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Billing questions/idea

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by danamac, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. danamac

    danamac Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey guys, I have a few questions on an idea I'm helping my dad with. I'm an irrigation guy on Lawnsite and I posted there. I'm on vacation in Mass. right now seeing him.

    Dad has a few buddies that plow snow. And one guy also does irrigation. But like a lot of guys in our industry, they either get behind on billing, don't have the time, aren't too computer savvy, or just don't like doing it. So at least two want to have my dad do the invoicing and receivables. The plow guys have hand written sheets of dates and times and number of times plowed, etc. We have installed QuickBooks on his computer and I've given him the basics.

    My questions are (1) does anybody here outsource this kind of work? (2) anybody have an idea what to charge? What do or would you pay for this service? (3) and if there are any other suggestions on this let me know.

    Most of these contractors are the the kind of guys that want to get the work and do the work. Not run the business. They often leave money on the table because they forget to bill out some storms, forget to track everything, don't know who has paid or who hasn't. Dad is needing extra money due to recent changes in his life, and to keep busy. Very computer literate. We've even talked about him being my office/schedule person. Just have to figure how with him being 2000 miles away.

    Thanks guys
  2. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I would never let anyone do my books or enter paper work like that. I would have to grow much larger than I am to do so. But I can understand others needing the service.

    One thing that comes to mind is the legal issues with him doing their books. Not sure if you have to be an accountant or not. Probably not as secretaries do it all the time.

    I would charge a percentage of the invoice. These guys are loosing money right now by not billing. So if he does the billing then these guys are going to make more money. I would think about 15% sounds right. A $30 driveway makes your dad $4.50. That would be entering the data from the plower, printing an invoice, printing an envelope, putting the stamp on and mailing. Every so often printing a report for the plower to review.

    When you take away the cost of the stamp, paper, ink, envelope, You might be left with $3.70 per driveway. If it takes him 10 minutes total time to do all of that per invoice, he is making $22 an hour.

    Are the checks going to be mailed back to the plower? If so, then your dad would have to be informed that the plower got the money so he doesn't keep billing them.

    By doing it by a percentage of the invoice, the plower and your dad know exactly how much it is going to cost. If you were to do it by the hour, then neither would know. Just like plowing, no incentive to go faster when paid by the hour.
  3. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    I think 15% of a businesses gross just to do an invoice is a bit extreme...
    As far as you and your dad being able to share the the accounting for your business, this can be done through QB sharing - it is rather expensive,, though...I'm thinking around 500 bucks. You make the original entries as they are done, and he does the invoicing. Good luck to both you AND your dad, and keep him busy! If he is computer savvy and has the intelligence and ability to do this, then don't et it go to waste. I think that s just awesome.
  4. danamac

    danamac Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I'm still not sure if it will work for my company or not. We need to discuss it more. My hopes would be to have a fulltime person doing the scheduling and invoicing and such. Receiving calls as they come in as opposed to returning calls later in day like I do now.

    But I really think he could have a good business of doing this for a bunch of the local guys that don't want to do it. Sounds like the two guys he has met up with so far really like what he has done. One guy (irrigation work) is just now, in January, having my dad bill for work from June. He hangs out at the local gas station/mechanic shop/convenience store with his buddies and a lot of them are contractors. even the owner of the station/shop there wants to have him do some billing for guys on credit for fuel. I think he just hand writes things down and adds up by hand. I think there is a lot of potential to either supplement his current income, or make this a fulltime gig. Maybe he could rent a desk at the station and have the guys bring in their paperwork every couple days.
  5. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 888

    D. if yr Dad is as good as all that capitalize on it don't give him away. In the land of internet, email, $100/month unltd cells, nextel 2 way ETC. All day calls can be forwarded direct to him, fax email and 2way take care of the rest. IMO this is way to easy to make happen succesfully and best of all now your Dad's got your back. If it was me I'd do it in a heartbeat, but he's 72 now, made custom wood siding together last summer.
  6. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Thats called a Book keeper guys. Book Keepers here get $75-$85 Per hour. CPA's get $125 and up here. So your Dad should charge a min. of 15 minutes per customer, per month. A book keeper takes care of the books and paper work, including payroll and invoices.
    Honestly once quick books is setup it shouldnt cost much per month for a small outfit.
  7. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Don't you need some kind of certification or licensing for such a service?
    All I can see is problems and alot of ruined friendships.
    People get really "weird" when it comes to handling money. Would your Dad need to be bonded?
    I would (obviously) trust my Dad to do the book keeping for me/my biz but, to do it for other people; NO WAY!