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Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:25 PM   #21
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well, you said that you were only interested in input from business men but I'll give my opinion (because I always seem to have one!)

I second SectorSecurity's advice that you really need to sit down with your bank and see if you can qualify for a small business loan. However, if you are just now downloading Quick Books, you probably don't have a profit and loss statement or a balance sheet and the folks at the bank are going to want to know if you are making any money. They will also want to know that you have a good credit score (even if you are structured as an LLC) and they will want to know if you have any personal or business assets that can secure the loan.

I would also recommend considering hiring a bookkeeper who will know the accounting side of things, tax-related issues and other legal/financial aspects of running your business. These folks are so efficient at what they do - compared to how long it takes us contractors to do computer input/bookkeeping - that it's almost always a smart move to get at least one of them on your team. Best wishes and let us know how it's going!
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:07 PM   #22
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Just to add on to what Eric said.
You should be setting up a budget for each project. Depending on the scope of that project will depend on what the draw schedule is.

You want to set up your draw schedule so that the HO is financing the job, not you.

As far as credit cards go, if you have the discipline it is ok.
Personally I use my AmEx for supplies now and not an account from the supplier.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:30 PM   #23
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HAve the homeowners finance the job as others have said. Every job has a contract or an estimate written up right? It all has a total price right? Well get a DEPOSIT on the job. That will pay for materials and not kill your credit if Joe Somebody decides not to pay you...

Like this - (This is for PA anyway, laws govern how much you can ask for down payment on jobs over $5000. So heres an example.)

$6000 total cost. You can only ask for 1/3 down in PA, so My contract would state that 1/3 total price is required as a down payment. So thats $2000 (here is for some if not all your materials, once again job dependent). Then its either 1/3 half way and the final 1/3 when done OR the remaining 2/3 upon completion. All dependent on the job.

Just a quick example, but its something to think about.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:07 PM   #24
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


some of my GCs have a line of credit and work back and forth with it

some dont pay me until they have been paid (if you do this make sure YOU get paid quickly)

some have reserves and pay me out of that


i recommend building a cash reserve...for my plumbing business i always have $20,000-$80,000 sitting around to pay my material bills monthly

pay your subs late and you will lose your subs
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:09 PM   #25
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay I have only been in business for 3-4 years but I have had a lot of trial and error in that time. I have changed and reorganized many times to work into the system I have now. I didn't start with a loan or really any capital. I started small and with a Home Depot credit card with about $1000 credit line.

I also don't know what kind of work you do or how large scale your jobs are. For what it's worth here's my model.

I usually get 30%-50% up front. Again I don't know how large scale the projects are so that changes things a bit.
I use the cash to pay labor and subs. I have working capital at this point but when that is extended and before I had it I would purchase materials on credit either my store credit card or my discover that gives cash back. When the job is finished and paid I immediately pay off any credit used for the job. I usually don't even wait till the end of the month.
Another big thing is deciding on a salary. When I first started I just looked at my profit as my paycheck...rookie mistake. By deciding on a regular paycheck for me (below the profit line) it allows the business to gain capital meaning when my vehicle or equipment needs serviced it doesn't come out of my pocket. I keep my personal and business finances as separate as possible.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:12 PM   #26
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitlyn View Post
Sorry, I may not have been clear enough. The reason I asked about a loan was to keep everything organized when it comes to purchasing materials. Usually, when we ask for a third upfront that goes to pay the sub contractors. The rest of the materials usually ends up on our citi card. We usually have a bill at the end of every month around 10,000 to 15,000 for materials only. We have no trouble paying it off but it just seems very risky to me and completely unorganized. I thought if I took out a loan I could just write checks from that business account and it would help keep everything together ..... AM I making sense ? lol
Starting any business these days is difficult to accomplish let alone be successful.

Until you become established as "the one to count on to get it done on time and on budget", you need to be creative.

If your husband is in the position of general contractor or project manager, the contracts could be written for the subs be paid by the client when they become due.

Make sure to show the client your subs written guarantee for materials and workmanship, this helps to keep the client informed and helps to ease future problems. It also allows for a smaller contract deposit required on your part.

