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Solving Labour Shortages

Jul 25, 2022 | Builder

What you can do to attract workers

Labour shortages – one of the many big issues builders are facing this year has got to be among the most frustrating. Exacerbated by the housing boom, trouble finding subcontractors has reached a peak, and builders are looking for new ways to attract workers. We took a look at what subcontractors want from an employer, and payment security was top of the list. Upfront Pay, a payment escrow service, shows us how to give them just that.

The nation’s building industry is being hit with a perfect storm as it faces rising costs, fixed price contracts and supply chain issues with the pain being felt the entire way down the chain. Builders are going bust in droves and as more subcontractors than ever are left unpaid for work they’ve done, they’re turning to Upfront Pay for payment security. Labour shortages mean builders need to adopt new approaches in attracting subcontractors, and offering to use Upfront Pay is proving popular.

Become a more attractive employer

Upfront Pay holds subcontractors’ pay from the beginning to the end of a project, finally offering payment security and making employers and home owners who use it more attractive than those that don’t. The service was created by a tradie who was tired of being left unpaid by builders he later found never had the money to pay him in the first place. More than half of the estimated 12,000 Aussie construction companies are hemorrhaging money, with many on the brink of collapse according to Russ Stephens, co-founder of the Association of Professional Builders (APB).

Victorian Master Builders’ CEO, Rebecca Casson has labelled this as the ‘profitless boom’, and said that ‘zombie businesses’ – propped up by pandemic packages – are facing ruin as those support measures stop and inflation bites back. The labour shortages, material challenges and fixed-price contracts are bringing builders’ to their knees, and their subcontractors are left in the lurch as they go down. This is creating uncertainty among subcontractors as they try to navigate which jobs to accept.

It’s impossible to know the financial state of a builder when you agree to do work for them. “It’s not illegal to trade with negative equity but it is illegal to trade insolvent,” Stephens said. “However, the two are mixed up, it becomes very vague. Trading insolvent is a bit of a grey area.” He said this whole process was “a very slow painful death for a building company…It drains the builder over a long period of time.” The only way to know there is money to pay subcontractors at the end of the job is by using a service like Upfront Pay which holds the funds from the beginning to the end of the project, finally giving subcontractors peace of mind, and an informed way to choose which jobs to take on.

With so many issues facing the construction industry at the moment, Upfront Pay provides a way to win subcontractors and help reduce the toll of labour shortage on your business. The service is fast, simple to use and secure;  supporting builders, homeowners and tradies. Upfront Pay offers subcontractors certainty and payment security by taking payment upfront, holding it securely, then releasing it the same day the job is done. Go to www.upfrontpay.com.au for more information.  


  1. Mark

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

    • Upfront Pay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


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