Cashflow disruption can have a serious impact on your trades business. Being proactive using technology and timing payment requests to be earlier and more frequent can make all the difference to your profit margins.
TIP #1 CHARGE A BOOKING FEE UPFRONT
Asking for payment early and often is crucial for cash flow
A call-out service is very common amongst trades businesses. You may offer technicians, property maintenance or plumbing services to be available to book on a “call-out” basis.
Charging a call-out fee is something you will be familiar with.
But when are you asking for payment? If you’re like most tradies we work with, you charge after the call-out is completed.
The impact? You’re left waiting for payment after you have already incurred the time and paid for the materials.
A cash flow top tip is to ask for a booking fee payment upfront.
We recommend that for relatively routine jobs that will take less than half a day, tradies charge an upfront fee for the minimum call-out fee to secure the booking.
A “booking fee” or a “minimum call out fee” consists of a flat rate call-out fee plus a pre-set amount of time. For example, 30 minutes or 45 minutes.
This means that the initial attendance is paid for and the “booking slot” is secured for the customer.
The balance of any additional charges such as extra time over the pre-set, pre-paid time plus any materials purchased or used from your inventory can then be paid afterwards by invoice or even before departing (see tip #2 below) so there’s no chasing up payment.
To be a profitable tradie, you need to take charge of your cash flow and close the gap between job done and payment.
Tradie Terms can help you to add booking fee wording to your online booking forms, confirmation emails or even your SMS texts.
TIP #2 TAKE CARD PAYMENTS ON SITE
Why wait for payment when technology can take it for you sooner?
So you have collected a booking fee that includes some pre-paid time.
If the pre-paid time has been used up and there are materials to be purchased or used from your stores in your ute or inventory to complete the job, these additional charges need to be paid for.
You can invoice after the job, yet this still means you are waiting for payment. This affects your cash flow.
A cash flow top tip is to secure payment before you leave the site.
There are many different options now available to allow tradies and other service providers or sellers to take card payments there and then.
You can talk to your bank to arrange to set up a card reader device linked to your phone. This allows your tradies to process payments from debit or credit cards.
If you have a simple way to calculate the cost of the additional time and on-charge the materials, you can easily work out how much to collect on site.
You can talk to your bank to find a solution that suits you—and don’t forget to always include a phone charger in each work vehicle just in case!
Your bookkeeper or a virtual assistant service can help you to link card payments to quotes or to your job management software.
Tradie Terms can add card payment terms to your documentation, allowing you to collect payment at the job site.
TIP #3 CHARGE FOR REPEAT SERVICES IN ADVANCE
If your trades business performs repeat services, charging on a weekly or monthly basis will turbo charge your cash flow
As a tradie you will usually purchase one or several subscription-based services.
You may subscribe to an invoicing software, pay for a phone plan and pay your internet monthly.
At home to relax, you’ll routinely stream shows, sports and movies via an on-demand streaming service.
What do all of these have in common? They all use a subscription model.
A subscription model offers a customer an ongoing bundle of services in exchange for a pre-agreed fee at a set frequency. It may be paid weekly, monthly or annually.
A cash flow top tip is to bundle your services and charge upfront weekly or monthly.
A subscription “service plan” is a great idea for Tradies who supply regular work such as maintenance, lawn mowing, electrical testing, and other routine servicing.
You can agree a bundle of services and charge upfront each month. Even annual services can be paid in monthly instalments to reduce the all-at-once cost for your customers.
The subscription model is very conducive to good cash flow. A predictable amount of funds coming in dependably each month makes it much easier to plan your outgoings.
Tradie Terms can help you to add service plan terms and conditions to your terms of trade.
Working with Tradie Terms is simple.
Just hop on a free call and we’ll chat you through how to get set up and sorted.