Scheduled payments can be established up front even for the subs.

Don't be afraid to show your profit margin and your labor charges to the clients on your first projects, it shows your management skills and how and why your charges are necessary.

Establish credit with a local vendor, especially if there are box stores in the area. They will work hard for you and your purchases. Local material vendors can be easier to work with when problems arise. They can help to manage your costs per project, making it easier for your accountant.

Borrowing money of any kind, is always expensive and difficult to control costs. Try to think of alternative ways to use OPM "other peoples money". When you become established, you can then alter the way to do business.

These are a few of the techniques I used before I retired. Once you begin to collect clientele and the good word gets out you will be rewarded for the workmanship and honesty in your craft.

I have flipped many properties using investors for the upfront money and given a set percentage of the net profits.

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Old 06-19-2014, 09:27 PM   #27
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I pay everything with a credit card. Made over $600 last month on cash back awards all without paying a dollar of interest.

If you can be responsible with it, they're a great tool but never take a cash advance against them. You'll be cheaper off making a deal directly with the devil.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:35 PM   #28
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Where does your "profit" go? That's how you get a cash reserve. It's probably being eaten by the cards or elsewhere. You should be putting aside a set percentage of each job to build cash reserves. By the sounds of it, you aren't.

You have some bad news to break to your customers: You need to charge more or your going to go out of business. That's not an if, but a when.

Build that reserve, and ween yourself off the credit cards.

Give yourself a set salary first. That's probably the hardest thing to do as it is tempting to play pirate and keep whats leftover after a job. Hold yourself to that salary too.

I am doing my best to hold myself to a 30k salary this year. Its hard not to dip into funds and claim it all (I do get guilty of that from time to time). But I am getting better at it.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:44 PM   #29
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


You do need access to operating capitol so it's good that you're thinking about it. If you're starting out with very little then the first thing you should consider is a line of credit secured by your home equity. Banks aren't handing out unsecured credit very much any more, except for credit cards. Try to set it up so that the business is receiving the loan, rather than a personal loan.

I use credit cards for purchasing when it can make me money, which is most of the time. They always get paid off, sometimes two or three times a week. Ask your suppliers about early payment discounts and other methods of getting lower prices. For example, I get 2% net 10 with my main supplier and then use a Discover card to pay the account and get another 1% cash back. That's $3k off $100k. Not bad.

Quickbooks is good. Pay subs on time, with checks.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:02 PM   #30
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


You are a mouse that is trying to eat an elephant while juggling...

1. do the books every day, it will take minutes instead of hours.
2.While you might not yet have enough equity to have separate checking, savings and tax accounts, create virtual ones in your books, that are combined in your checking and credit card(s).

2.B, use different check numbers and COLORS for payroll, subs, materials and personal spending--- The tax man will come, be ready, and PAY your self employment "taxes' and taxes.

Blue checks with 4 digits = payroll. green checks with 5 digits materials, 0-999 family spending.

The bank will ding you for the checks, but it make sorting much easier.

Use Stubs, and memo lines for schedule C pointers, I.E. hand tools, PPE, petty cash, insurance, etc....

assign Job # or Global costing at time of spending, Don't rely on memory ever. Write IT DOWN.

Pay off the credit cards monthly, soon they'll push your business into appropriate credit sources. Most business never make enough to pay 12-18 % for capital( NYSE companies are paying ~ 2% for credit..) You are trying to earn enough for two businesses, you and the credit card company....

Start studying accounting a few minutes a day, buy a accounting dictionary, read a page or two daily... Start reading the Wall street Journal. Get a "Rabbi" to call for help/tutoring. It took 4-5 years to become a Nurse, it will take a couple of years to get some accounting skills

How can you or Hubby bid jobs without knowing if you made money????

If you can't dig out paperwork wise in a week or two, hire a pro bookkeeper to see if it is time to hang up the contractors license and return to being an employee making money...

