Cashflow Advice for Painters. Every business needs money to operate and survive. This includes your painting business. But many painters struggle to understand how to balance the movement of cash into and out of their business. In this article, we focus on all the things painters need to know about optimising their cashflows.
What is cashflow?
Cashflow is just that, cash that flows into or out of your business and which affects your day-to-day operations. Examples of cash flows in a painting business include:
- Cash received from the provision of service – The money you are paid when you complete a painting job for a client.
- Cash received from the sale of painting supplies – If you sell your paints or tools or run a shop that specialises in painting supplies.
- Cash received from any new investments – If you are prepaid for a job that’s yet to be done or maybe someone has invested cash into your business.
- Cash coming in when you borrow money – If you have taken a loan from the bank to expand your business.
- Cash in the form of interest – If any of your bank accounts mature and give you interest.
- Cash spent on supplies – When you purchase paints and tools to do a paint job.
- Cash returned to a client – If you are offering a refund for a job done.
- Cash in the form of bill payments – Any utilities and bills that you pay for the day-to-day running of your paint business.
- Cash in the form of loan repayment – If you had borrowed to start your company and you make monthly payments.
- Cash in the form of salary paid – The payments/salaries you provide when you hire a team of painters to work for you or contract a third-party.
Why is cashflow important for a painter?
Cashflows are an indication of the health of your painting business. You might be getting many service calls or have a very high profit by the end of the year, but if your cash flow is low, it means very little cash is coming into your company. It means that you don’t have sufficient money for the day-to-day operations of your business.
Cashflow is also an indicator of whether you’re spending your cash wisely or you’re wasting it. Tracking cash flow can allow you to identify and cut-out unnecessary expenditures while nurturing the necessary incomes.
Causes for the decrease in cashflow
Your cashflow may have decreased because of the following reasons:
- Lesser demand for painting services.
- Overspending for company supplies.
- Delayed payments by customers.
- Paying suppliers faster than necessary.
- Changes in any interests, stock market earning etc., affecting your cash inflows.
Tips to maximise your cashflows
Your business will be able to thrive when you have a high cash inflow. Here are a few ways to maximise your cashflows:
- Don’t buy your painting tools; rent them
If you’re a small company or you’re planning to offer painting services seasonally, then renting tools is better than purchasing them. The same holds true when you hire seasonal staff or contract workers for bigger projects. The rental charges will be much lesser than the purchase and tool maintenance charges, enabling you to retain your cash in the business.
- Buy only the fast-selling paint colours in bulk
Some paint colours are evergreen and most building owners choose them. For example, grey, brown, brick red, ochre etc. You’ll know based on your work with your target market what colours people usually prefer. You can save money and retain cash by purchasing only these evergreen colours in bulk. That way, you won’t waste your money on colours that don’t move fast, thereby generating inventory management costs.
- Don’t pay too much for Insurance!
Any painting job is filled with risks. From slipping on paint/oil-coated floors to tripping on tools strewn about to falling off ladders when working, there are many on-site accidents that can happen. If your customers, contract workers or any third-party were to get injured due to the painting service you provided, you could be sued in any Australian court for damages. These damages can cost thousands of dollars, and the money you pay can do irreparable harm to your cashflows.
This is where Public Liability Insurance comes in. The Public Liability Insurance indemnifies you against any expenses and losses in the event you are sued by a third-party on the grounds of on-site negligence. You can use your insurance payouts to cover the expenses of the lawsuit and damages and this ensures your cashflows don’t take a hit.
- Check your prospect’s credit history before accepting large scale paint jobs
If your painting business serves high net worth clients or clients who get large buildings commissioned for a paint job, it’s best if you have a credit history check in-place. Such clients can be quite risky if they don’t pay you on time, causing problems with cashflows. By knowing their credit history, you can decide beforehand if you want to accept their commission or not.
- Encourage your customers to pay faster by offering compelling offers
Offer a “limited time deal” where customers will receive X% off their full bill, if they pay within ten days of the completion of the job. This will encourage many people to pay faster, allowing cash to come into your business.
- Have late payment fees to discourage delays
Another thing you could do – have late payment fees. You can either have a blanket high late payment fee, or you can have a penalty that increases each week that the payment is delayed after the agreed-upon period has expired.
- Don’t pay your suppliers until you have to
Paying your suppliers can push the cash out of your business. So, if you’re purchasing paint cans or tools, then ask the supplier what their repayment cycle is. Most people have a 30/45/60-day cycle. Pay in the last few days of the cycle, as this will ensure you hold onto your cash longer.
Additionally, you can also use a business credit card when making payments since you have to pay your credit bill only 21-25 days after making the payment.
- Increase the cost of your services
Finally, a great way to maximise your cash inflows is to increase the rate of your painting services. This will automatically bring in more cash into your company.