The Accountant Has My Checkbook!

Roger's Rules #14 #38

Some people just won’t pay until you call them.  Some won’t pay until you call, email or fax several times. So in our business, my wife does the collecting.  (Home owners pay the day the work is done.)  If they have not paid in the time reasonable for their classification, she calls them on the phone and simply asks if they received the invoice. It is usually two weeks for builders, two weeks for plumbers, two months for manufacturers, and two months for wholesalers. Then be quiet and see what they say.  Sometimes it is amazing the excuses they give.

  • My secretary had it in her purse and forgot to mail it for two weeks.
  • The accountant has my check book.
  • We changed our fax number.
  • We changed our email address.
  • We never got that invoice.
  • We decided not to pay.
  • We sent it to the plumber.
  • The homeowner is supposed to pay, and we have not gotten the money yet.
  • I thought we already paid that.
  • And the best one: Plumber, “Well, my guy did that mistake so I am not paying.”  I said, “Well, he works for you!” Response, “Not anymore; he stole my pickup and ran off with my daughter, so I fired him.  If you want your money, talk to him.” (We got the money but it took many calls to the plumber and the builder. Sometimes it is like dealing with small children.  This was also an out of town job, and from then on out of town builders, plumbers and clients have to pay on the spot or we won’t do the work.  It is more difficult to collect on out of town jobs than local jobs.  Just tell the out of town client that it is nothing personal, but on out of town jobs we have to be met with a check or we cannot do the work. I sleep much better that way.  If there is one thing I hate in life, it is not getting paid.)

When my wife emails or faxes an invoice, she writes or types across the face of the invoice the date it was emailed or faxed.  So by the fifth time there are several dates.  (Faxed 2/03/2107; emailed 2/15/17; emailed……)

If she is not successful in collecting the money, she gives it to me.  I am not usually as polite as my wife.  I am successful most all of the time.  I have called some people over 100 times.

In the past, I know they do not answer if they see it is my number, so I will borrow other people’s phones and call.  I reach them eventually.

I called the last one three times before 10:00 AM.

  • The first time I called (7:15 AM) I told him we needed to get these invoices taken care of as they were two months old.
  • The second call I left no message since he will see it is my number.
  • The third call I simply asked him to call me.

He called 30 minutes later.  He apologized and asked how he could take care of it.  I said he could use a credit card, as I have an app on my phone.  In two minutes the bill was paid.  It is amazing how easily people will pay with a credit card.

You just have to accept the fact that confrontation is the name of the game if you want to get paid and your family deserves to have the money you worked for. We are not a charity nor are we donating our labor so others can have their projects done at a lower cost.

We have had this rule of Go Get the Money for 40 years.  It has worked out very well.  It takes some guts, and it uncomfortable, but the feeling of not being paid is sickening.  Thus rule #14:

# 14 Go get the money

In residential jobs where there is a homeowner, a simple way to avoid collections is to settle, up front, how you will be paid.  Ask them if they will be paying with a check or credit card. If they will not be there when the work is done, ask them if they can leave you a check as your company does not bill residential customers.  For instance, has the plumber ever offered to send you a bill in the mail?  No! You pay him on the spot.  You should expect the same.

Get a credit card app for your phone and offer to have them pay by credit card.  It will cost you 2-3.5 %, but that is a small price to pay for not having to call to collect later. We use the Intuit app Go Payment.  You may have to also use QuickBooks to get that app.  Square works also, but they are progressives and many politically incorrect things they do not allow to go through their app.

We have done some jobs where we are paid with a credit card when we are done by calling them on the phone.

# 38 Don’t allow people to make you feel guilty for collecting.

People are great manipulators.  Some will try to make you feel guilty for asking about your money.  Never feel guilty!  Those people are the ones you may want to put on the 20% list that cause you 80% of your grief. Lose them!

