man doing a home repair service by measuring the floor

Your Guide to Pricing Home Repair Services

No one knows the ins and outs of your small business better than you do, and when it comes to pricing home repair services, you rely on that knowledge to calculate pricing that will best help you grow your business. You may find that hourly rates work best for smaller jobs, but when facing water damage remediation or septic issues, things can get a little more complicated. Although it might be tempting to use competitors’ pricing to create your estimates, finalizing a job quote is a bit more complicated than you may have thought.  What to Factor Into Your Quote Putting together your pricing for a home repair service is like perfecting a family recipe. There are multiple ingredients and steps to remember, they won’t always be used equally, it takes practice to perfect, and you will continually improve based on past mistakes. After discussing the details of the job with your client, you’ll want to start with two basics -- working out the cost for labor and materials.  To work out the cost of labor you should:  Estimate the total number of hours needed to complete the jobEstimate the total number of employees it will take to complete the job To estimate the cost for materials you should: Write out the costs for everythingTake shipping and delivery into considerationTake custom-made prices into consideration Now that you have a base number for your project-specific costs, you’ll want to factor in your overhead costs. When doing home repairs you’ll want to include: Expenses from vehicle mileageMaintenance to living expensesInsurance and licensing expensesAdvertising expenses Most importantly, don’t forget to also determine a percentage in upcharges for your profit margin! Leave Room for Unexpected or Extra Expenses As a small home repair business taking on a variety of services, you likely already know those surprise problems can pop up on any job. Be transparent with your customers about the potential for unexpected, additional expenses should an issue arise while the repair job is in progress.  Before you begin the job, communicate why there could be a final price increase if more labor is required or additional materials are needed. This wiggle room within your estimate can be a huge safety net to maintain your profit margin while maintaining customer satisfaction (no one likes hidden or surprise charges).  Use Past Data and Other Resources Your past estimates and invoices are your friends when starting a new quote. Use reports from similar jobs that were of comparable size as a guide. Learn from your job history and make changes over time as you become even more of an expert on pricing.  You can also utilize resources to help you write estimates, like a mobile invoicing app and accounting software. With this tool at your fingertips, you’d be able to look up past estimates, write new detailed quotes, and quickly convert them into client invoices after you’ve completed the job.  Always think “work smarter, not harder” when growing your business, and a mobile invoice app can be a valuable tool to help you develop personalized pricing that best works for your business. Start taking advantage of InvoiceASAP’s easy-to-use invoicing tools and auto-generated reports to help you price your home repair services by signing up for a FREE account today.
repair man fulfilling a maintenance contract

How to Retain Customers and Boost Revenue with Maintenance Contracts

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! 
business owner negotiating with woman to make a deal

How to Be a Powerful Negotiator as a Small Business Owner

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!
man accepting a remote payment for an invoice