EthanB @ 30 I wouldn't take credit cards as payment under the same terms as cash, it just isn't profitable to to cough up 2 % or more for allowing customers to use their C Cards. That 3K$ didn't pop out of thin air, your Credit card company firked it out your supplier, get with your supplier and eliminate the middle men(Credit Card) become an "angel" customer to your supplier. I'd rather discount my bill another 1% than give a CC company 2+% as a supplier...

Last edited by Fouthgeneration; 06-19-2014 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:19 PM   #31
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Obviously, your own workers have to be paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly (which I've never seen), but we tell our subs that they won't be paid for 30 to 90 days. When they are hurting for cash we will give them partial payments.

For supply houses, we make it very clear that they will most-likely not be paid for 45 days. This is fine with every supply house when you furnish them with a Preliminary Notice that protects the supply house. Most supply houses will wait more than 60 days as long as you keep contacting the billing department and you assure them that there money is on the way. The only time the supply houses get angry is when you tell them you will pay on a specific date and you don't deliver. For this reason, I never make promises that I can't keep.

I am currently bidding jobs that are over $1 million and the supplies for these jobs run as high as $600k. I don't have that much cash in the bank, so I have backup plans than consist of selling stock, borrowing from an insurance policy, borrowing from my kids, and I have a hard money lender on standby where the loan origination is 3% and the monthly interest is 1%. Hard money is okay when you make a big wad of cash large enough that the hard money cost becomes insignificant. Hard money loans can be obtained in as little as 24 hours. Always make sure your hard money loan is for interest only and does not require payment in full for up to 1 year just in case things don't work as expected.

It is also super simple to get money from jobs you have that are in progress. This is called 'Factoring'. You call a hard money loan person, give them a copy of your contract and they will pay you something like up to 70% of the contract amount. I think they sign an agreement with your customer stating the payments go directly to them.

If you husband is really a good contractor then there are many ways to do multi-million dollar jobs with no money, but if you don't know about contracting laws, taxes, managing employees, quality control, Osha's safety rules, and a million other things then you may find later that you don't know a damn thing about the construction business and you'd be better off working for someone who knows. Don't forget that about 95% of all business startups fail and the failure is not because of lack of trade experience.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:42 PM   #32
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fouthgeneration View Post
EthanB @ 30 I wouldn't take credit cards as payment under the same terms as cash, it just isn't profitable to to cough up 2 % or more for allowing customers to use their C Cards. That 3K$ didn't pop out of thin air, your Credit card company firked it out your supplier, get with your supplier and eliminate the middle men(Credit Card) become an "angel" customer to your supplier. I'd rather discount my bill another 1% than give a CC company 2+% as a supplier...
I wasn't talking about taking cc's. I offer customer's a cc price and a 3% discount for cash or check. I'm not eating the cc charge on a job. I've talked to my suppliers and negotiated the lowest rate I can, THEN I ask if they take Discover, if yes I ask if they'd rather just give me another 1% off for check payments. So, for me, that 3% did come out of nowhere and I'll keep it.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:50 PM   #33
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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THEN I ask if they take Discover
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:45 PM   #34
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


EathanB, I can't believe a supplier would let a 1,000.00-2,000.00$ in credit card fees cross over from the credit to debit ledger with out a fight---A one percent gain in net profits is huge in my operation.

I think you got a lazy/ignorant supplier employee making a poor choice.

Keeping an eye on unnecessary expenses for you and your supply chain will make you more competitive/profitable even during hard times

Are the CC companies kicking back $ to accounts receivable managers?
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:02 PM   #35
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


State law here is you have to offer the cash price first, you cannot offer a cash discount.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:52 PM   #36
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitlyn View Post
Sorry, I may not have been clear enough. The reason I asked about a loan was to keep everything organized when it comes to purchasing materials. Usually, when we ask for a third upfront that goes to pay the sub contractors. The rest of the materials usually ends up on our citi card. We usually have a bill at the end of every month around 10,000 to 15,000 for materials only. We have no trouble paying it off but it just seems very risky to me and completely unorganized. I thought if I took out a loan I could just write checks from that business account and it would help keep everything together ..... AM I making sense ? lol
I guess I do not quite understand why you want to take a loan out if you have no problems paying the materials off? Loans should really only be taken out should you be unable to finance any part of your business through your capital and then the loan should only be a short term thing it should not be long term and your business should not only be "successful" because of the loan.

