You’ve already put in the work to attract customers, develop a relationship with your new clients, and complete maintenance jobs. So, what’s the best way to sustain your revenue and strengthen your business? Encourage your current customers to keep coming back to you for additional needs and services. Retaining clients is incredibly cost-efficient because you’ll spend less money on marketing efforts and instead focus on building long-standing relationships. According to the Harvard Business Review, finding new customers can be up to 25% more expensive for your small business than working with existing clients on new jobs. What’s more, similar research shows that increasing your retention rate by just 5% can improve your overall profits anywhere from 25% to 95%. Think it’s too good to be true? Here’s why your existing clients can be the best move to boost revenue. What is a Maintenance Contract? We’re sure you have at least a cursory understanding, but in the interest of crystal clarity: a maintenance contract is an automatically recurring agreement between your small business and a customer who pays a regular pre-set rate, tied to a schedule (usually monthly or quarterly) for a defined set of services. Often, these contracts include preventative care and routine checks a few times a year. After you work with a new client -- maybe you’re installing a new unit or completing an emergency repair -- consider pitching the idea of an ongoing contract. Set up precisely what the agreement will offer, how many times a year you’ll provide maintenance as part of the pre-set fee, and reassure your client they’ll be prioritized should more work need to be done that falls outside of the standard maintenance service. With established maintenance contracts, you can build these client relationships by offering discounted services on additional future maintenance, repairs, or new parts. Maintenance Contracts Boost Consistent Revenue As a small business owner, you have overhead costs, whether or not you get new client jobs. It can be daunting to know bills are due before you’ve secured new work. In the best case scenario, you will have steady customers that rely on you for repeat service. In this scenario, you’re securing regular income for your small business that provides stability in the off-season. Meanwhile, your customers feel secure in knowing you’re helping prevent a future headache by looking out for their well-being year-round and saving them money. That feeling of security you can provide to your customers helps make your business more “sticky” resulting in an ideal win-win situation that can guarantee future income. This is the key to establishing financial security for your small business. A Mobile Invoicing App Automates Recurring Billing for Maintenance Contracts Having maintenance contracts with multiple clients means keeping up with those quarterly or bi-annual inspections and regular invoicing. The key to managing these contracts, and getting paid quickly, is to stay organized and on schedule. So, how do you manage all that client information and routine service detail? A mobile invoicing app, like InvoiceASAP, can help you keep track of all the details, jobs, and locations, while automating billing and QuickBooks or Xero accounting syncs. Utilizing maintenance contracts, and managing them with InvoiceASAP, will help you secure stable revenue year-round, grow your personalized customer relationships, and increase your profits to improve your company long term. Start managing your maintenance contracts today by signing up for a FREE account with InvoiceASAP–Running your business has never been so easy!
The best way to grow your business is to secure more jobs, but there’s a huge element to success beyond the actual labor itself. Your research, communication, and negotiation skills are crucial for your small business to thrive in a competitive market. Here are some top steps you can take to become a more powerful negotiator to secure more money for your work. Research Your Local Competition The first step to becoming a better negotiator happens before the negotiation begins, and it’s all about being an expert on the local competition. When a potential customer reaches out to you, you’re probably not the only person they’re contacting. Chances are they’re talking to other similar businesses in the area to determine the work they can get for the right price. With search engines and business websites at your fingertips, you’ll want to regularly check to make sure your pricing and packaging is attractive. When you’ve got this knowledge at your disposal, you’re able to present yourself as the best possible choice while negotiating and give your client confidence that they are making the right choice. Be More Than Just Your Services When you’re prepping for a job interview, you’re told to make a great first impression. The same is true when you’re talking about a future job with a client. So what are the best ways to make a strong first impression? Be personable. When you take the time to learn who the customer is, what their needs are, and create a genuine connection, your relationship-building efforts will give the client a very positive image of you and your business. Focus on Creating Win-Win Situations The ultimate goal of negotiating as a small business is to create a win-win situation, but don’t forget about yourself in that equation. You always want to create positive outcomes for your customers, but not at the expense of your work and profits. Never undervalue yourself. Know when it’s okay to walk away from a job. Some projects won’t be a good fit, and part of being an expert negotiator is knowing when to say no to a job that’s not worth your time and labor. Negotiate Services Rather Than Cost One steadfast rule for being a more powerful negotiator is always emphasizing the services you’re providing over the cost. Know what your floor price / minimum profit margin can be, and don’t break that number. Instead, negotiate how you might adjust your services and materials to bring down costs for a client without sacrificing your earnings. It’s imperative to listen to the needs of your clients. What are the client’s expectations while the job is in progress, and what will the finished product be? If they aren’t sure themselves, you can highlight your expertise by asking lots of questions to get the details you need. Document Your Negotiation With an Estimate or Invoice Once you’ve asked all the questions you have, sorted out expectations and details for the project, and made that personable connection with your potential clients, the absolute best thing to do is to drive that momentum forward by immediately sending a detailed digital invoice. You can use InvoiceASAP’s invoicing app and accounting software to document notes about the job and quickly send all of the details through email or text. It will help the customer see your professionalism and your precise plan of action, but it also acts as a receipt of your conversation to help you land the job and secure the best profit possible. Sign up for a FREE InvoiceASAP account today to get started!