Top 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Accept Remote Payments

As more communities begin phased reopening, small businesses and customers are getting into the groove of the “new normal.” Social distancing, touchless interactions, and remote activities are prevalent themes among new safety precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  When it comes to issuing and receiving payments, small businesses are beginning to provide safer payment options for their customers. Here are the top three options for remote payments that create win-win situations for you and your business: the safety of your employees and clients and improved transaction speeds! Make Use of Popular Contactless Transactions Thanks to the need for increased security measures combined with mobile convenience, contactless payments like ApplePay and GooglePay have become more popular over the past several years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, small businesses have seen a 27% increase in the use of contactless payments. This payment method is providing a safer way for consumers to pay and is quickly becoming a preferred payment method for small transactions as consumers seek to reduce touchpoints.  With contactless payments, you can even eliminate touchpoints. Consider disabling the signature screen and emailing digital receipts to client email addresses already on file. There’s no touching a shared keypad, no holding a shared pen, and no cleaning needed after each transaction.  Although every customer may not have the ability to pay from their mobile device, many small businesses are finding that it’s just one of the many ways to promote safety. Utilize a Virtual Terminal When you hear “virtual terminal,” you might imagine a portal out of a sci-fi movie, but virtual terminals are actually software applications that allow for remote payment processing. Essentially, your computer is able to process transactions from credit cards without physically needing to exchange the card between customers and employees.  A virtual terminal is hosted online and allows you to enter and process credit cards through your browser manually. Customers who shop online are already familiar with virtual terminal technology and find it convenient to pay for goods and services.  Even if you don’t have an online store, you should consider including a virtual terminal on your company’s website or social media page to increase sales and collect remote payments securely. This option provides multiple solutions for payment without face-to-face contact. Take Advantage of Digital Invoicing with InvoiceASAP Don’t count yourself out when it comes to digital invoicing. Even if your company doesn’t offer home or contracting services, invoices can be used to collect payment for a wide variety of small businesses, whether you are selling goods or services.  Customized invoices created on a computer or mobile device are a great way to give your customers a quick and easy way to pay digitally.  Consider sending branded invoices designed to be paid by credit card or ACH so you don’t have to deal with collecting specific information. It’s convenient for your customers and gets you paid quickly. With payment management tools provided by InvoiceASAP, small business owners are turning to digital invoicing that allows them to bill and receive payments, organize invoices and customer information, and also analyzing sales and data.  InvoiceASAP is a remote payment option that is fully customizable for your small business needs, and should definitely be considered as a remote payment option. As small businesses adjust to creating a safer environment during the current global pandemic, InvoiceASAP is here to help you make accepting payments easier, faster and safer. Sign up today to create a free InvoiceASAP account and discover how we can help you accept remote payments.
man turning a free estimate into a paid invoice

How to Convert Free Estimates Into Paid Revenue

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.
Truck driver wearing a mask to protect against Covid19

