Posted by Nigel White,

Contra charges.

The term alone is enough to send shivers down your spine.

Unwanted contra charges can turn an on-time and on-budget construction project into a financial nightmare where you are combatting cash flow and trying to keep your customers happy.

So, what can be done to avoid these costs and ensure that your business stays in the black?

In this blog, we’ll briefly discuss what a contra charge is when they occur, but most importantly, what can be done to remove these costs from your next projects.

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What Is A Contra Charge?

To be able to understand how you can reduce contra charges, it’s important to get a better understanding of what exactly they are and how they arise.

We’re sure you already know, but for those that don’t, a contra charge, sometimes referred to as ‘set off’ is a process in which additional costs are requested from one party to another. This is usually in the occurrence of things such as uncompleted work, damaged products, project delays and a range of other things, too.

For house building sub-contractors, these contra charges can appear out of thin air and really hang heavy.

What makes it worse is that it can only take a single contra charge to have a detrimental effect on your cash flow. A single dispute about a late completion date damaged materials or a missed objective and you could be struggling to pay for your staff and your materials.

So, what are some tips to avoid contra charges?

Communication On-Site

House building projects have a lot of moving parts, and it can be very easy for the trades on site to stick to their own work without any thought to what’s going on elsewhere.

But this communication is key, and the lack of it is how contra charges can creep in.

It can be very easy to fall into the trap of sticking to your own trade but understanding how other parts of the project are getting on is vital. If you don’t, jobs can be completed in the wrong order, or materials can go missing.

Communication helps the entire project run more smoothly.

builders in white hard hats discussing contra charges

Log Everything

Any time the site manager asks for something new, you notice something that stops you from completing your work or there are materials missing, keep a record.

Only with this approach do you truly help you and your business combat contra charges.

By logging everything, and even taking pictures, you are not only helping your own business improve its on-site credibility, but you’re also helping the entire project run more efficiently.

Project Management Software

Having a project management app is a fantastic way of keeping on top of everything going on in your house building project.

Removing the complicated paper trail and having a ‘go to’ tool that can be accessed wherever you are in the world helps streamline the building process.

Being able to monitor materials, plan jobs and even add in customer extras means that with a project management tool, you’re guaranteed to keep contra charges down.


It isn’t much, but as you can see it has huge benefits.

In taking any of the above approaches, you can see that contra charges will gradually become a thing of the past.

Communicating is vital like with any job, as is logging everything you’ve been tasked with. Perhaps the most important factor is having a project management tool, like SiteTrakker.

Only in moving your business from the project management dark ages can you really start to see benefits, improving your efficiency and cash flow while also combatting those pesky contra charges.

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Why SiteTrakker?

SiteTrakker is a brand-new project management system for business owners like you. Removing the complicated and outdated paper trail, SiteTrakker is entirely digital and available via your laptop or tablet device.

Giving you real-time control of your next house building project, you’ll be able to monitor and track progress at all stages from where ever you are in the world.

SiteTrakker enables you to manage your materials, so you have exactly what you need, when you need it, helping you and your business take back control of cash flow. It is also helping businesses avoid contra charges.

With the ability to record and save progress as well as share photos from work completed, SiteTrakker gives you the tools to avoid additional charges appearing.

Book your free demo with one of our team today.