Terms and Conditions of Trade, contracts, tips and more
As someone who speaks to tradies regularly I bet I can guess what the worst part of your week is…. Having to chase up your outstanding accounts. It can be a time consuming and pointless exercise where you end up feeling frustrated and powerless right?
The good news is that if you don’t like the hassle of chasing bad debts there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Implement these three tips and get on with what you do best – making money, not chasing it!
1. Put a contract (Terms and Conditions of Trade) in place and get it signed by both parties
The number 1 reason tradies have trouble when chasing their debts is from doing business on a handshake. The days of the old handshake are, regrettably, long-gone. By putting in place a set of Terms and Conditions of Trade that sit on the back of your quote, for example, you have a legally binding contract that you can fall back on if things go pear-shaped. The Terms and Conditions of Trade contract should set out the rules of doing business with you and the consequences (your leverage) if the rules are broken – ie. Your client doesn’t pay. You need to think of your business as a bank, start acting like one. It’s amazing how quickly you will become a priority to pay.
2. Get job variations agreed to in writing
The main cause of disputes for tradies happens when the client or their partner asks you to do additional work to the original quote. Feeling they need to maintain the “goodwill” status quo the tradie proceeds to carry out the extra work on a verbal authorisation. When the client gets the invoice for the additional work it turns into a “he said-she said” argument on what was and wasn’t authorised and what was included and excluded from the original quote. A paper trail is always best!
3. The early bird gets the worm
If you have a debtor who is refusing to pay, after having sent the invoice and a friendly reminder, you need to escalate quickly. The quicker you take action, the more likely you are to get paid. Point out a reasonable time frame and deadline to your debtor for payment and the consequences if they fail to meet the deadline. If and when the deadline expires you need to act immediately and escalate to a debt collection agency.
As a tradie in business, if you can stick to this formula, you will be able to watch your cash flow grow and your free time return.
Get help for your trade business right here
Here at Tradebusters Academy, we are committed to helping tradesmen and builders succeed in business with numerous tips and connections to trusted service providers.