No matter what type of small business you operate, securing and retaining customers is the primary goal. But how do you get there? First impressions are crucial and can turn a potential buyer into a lifelong customer. For many small businesses, this starts with providing potential customers with a free estimate. Potential clients will want to know how long the work will take, what they can expect, and what the final costs will be. Although some projects are straightforward, others can get complicated – especially when multiple factors must be taken into account. Here's how to create the perfect estimate, so you can be competitive while remaining profitable, and increasing the chances you convert your estimate into a paying job. Establish a Realistic Timeline and Create Milestones If you don't know the specific details for a given project, you will never be able to provide a proper estimate. When a bad estimate is given, you may get the sale, but you will lose future business from the client and people they know. Bad estimates are bad for business. Take a step back and examine the full scope of the project. Outline the steps you will need to take to complete the service and be realistic when mapping out the phases. Once you have a broad understanding of what will need to accomplish, write down a timeline for milestones you'll hit along the way, based on the agreed upon scope of work. Keep in mind the importance of defining how out-of-scope efforts or changes will be handled and priced. Consider the Materials Needed and Labor Costs Outlining the tools and materials you need will be a significant factor in creating your estimate. You may already have many of the items you will need to complete the job, but in some cases, you may need to order additional materials. This will affect your estimate, so be sure to weigh shipping costs and delivery times (be sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room!). You’ll also want to predict how many hours of labor the job will take and how many workers will be needed. Depending on the services you offer, you may need to factor in an independent contractor. Add these components to your estimated timeline and cost. Take Advantage of InvoiceASAP’s Invoicing Platform Now that you have drawn out an approximate schedule with service milestones, outlined material and labor sourcing, how do you present this information to your client in a way that turns them into a customer? Many small business owners find the best strategy is to provide a professional, detailed, and easy-to-read estimate to the potential client rather than simply quoting a final cost number over the phone. With InvoiceASAP, you can breakdown all of the components that go into the final estimated cost so your prospective customer is more comfortable with your quote. You can also include images, detailed notes, and auto-generated reports to create an accurate estimate. When the client can see what they’ll be paying for and how the services will be completed, they’ll trust you to complete the project. Sign up today for a free InvoiceASAP account and start turning potential customers into sales.
