Is Margining Your Accounts Receivable a Smart Business Move? @fundbox @girlmeetsgeek

Anymore, I sure don’t understand how Facebook targets advertising, but for the last week, I’ve seen “sponsored” ads for a company called Fundbox.  Essentially, they allow you margin (aka BORROW) against your Accounts Receivables to increase cash flows.

Fundbox FundboxFundboxFundboxFundboxFundboxFundbox

A quick Google search brings up many who challenge the company, as these type of services are usually VERY expensive.   Granted, I didn’t do a full-blown search on the costs, but did find several reliable sources that say the fee to borrow against your receivables is somewhere between 1% and 6% of the invoice total.   SO, if you have an invoice for $1,000 out there and want your cash faster than your client pays you, you’ll pay $10 to $60 for that convenience.   For a great blog entry on Fundbox, check out this well written and surmised post by GirlmeetsGeek here.  I’m also quite impressed with the reply from their CEO Eyal Shinar. Well said.

This post really isn’t about Fundbox or other short-term margin companies that allow you to borrow against your receivables… It’s really about receivable management to being with. I speak often about the topic, and honestly, if you have to borrow against your receivables, and are NOT in a highly seasonal business, the problem might lie in your business model, the way you write your contracts, the way you report your receivables, and the way you allow your clients to pay you.

Trust me, I know.

At one point in my career, my company had a $4M Line Of Credit and it was TAPPED.  I lost sleep at night. And we were only paying 5% at the time. Think about that for a second.  When our LOC was fully drawn on, we were paying almost $17,000/month in interest. Given our business model that was about 4-5 months of that type of balance.   So, we would pay $70,000 or so in interest. IF we used Fundbox (and I doubt we could have given the size of our A/R) and we were charged the maximum 6%, we would have paid $240,000 in “fees” for the same convenience.  At the lowest fee, in their defense, we would have paid $40,000.  BUT, it would have been much more than that because although our LOC was tapped at $4M, we borrowed, paid it down, reborrowed, and paid it down.  So, we might have borrowed a total of $6-8M over those months, so at the lowest fee, we would have still paid the same amount.  You get what I’m saying.

All that said, you don’t need to. Think about this: When was the last time you put gas in your car?  I would guess it was in the last few weeks, right? Did you agree to pay the gas station later?  No, you sure didn’t. You either paid cash, put it on a debit or credit card, or drove away from the pump.  You see, the gas station got their money AS SOON AS THEY provided you with the product.  And most companies just simply don’t work that way.

The lesson to be learned here is that there are ways to invoice on demand, get paid almost immediately, and reverse your cash flows.   Most of my clients today do that, and their cash flows have changed dramatically, sometimes 3-4x what they were previously… and it all comes down to understanding your financials, your cash flows, your processes and making it easy for your clients to do business with you.

Did I strike a chord?  If so, say hi and lets chat.  If not, consider yourself lucky – most business owners that reach out to me have a cash flow problem, and it is so much fun to watch those numbers reverse themselves relatively quickly.   Until then, have an incredible week.  :)

Follow Through After Conferences For Greater Success

I was honored to see many of you over the last few weeks at PLANET’s GIC and the GIE+EXPO.  It was an amazing event filled with lots of networking, educational events, sharing best-practices, receptions, innovative new products, a massive trade show, and just friends being with friends.  I had a blast and was so excited to spend time with so many amazing businesspeople last week.   Some of you might have met my friend Kevin at all of these events, but if you didn’t, as a guy (like me) who has been going to trade show and educational events for most of his career, Kevin gives you some insight on those events from his perspective.   Cheers!   ~Jason

Many of you earmark a portion of your annual budget to attend professional conferences and industry-related trade shows throughout the year. You invest valuable time away from your business to sit through seminars and complete educational courses with the intent of gaining insight to improve your operations.

Perhaps you invest in training employees on a variety of topics from sales to safety. Closer to home, you may have become ASCA certified, or had your employees earn their certifications through our online learning center.

All are sound investments, however, how many things do you talk about implementing but never get around to it? Learning is one thing, implementing is another.

Here is the truth of the matter. The snow and ice management industry got itself into a bind with the insurance industry because actions were not taken to protect companies and insurance providers from frivolous lawsuits. This exposed a weakness that made the professional snow and ice management industry a target for plaintiff’s attorneys.

I use insurance and slip-and-falls as an example because this is something nearly everyone can relate to on a personal and professional level. However, this lesson is applicable to your whole business.

How many times have you returned from a conference, seminar, or lecture excited, inspired and determined but failed to implement any of the cost-cutting, sales building or team strengthening lessons into your operation? How long ago was that seminar you attended? Two weeks? Two months? Two years? And what takeaways have you implemented into your business since?

It’s unfortunate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives most of us to succeed also creates time constraints that limit what can be packed into the typical workday. How many of you have families? Need I say more?

