed or stopped. This hurts the subcontractor’s businesses as they need money to pay their workers, service their machines and equipment, and repay loans from lending institutions.

    Further, the delay will have an impact on the client’s business in some way. Let’s take an example of a real estate client who targeted for their residential apartment to be complete to start earning revenue from rent. If the project gets completed one month later, the client will lose revenue for that period.

    Also, payment delays are costing the industry a whopping $ 64 billion. That extra cost is partly due to the costs that the contractors and subcontractors incur as they chase down payments. In some cases, they submit expensive bids to cater for the risks of the slow payment process. Subsequently, projects cost more than they normally would. Are the project owners getting value for the money they pump into these projects?

    In addition to that, most subcontractors and speciality trades shy away from contractors who have a history of non-payment or delayed payments. Most people will not be willing to work with a contractor who has concisely paid late. As a result, some overprice their bids while others don’t bid at all. With fewer bids, the probability of getting the best-suited business to work on the project is reduced.

    Suggested Remedies to the Payment Delays Problem

    Most of the causes of delays identified above can be avoided in one way or another. Although interactions involving human beings are complex and issues may arise that don’t have a straightforward solution, the following suggestions can help improve the situation.

    First, causes that are directly attributed to the actions of either party should be addressed from that party’s point. Clients and contractors should exercise goodwill and avoid withholding money from their payees for any personal gains.

    Secondly, the inclusion of detrimental clauses to construction contracts such as “pay-when-paid” or “pay-if-paid” should completely be avoided. Such clauses only serve to protect the commercial interests of one party while hurting those of the other.

    Also, contractors and subcontractors should be very attentive when preparing payment claims. If possible, they can employ a specialist who will be in charge of preparing payment requests, attaching all the required supporting documents, while following the right submission procedures. This will reduce delays that would otherwise arise out of the submission of erroneous payment claims.

    Internet Banking

    Overall, a shift in mindset is required to allow veteran industry participants to embrace digital technology. While writing checks and waiting for the banks to process them works well, it takes time. Digitized transactions can save this time by allowing the client to only click a button and authorize payments to the contractors/trades. Payment is received promptly without having to wait for days of processing by banks.

    Collaborative Digital Workflows

    The PDF-based invoicing, billing and payment procedure takes more time, with emails back and forth and time lags as different key people in the payment approval process verify and certify the payments.

    Embracing the culture of openings and collaboration could help remove these lags. What if all the valuations, invoices, project progress photos and payment applications were organized in a shared digital database? Any key project member can assess that information anytime, anywhere.

    Instead of waiting for one party to approve for the other to be given the documents for subsequent verification and approval, they can do it concurrently. They can compare invoices due to valuation amounts and progress reports on the same platform without having to make calls to be sent email copies or having to visit the site physically. Huge time savings, right?