Small Business Guide for Navigating COVID-19

The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses Small businesses nationwide are already feeling the effects of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. With many states issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, the closure of non-essential businesses has led to major financial interruptions.  While some businesses, like restaurants, were able to modify services by providing take-out or delivery orders to meet regulations, other businesses are cutting hours, moving operations entirely online or closing altogether.  Currently, there is no set time when social distancing bans will be lifted, and until we have an effective strategy for COVID-19 testing and research, we could see more waves of social distancing in the future until a vaccine is available to the public.   So what does this mean for your business? How do you manage operations and keep your business afloat during a global health and financial crisis? This short guide will help you create a business management plan of action, to help you manage today, and prepare for a future of unknowns.  Your First Step: Create a COVID-19 Plan The very first step for your small business during the coronavirus outbreak is to create a plan by taking inventory of your services, your expenses, and your community of customers. Here are some basic financial and social steps to take in 2020.  Assess Your Financial Situation What worked well for your business prior to the COVID-19 social distancing orders may no longer be reasonable. The first thing you should do as a small business owner is to assess your current finances. Get a clear picture of your current inventory, expenses and staffing. Review money coming in and going out. Prioritize immediate needs and mitigate waste or unnecessary expenses now. Take this time to review your financial resources and emergency funds, and assess your insurance policies to see if you qualify for additional support or benefits.  File Your 2019 Taxes If you haven't already filed your taxes this year, the IRS has now extended the 2019 filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. The Treasury Department is hoping this extension will offer some relief for small businesses and individuals who may owe money upon filing. The deadline also applies to quarterly taxes that would have been due on April 15.  However, if you can do them now, go ahead and file your taxes sooner rather than later. You may receive a refund that could provide some relief for your small business now. Be sure to check your state's deadline requirements for filing, as not all states have followed these extended federal deadlines.  Develop a Marketing Plan to Retain Customers Creating an adaptable marketing plan as part of your management strategy will be vital to how you retain existing customers and find new customers as well.  Social media posts, blogging, and email newsletters are just a few ways to reinforce ongoing dialogue with your customers.  How to Interact With Customers During COVID-19 When communicating digitally with your customers, it’s important to be genuine. Be honest and transparent in your posts and messaging about what services or products you can offer at this time. Make customers aware of how to make purchases. Provide realistic expectations and explain what steps you're taking to guarantee the safety and health of your employees and customers.  Remember to preserve sensitivity and be careful with your messaging, as some people may be directly affected by this crisis. Sending too many emails, using fear or hard-sell tactics can come across as opportunistic and insincere. Finally, remember to remind customers why they are important to your business and how much you appreciate them. Right now, people want to support local, small businesses. Tell your story while offering your customers reassurance that you’re open and here to stay. Tune Up Your Online Presence  If you don't already have a website (or if yours is outdated), now is a great time to create one that represents your small business digitally. Keep operating hours, contact information, shipping or service delays and other critical messaging up to date and accurate. Along with posting updates about your business, your strategy may include ways for customers to make purchases online or over the phone. Think outside the box to discover what services or work products you can sell online.  For example, a home repair company may consider providing “how-to” videos or guides to help people DIY. If it makes sense, allow customers to purchase gift cards for future services. Event planners can provide virtual tours and meetings to plan future events.  If you haven't already, consider moving all purchasing and invoice paperwork, customer reports, and other paper management systems to a digital platform you can access remotely. Mobile invoicing solutions not only streamline your business to save you time and money, but allow you to better function and operate remotely. Remember, business will pick up again once this is over. All of these strategies can help you stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds, once they are able and ready to purchase. Set Your Company's Tone Setting the tone for your brand is just as important as having a modified marketing plan - and both go hand in hand. When talking about COVID-19, it's recommended you focus on facts and continuing developments that are relevant to your company, and within your control.  Keeping an appropriate and calm tone that reflects your customers' needs will help humanize your brand and deepen connections with your consumers and followers. Model your tone for other employees and stay consistent in communication with both employees and clients.  Seek Out Assistance You are not alone. Many businesses are fighting to stay open. Forbes estimates that 30 million small businesses are struggling all over the U.S. Fortunately, resources are offering financial support during this temporary period.  What Resources are Available for Small Businesses? From loans to relief funds to grant programs, there are many resources available to small businesses right now.  While some resources assist businesses in their direct communities, such as Amazon's fund to support Seattle businesses, other similar funds are available nationwide.  GoFundMe's Small Business Relief Initiative is just one example. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also offering disaster assistance and providing low-interest rate loans to small business owners who need financial support for staffing, health insurance and more. Be sure to research additional fund programs in your home state and city. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Response Toolkit The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled a coronavirus response toolkit with information and links to emergency loan applications, sample graphics to use on your social media pages, and sample messaging for workplace best practices. The toolkit also provides information about state and local government policies, as well as a digital form that helps you create a custom flyer for your small business.  How to Keep Your Business Running Day-to-Day Even if you're no longer able to offer your full range of services, there are steps you can still take to keep your small business active and operational. Your plan will need to be personalized based on your company's size, structure, the products and services you offer, and whether your business is deemed essential by your state's government. Here's our advice for running your business during a pandemic. Set New COVID-19 Company Policies  Along with setting an appropriate tone, you should issue new policies and protocols specific to the coronavirus outbreak, especially for your employees.  You should include the steps you're actively taking to mitigate the spread of the virus and follow all local and federal social distancing recommendations. Be clear about work from home policies, sick leave, traveling to and from work, hygiene and sanitation best practices, and any additional measures that may require adjustments.  Expand Your Sick-Leave Policy Remember, this is a global pandemic which means your employees might fall ill. Support sick employees who are self-isolating at home or sick in the hospital, by expanding upon your current sick-leave policy.  If an employee contracts COVID-19, they will not be able to return to work until they've fully recovered and have been cleared by medical personnel, which is a minimum of 14 days. Some workers may require even more recovery time.  