Small Business Financing For Customers

Sandy asks…

What is a good software to use for small business like AVON?

- customer contact, finances, etc.

admin answers:

Start with microsoft excel. One sheet for contacts, one for tracking your money flow, etc.

Linda asks…

Is it OK for a small business owner (contractor) to require money up front from customers?

I own a small landscape design and installation company. We do unique, detail-oriented design and our construction quality is unsurpassed. We normally ask for half of the money at the beginning of the project, to cover materials etc, and sometimes small payments in addition, along the way if need be. Today a client told me that ‘no other companies’ need to get paid until the job is finished, and that the money he already paid me was highly unusual. Our contract with him allows for money up front. He raised no objections until today, when I asked him for a small installment to pay for some materials. I wonder, is it really that unusual for a construction company not to finance a landscaping/retaining wall project?

admin answers:

It is customary to obtain 1/3 upfront so that the contractor can purchase materials. 1/3 during the job at some benchmark that is specifically spelled out in the contract. The last 1/3 would come at the end of the job.

The benchmark should relate to the completion of work and not a time period, so if you were to say, “when the retaining wall footing has been poured and the topsoil in the flower beds has been spread the second installment is due,” that would be an appropriate contract.

This is what a consumer affairs organization would recommend and is considered the standard in the industry in my region.

Contractors that collect upfront payments and end up being owed less money then it would cost to complete the job will sometimes fail to return to complete the work. I DON’T SUGGEST YOU WOULD DO THIS, but it is the most common consumer affairs complaint received at most state consumer affair offices. Therefore asking for too much money before the job is complete is a signal to wary consumers that they might be taken.

Susan asks…

Our family owned small business sells steel pipe to contractors. ?

We are looking for a finance company that can work with us, by offering financing to our retail customers for short term (net 30 day) loans. I have tried American General, but they do not do that sort of thing. Does anyone know of, or have knowledge of a company that can work with us? We cannot afford to carry the customer in-house with our lines of credit, and really need to find a finance company that specializes in that sort of thing. Can anyone help me? Or recommend a company that can help us??

admin answers:

Since you are selling to contractors who are mostly individuals you should look into accepting credit cards for payment and getting rid of your accounts receivable.

If necessary you could give discounts to cash and credit card purchasers to induce your customers to switch.

Before you say that some of these guys have lousy credit and can’t get a credit card stop and think that if they are going to “stiff” a bank they are going to “stiff” you! Let the banks bear the risk, after all, that is their business.

Hope this helps

Powered by Yahoo! Answers


Comments are closed.