Your small business is unique, but there are certain money-saving-habits every company should practice to improve finances and cash flow. We’ve pulled together some of the proven best practices that will set your company up to be more efficient and ensure you are on track to achieve heightened success. Make Reviewing Your Finances a Habit As a small business owner, you have taken on a range of roles and responsibilities that fill your days, weeks and months, but you may be forgetting one crucial step. No matter how confident you are about your business' financial well-being, this is something that needs to be reviewed regularly by adding a detailed financial review to your monthly or weekly schedule. Based on the time of year, level of demand, and the type of contract services you offer, your flow of income and expenses will likely vary from week to week and month to month. Having a clear understanding of your current, and projected, finances will help you make better decisions concerning your spending and budgeting. Additionally, this top money habit will help you better understand full-scale operations so you can determine what changes you can implement to inspire growth within your company. Create (and Follow) an Every-Dollar Budget Knowing the comings and goings of your money dramatically reduces stress and enables you to understand at any given time whether or not you should make a purchase, set aside additional funds to pay down an outstanding expense, or whether you will be able to cash flow your expansion plans. Budgeting seems obvious; however, in common practice, most businesses fail to implement this vital money-saving step. And even those that do often do not track exact spending, choosing to instead to round numbers off. For a successful business, you must create an every-dollar budget and then follow and execute that budget as exactly as you can. Whether you set up a monthly or quarterly budget, it’s crucial to determine your predicted income and known expenses to generate precise numbers concerning additional spending and savings. Creating and enforcing an effective budget may take time, but the effort spent is well worth the time. While you may initially think a budget is designed to restrict, it’s actually designed to free. Reduce Unnecessary Spending by Managing Your Inventory Comparable to a regular review of finances, you should also routinely review and manage your inventory. This is most easily accomplished through auto-generated inventory reports. By reviewing your inventory, you should compare what’s coming in, to what’s going out, and at what rate so you can identify cost-saving possibilities. From there, you can determine if there’s an opportunity to source items you need to restock more cost-effectively, along with how to adjust your future orders to meet changing demands. You may also need to re-evaluate and determine which approach to inventory management (LIFO, FIFO, FILO, or LILO) is most beneficial to your business. Plan Ahead for Tax Season By planning ahead, when the time comes to pay taxes, your finances aren’t hit with a huge expense all at once. You can use your taxes from the previous year to predict what you’ll owe the following season and regularly set it aside throughout the year. One of the best money habits you can put in place for yourself is to prepare for future known expenses, including federal and state taxes. We strongly recommend working with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to ensure you’re avoiding costly mistakes, taking advantage of all tax breaks, and correctly reporting all relevant activity. Take Advantage of Tax Deductions and Benefits Think of tax breaks as “free money.” As a small business, you have multiple money-saving opportunities when it comes to deductions and write-offs, and a CPA can help you find all of them. Invest the time to educate yourself on the benefits available to your specific company and industry so you can ask the right questions. Don’t hesitate to utilize programs and opportunities to help reduce the final tax amount owed. Adjust Services and Inventory to Meet Immediate Needs When you learn how to adjust your business to meet and consumer needs, your business will be ready for anything! During COVID-19, many small businesses found they needed to adjust how they offered their services while diversifying what they sold to meet the immediate needs of their clients. Staying flexible with how you offer services and adapting your inventory management practices are strategies that can help you grow your small business even after unexpected disruptions occur. Identify Unnecessary Debt and Prioritize Reducing It Debt management is a sign of a healthy business and dramatically impacts your ability to leverage debt in the future. Are you prioritizing your business debt? If you're not, you should be! One of your top goals should be to prioritize and reduce debt. Just as you would put money aside for taxes, you should be regularly making payments to work off debts - be sure to include these set payments in your budgeting plan. Pay Out Your Own Salary on a Pre-Set Schedule If, at any point, you plan to consider taking on investors or debt in order to grow your business, you will need to provide flawless financial statements. How you handle business profits and your personal salary are a part of that equation. Paying yourself a set salary is an incredible money-saving habit that only half of small business report doing. Just as you would pay an employee, you should pay yourself a fixed salary on a pre-set schedule. This not only maximizes predictability of your business and personal cash flow, it’s a fundamental practice of any mature company. How this happens can be done in a manner that makes the most sense for you and your small business. The goal is to view your business profit and your own pay as two separate items. Get Creative With Free Marketing Tools Available The implementation of a successful marketing campaign can boost the success of your business. Whether your small business is doing financially well or has fallen on hard times, marketing should be a priority. Traditional marketing can be pricey for a small business, and you should be taking advantage of the free marketing tools available to you. Social media platforms are a great way to find and connect with your customers without having to spend money. Through these platforms, you can create posts that are engaging and informative. You can also use location and audience tools to reach potential customers and clients. The philosophy of working smarter and not harder is the key to create this money-saving habit with your marketing. Utilize Invoice Technology to Improve Efficiency Traditional invoicing can get messy, be difficult to keep track of, and has limitations on customer interactions. Not all invoicing is created equal, and using the right invoicing app can help you track customer payment and manage data reports. Invoicing software, like InvoiceASAP, can improve payment efficiency and customer retainment. Invoicing software enhances business operations, saving you time and money. Manage Your Small Business with InvoiceASAP The most important thing you can do for your small business is to utilize InvoiceASAP’s affordable accounting and invoicing software, featuring valuable auto-generated reports. These reports will help you master many of the aforementioned top money habits to help you manage your business. Sign up for a FREE account today and discover how the InvoiceASAP platform can help your small business build smart money habits with data-driven insights.