I have heard “We are going to this!” countless times from many of you – some more than once. A prime example is the ISO 9001/SN 9001 certification process. This was created because the insurance industry requires a verification system that ensures a snow and ice removal operation has implemented and is following the Industry Standards.

So the conversations I generally have on this topic typically go like this: “We are doing it. We are about 80 percent of the way to compliance.” Six months later: “We are doing it. We are about 80 percent of the way there.” Six more months later: “We are doing it. We are about 80 percent of the way there.”

I am not here to say the ASCA or ISO are the end all be all. However, industry leaders directed us to find an insurance solution. The solution we’ve developed involves industry members taking responsibility for themselves. Those who don’t will be left behind.

Keep these ideas in mind as you attend sessions at your next professional event. What are you going to bring back to the office, and how long before you implement the new ideas?

==

Kevin GilbrideThis is a guest post from Kevin Gilbride, Executive Director of ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors Association)

Kevin Gilbride started in the snow industry in 1996 as part of the team that launched what is today Snow Magazine. Deeply passionate about the snow and industry and the issues that face today’s professional snow and ice management companies, Kevin brings a level of experience from the business side that benefits ASCA membership.

Initially entering the publishing industry as a sales representative for Lawn & Landscape magazine, Kevin moved his way up the ranks of GIE Media, Inc. into a management role including Group Publisher of Lawn & Landscape, Golf Course Industry, and Snow Magazines. Along the way, he led the successful launches of Snow Magazine, Interior Business, and Commercial Dealer magazines, as well as the successful re-launch of Golf Course News, and its transition to Golf Course Industry magazine.

Kevin established exclusive partnerships with Mills Insurance to bring unique insurance products to the professional snow and ice management industry.

As Executive Director of the ASCA, Kevin is committed to helping drive our industry to new levels, and getting the outside world to recognize both the professionalism that exists in the industry and the unfairness that the outside world places on your business.

Will you be at @PLANET2005′s Green Industry Conference? #PLANETGIC #GIEEXPO

GIC14

Well, it’s early Wednesday morning and my FIFTEENTH GIC is getting ready to start.  I couldn’t more excited to be back on my hometurf in the landscape industry with so many old friends, and ready to meet so many more.  It’s going to be a super busy week here in Louisville for all of the attendees, as well as myself.   If you’re here, I wanted to get my schedule posted in case you wanted to join me in any of my educational events.   I’ve also included some awesome information on GIC, as well as ways you can “follow along” if you’re not here.  Here’s to an incredible week!

Now in its 25th year, PLANET’s Green Industry Conference (GIC) is the most highly anticipated landscape and lawn care industry education and networking experience of the year. A speaker lineup composed of the industry’s leaders and most successful entrepreneurs, a landscaping, lawn care, and hardscape trade show floor hosting nearly 500 exhibits, and an unparalleled opportunity to be inspired, learn about industry trends, and build new relationships make this an event you cannot miss! In celebration of our silver anniversary, GIC attendees and PLANET members are telling their personal stories of success, overcoming hardships, and planning for the future. Together, let’s set new milestones.

 

I’ll be speaking several times throughout the event:

(Ticketed only, but tickets at PLANET Registration if not sold out)

Real Life Case Studies From Landscape Company Horror Stories – Learn How Great Companies Solved Huge Problems!

Every business has its problems and issues. Some of these problems seem insurmountable when they plop into a business owners lap. I will tell you the real-life stories and case studies of how great companies managed through horrible experiences. You’ll learn nuggets from his experience and solutions that undoubtedly will change the way you look at your business next time something unexpected happens. This is a must-attend session for any size business who has ever experienced the unexpected.

  • Wed. Oct. 22nd, 3:30-5:00 pm EST: I’m hosting and emceeing the Newcomers Rally, lots and lots of amazing surprises, also learn more about PLANET, GIC and GIE+EXPO.  If this is your first time here, please attend this event to learn how to navigate this huge show and educational event!
  • Thurs. Oct. 23rd, 8:00-1:00 EST: I’ll be hosting a private offsite Kolbe Team Building Event for a Client – Sorry, you can’t attend, but if you want more information, just grab me!
  • Thurs. Oct. 23rd, 4:00-5:00 pm EST:  I’ll be at the PLANET Genius Bar (at GIE+EXPO Booth #7114). My topic is How to Hire the Right Person  ~  SO, bring your questions and I’m there for an hour to help you in any way you need!
  • Fri. Oct. 25th, 9:45-11:15 am EST: General Session on HR

Collaborative Learning: Navigating Through the Ever-Changing World of Human Resources, and the Direct Impact It Can Have On Your Business

The daily grind of Human Resources paperwork, compliance and knowledge isn’t the most exciting part of running a business, but it can be one of the most important. Consistent and constant changes in law and reporting have turned one small mistake into a huge cost and liability for companies of all sizes with one employee or one hundred. In this facilitated discussion I’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the most critical portions of the topic. Bring your HR problem to present to the group and we will work through it together – for the mutual benefit of all attendees.