If Possible, Work Remotely We know not everyone will be able to take their small business completely online, but if you can do so, now is the time to work remotely.  Remote work might mean employees work from home and hold meetings virtually, or it might involve reaching customers online instead of at your physical business location. If your staff is working from home, create a new routine, set clear expectations and check in on their progress and stress levels. Give employees time to adjust and find ways to connect and establish a sense of normalcy. Limit or Eliminate In-Person Meetings and Travel Any required in-person meetings should be done remotely, even if your small business isn't working from home full-time. Set up video conferences in place of any regular in-person meetings to help minimize contact and adhere to guidelines set by the CDC.  Almost all industry conventions and other work-related events have been canceled or postponed at this time, but if you do need to travel, be prepared with sanitation supplies and any necessary gear to stay hygienic and safe while traveling.   Be Flexible with Your Employees A key theme here is to remember why we're all here in the first place. Be flexible and understanding of the individual situations your employees are facing at this time, especially with employees who are considered high-risk or who are caring for someone at home who is high-risk. Reevaluate any policies for individuals who may require special accommodations. Make Long-Term Plans COVID-19 is an ongoing situation that's currently without a definite end date. Though we may experience times in the future where social distancing guidelines are relaxed, we'll likely see new waves of cases throughout the year.  Take this time not only to create a short-term plan but also to get procedures ready for quick shelter-in-place orders at a moment's notice. What If You Can't Operate Remotely? Remote work will not be an option for every small business. For essential businesses, many companies are still providing services face to face or in-home. Take these steps to protect both employees and customers and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. Sanitize Your Workspace Frequently Stay updated on workplace sanitation guidelines released by the CDC and know how often items need to be wiped down and cleaned. Sanitize frequent-touch items, like door handles, tablets, registers, computers, and counters throughout the day, and well as employee break rooms and offices.  Promote Positive Hygiene Protocols Again, along with having a business management plan for sanitation, you should provide multiple stations for self-sanitizing.  Create cleaning protocols, wear gloves and masks when necessary, limit patrons inside your building, and create floor markers to mark appropriate spacing, six feet apart. Set up visual reminders for increased hand-washing to improve the hygiene habits of your employees and customers, while also making everyone who interacts with your small business feel safer.  If you're a home contractor, advertise and practice any sanitation changes you've implemented to keep customers safe while you work in their home.  Proper hygiene and sanitation routines will play a critical role in your ability to keep your small business running. Check with your state and local guidelines for recommendations about providing gloves and masks for employees, and whether customers are required to wear a non-medical mask.  Encourage Employees to Stay Home If Sick Because coronavirus spreads from person to person, it is crucial for employees who feel sick to stay at home and self-quarantine until they are symptom-free and able to determine that they do not have COVID-19. This is tricky because of the high volume of asymptomatic carriers with this particular virus.  If you have multiple office locations, consider keeping people separate to avoid your staff from all getting infected at a central location. Make sure employees know it’s safe to stay home and don’t feel pressured to work while ill. Have a Backup Plan When Employees are Out Your COVID-19 business plan should account for time employees may be out sick. Create a list of your employees who can cover shifts beyond their typical work schedule. Establish a clear communication line to reach those staff members who would need to come in and cover for the person who is out.  If the backup staff member is working a different shift for the first time, or taking on new duties, be prepared with instructions and expectations for that person to jump in and help. Start cross-training employees in different roles now in anticipation of sick time.  If an employee feels okay but can't work because of a doctor-ordered self-quarantine, consider ways to allow this person to work remotely. Connect Daily and Offer Positive Reassurance As a manager, you should actively check in with your employees to get the latest updates about their circumstances, as well as physical and mental health. Your staff should feel comfortable reaching out to you. Make employees feel reassured during this stressful time. Offer support, thank employees daily, and remind them of why their work is valued and important. While this is an unprecedented time with policies and guidelines that are rapidly and constantly changing, remind yourself that this is temporary.  It can feel overwhelming, but it's essential to stay positive for yourself, your employees, and your customers because your attitude and outlook will affect others who work directly with you. How InvoiceASAP Keeps Your Business Going As a small business owner, this global health crisis could be one of the toughest, most challenging obstacles your company faces during this lifetime. How you prepare now can impact your transition with employees and customers during periodic times of lockdowns, and even once this is over.  Right now is the ideal time to get your technology in order and focus on the small details that have been holding your business back. From inefficient accounting and billing systems to lacking overall customer management, implementing a single solution can help streamline the critical functions of your business while saving you money. InvoiceASAP offers a multi-platform app and dashboard to help you easily manage invoicing, accounting, estimates, payments, sales, customers and more. Here’s how it works. Real-Time Business Insights Online reporting helps you know exactly how your business is doing at all times. Get daily, weekly, and monthly reports to forecast expenses and inform better business decisions. Types of Online Reports Available Invoice ReportsPayment ReportsCustomer ReportsUser ReportsSales ReportsItem ReportsProfitability ReportsJobs/Location ReportsTax Reports Automated Accounting and Finance Records Unlike most invoicing platforms, InvoiceASAP is designed to fully integrate with QuickBooks Desktop. No need to start over or retrain employees on new accounting software. Just integrate your existing data for seamless processing and accounts management. Save time and money with a view of all paid and unpaid invoices and customer management summaries.  Easy Online and In-Person Business Transactions Many of our clients work in the field and need access to clean and simple estimation and invoicing creation-software. You can easily create a professional-looking invoice, attach photos, and capture customer signatures. You get paid faster by accepting credit cards and allowing customers to pay in-person from your phone or tablet. Integrate all this data with your accounting software for clean and seamless day-to-day operations.  Online Training Tools Take advantage of this time to dig deep into platform functionality and ensure employees are fully versed in best practices. Review our resource library and get help integrating your current systems with InvoiceASAP’s platform. Future-Proof Your Small Business With InvoiceASAP As you create COVID-19 company policies, business backup plans, and online marketing strategies, remember to reevaluate inefficiencies and get your invoicing and accounting technology up to speed.  Save money, make employees’ lives easier, and attract customers with streamlined technology built for small businesses. Find out how InvoiceASAP can help you manage your business during stressful times. Sign up to create a free account today! 
Broken and Empty Piggy Bank Representing Cash Flow Crisis

