Best way to keep track of income?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by shoofly1982, Jan 24, 2012.

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  1. shoofly1982

    shoofly1982 Guest

    Hi
    I've just joined on here and am looking for some advice on how to run our business a bit more professionally.
    My husband uses the water fed pole system and has a reasonably good run, a lot of potential to expand (which we plan to do this year by more canvassing and hopefully some commercial contracts) and he also does some contract work for other window cleaners when needed.
    The main problem we find is that we get our money in dribs and drabs - my husband collects during the day if he gets people in, then does one evening of collecting each week, which is becoming a pain because hardly anyone is in and he ends up having to drive round his run on weekends trying to get them in. He has a few people who pay straight into our account but not many and a couple who send cheques. The other window cleaners he works for pay him for his days work via internet banking that evening.
    We want to get to the point of everything going into our business account and being able to just pay ourselves a weekly or monthly wage into our current account. Obviously with window cleaning, overheads are reasonably low, so most of what we earn, we can keep, apart from what is needed for tax/NI and we need to keep a little by for maintaining equipment.
    How do you all handle banking matters? We have a personal bank account, a business acount that we dont use that much, and an ISA account but unsure on how to juggle everything. Also how to get more customers to pay via online banking?
    Sorry for the long first post, hope it makes sense and looking forward to any advice that you may be able to offer!
    Many thanks in advance! :D
     
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  2. chip

    chip Guru
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    as a lot is cash in hand, i tend to set so much aside in seperate bags for things like tax, equipment upkeep vehicle tax/repairs and so on. cheques go in the bank for rent and dd sorry, not quite what you're after but it might help in someway.
     
  3. James

    James Guru
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    Well that didn't take you long Lucy :D

    Firstly, why are you still going around collecting the money? I've learn't that this is a complete waste of everyones time. It wastes your petrol/diesel and most times customers are out or just simply wan't to ignore you. It is expecially a waste of time as something called the internet has come along and makes life just that tiny bit easier. Make use of it! Push the instant bank transfer side of it as well as the PayPal if you have it.

    Secondly, you have a Business bank account and you don't use it? Business accounts are VITAL. This way you can track what is coming in and out of your business without mixing it up with your personal expenditure etc. It also makes book keeping rediculously easy as you can check your business account online and you don't have to keep walking to the bank to see whats going on.

    Have you designed an invoice just to put through your customers letter boxes when you have completed the work? My invoice has my sort code/bank number, so they can instantly bank transfer me that ***ht when the work has been complete. I also have my PayPal info and address if they wish to send me a cheque.

    I've only ever had to go to 3 customers houses when they weren't paying me & even then they paid by cash and said they were sorry.

    James.
     
  4. shoofly1982

    shoofly1982 Guest

    Thanks. The invoice idea sounds great - we want to put an end to collecting because as you say, its just so time consuming and we find more and more that no one is home. We have 2 children now and my husband wants to be home for dinner and bedtime with them and not out working all day then spending the evenings out trying to get people in! We do have a paypal account too so that would be a good option also.
    If you don't mind me asking, do you keep your tax/NI money in your business account or do you transfer that into a separate account like an ISA so as to not get it mixed up with general business money?
    We have online banking for our current account but not for the business account so thinking need to get that sorted out so that I can easily transfer money between accounts...
    Well that's my plans for to***ht sorted - shall be designing an invoice for hubby to post through each customers door!
    many thanks
     
  5. James

    James Guru
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    I keep all mine in my business account Lucy. As long as you keep track of how much it is you really shouldnt need seperate accounts, that just make slife a bit complicated when it needs to be simple.

    Most people these days have PayPal so make the most of it. PayPal only charges a very small amount for the use of it, so take advantage.

    A good structure for your invoice would be as follows:

    Your address top left (for cheque's) and on the right your home number / mobile number and e-mail address.
    Underneath have: customer name & balance. To the right have your payment options (keep it close to the balance to maximise the chance of them paying, it's all boring market research I've done). Have your internet banking details and your PayPal there.

    Underneath this have a message,something along the lines of: Your windows have been cleaned / other work completed. Please make cheque/s out to James Perkins Window Cleaners to the above address. Please ensure you add your surname and address with the payment to ensure I can identify who is paying. Payment within 7 days is appreciated.

    Thats actually mine :D just for you.

    Then a good idea is to put the Next Visit date underneath this. To keep the customer informed of when your coming again.

    I'm lazy and have put many thanks, J Perkins at the end as well as scanning my signiture onto my invoices because I can't be bothered to keep signing them everytime haha.
    e
    Hope this helped!

    P.s. feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

    James.
     
  6. windyman

    windyman Well-Known Member
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    I do similar to James (he seems to be on every post! lol).

    I bank all money into bus. account, then pay myself a weekly amount into current account. Only just started doing this, so will take a while to settle in.

    In terms of Tax & NI, log in to HMRC & u can set up a DD to pay them monthly. Even if you pay £30 a month or something. Might not cover all ur tax, but will reduce the big bill at end of yr!

    Personally, I wouldn't put a full invoice through for residential customers (I invoice commercial obviously). That seems like to much paper & printing for me. I put a slip through (i fit 6 per a4 sheet of paper) telling them I've been today & how they can pay. I put online details first, then cheque details, then on some slips (ones near my house) it says I will collect within a few days.

    If you really wanna push online payments- just speak to your customers. Next time you collect, ask them if they have online banking, if yes, would they be ok to do that as you're trying to cut out collecting, which will help you keep your prices low. Then just put a slip through with your bank details.

    I'm wanting to push online payments, so am planning on asking my custies the same soon.
     
  7. James

    James Guru
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    Ahh yes like Windyman says you can also pay by Direct Debit online. My friends do this to pay their taxes.

    James.
     
  8. laddergarder

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    Firstly I would like to second previously mentioned advice about not using a business account. It will help you get credit if you can show plainly what income your have coming in each month. Also if you use a current account, and have another personal income coming into that, the tax office could take that as business income and tax it again. So definitely keep business and personal separate.

    Personally I would encourage cash on hand as much as possible, as cheques and online payments have additional processing charges which is an extra expense incurred for your business.

    We do collections between 6pm and 7pm, and we tend to get most people in. Allot pay there and then, and for the few that don't we go back each evening.

    If we dont get them in, when we call back, we post an invoice, letting them know that they can pay via cheque, or online through our website.

    By the sounds of things, you maybe heading for a problem by going down the round of encouraging all customer to pay by bank transfer. This maybe more time for you trying to keep track of who has paid and who has not.

    Collecting I am afraid is just part of the job of a window cleaner. In my experience people don't often go out of there way when it comes to paying there window cleaner. Its just not high on peoples agenda, so you have to make it as simple as possible for them, hassle free.
     
  9. James

    James Guru
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    I respectively disagree with laddergarder here, theres nothing easier to keep track of than bank transfers. I ask all my customers to leave their address when transfering the money. This makes it easy to have your bank info open on one web browser and excel or George in another, then all you have to do is tick them off who has paid.

    The same goes for PayPal. If you simply explain to your customer that if they send the money as a 'gift' there is no charge what so ever for you or the customer.

    If you wan't to waste your time by collecting its up to you, but personally I enjoy sitting in my comfy chair with a cup of tea and watching the money instantly stack up in my bank :)

    James.
     
  10. A.K WINDOWS

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    has anyone got a invoice layout they could e.mail me at all regarding pay pal payments.?
     
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