As your HVAC business grows, there are some proven practices you should know and follow. From customer communication to invoicing procedures to record organization, here are common HVAC invoicing mistakes and recommendations for how to avoid them by instilling best practices at your company. 1. Allowing technicians to be inconsistent with invoices. As your company expands and you bring on more employees, it’s important to provide training on how to properly write-up an HVAC invoice. For technicians who are completing invoices in the field, consider providing completed example invoices for common maintenance projects, as well as a simple checklist for what information and details need to be included. Maintain consistency with acronyms and abbreviations and make sure everyone is following the same template. 2. Not including contract details in your HVAC invoicing. Another mistake is excluding details about your client’s contract on your HVAC invoice. Think of the invoice as an agreement of services between you and your client. Clearly write out your expectations along with any payment timeline policies. Include a place for a tech’s signature, the customer’s signature, and the date. 3. Completing HVAC invoices with missing crucial information. An HVAC invoicing header with company contact information should be at the top of all paper and digital invoices. Other crucial details include the invoice number, invoice date, an itemized breakdown of charges, and space for the tech to write additional notes. For companies who require proof-of-work or need to attach photos, the InvoiceASAP platform allows you to do just that and more. 4. Sending your HVAC invoice after you’ve left the job site. Best practice for getting invoices in the hands of your clients is to do so while you’re still at the job site. The key here is to have printed or digital invoices ready to go that your techs can fill out and adjust after completing work on-site. Not only will this speed up the invoicing process and cut down on the paper/email trail, but it will also improve the details and accuracy of your company’s invoices. The sooner you are able to put an invoice in the hands of your customer, the sooner you get paid. 5. Not being flexible with your form of payment. Flexibility with your client’s payment options will get you paid faster and create a more positive experience for your customers. In addition to accepting cash and checks, your team should also be prepared to accept debit and credit cards, and bank payments via ACH or eCheck, directly from an invoice. If you’re able to use a portable card reader in the field, make sure your techs are trained to use it correctly. Also, consider offering other payment apps built for mobile devices. Alternatively, your techs can use invoicing software to photograph the form of payment and post it directly to the invoice. 6. Disorganized record-keeping. No matter how you create and send your invoices, you definitely want to prioritize organization when it comes to filing. Use a labeling system that works for your company and train your employees who help manage records to file new invoices correctly. HVAC invoicing software can be very beneficial for making sure records for completed maintenance, payments, customer contact information, and sales history is always up to date and easily accessible. 7. Not keeping customer information updated. In addition to keeping service records maintained and updated, it’s just as important to regularly update customer information. Addresses, emails, and telephone numbers should all be updated in your records whenever you learn of a change. You should also collect this information from new clients, along with their personal preference for how to best contact them. 8. Failing to update maintenance records. Organizing your client’s maintenance history information will help you better understand the type of service completed and document important details about the client you may not remember in the future. These records can also allow you to set check-in times for when your techs may need to perform routine maintenance. Use a system that makes sense to you and meets your needs. Make sure those in charge of updating records remain consistent with how information is recorded. 9. Not providing an itemized breakdown of costs A huge part of customer satisfaction and retention involves providing clear communication. When it comes to invoicing, you want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to see exactly what they’re paying for. No matter the project, always include an itemized cost breakdown to limit confusion and maintain transparency with clients about your services. Invoicing solutions like InvoiceASAP allow you to pre-define all of your services and products in advance, making it easy to add them to an estimate or invoice, and keeping the details consistent across all of your clients. 10. Not following up for future maintenance work. Stay ahead of new jobs and help keep your revenue steady by routinely reaching out to clients for future maintenance work and any other potential services. Your record-keeping and updated customer information will make it easy to send out maintenance and appointment reminders. Get More from Your Invoicing System Interested in learning how to simplify and drastically improve your invoicing, estimate-writing, and payments process? Contact InvoiceASAP to learn more about our full-service dashboard built for those who work in the field. Create a FREE account today!