How to Get Your Small Business Through a Cash Flow Crisis

With the spread of COVID-19, many small businesses are taking a hit, making cash flow harder to come by.  If you have a small business, your company is likely being impacted by it and you may be worried what would happen if your company was to run out of money.  This is the reality a lot of businesses are facing, so what you do with your money can be the difference in keeping your company going and running out of money. Whether you are dealing with the impact of COVID-19, or dealing with a cash flow crisis due to another event, there are steps you can take to get you through.  Here are some steps that any entrepreneur should consider ahead of a cash flow crisis: Plan it outConsider Accounts Receivable and PayablesCut CostsSell EquityMake More Money!Sign Up for InvoiceASAP Make a Plan!  Being prepared with a plan of action will mean you will have a better chance of survival and will be able to act strategically when the clock is ticking. Create a cash flow projection and develop a plan based on this. This will give you a clear view of when the money is coming in, going out and help you to anticipate any pitfalls in the months ahead. In your plan you should devise useful strategies for increasing cash flow and paying off debt. If you want to secure a loan, you’ll also need to share a document like this with your lender and provide them with a financial forecast, proving your ability to make loan repayments– another good reason to create this plan. Look At Your Accounts Receivable and Payables Before you start cutting costs, chase up the money that is owed and find ways to speed up the payment cycle. Here are some options to consider: Send invoices out quickerOffer customers more payment options such as credit card so you get paid fasterIf you or your team are on the road a lot, consider a mobile invoicing solution.Look into reducing your payment terms to 30 days or lessOffer incentives to customers who pay quickerCharge fees to late payers (this should always be agreed with clients in advance of carrying out the work)Request a down payment upfront or agree a payment plan with your client On the accounts payable side of things, try renegotiating contracts with vendors and lenders. Seek extensions on the timeframe of your payments – do this before payments become an issue. Cut Non-Essential Costs If you are low on cash, the last thing you want to do is pay for things you don’t need. A cash flow crisis usually involves cutting costs, but make sure you do this carefully. Star by cutting things that are considered non-essential. Do an audit across your company to see where the money is going, what is good to have, and what can be scrapped. Sometimes, cutting costs means pay cuts.  If you have to cut pay, don’t start with the lowest employees. Instead, begin at the top of the ladder. This will show good leadership and loyalty to your employees. Pay cuts to your staff should be the last item on your list.  If layoffs are really necessary, consider reducing full-time employees to temporary, part-time or freelance positions first. However, do bear in mind part-time and freelance employees will probably need to look for work elsewhere to make up for lost income, so do not take this step unless it is absolutely necessary. There are a ton of savings that could be made whilst also proving to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Consider e-conferences to reduce travel costs, better regulation of your thermostat or switching to more digital business solutions, ditching the paper and printing costs.  If your entire team is able to work remotely, you can even save on the cost of having an office. For many companies, this can be a large expense and can save you a lot of money.  Sell Company Equity or Assets If you are in need of cash, consider selling part of your business to an investor. This is someone who will take on part-ownership of your company.  This can give you some quick cash, but you should be careful who you sell it to and how much of your company you are handing off. The investor you choose will be someone you will be doing business with and may potentially have a say in decisions about your company.  Another option is to sell off company assets that you are not using or are no longer needed. If you have equipment, real estate, or cars that are not essential to your business, consider selling them.  Get a Quick Cash Flow Going Getting more money is easier said than done, otherwise you wouldn’t need to plan for a cash flow crisis.  However, there are some methods you can apply to get a quick cash flow going, but you wouldn't want to make it permanent.  It may be necessary in times of crisis to reduce product costs and offer huge discounts in order to attract more customers. This is a short-term solution and you should make it clear to customers that the prices will not remain this low.  Liquidating the inventory will temporarily increase the cash flow, but it is important to have a strategy for replenishing the inventory. In the end, profits may be lower, but you will have money coming in.  Another quick fix to improve cash flow is last resort borrowing. Cash advances on credit cards are an option, and so is taking cash distribution from an IRA. Both of these actions can have serious consequences if there is no way to pay them back in a timely manner. Cash advances usually incur higher interest rates, and the IRA is only tax-free for 60 days. If times are desperate consider taking loans from family and friends or bringing in new investors. The situation may not be ideal, but most companies have to sacrifice to survive a cash flow crisis. If you are having a cash flow crisis due to being impacted by COVID-19, there are some resources available to help small businesses through this time.  Visit our Small Business Guide to Negotiating COVID-19 to learn more about some of these available resources.  Let InvoiceASAP Help You Through the Hard Times Small businesses all over the world are being impacted by COVID-19, and this impact is expected to end over 15,000 businesses nationwide.  With the right planning for a cash flow crisis, and the right actions taken, your business doesn’t have to be one of them.  With InvoiceASAP, we help small businesses plan for the future through online reports, while making it easy to send and pay invoices. Our services easily integrate with Quickbooks and is the only service that integrates with Quickbooks Desktop. Create your free account today to take advantage of our financial services today!
Tools to add and Edit Custom Taxes Including Calculator Tablet and Pen

