Subcontractors scramble for faster payments through fintech Earlytrade

Subcontractors scramble for faster payments through fintech Earlytrade

Sydney construction subcontractors recorded a 500 percent spike in demand for early payments, as they scrambled to comprehend the unexpected Covid shutdown of the sector on the weekend.

Supplier payments fintech, Earlytrade, released data that showed the ‘alarming’ activity across Greater Sydney as subcontractors and site managers were given until the end of Sunday to close sites across the city.

Earlytrade Chief Executive and Co-Founder Guy Saxelby said the on-demand payment platform, the largest of its kind in Australia and New Zealand accessible to 60,000 suppliers, had not experienced similar behaviour from a single sector before.

“We’re seeing fear and panic among Sydney subbies. The construction shutdown is seen as a slap in the face given these business owners kept the economy ticking in 2020,” Saxelby said.

“Subcontractors made more than 2,200 requests for early payments over the weekend. That’s about five-times over and above usual levels in just 48 hours.

“This level of demand is highly unusual and alarming as weekends are typically dead quiet on our platform and our 20-day moving average sits at around 240 requests per day.”

Saxelby said construction subcontractors as a sector were already suffering from cash flow access and affordability issues with traditional lenders for no fault of their own.

“This shutdown could push subbies and their employees over the edge and the knock-on effects to projects, employment, and overall economic health will be devastating,” he said.