Invoicing and cashflow

 

 

I remember not that long back when there were two options for receiving payments; 1, cash and 2, cheque. Of course, the odd cheque would bounce but that was less than 10% of all payments received, one thing it meant was that I had a cash tin full at the end of the week and a trip to the bank feeling like Al Capone. Now money has become a series of numbers you see on a digital screen and the convenience that technology provides allows money to be transferred securely and instantly from one account to another, most people are now so used to this method they never touch cash. While this is convenient for a high street store which has a strong network connection and WIFI shoeing horses in the remote countryside means that we rely on our clients to take a minute to pay us that evening in their own home. This is where the problem starts, we are all busy and we all believe we are the most important person on the planet which leads to this transaction being delayed, then forgotten about, then all of a sudden 5 people have forgotten, then 10 etc. etc…….we find it very easy to get frustrated and annoyed by this but it’s quite often not a personal attack and clients genuinely forget therefore taking a proactive approach to this issue is far more effective than a reactive approach.

 

Below are a few pointers to bear in mind

 

Have a very clear agreement with all your clients about your cashflow

This can be sent out as an email titled ‘terms of payment’ or have it displayed on a website or even hand each of your clients a nice printed pamphlet addressing your terms, whichever way you choose make yourself stand out from the next business by being as professional, I find face to face/over the phone conversations have the best results in farrier/client relations.

Give your clients options for payment

Having multiple payment methods, I feel is invaluable, I accept: card payments (from a mobile card reader), online payment (through farrierweb business management software), BACS (on strict terms agreed), cash & cheques

Offers and discount

I offer all clients 5% discount for paying their invoice at the time of the appointment (I feel clients should be rewarded for helping my cashflow).  I don’t but; if you have a large yard you may like to offer some discount or agreement on their payment terms for their business. If you charge for travel possibly incentives for group bookings at certain yards could be advantageous

Invoicing

Many professional businesses will request an invoice which needs to be itemised, numbered, addressed etc. (this information can be found on the government website – https://www.gov.uk/invoicing-and-taking-payment-from-customers/invoices-what-they-must-include) I send out 30-day invoices with farrierweb software for clients who don’t pay at the time of the appointment which send automated SMS and email reminders, should the invoice exceed the due date it will automatically incur 5% interest. However, should my clients contact me with genuine issues (an I encourage them to) I will waver this fee

 

 

What is important to me is running a professional business and providing gold standard services to my clients, they respect this and in turn we both feel appreciated. Shoeing horses is such an art and it’s unfortunate that not everybody thinks this way, horse owners should look at farriers as highly skilled professionals not just a dirty smelly worker in a beat-up old van. We are all capable of making a change and I feel more and more farriers are getting on board with the idea of working smart not hard and it really is fantastic to see

 

 

I love shoeing horses I really do and if I don’t have to chase payments for the labour of love that I’ve invested into the horses it makes the job that bit sweeter!!

 

 

James Haigh, BSc (hons), FdSc, Dip W.C.F.