How to Add and Edit Custom Taxes

Tax. Those three letters can send a shiver down the spine of even the most hardened of finance managers. It can be pretty complex. A tax rate can vary depending on where the work is carried out, who the customer is or what product or service you’re providing. But tax doesn’t have to be taxing. Set it up right in your InvoiceASAP account and you can just sit back and focus on bringing in the sales. Here we’ll explain how you can set up and edit tax rates on both the mobile app and the Manage Account website. How to create a new tax rate You can create new tax rates in both the InvoiceASAP mobile app and on the Manage Account Website (www.invoiceasap.com). We’ll guide you through how to do it on each platform. First, head to an existing invoice or create a new one. Then, if you’re using a tablet, or on the Manage Account website, tap on the blue chevron next to the existing tax rate. If you’re on a phone, tap on the ‘Pick’ button on the Tax heading line. This brings up a list of your existing tax rates (if you have any stored). If you need to create a new tax rate, select the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner. Enter your new tax information and press Save. The new tax rate will then appear in your tax list. Select it and it will then appear on your invoice. How to edit a tax rate You can edit tax rates on both the mobile app and within the Manage Account website. First off, open up the app on your mobile device or login to the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com). If you’re using the mobile app, tap on ‘Manage app’ on the main menu, then hit ‘Tax rates’. If you’re on the website, click on ‘Settings’ in the top right, then scroll down to the ‘Tax rates’ setting and select ‘Edit’ next to it (click on images below to enlarge). Here you’ll see a table listing all your existing tax rates (if you have any saved). In this section you’re able to create, edit and delete tax rates. To edit a tax rate on the mobile app, just tap on the tax rate you want to edit, make the necessary changes, then press ‘Save’. On the Manage Account Website, click on the pencil icon (on the left) in the row where the tax rate you want to change is. Edit the tax information and press ‘Save’. ** ** Note: When editing a tax rate on the Manage Account Website you’ll notice you are also able to select whether a tax is ‘Active’ or not. This setting is useful if you don’t want co-workers to be able to select it on the mobile app but you also don’t want to delete it (for example if you are going to reinstate it in future). How to delete a tax rate If you are using a mobile device, tap on ‘Manage app’ from the main menu, then ‘Tax rates’. You will then see a list of all of your taxes. To delete a tax rate, just swipe left over the one you want to remove and a red ‘Delete’ button will appear. Tap on this and it will be taken off the list. On the Manage Account website, head to the tax rate ‘Edit’ page under ‘Settings’ (where all your tax rates are listed). Then, click on the ‘X’ icon next to the tax rate you want to delete. **Note:** If you delete a tax rate from the Manage Account website, it will still be visible on old invoices that have been paid before you deleted it. You just won’t be able choose it when creating an invoice in future. And that’s it! Now get taxing!
Getting Your Business Online Graphic

