Report Shows Contractors Struggle With Project and Payment Delays

A new national construction industry report revealed that, even in the months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, construction businesses were struggling to finish projects and get paid. The results of the survey, conducted by Levelset and Fieldwire, highlight a wide gap between perception and reality. Survey respondents overall reported high levels of satisfaction with jobsite coordination and payment speed, even while they indicated that project delays and slow payments were causing operational problems and stunting their growth.

Key findings from the 2020 survey include:

  • Fewer than one in three contractors (28%) report always finishing projects on time and within budget.
  • 70% blamed poor jobsite coordination for budget and deadline overruns.
  • 80% of companies spend a significant portion of their workweek chasing down payments.
  • Only 50% of construction businesses say they receive payment within 30 days of invoicing.

The 2020 Spring Payments Report collected responses from over 540 contractors across the United States. Half reported that they were not getting paid on time – a finding that remained consistent with results from the 2019 survey.

“Contractors and suppliers wait too long to get paid for their work and materials,” said Scott Wolfe, CEO at Levelset. “This payment survey helps contractors identify what they can do to reduce project and payment delays. These are practices that benefit everyone in the industry.”

The 2020 National Construction Payment Report shines a spotlight on jobsite coordination and how poor planning and late payment speed is disrupting construction businesses. According to the report, poor communication and coordination on the jobsite have ramifications beyond the field, causing contractors to waste time, lose money, and suffer from damaged reputations.

Perhaps most striking of all is that this survey was conducted prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Contractors were reporting project interruptions and cash flow problems in the months before governments began implementing stay home orders and mandatory jobsite shutdowns.

“The current pandemic and recession environment make slow payments and cash flow problems worse,” Wolfe says. “Everyone has a right to be paid what they earn. Slow payments hurt contractors and projects. Businesses can thrive in the post-coronavirus economy if they get better at planning and break their back to pay faster.”

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