Goat ate my cheque book, one of many excuses given to tradespeople
LONDON – 5th March 2014 – A survey from WorldPay, the UK leader* in payments has found that many micro businesses and sole traders are regularly battling with late payments from their customers and are chasing up an average of £799 in late payments. This suggests that bad debt accumulated by this group alone could add up to a staggering £2.5 billion in the UK.
The research, which surveyed over 1,000 UK mobile tradespeople across various sectors, found that they typically get paid late once a month. Individual consumers are the biggest culprits according to 60% of respondents, while only 17% think that large businesses are the worst offenders. Men in their 40s have been voted the guiltiest for paying late, and over half (58%) believe that the more affluent the customer, the more likely they are to be late payers.
Typically, tradesmen may have to wait up to 15 weeks to get paid for their work, although for plumbers the wait can be much longer, around 27 weeks. The findings also show that once the payment becomes late, it can be as good as written off. On average, each tradesperson writes off £770 a year, the equivalent of a nice holiday abroad.
Products like WorldPay Zinc can help make late payments a thing of the past by allowing tradespeople to accept card payments as soon as the work is done. The system works using a compact Chip and PIN keypad which links to their smartphone or tablet.
The research suggests customers come up with some imaginative excuses for late payments, including:
- “I dropped my wallet into a toilet and have to wait for my bank notes to dry out.”
- “A goat ate my cheque book and I couldn’t get to the bank for a replacement.”
- “I fell on the way to the bank and had to go to hospital instead.”
- “I had a puncture and whilst fixing it I dropped my house keys down a drain and couldn’t get into the house to get my cheque book.”
- “There is no toner in my printer so I can’t run the payment account.”
Commenting on the findings, Dave Hobday, Managing Director of WorldPay UK, said: “Running a small business is hard enough without people using every excuse under the sun to avoid paying. It’s astonishing to see how many people seem to think that’s acceptable behaviour. It’s the same as to chase their employers for their salaries every month. How much would that impact on their lives?
WorldPay Zinc offers a simple solution for taking immediate card payments so tradespeople can get paid on the spot, and save both time and money.”
James Lawrence, of Plumbersparts.co.uk comments: “It happens fairly often that customers try to stall payments. It’s been getting worse since the recession. People seem to like having things done despite not actually having the money to pay for it.”
Notes to editors:
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2. About WorldPay’s Chasing Payments survey:
- WorldPay surveyed 1,008 UK tradespeople, free from a fixed location and responsible for their business or collecting business payment. They completed an online survey during December 2013 – January 2014.
- 65% of respondents were sole traders, 18% employing 2-3 members of staff, 7% employing 4-5 members of staff and 10% employing 6-20 members of staff. 70% of respondents were male and 30% of respondents were female.
- According to the survey, tradespeople are owed an average of £799 in outstanding payments per year and write off an average of £770 per year in outstanding payments.
- As reported by the Financial Times on 15th September 2013, there are 3.137 million skilled tradespeople in the UK. According to the Chasing Payments research, this suggests that on average, tradespeople in the whole of the UK may be owed up to £2.5 billion per year and write off up to £2.4 billion per year.
3. About WorldPay
The UK leader in payments*, WorldPay helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers – by accepting credit and debit card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move.
Globally, the WorldPay Group processes around 8.4 billion transactions every year. Our online payment options cater for over 200 payment types in 115 currencies.
WorldPay Zinc is a trade name of WorldPay (UK) Ltd. Registered in England No. 07316500. Registered Office: 55 Mansell Street, London, E1 8AN. WorldPay (UK) Ltd is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (No 530923) for the provision of payment services.
*By transaction volume and value. Nilson Report, June 2013