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How to bill as quickly as possible

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Weeded!, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    I was wondering what some of you do to get bills to clients ASAP/STAT in a storm.
    When we are out plowing day and night for 80 hours straight it's tough to get all the information in from all the plowers, salters, and shovelers to get over 300 invoices completed quickly.

    Any information you can share about how you get bills out quickly after services would be appreciated.
     
  2. EGLC

    EGLC PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,733

    I'm sure if you got a secretary and a spreed sheet you could fill it all out pretty quickly?? What if you gave each truck a booklet to jot down how many hours on lot "A", "B" and so on?? Plus they could write down weather conditions, etc
     
  3. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    1. The secretary could not make it in as she was snowed in. We should have arranged to have her picked up.

    2. They guys in the trucks have sheets where they record everything. The issue is they are out in the field over a 60 mile diameter, so it is hard to get all the sheets into the office. Some are subs and they plow for 50 hours and then head home for bed for another 15 hours.

    So we run into a problem Collecting all the information in one location (the office) and getting the staff in to do the work.

    Also, 300 invoices at 5 minutes each (organizing the sheets, recording the data, looking up pricing (everyone is different), logging and printing invoices, stuffing envelopes) is 25 hours of billing time! 5 minutes might be a little long, but maybe not.

    Your suggestions are well taken.. keep 'em coming.
     
  4. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,266

    That depends on how you are billing? Are you billing hourly, per push, etc?
     
  5. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,162

    Thank god my visa doesn't send out a bill every time I make a purchase, or my hydro for every KWH. Set your billing up every 15 days net on receipt, or better yet seasonal. Billing should be regular but not over laxatative. JMO
     
  6. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Wish I had your problem. How did you come to have over 300 customers/invoices ? It didn't happen overnight. What changed ? As you grew how did you manage this ?
    Each truck has to keep accurate records of where they where and for how long plowing xx hours salting xx lbs. Make up log sheets that work for what service is being completed. Have your drivers get it to the office fax,drop off,US mail,e-mail, phone,within 48 hours of service. Maybe hire a detailed orientated person to run your office ?
     
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    How about this. Since your guys have all the paper work done all ready in the truck .Have some self addressed envelopes for them. Then all they need to do is throw it in the first mailbox they past and you'll have it in a day or two.
     
  8. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    15 days is a long time for snow and ice billing. Customers don't like getting snow bills when its 70 degrees out and not a sign of any snow/ice. Also, it's out of contract terms for some of my clients, and way too long for me to wait for that kind of cash flow.

    We do bill lawn maintenance clients monthly, however any extras are billed when completed.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  9. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    oops- not 300 clients

    I am sorry - I may have mis-spoke (or misled). We don't do 300 sites...we did perform over 300 services each time for the 12, 14, and 17 inch storms we had. In other words, if a truck went to Plow/Shovel/De-ice, that was a service. If a truck went to de-ice, that was a service. There were over 300 "Lines" filled out on the trucks' sheets - each one being a separate service visit.

    Each one of these goes onto an excel sheet. We then have to match the correct price (hourly, per inch, per push, per bag, per application, etcetera) to each line, and then generate an invoice or fill out the proper form provided by the contractor.

    If you would like to know more about us please PM me.

    Thanks
     
  10. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    I like this idea, except it would be 2 or 3 days before we get the invoices, and I need the billing mailed out before that.

    This does make me think of some of the newer phones that could take a clear enough picture of the log sheet and then email them into the office.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  11. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    How we bill

    Some are billed hourly, some per push, some per inch, some per bag, some per application.
     
  12. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Are you Resi or Commercial? Never heard of commercial being billed every storm.... We're set up for either 15 day or 30 day invoicing......

    Build up a little nestegg money wise and go with Grandviews Idea... Easy approach and will only take a few days.....

    Hell some of my accounts are paying me when its 60 degrees outside without a problem....

    Good luck! Its a good problem to have!
     
  13. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    Events in the area are billed as they occur because we do not get very many events here in the South. In fact, last year was a record setting year and we only had 4 snows. Seasonal pricing is a rarity down here as the variation from year to year (0 events to 6 events) is to great, versus in the north where your variance percentage is much less.

    I appreciate your recommendations on changing how we bill, but the question is do you have suggestions on getting the bills out quickly, not how can I change my bill dates.

    Thanks much.
     
  14. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Only thing that is left then is to put the bill in the door before your driver leaves.
     
  15. redman6565

    redman6565 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,411

    like grandview said, there's many options when it comes to covering a 60 mile span like you said. it's not like these guys are going to personally drop off a time sheet regularly.

    my thought is excel or microsoft word document that they can email you after every event. simply fill it out, email it to you, then you print it and calculate the bill.
     
  16. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Put a laptop in every truck with a wireless Wi-Fi card. Set up your database to be hosted on your website with all the formulas and billing parameters built-in for each client. Than instead of the guys filling out log sheets and getting them to you, they just fill out the info online right from the truck. Once they submit the info, you can have it billed immediately, either by email or you can print an invoice and mail it to them. This would allow you to have your invoices to your customers before the trucks even get done with their routes.
     
  17. redman6565

    redman6565 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,411

    benefit probably isn't worth something that elaborate. i would imagine that being very expensive, but i'm no IT guy.
     
  18. Weeded!

    Weeded! Member
    Messages: 75

    I really like the thought of this. Probably could be done through phones, if not something as elaborate as database, at least the reporting. I saw something like this just this morning on the Everest Snow Management web site (watch the video). It looked like an App for the phone.
     
  19. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    He asked about getting the bills out quickly, not cheaply. The initial expense would be a bit much, but it could cut a lot of time and overhead to compensate, which would probably end up saving him money by the end of a season if he pays someone (secretary, office manager, etc) to do the "25 hours of billing" per storm. Although he could get a really good deal on buying 16 laptops at one time. (for the 16 trucks in his signature) Adding this to his existing website (assuming he has a website) would be very inexpensive for what he'd get back out of it. He already has all the info (excel spreadsheets) they would just have to add it to the site.

    Yes it could be done with any smart phone for sure (i-phone, droid, blackberry, etc). The database would be the same as your excel sheet, (your excel sheet is a database by the way) only it would be hosted online instead of on your computer, that way the info gets entered one time directly to your database instead of into a spreadsheet than transferred to yours. It's cutting the amount of work in half to reach the same end result, only in a lot less time.

    All just food for thought...Good Luck :drinkup:
     
  20. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157


    Your right, but would that be the right choice with only a few billable storms a year? That cost would have a huge ROI but if thats what he wants to do go for it......