4 Critical Steps to Get Your Business Online

Many businesses don’t realize just how important it is to have an online presence. As of 2020, 97% of search engine users search online to find a local business and 28% of local searches result in a purchase. In this post, I’d like to discuss the four steps that have become mandatory for any business to get online in 2020. I recommend reading the entire post to understand how these steps work together to build your online presence. 1. Get your own domain and custom email address. Photo Credit Email addresses behind your own domain allow your customers to build confidence in your business. Which seems more trustworthy: greatlandscaping@yahoo.com or service@greatlandscaping.com? If you’re like most consumers, you will prefer service@greatlandscaping.com. In fact, 77% of customers trust businesses that have their own domain, and 64% of customers have little to no trust in businesses that use free email addresses. That is an absolutely massive percentage of potential business you’re losing if your email comes from Gmail or Yahoo. Getting your own domain is simple. There are many online services that allow you to register a domain. Google Domains offers a quick and easy domain registration and allows you to use Gmail as your email interface.GoDaddyNameCheap Domains are extremely affordable and typically cost between $10 and $20 a year. 2. Get a simple business website. Photo Credit It’s important to have a website that potential customers can use to discover your business and get valuable information about your services. There are a number of services available that make creating a website simple: SquarespaceWeeblyWixWordPress If you already have your own domain (from step 1 above), these services will allow you to use your own domain for your website. If you don’t have your own domain yet, many of these services allow you to register your domain while you are building your website. This can make the process very easy. Your website does not need to be complex; a single page often does the job. While you are making your website, keep in mind that there are a few pieces of data that you must have in order to help your customers: Business Name - Make sure your customers know what business they are looking at and make sure they see it often.Contact information - Having an email address and phone number is critical. Many potential customers will want to ask questions before choosing to hire you or purchase from you.Address - If a customer needs to visit your business, be sure to list your address on your website. According to Search Engine Land, address information is the #1 piece of information sought by local searchers.Explanation of services - Customers often evaluate and compare the services offered by multiple businesses before making their decision.Positive reviews - This piece of information is often overlooked by businesses but is one of the most important. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, making reviews one of your most valuable marketing tools. 3. Claim your business on Yelp & Google Photo Credit Claiming your business on Yelp is quick and easy, and 56% of local retailers have not claimed their Google My Business listing. The Boston Consulting Group has found that business owners see an average of $8,000 annual revenue from being on Yelp. That should be the only reason you need to add your business to Yelp. However, if you’re looking for additional reasons, here are a few: You will be found by potential customers who use Yelp to search for local businesses.You might already be on Yelp. Many business listings on Yelp are first created by a reviewer and not the business owner. Claiming your business allows you to control the information that displays.You can add photos of your business and the services or products you offer.You can respond publicly to reviews. If someone leaves an unfounded negative review for your business, you can make sure that future Yelpers understand exactly why that review was unfounded.You will get notified when someone leaves a new review of your business, allowing you to be aware of what information other potential customers can see. 4. List your business on Google Maps and Apple Maps. Photo Credit Much like adding your business to Yelp, adding your business to Google Maps or Apple Maps provides additional visibility. BrightLocal’s recent consumer survey found that the vast majority of consumers search for local businesses online, many performing this search from their phones. Only 44% of businesses have claimed their business listing on Google, which means that claiming your listing can give you a significant advantage over your competition. Follow these links to claim your business on Google and Apple now.
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