InvoiceASAP is great for sending invoices on the go, but that isn’t the only reason our customers love us. Our customers love us because their customers love us. InvoiceASAP is one of the most popular mobile invoicing tools out there. It has a simple interface, syncs well with different accounting software, including Quickbooks and Quickbooks Desktop, and works across multiple devices. But scratch beneath the surface and you unlock so much more. The InvoiceASAP platform can double up as your biggest customer service ally, helping you to inject greatness into your interactions with clients. Here are five ways you can truly delight your customers with the power of InvoiceASAP… 1. Tailor Customer Experience Through Personalized Notes Isn’t it nice when someone provides you with a service and it really feels like they know you? Like when your Cleaner remembers how you like your fresh laundry folded, or when your Landscaper brings along doggy treats to mellow your 80lb German Shepherd pup in the backyard. Even something simple like your favorite restaurant knowing your name and remembering how you like your favorite meal. That warm fuzzy feeling – it’s great, and it’s what keeps customers coming back. What’s even greater is that with a little help from InvoiceASAP, it’s super easy to provide this kind of service to your customers. The Customer Notes feature on InvoiceASAP allows you to add private notes about your customers to share internally. Get familiar with it. If used right, it can really help to supercharge your customer interactions. Whether you use InvoiceASAP as a team or you’re just a one-man-band, this feature will allow you to store notes so that you can provide a more tailored service to each of your customers. Now, you and your whole team can personally get to know your customers and give them the personalized service that will keep them coming back and feeling like family. Here’s how to add customer notes on a mobile device:. https://vimeo.com/250376757 Check out our forum post on adding customer notes for more info. 2. Easily Download Customer Data and Send Exclusive Updates and Deals Did you know that you can download data from InvoiceASAP? Well, you can, and what’s more, you can do a ton of amazing things with this data to improve customer experience. If you have a company update or special offer you want to share directly with customers, you can easily pull contact data from InvoiceASAP to get in touch with your customers en masse. When you download data from InvoiceASAP it gets stored as a .csv file on your computer which you can then upload into an Excel spreadsheet. If you’re a bit of an Excel whizz you could even filter your customers by city or state or by the products or services they’ve purchased then send them targeted email or mail. A quick guide to downloading data: Head to the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) and log inClick on ReportsSelect the report category (i.e., Invoice Reports) and then the specific report you would like to viewHere you’ll see a list of all the data in that report. Use the calendar to search for data within a specific timeframeClick Export 3. Attach Before and After Photos to Your Invoices If you fix, build, clean, create, paint or do anything that visually transforms something – start adding photo attachments to your invoices and estimates. This is a great tool for showing proof of work and demonstrating your incredible handiwork, giving customers another reason to keep coming back. One InvoiceASAP user we recently spoke with told us why he loved this feature. Working in the maintenance industry he was required to send out proof of work to clients after a job was completed as they were often not able to sign-off on the work in person. He’d send out an estimate with an image of what he was working on before the fix, then after the job, he’d attach an image to the invoice. Not only did it demonstrate his great work to clients, but it was also super easy to do. Check out our blog post on adding proof of work photos to invoices, to learn how. 4. Offer More Ways For Your Customers to Pay Make it easy for customers to do business with you and they’ll be more likely to come back. We’ve all been there before – you’re midway through an order at the local coffee shop to find they only accept cash and you are penniless aside from your bank card. What do you do? Go off in search of the nearest ATM? Maybe. Cancel your order and walk away? Probably. The same thinking can apply to any one of your customers at the point you make a sale. By limiting your payment options, you limit your customers. With InvoiceASAP it’s really easy to add new payment methods to your account. The payment services that we connect to include Square, PayPal, Authorize.net and WePay. By broadening your payment options, your client will not only be happier, you’re also more likely to get paid faster. After all, the hard part is getting customers. Accepting their money should be the easy part. Quick guide to adding a new payment method: Head to the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) and loginClick on My Payment MethodsSelect the payment service you wish to connect your InvoiceASAP account to. If you want to add Square or PayPal, you will need to create an account with these services before you can connect.Click Save then follow the setup instructions. To add Square, PayPal or Authorize.net you will first need to be on a Base, Plus or Biz plan. If you’re not already, you can upgrade here. 5. Audio Notes Add a Personal Touch A little personal touch can go a long way. That’s why we decided to introduce audio notes for invoices. With this feature, you can record a short voice memo and attach it to a client’s invoice or estimate. Maybe you have further comments to share on the work carried out, or you just want to add a friendly greeting. Whatever you do, see it as an extension of your great customer service and make your customers smile. Learn how to add voice memos to your invoices. Boost Your Customer Experience with InvoiceASAP! So now you have the knowledge, what are you waiting for? Get delighting those customers! Get started with InvoiceASAP by signing up for your free account. We’ll make invoicing your customers easier, while also helping you personalize your invoices and boosting your customer interaction.