I stopped by a builder’s home many years ago on a Saturday morning and asked for a check. This was during a very depressed time in the housing market.  She said “Can you never wait?”  I said, “Hey, I was in the area.”  (I was in the area, TO COLLECT A CHECK!)  She paid, and I learned later that on the following Tuesday the bank turned her down for her last draw.  I was the last person to get paid 100% of their bill.  We made it by one day or less.  The rest of the contractors took 20 cents on the dollar two years later.  I believe God fights for me and gives me the boldness that is required to get paid at times.

The righteous are bold as a lion.  Bold but not rude.  Bold but not pushy or arrogant.

You did the work and deserve to be paid. If the agreement is to be paid the day you are done expect that to happen.

I have been on jobs where the homeowner was there every day all day long until Friday when it was apparent you would be finishing up. Then about 2:00 they are just gone. Now you are finished, and they are not to be found anywhere.

Check with them on the day the job is going to be completed. Ask, “Are you going to be here when I’m done so you can write me a check?”  If they mumble, rephrase what they just said. “Are you saying that you’ll be here this afternoon to give me a check when I’m done?”

The practice of rephrasing works for a good many things to set in stone what was agreed upon.

If they won’t be there, explain you need to be paid before you leave so could they write it just before they go.  Once people give their word many times it changes the situation and they do the right thing.

At many junctions asking whether they want to pay with a check or a credit card is much better than just asking for a check.  “Do you want to pay with a check or a credit card before you leave?” Done properly they will answer with one or the other.  It is a sales technique that works well to close a conversation.

Collecting money is one of the most uncomfortable things about being a contractor.  Sometimes collecting your money involves confrontation, and confrontation is something that most people avoid like the plague.

If you don’t GO GET THE MONEY, it is not fair to you. You did the work. AND it is not fair to your family.  You are working and spending time away from the ones you love and care for — and not getting paid?  NO.  If that has been you in the past on some accounts, you need to change that immediately. So you have to do some thinking about how to so set up your relationship with your customers so that you get paid 999.99% of the time.

Learning how to get paid on every job is an art, and it is all part of The Prosperous Life.

Go Get The Money Part 2!

Roger's Rules for Contractors

Many years ago I was involved in a large job with an interior designer.  She told me up front that she would be paying for the labor of what I was doing. It was quite a large job and I was there for a while.  In talking to the other contractors, I found that this designer was footing the bill for the entire remodel herself with no upfront money from the homeowner. She paid for the remodeling, the carpet, the wallpaper, and all other materials.  All the labor for the trades was going to be paid by her once the job was completed and she got paid.

In talking to the homeowner I learned that he was a workman’s comp attorney.  From what I know of these type of attorneys, all they do is sue people and they are the most likely of all to not pay once the job is complete.

This job was making me nervous, so when I was done, I talked the decorator into letting me bill the homeowner myself.  She finally agreed.  Then I spoke with the attorney.  He said all bills were to go through the decorator.  I told him that yes that was true but that she had told me I could bill him directly myself.  He finally agreed, and I went that night and picked up a check from him. When the job was finally done, the decorator and the attorney had a falling out over the bill and I don’t know if she ever got paid.

She should have required the homeowner to pay one-half of the price of the materials upfront before ordering.  With her markup that should have covered 100% of her cost.  Then the other half should have been paid on delivery – on delivery not installation. As she was making no money off the labor, she should have had the homeowner pay for the labor from each contractor on completion of their work.

Dividing large jobs into small bite size chunks for payment will prevent many problems with collections.

That is where # 44 came from.

# 44 Don’t work for lawyers.

Some lawyers only pay by lawsuits. This week I spoke to a painter that had been burned by a lawyer recently. When you find out it’s a lawyer, bid the job too high or tell them you just don’t have the time at the moment to do the work and let that job slide — even if you are not busy.  Busy without getting paid is a sickening feeling.  Better to go fishing and pray than to deal with the stress of being stiffed.

