You have no items in your shopping cart

& Landscape supply

Pro Tips Tuesday: Money Matters for Landscapers

PRIMG Mug John Binkele 2010This week, Ewing’s Director of Business Education Services, John Binkele, joined us for Pro Tips Tuesday to chat about money matters for landscape contractors!

Ewing: Welcome John to our Pro Tips Tuesday chat! Can you tell us a little about your background in the industry?

John Binkele: Back in the Dark Ages (1975) I started a contracting company in San Diego, CA - Rainforest Construction. We specialized in the installation of Spas and Hot Tubs. Biz was great...until we failed to manage our money matters propely. When we went out of biz, i went back to school to learn what I shuold have learned prior to starting my company!

In 1988, I joined Ewing as the Director of Marketing and created a series of Business Development Workshops designed to help keep our customers from making the same mistakes I made!

Ewing: Your class this year for www.EwingEducationServices.com was called Money Matters. What topics did you cover?

John: I discussed Making Money - which focused on pricing for profit strategies. Collecting money - what it takes to get paid...in full...on every job you do. Managing money - the key financial documents all businesses must attend to if they are to properly manage their money matters. And finally, financial planning - how to achieve financial freedom.

Ewing: What’s the biggest money mistake(s) landscape businesses are making?

John: Under pricing their work - not calculating equipment recovery or overhead recovery into their price. Not staying on top of their billing. Not fully utilizing the key financial documents that will help them more effectively manage their money matters. Not including enough profit in their price.

Ewing: What are some tips for contractors looking to make more money?

John: Attend one of Ewing's Business Development Workshops! We'll help them with their marketing, help them improve their selling skills, help them with their pricing strategies, help them with better managing their money matters, help them develop a distinctively different customer service strategy!

Ewing: Collecting money from clients can be a challenge for many businesses. What can make it easier?

John: Collecting money begins with a rock solid contract. After that, understanding the Lien laws of the state in which one does business is very important. Doing your billing in a timely manner is also critical. The longer one waits to bill a client...the harder it becomes to collect what's due. It ALWAYS pays to do business with "Ideal Customers." Those are people who will actually pay you what you're worth. And finally, get to know your suppliers' credit managers. They are experts at collecting money and can help YOU collect yours if you run into a deadbeat client!

Ewing: What tools would you recommend to contractors for managing their money, personal or business.

John: The essentials are as follows:

  • An Income Statement (P&L) on a monthly basis
  • A quarterly Balance Sheet
  • A weekly Cash Flow Statement
  • Job costing after every project
  • And a life plan that will help you achieve the lifestyle you want to lead once you quit working!

Ewing: When should investing money become a priority for landscape business owners or employees?

John: As early as possible! If having $1,000,000 invested by the time one says sayonara to the working world is the financial end game, that person would need to invest $250 a month beginning at age 20 if that investment yielded 7.5% annually. If the investor waits until they're 30 to get started on their million dollar nest egg, she will need to sock away $550 a month. If she waits until she's 40, be prepared to invest $1200...a month for the next 25 years! Of course doing this means she will need to avoid the many Financial Bear Traps that many of us have fallen victim to!

Ewing: What do you think is the most important thing for someone to learn when it comes to managing his or her money?

John: Managing cash flow and avoiding the Financial Bear Traps! Be it the cash flow for the business or cash flow for one's personal life. When one runs out of cash...things get ugly! When one steps into the many Financial Bear Traps that are all out to get into your pocketbook...cash flow dries up. Credit card debt piles up!

Ewing: Are there other common questions contractors have had about money matters in your classes?

John: This class proved to be very eye-opening for many of those who attended. Tending to one's Money Matters is something that is seldom discussed and infrequently taught. However, money skills ARE the survival skills for all of us in the Green Industry. Those who learn how to effectively juggle their money matters will be those who prosper over the long haul. This class asked all who attended to take a good hard look at their money skills and work on improving those areas where there may be room for improvement. As far as other questions asked by those who attended, the number one question I got was "When are you going to do your Selling Skills class?

Ewing: Will Selling Skills be a focus for your 2014-2015 class?

John: Yes!

Ewing: John, thanks for all the valuable information! If anyone has more questions on these topics, how can they learn more?

John: Anybody interested in learning more can shoot me an email at jbinkele@ewingirrigation.com. My job at Ewing is to help our customers succeed!

TAGS: Business Tips, Ewing Education, Social Media