Although the construction sector and building companies face many challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers and rising costs, it continues to grow, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) reporting that output is back above pandemic levels and has seen seven months of consecutive growth. There is work out there, and that’s great news for your construction business.
But to be in a position to take advantage, you need to be able to effectively manage your business spending. By having the right tools in place to give you control, visibility and cashflow flexibility could empower your workforce and improve efficiency.
A shortage of builders has created a market where they have a lot of choice about where they work. According to a survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), more than half (53%) of its members said they had difficulty finding builders to complete housing projects, while construction firms also reported that the average lead time to find suitable candidates had increased to almost four months. And keeping hold of staff once you have them is more difficult: a quarter said they struggle to retain staff.
When there is a lot of movement in the employment market, that can be a brake on your output. Trusted staff and managers might leave, which means that you lose those people who keep jobs flowing – these are the people you rely on to buy in materials and line up suppliers.
When they go, new workers might have to fulfil these roles but it’s not always easy to just let them have free reign with your cash, and get on with it, right from the start.
With Allstar Plus our all in one business credit and fuel card, the foundations for secure, streamlined procurement are already in place, so new workers can take on responsibility straight away for buying materials and getting the job done.
Because it offers complete control, visibility and flexibility over what can be bought and where, you know that the flow of materials won’t stop, and so productivity won’t be affected by changes in personnel.
Prices for materials continue to rise: the DBEIS analysis reveals that material prices for all work increased by 26.4% in June 2022 compared to the same month the previous year.
That means you need to know what is being spent with suppliers and on stock at all times. It’s no good finding out months down the line that material was being bought from more expensive suppliers to those budgeted for when the project started.
In an inflationary market, you need day-to-day visibility on costs. But that can be a hugely cumbersome process administratively, collecting invoices and receipts for multiple suppliers and sources, and then inputting them all on to spreadsheets.
With Allstar Plus business credit card, this is done for you. All payments can be tracked in real time through our online dashboard, Allstar Online, meaning you can keep a close eye on project costs and ensure that budgets aren’t being busted, preferred suppliers are being used, and the best prices are being achieved. Receipts can be uploaded quickly and easily, using ExpenseIn*, and you can run reports and carry out in-depth analysis on spend.
What’s more, Allstar Plus can help your business with cashflow, providing an additional line of interest-free credit up to 44 days** to give your firm additional flexibility when it comes to buying stock and materials.
It’s like you’re on every site, every day. But it all can be achieved and managed from your computer screen.
Being able to keep hold of great staff when there is a shortage of workers, and they know there’s a chance of higher wages elsewhere, is crucial. A good way to retain valued employees is to ensure they are financially supported, not just with salary but in the course of doing their job.
Not surprisingly, workers will be aware of the rising cost of living, and that means when they’re out on the job, they are backed by their employers.
If builders are away on projects or out on site all the time, it’s easy for them to build up a large amount of expenses. Not only do you need to know about these as soon as possible to manage project costs, but also they shouldn’t need to be worrying about spending and reclaiming these when they might already be worrying about living costs.
Using cards such as Allstar Plus and Allstar Expense gives them a safety net. If they’re away for a few days on a job, they know hotel, food and living costs are already covered, which takes a huge weight off their minds.
And for you, there’s the additional benefit of control too. Through the Allstar Online dashboard, you can set limits on spend in each category and see what’s been bought and where ensuring there are no unexpected surprises when the project has been completed.
Administration for expenses is reduced as there’s no need to chase employees for forms and receipts that you get with pay and reclaim, receipts can be submitted on the go and everything is in one place, saving you time too*.
Of course, at Allstar we offer all the usual benefits of our renowned fuel cards. But at our core, we are about helping firms to make their business payments simple and streamlined. And we can help your building business grow by giving you more control and better cashflow.
*ExpenseIn is a separate product that can be added to support your Allstar Plus or Expense account.
**Subject to status and full credit check.