We know that your job as a landscape business owner has busy and slow seasons. Business booms when it’s warm but crawls painfully slow when it’s cold. This can lead to anxiety, uncertainty, and a looming sense of dread.
You work way too hard to stress about the slow months. Your company should be profitable regardless of the weather or calendar. But how can you gain that peace of mind and reassurance you long for?
Here are six suggestions that will help increase cash flow for landscaping businesses through effective cash flow forecasting. You can implement them today and watch your accounts stay in the black for the next 12 months (and beyond)!
1. Examine your monthly statements.
By taking the time to analyze every expense, you’ll be able to determine what is essential and what can be eliminated. Are you paying for various overhead or administrative tools and services that no longer serve you well? Are there vendors who offer the supplies you need at lower price points? Or, perhaps there are expenses you’ve continued paying for years because “we’ve always done it that way,” but they are no longer efficient. Look at your bank statement line by line. Landscapers who examine expenses with an objective eye will enable you to identify budget items to trim, leaving more of your hard-earned money in your account.
2. Collect receivables as quickly as possible.
Asking for a quicker turnaround for payment improves cash flow for landscapers. Consider requiring customers to have a credit card on file so you can charge them for your work on the day of service. Alternatively, you could generate invoices weekly and charge their credit cards then. Depositing your customers’ payments more regularly gives you the power to get paid when the work is done, not 30, 60, or 90 days after the fact. You have supplies and equipment to purchase, plus crews to pay. The sooner your customers’ payments hit your account, the better.
3. Use the Profit First system.
The Profit First system is designed to ensure that businesses have profitability from their very next deposit forward. Similar to an envelope system, Profit First instructs participants to set aside what they need for owner’s pay, taxes, profit, and expenses upfront. Business owners who employ this system have a plan for every penny, effectively eliminating any guesswork. As cash enters your account, it’s delegated to a particular category. Having a plan for your cash puts you in the driver’s seat so you can use your money more intentionally. Profit First is a surefire way to improve cash flow for landscapers.
4. Raise your prices.
When did you last adjust your rates? Time, inflation, and a proven track record of high-quality work are all reasons to charge your clients slightly more money. Plus, is the cost of doing business increasing? With COVID-19, you may be paying a premium for supplies, which means you should raise your rates accordingly. Supply and demand is often overlooked, also. If you close nearly every sales conversation, that may indicate that it’s time to increase your prices.
5. Upsell your current customers.
Are your customers aware of all of the services you offer? Up your marketing game to make sure your existing clients know they have the option of purchasing additional services from you. If you already cut their grass and complete leaf cleanup, make sure they know you can plant flowers seasonally, install mulch and manage weeds also. Upselling to existing customers is less expensive than finding new customers.
6. Offer incentives to customers.
Your current customers can be a huge asset to your marketing efforts. Seasonally, place signs in their yards. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to leave a review of your business on Google. Consider incentivizing them for leaving a review by offering a percentage off of their next service or a one-time gift – i.e. an additional pallet of flowers in exchange for a review. Determine a gift that’s substantial to your customers without making a sizable dent in your cash flow. Ensure those reviews are positive and truthful by providing excellent service, addressing issues immediately, and showing appreciation for their loyalty. All of those things will have your customers talking about your services with their family and friends. Also create a referral bonus program with a similar structure, offering existing clients an incentive for each customer they send your way.
Our customer Jason has acted on some of these suggestions and has been overwhelmed by the results.
Jason owns a landscaping business in southeastern Pennsylvania. Every winter he struggled to maintain a cash flow and get proper forecasting during the slow season. In the spring, he opened a bank account specifically to solve this problem for the next year. He took a specific amount of revenue each week during the summer and deposited it into that account. When the weather turned cooler, he was stunned by how calm he was. Knowing he has what he needs no matter the time of year means he is no longer anxiously checking his account balances and dreading the winter.
It’s easy to read a quick list of do’s and don’ts on a blog post, but when it comes to your finances, they’re as unique as you are. That’s why we love partnering with landscape business owners — their location, their niche, and their experience contributes to unique opportunities in their business. Schedule a call today to tell us about your business, and we’ll help you find new ways to increase your cash flow.