#45 Ask who is paying for the job.

We ask up front, “Are you paying for this or is someone else?”  By asking this question, I have heard, “I am not paying; this is a new house. The builder, plumber or manufacturer is paying.” Ask for the phone number of the person they said was paying and verify.  I have had several times where the builder said, “I gave them your number to do the work but I am not paying.”

I forgot to ask on one job a few years ago.  In order to have access to the malfunctioning parts, we had the builder take the brick off the outside of the house and then take the sheeting and insulation out.  In the process of repairing the unit, I found out from the wife that the unit had no warranty. I stopped working and called the builder to see if he was paying.  “NO!”  He said the plumber was.  I called the plumber and he said, “NO! I thought I bought a good unit and that the wholesaler was paying.”  Well, the wholesaler said that the manufacturer’s warranty was up two years earlier, and there was no way they were going to pay.

So I leaned a piece of plywood over the hole, called the builder and told him they needed to figure out who was paying since there was no warranty and call me back. Two weeks later the plumber called and said he was paying because the builder threatened to fire him if the plumber did not pay to fix the unit.  (Personally, I would have told the builder to stuff it if I had been the plumber, but a lot people don’t stand up for themselves.)

If I had finished the work then found that out that no one was paying, it would have been very hard to collect. Don’t get caught in that trap.  Always discuss the money issue up front.  Most people have no problem with discussing payments up front.  The people that do have a problem with it are the ones you want to watch.

I have also found that if you are willing and open to discuss the payment issue up front, they have more respect for you and getting paid becomes a far smaller problem than it might have been.  They see and respect your confidence, and may decide to ply their non-payment craft on someone else.

It is always uncomfortable, but the feelings of not getting paid are far worse.

# 22 Tell people up front what the cost is going to be.

This way there are no surprises for them. And they can’t come back with mock surprise at the cost to make you feel bad and reduce the price after the job is finished.  It may be uncomfortable talking about money before the job is started, but if you want to eliminate collection problems, you have to do it.

# 33 We get paid on completion of a commercial job.

Many years ago I was working late one night in a mall and talking to the carpet layer and the subject of getting paid came up.  He said he was getting a check that night when he was done. “How did you do that?” I asked.  He had told them that was the only way he would do the job.  WOW!  I never forgot that.

It took us four months to get paid by that Wisconsin company.

As we started to do more commercial jobs in the business we are in now, I incorporated the same idea.

I tell them up front we can do the job, but we need to be paid the day we are done.  Can they write me a check?  Many times writing a check is difficult for them to do, so I tell them a credit card will work.  I tell them to talk to their boss and let me know.  Many commercial jobs have company credit cards on site. I have never been turned down.

The problem with billing on commercial jobs is that most of the time their offices are out of state.  I have been told, “Well, I send the invoice to Arkansas and the job super signs off on it, then it goes to accounting in Alabama, then the Partner in New York has to review it and write the check but the checks are sent from California, and there is no way for me to tell you what part of the process your invoice is in.”

Meanwhile, the contractor has finished the job and left the state.  The foreman I talked to has changed jobs and works for someone else.  Sometimes you are left with no one to contact and no phone numbers.

I would rather lose the job than go through that to collect the money.

We do the same on any out of town job.  They pay while we are there or we don’t go.  We settle that issue up front.  I tell them all “It is nothing personal, it is just the best way we have found to not have to spend our time chasing money.”  Most understand and will arrange it for you.

Also, I have had local entities where the bills are paid from some out of state company.  We ask them to have a check sent to the local company, and then they give it to us on completion of the job. You just have to have the attitude that I do not want to chase that money down.

This works for small companies with small bills.  If you are a larger contractor, you have to find ways to take care of the problem. Every business will have a way to collect in a timely manner.

Once you adopt the attitude that you will get paid, you will find that you get paid much more often. Even if the amount is small, it is the principle of the thing. You deserve to be paid, so don’t give up.  Be a thorn in their side until they take care of the bill.

