ASA Payment Script Teaches Negotiation Skills

ASA’s Negotiating the Payment Clause: A Script is a case study designed to help ASA members improve their ability to negotiate better subcontracts. The script illustrates through everyday language how to negotiate more equitable payment terms. “Subcontractors have little opportunity to observe how a negotiation with a prime contractor might proceed,” said Brian Cubbage, contracts administration counsel, Heico Construction Group, Alexandria, Va., and chair of the ASA Task Force on Contract Documents. “After all, no one has made an Oscar-winning movie or an Emmy-winning television show that portrays a construction prime contractor-subcontractor negotiation. Even a search of YouTube doesn’t reveal such an example of negotiations,” he said. The script was designed to provide ASA chapters with a tool to demonstrate to members what a prime contractor-subcontractor negotiation on payment terms may look like. However, the document also can be used for internal subcontract education by individual subcontracting firms. The script demonstrates critical negotiation skills and techniques, such as establishing a friendly tone and common goals, confirming the reasons behind the low bid, asking for clarifications rather than changes, focusing on benefits the contractor received from the owner, and setting a precedent for future contracts. ASA members can access Negotiating the Payment Clause: A Script for free in the “Contracts & Project Management” section in the members-only area of the ASA headquarters website ( by logging in at “Login/Access Member Resources.”