This topic popped up recently ... we were discussing ... how some main contractors slowly squeeze you until they have you by the balls and then start treating you or speaking to you as if you are an employee of their company.

So how does it start ( I am talking from first hand experience)

You get a job with a company to supply build and install products.

the jobs are out of town ... so you have to book accommodation and arrange for food.

You travel to and from site in your own vehicle ... you charge a travel fee.

All goes well for the first few projects ... then the jobs start getting bigger as you grow with the main contractor.

Then the company gets smart and starts buying the material ... you dont think anything of it ... because you think the labour covers the cost to operate your business ( first mistake)

You do a R250k project ... material cost for simplicity is R100k ... you piss R25k against the wall ... I did a project where the material cost R1M ... thats R250k pissed against the wall.

Then you go from living in B&B's to living in a caravan on site ... really ... unfortunately to cut costs ... heres the joke the owner doesnt come stay on site with the lads ... he stays in a hotel.

then the last straw ... they provide the transport to and from site ... it wouldnt be so bad if you just travelled to and from the site ... but when you have to do 5 stops to collect material ... do a breakdown or 2 on the way to site ... so now you have a vehicle that you are paying for every month ... just sitting idle ... and you need it because when you not working for that customer you need a vehicle to get other sites.

Another tip dont feel bad when some Ahole makes a comment like ooooooh I see you purchased a new vehicle ... we must be paying you too much.

Make sure you understand the difference between working for another company as a business or a sub contractor ... if you are working as a business ... you need to pay wages ... the bills and cover the overheads ... done get suckered into this crap where the customer supplies the material ... unless they cover all the costs ... the time to make up the material lists ... the time to replace components when they fail ... the time to sit on site waiting for material to be delivered ... and make sure when you go to site you empty all the material out your vehicle your stock items like connectors ... glands ... cable ties etc ... make sure you labour cost covers the loss of profit from the material ... they supply all the bits and hole saws ... blades etc etc ... someone has to pay for it.

If you working for a company as a sub contractor ... charging a better rate .... make sure all the "other" costs are covered by the company you sub contracting to.

I hear it often ... it has been popping up in recent discussions with people in other industries.