One contractor I talked to sends them a final letter stating that they will be turned over to a collection agency in seven days if the bill is not paid.  He states that the collection agency’s fee will be attached to the bill and they may notify the credit bureaus.

Another method I have seen involves a set of letters on this web site:

However you deal with collecting, remember, you deserve to be paid.  Ignore the negative things that people will say and just stick to your course.  You will become less uncomfortable with talking about the money up front over time.  Remember, your family deserves your best effort.

Whatever you do will become a habit.  If you develop the habit of allowing people to not pay, you will lose thousands of dollars that you worked for over your life time.

The first thing I ALWAYS do if my wife gives me an account to collect is pray and ask God to help me resolve the issue.  I firmly believe that God has saved my A** many times over the years where otherwise I would have gone away with an empty sack. Ask me about them sometime, and I will tell you those stories, too.

The righteous are bold as a lion.

Not hateful or arrogant just purposeful and bold.  A mind set like a rock.

The longer you are willing to wait to get paid, the longer they will take to pay!

Learning to stick up for yourself and being bold is all part of The Prosperous Life.


Go Get The Money Part 1

Rules for Contractors

I was talking to a plumber a week ago and he told me about a job he did six months back in a wealthy neighborhood for about $650, and they still had never sent him a check.  I told him I would be calling them four to five times a day.  But he apparently just let it go.

On the other hand, I spoke to a fire-chief in a town southwest of here about three years ago.  He told me the ambulance service in their town was about $2.8 million in the red a few years back.  The city had no idea why so they put the ambulance service under the authority of the fire department.

When the fire department looked at the books and the method for collecting past due accounts, they found the problem.  The lady in charge of collecting for the ambulance service called the people one time if they had not paid and then put the bill in the non collectible file.  She never called them again.

Well, the fire department changed that.  He did not say they sued anyone, but they sent them letters and made phone calls until the bills were paid.  They went and GOT THE MONEY! The ambulance service was back in the black in about 1 ½ years. Diligence makes a huge difference.  It can be the difference between prosperity and going out of business.

Collecting money is one of the most uncomfortable things about being a contractor.  Sometimes collecting your money involves confrontation, and confrontation is something that most people avoid like the plague.

If you don’t GO GET THE MONEY, it is not fair to you. You did the work. AND it is not fair to your family.  You are working and spending time away from the ones you love and care for — and not getting paid.  NO.  If that has been you in the past on some accounts, you need to change that immediately. So you have to do some thinking about how to so set up your relationship with your customers that you get paid 999.99% of the time.

In the last 40 years I have been cheated out of about $2000.  that is a very small amount compared to what I have had others tell me they have lost.  Many contractors  will tell you stories of losing $1,000’s on a single job.  That amount is so low because we GO GET THE MONEY!

There are many things you can do to put the odds in your favor. I will cover them in this blog and the next.

#18 No waiting on third parties to pay your customer.

I always ask, “Who is paying?” on certain jobs.  Sometimes I hear:

  • “Do the work now then, send us a bill, and you will get paid at the closing of the house.”

Some deals fall through, then who pays? Or they put off the closing for three more weeks.

Or the seller does not get what they expected at closing and can’t pay.

What if they forget?

  • “Do the work and when the insurance company pays us, we will pay you.

What if the insurance company does not pay for that?  How long will that be?

Way too many variables.

  • “Do the work, and the manufacturer will pay or the store will pay or the carpenter will pay.”

Or they say, “Send the bill to the builder or the plumber.”

The reason they don’t want to pay but want to wait for someone else to come up with the money is because they feel they should not have to pay for the work no matter what. And if someone is going to get stuck with no money they would rather have it be you and not them.  If the other entity does not pay neither will they.  Just so you know.

