Take a client who is desperate and pestering for their electrical work to be done, shuffle the calendar around to accommodate them, bask in the temporary glory of their gratitude when the job is completed to their satisfaction, then seethe quietly when the invoice is submitted to the sound of radio silence, sometimes for weeks on end. Well, as of this week, those who leave me chasing payments for more than five calendar days now lose out on full guarantee support....

Since starting this business in 2012 I have offered a no-quibble 24-month guarantee on workmanship and non-consumable materials. That's a promise whereby if I supply and install something, then should problems be experienced afterwards I will come out and sort it out at no charge. I can make such a promise because I fit quality branded parts and I trust my workmanship to be to standard. Occasionally it bites me on the arse, especially when it comes to LED lamps or luminaires from big names like Osram and Megaman which fail to live up the claims made by such venerable manufacturers, but that's my problem, not my client's, and that's the point.

This kind of peace-of-mind is built into the pricing. You will find cheaper installers, and corner cutting on quality is often the reason why they are cheaper. Those new LED floodlights failed after eighteen months? See if your cheap installer cares. However, if I had supplied them, then I'd be replacing them at no charge even if I myself only got a 12-month warranty on them from the wholesaler.

But late payments, and the time it takes me to chase them, are a right royal drain on what should be my free time. If I have done the job, and it meets expectations, and there are no complaints, and the itemised invoice reflects the time and materials, then I expect that invoice to be settled promptly. I don't offer interest-free credit, and I don't want the money I've paid on materials and wages to leave a hole in my finances weeks later.

So, the 24-month no-quibble guarantee stands... but only for invoices settled in full within five calendar days. Invoices settled after that will have a 12-month materials-only warranty applied. My accounting software shows when invoices have been issued, opened and paid, so guarantee claims will be checked on the odd occasions that they trickle in, with labour now charged on remedial work for a part-failure within 12-months, and no freebies at all after 12-months if the original payment was late.

It's a shame to have to do this, but I'm happy to say the majority of my valued clients will not be inconvenienced by this, and nobody's statutory rights are affected.