Instead of making a payment at the end of the month why don't you get some type of payment upfront to purchase the necessary materials so that they are paid off at the completion of every job?

Here is my .02, getting Quickbooks was a very good thing this will help you stay organized once you get the accounts set up correctly. Taking out a loan just to keep things organized is not the answer, getting Quickbooks (or some other accounting program) set up correctly is what you need to do.

I highly recommend you open up a separate checking account that is strictly for business. If you are not making enough money for each project to pay for your subcontractors, materials and for yourself from that project then you need to restructure your fees.

When you give a quote you need to take your time, your administrative costs, your subcontractors fees, your materials, your utility costs, etc into consideration in order to make a profit. If you have not been keeping track of this information then you will have no way of knowing whether or not your business is profitable.

I hope this provides some insight on how to get your accounting set up.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:45 PM   #37
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Stop running a bank and start running a construction co.

Deposits and draw checks. Why finance to jobs for the Ho's?
Even if it means the HO writes me a check every day there is a detailed payment schedule for every job in writing. Often, I'll get a deposit in the morning and final payment in the evening. Just in case something happens Im not floating $ for chit. Im a contractor not a banker. My HO's have more expandable $ than me anyway.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:52 PM   #38
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


These stories never add up. There is supposed to be enough sales and work completed to have a 10k-15k material bill. If substantial work is being completed month in and month out why aren't the reserves there yet? Is your husband working in the field or just managing? Do you guys have a high personal cost of living?

When I just starred I did a lot of jobs where I could have my checks quickly. If I wasn't comfortable that I could organize the job where I wouldn't get stressed about the payment structure, i would only inter the agreement on time and material bases where I had a check every week. I never got in a spot where I was waiting on money to pay the bills.

5-10 % of every job should be profit and adding to reserves. That money should be there unless it is being used to reinvest in the business. If you don't have reserves that should be the number one priority. If you have 10-15k in material a month I would expect you are doing 25-50k a month in volume. Lets say its the low end (25k)and you only have a 5% profit. That's $1,250 in profit a month. At the end of a year you will have $15,000 to cover material if you are waiting on a payment. If you where able to make a 10% profit and the monthly volume is closer to 50k you will have your reserves for material in 3 months. Hopefully you have a budget that gives a budget to cover the costs of doing business without interfering with profit.

So lets get to it. What is the monthly volume and what is the planned profit?
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:01 PM   #39
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankSmith View Post
These stories never add up. There is supposed to be enough sales and work completed to have a 10k-15k material bill. If substantial work is being completed month in and month out why aren't the reserves there yet? Is your husband working in the field or just managing? Do you guys have a high personal cost of living?

When I just starred I did a lot of jobs where I could have my checks quickly. If I wasn't comfortable that I could organize the job where I wouldn't get stressed about the payment structure, i would only inter the agreement on time and material bases where I had a check every week. I never got in a spot where I was waiting on money to pay the bills.

5-10 % of every job should be profit and adding to reserves. That money should be there unless it is being used to reinvest in the business. If you don't have reserves that should be the number one priority. If you have 10-15k in material a month I would expect you are doing 25-50k a month in volume. Lets say its the low end (25k)and you only have a 5% profit. That's $1,250 in profit a month. At the end of a year you will have $15,000 to cover material if you are waiting on a payment. If you where able to make a 10% profit and the monthly volume is closer to 50k you will have your reserves for material in 3 months. Hopefully you have a budget that gives a budget to cover the costs of doing business without interfering with profit.

So lets get to it. What is the monthly volume and what is the planned profit?
Frank, these types of threads baffle me as well. From the materials bill volume she stated, it absolutely suggests that there should be something left over every month to begin building a cash reserve just from the labor portion...unless hubby works for free.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:11 PM   #40
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Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's either lack of accuracy on bidding, spending or telling us this story. We must get to the bottom of it.

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