  • Fri. Oct. 25th, 11:30 am-1:00 pm EST: STIHL/Lawn and Landscape Social Media Awards at the STIHL booth #5074

This event gives you the chance to meet in person all the smart, fun and interesting folks you interact with on social media every day. They’ll also be announcing our first-ever Social Media Award winners – so be sure to come see who gets some hardware to take home!

Not Able to Attend?
PLANET will be streaming select educational sessions LIVE over the Internet. Register now to view these sessions on your computer or to order recorded sessions.   OR, you can follow the Twitter Hashtags #PLANETGIC and #GIEEXPO or my live Twitter feed as I’ll be updating non-stop.

#Giants vs #Royals: My Wager with @DavidSilverOak

David Duncan, with Silver Oak, and I have a friendly wager regarding who will win the World Series. Will it be the San Francisco Giants vs. the Kansas City Royals?

Watch the video below to learn more about our bet and to chime in with who you are rooting for!

Salt…or lack thereof | MUST Read if You’re In the Snow Business | Guest post by Kevin Gilbride of ASCA

Spreader truckEveryone remembers last winter’s salt shortage. Well, this shortage is far from over.

If you’re beginning your salt purchasing, then I’d suggest you look hard and fast and secure what you can find. And it you haven’t started by now, then you’re probably going to be out of luck.

Let me explain. At the beginning of last season, most road salt users (states, DOT’s, municipalities, and commercial contractors like you) were sitting on surpluses of salt as a result of recent light winters.

Then Winter 2013-2014 hit, and it continued to hit and never let up. This was a winter like no other. In some areas, it started in December and did not subside until the end of February. I had conversations with folks who had crews working 45 and 60 days straight. This was happening from Minneapolis to Washington DC.

In past winters, one area of the country would get hammered with unseasonable snow and ice while another received less than average snowfall. This past winter if you were east of Fargo you got hit and you got hit often.

There were not a lot of blizzards, instead there was continuous snowfall including numerous 2-3 inch events. The occasional 6 incher jumped in, and there were a few 12-inch events. Also, take into consideration that from early January to about mid-February, we had temperatures that were record lows. There were stretches where areas sat below 15 degrees for nearly a month. Mostly it kept snowing, and as we all know, you plow and you salt. And last winter the industry used lots of salt.

DOT’s that stock as much as 600,000 tons of salt to cover heavy winters were reordering in January. Those same DOT’s only used 400,000 tons the previous winter. They were ordering nearly a full seasons supply of salt in mid-winter. Of course, so were commercial contractors.

Salt bins that for nearly two years were overflowing were suddenly empty. And by season’s end DOT’s had barely enough salt to get through the winter.

By the end of the season, if you were east of Fargo, then you were nearly depleted. Every contractor, every DOT, every city and every state faced the same scenario – just about out of salt.

This means that since March, salt mines have been working to replenish the supplies of every city, state, DOT and supplier they sell salt to – every single one.

The bad news? The salt shortage is far from over. Mines and suppliers will simply not have everyone replenished by the time this winter hits. In fact, I have heard some suppliers lament that it could take as long as two to three years too catch back up.

I am certainly not in a position to accurately predict what will happen. What I do know is if you have not begun to secure your salt pile for this winter, you had better get moving. This is a classic supply-and-demand scenario. Since supply is short, those with a demand will pay the price. So brace yourself for a salt price hike this season.

==

Kevin GilbrideThis is a guest post from Kevin Gilbride, Executive Director of ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors Association)

Kevin Gilbride started in the snow industry in 1996 as part of the team that launched what is today Snow Magazine. Deeply passionate about the snow and industry and the issues that face today’s professional snow and ice management companies, Kevin brings a level of experience from the business side that benefits ASCA membership.

Initially entering the publishing industry as a sales representative for Lawn & Landscape magazine, Kevin moved his way up the ranks of GIE Media, Inc. into a management role including Group Publisher of Lawn & Landscape, Golf Course Industry, and Snow Magazines. Along the way, he led the successful launches of Snow Magazine, Interior Business, and Commercial Dealer magazines, as well as the successful re-launch of Golf Course News, and its transition to Golf Course Industry magazine.

Kevin established exclusive partnerships with Mills Insurance to bring unique insurance products to the professional snow and ice management industry.

As Executive Director of the ASCA, Kevin is committed to helping drive our industry to new levels, and getting the outside world to recognize both the professionalism that exists in the industry and the unfairness that the outside world places on your business.

Page 1 of 18112345»102030...Last »
Look Inside
Jason Cupp: Know your Team

Landscape Chat Transcript

© 2003-2014 Jason Cupp . All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress & Made by Guerrilla