Invoicing correctly isn’t all just about what’s written on the invoice. A large part of getting it right comes down to effective communication and relationship management. Here we run through our top 10 invoicing tips to help you not only get paid faster but also keep those customers coming back! 1. Get a contract First things first, get a contract and get it signed. Starting off on the right foot, with everyone on the same page will go a long way towards setting the tone for the remainder of the project. It’s in both party’s interest to get a contract signed. Without one, you’re at risk of being left in the lurch with no payment and they’re at risk of being overcharged or being left with an incomplete or inadequate end product. Now that’s no fun for anyone! 2. Be really specific Before you provide an estimate, make sure you uncover any unknowns so that you can be as accurate as possible with your figure. Make it really clear on your invoice what you are charging for. For a customer, it can be really frustrating receiving an invoice for which the charges are unclear. 3. If you’re out and about regularly, consider a mobile invoicing solution Getting paid quickly is largely due to getting your invoices out quickly. If you work in the field or you’re on the road a lot, consider a mobile invoicing solution to enable you to send invoices on the go. InvoiceASAP is a great tool that does exactly what it says on the tin. It also allows you to attach voice memos and photos to all your invoices and estimates which is great if you need to show before and after photos or proof of work. 4. Set your own payment terms This includes your invoicing dates and due dates. Take into account that there will, inevitably, be late payers and adjust your payment terms accordingly. Consider charging a percentage of the overall amount upfront, or setting payment milestones so that you get a steady flow of cash whilst carrying out the work. Be clear with your customers about your payment terms. For example, you may require a signature on estimates, and include due dates in every written piece of communication with your customer. 5. Keep communication with your client open, especially if the scope of work creeps Often you start working on a project with a client and realize, after you draw back the curtains, the full scope of the project was greater than anticipated when you initially provided your estimate. If you think you will go over the estimated amount, make sure you communicate this clearly to your client as soon as possible. No one likes being stung with an unexpected hike in price. So, rather than giving them a nasty surprise at the end of the project, or worse, undercharging, be completely open and explain exactly what you’re charging for and why. It is also worth addressing scope creep in the initial contract with a client. Many clients may require a Change Order to be signed which is essentially a secondary contract listing the additional hours, work, products or services required to complete the job. This way you will avoid leaving clients with a sour feeling at the end of a job and maintain a positive relationship with them. 6. Get a secondary contact for your invoices in case the primary contact is on vacation There’s nothing worse than receiving an out-of-office message from a client letting you know that they’re on vacation for the next few weeks, just after you’ve emailed them an invoice. Rather than waiting it out, make sure you have a secondary point of contact who you can call on to get the payment processed. Also, if you can be clear on invoicing dates from the start, you should get the heads up from clients if they will be away during those dates and ask for an additional contact during those periods. 7. Invoice as soon as possible after, or as products and services are supplied The sooner you submit your invoice, the sooner you’ll get paid. Honor your commitments too – if you deliver on time, you’re more likely to get paid on time. 8. Broaden your payment solutions Make it easy for customers to do business with you and they’ll be more likely to come back. By increasing your payment options, your client will not only be happier, you’re also more likely to get paid faster. 9. Keep on top of cash flow, track which invoices have been paid and which haven’t Always be on top of what’s been paid and what’s owed and have a timely system of reminders, monthly statements and phone follow-ups to lessen the risk of running into cash flow problems. 10. Consider using late-payment fees or prompt-payment discounts. If late payment is a common occurrence, consider dishing out penalties to those who don’t stick to your payment terms or offering discounts to those who pay up early. Do make sure this is included in your contract so that they are aware of the implications and so that you have something to refer back to if they take issue with paying a fee. Finally, when it comes to getting paid on time, it may feel like the majority of control is with the client. But by taking the lead, being organized, open and clear you will have more influence over when you’ll get paid. Photo credit: © XiXinXing istockphoto.com
Are you a one-man-band or do you work in a very small company? Well if so, here’s an interesting fact: You’re in the majority! Micro-businesses, defined as firms with 1-9 employees, are the most common kind of employer firm in the private sector. Read on to learn more about these small but mighty companies… There are some incredible benefits to managing your own micro-business. Many people choose to start their own business with the desire to be their own boss; others are attracted by the flexibility it offers and the ability to pursue their own interests and hobbies. Getting paid to do the thing that you love the most – that’s awesome, right? Well, as with any business, it’s not all just sunshine and roses – micro-businesses have their own unique set of challenges too. Cash flow is the biggest challenge… The nature of business and changes in the economy can present a number of uncertainties for these pint-sized enterprises. The owner-operator is commonly required to work long hours, take work home, as well as being responsible for many, if not all, aspects of the business. This can make the work-life balance hard to manage, leading to a lot of personal pressure and stress. One of the biggest hurdles for micro-businesses is cash flow. All small businesses are hugely dependent on staying cash flow positive but this dependency becomes even more acute the smaller the company is. A study by the CFED revealed that difficulty managing cash flow was the challenge most frequently reported by micro-businesses of every age and size. Not being paid on time a few months in a row is the sort of thing that can run a business into the ground. It’s therefore super important to make this aspect of managing business easy, using financial tools that are flexible to the way you do business and that don’t cause any unnecessary hurdles. … But entrepreneurs are pretty happy people Let’s not get bogged down with the pessimism! According to the American Express OPEN® Small Business Monitor, a large majority of business owners (92%) are happy with their lives, with more than three quarters (76%) saying their happiness is somewhat or entirely due to being an entrepreneur. Now that seems like a good enough reason to stick at it! Have you got any tips to share on running a micro-business? Tell us in the comments below… Also see: How to Survive A Cash Flow Crisis About Us Built for businesses on the go, InvoiceASAP allows you to send invoices, estimates and take payments on your mobile, tablet or computer. The invoicing tool also connects with QuickBooks and Xero to sync with your accounting data. Learn more about how mobile invoicing could benefit your business. Photo credit: istockphoto.com © Mikolette
In this month’s update: Choose which documents can be viewed on the mobile app Edit the Quantity and Unit Price column titles Set tax and payment terms for individual customers and jobs Automated accounting sync error reporting Document Retrieval settings: choose which invoices/estimates you see on your mobile device In the past, we’ve downloaded the most recent 500 invoices onto the mobile app. However, we’ve had a number of requests from customers who would like access to all of their invoices, or they want their team in the field to see current invoices only. To handle all of these requests, we have added a new setting called ‘Document Retrieval’. You can update this setting via the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) > Login > Settings. Your options are: Most Recent 500 (default) Last 1 Day Last 7 Days Last 30 Days Last 60 Days Last 90 Days Last 120 Days Last 365 Days Last 18 Months Last 2 Years All Documents Additionally, if you have team members, the Company Admin can now change the document retrieval settings so that users can view all invoices/estimates created by the company or just the ones that they’ve created Once logged into the Manage Account website, head to ‘Manage users’ on the left and click on the key icon next to a user to edit them. Here you’ll see the setting ‘View all company invoices’. If this is checked, then the user will see all invoices or estimates. If it’s not checked, then the user will only see their own invoices/estimates. Change the Quantity and Unit Price column titles on documents You can now customize the Unit Price and Quantity column headings on invoices and estimates. For example, instead of Unit Price, you can call this column ‘Hourly Rate’, and you can rename the Quantity heading to, ‘Hours Spent’. You can update this on the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) > Login > Settings. Set tax and payment terms for individual customers and jobs Note: For Plus and Biz users only We’ve updated the tax settings so that you can apply a default tax to a specific customer, job or location and also mark customers and jobs/locations as being ‘taxable’ or ‘non-taxable’. Previously, each customer and job/location would have the same default tax setting applied to them. If you work in places that have multiple tax rates, or you have customers with different tax rates, you’d need to change this every time you created an invoice. Now, if you edit a customer or job/location, you will see an ‘Advanced settings’ button. Click on this and you’ll be able to do the following: Mark a customer as Taxable or Non-Taxable Set a default tax rate for each customer and job/location Set a default payment term for each customer and job/location For a step-by-step guide on how to do this, check out our forum post on Advanced tax settings Automated Sync Error Reporting Note: For QuickBooks Online and Xero customers only We now get notified immediately if you get a sync error on QuickBooks Online or Xero. This means we’re able to start digging into the issue for you (if you haven’t been able to resolve it yourself) and either fix it on our end or send you instructions for fixing it yourself. This update will help us to provide you with a better customer service and improve the accounting sync.