NO!  We tell them we need to be paid when the work is done.  We can email them a receipt and an invoice, and they can collect from the third party.  Our company policy does not allow us to wait on ….

I have a friend in the same business as I am in a small town east of here.  He did some work in some apartments, about $3,000 worth.  When he was finished, the owner, a local, would not pay.  No reason, he just would not pay.  So then my friend (the contractor) filed a lien on the property. About three years later, an attorney called him and said that the building was being sold and they needed to clear up the lien the contractor had on the building. The attorney said he had a check for $1500 at his office the contractor could pick up for siging a lien release.

You see, many people think contractors are poor business men and just barely able to keep food on the table, so they would jump at the chance to at least get $1500.00 out of a three year old bill.  The contractor told the attorney he could make out the check for the $3,000 plus the filing fees and the interest or he would not sign anything. The attorney said, “That’s not happening.”  Two weeks later, the attorney called back with a check for the right amount.   Backbone and patience pay well.

If you are going to have a business, you need to run it like a business!

# 32 Collect money up front for nonrefundable parts.  

On any job where you need to order parts, we collect the retail price of the parts up front. Why? After you have ordered the parts or received them, they may cancel the work.  Why?

  • People may decide to move instead of repairing the unit.
  • They may decide to replace unit.
  • Their neighbor fixed it for free, etc.
  • Their mother died, and they are putting the project on hold indefinitely.
  • People have a myriad of excuses.

Now you have parts you can’t use and many companies charge a 20% restocking fee plus postage.  Why should you be out that money?  If they have any objection to paying for the parts up front because they do not know if they can trust you, tell them they need to find someone they can trust because your business requires the parts be paid for in advance. Usually people don’t have a problem with collecting for parts before ordering and will send you a check in the mail if you talk over the phone.

I have told people, “I have lived in the same house for 30 years and had the same phone number for that long, too.  I work for many well known businesses and that if I were unreliable, I would be out of business very quickly.  But I can understand their apprehension.  Talk to your spouse and if you still want the parts, let me know.”  Leave the ball on their side of the court.  Most of the time they will call you back.  There is no pressure in handling it that way.  They can send the check in the mail or call you with a credit card number.

When it comes to pricing parts, we usually have them pay retail for the parts up front and let them know we will add any tax and shipping to the final invoice when we come to do the repair. Some of the manufacturers I work for have their pricing schedule set up that way.  We pay them $50.00, and the retail price is $100.00.  This is very fair. Why?

  • We have to receive it in the mail.
  • We have to enter the amount into the books on the computer.
  • We have to deposit it in the bank.
  • If the customer cancels the work order, we now have the funds to return it to the manufacturer and still not be out any money. If the manufacturer requires a 20% restocking fee, our restocking fee is 30% plus postage both ways to cover our office expenses in handling the transaction we did in both receiving the parts and shipping them back.
  • Finally, it gives a profit on our business. Without a profit, you go out of business!

Don’t do things for free. This is a business!

Remember you are running a business not a charity!

# 36 Call about the bill the next day.

When you send a bill to a first-time client, whether it is faxed or emailed, call them the next day and ask them if they received it.   If yes, ask them when they will pay if you do not already know.  If you know how they pay, confirm that over the phone.  “Since it is in before Wednesday, you will cut us a check on Friday. Is that right?” If you do not receive a check by the following Tuesday, call them again, and ask them if they mailed it. The longer you let an invoice go without contacting the customer, the longer they will take to pay.  It may be that they realize that you avoid confrontation, so they pay others first and let yours slide.

This establishes your presence as one who expects to be paid and expects them to do what they have said.

  • Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day.  (The Message)
  • Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Accumulating rules that govern life are all part of The Prosperous Life.

Roger’s Rules for Contractors

#11 #34 #31 #21 #15 #40

Then he said, “I thought all contractors were drunks.”

I was working late one night in a home when the homeowner offered me a beer.  He was very friendly and we had been chatting quite a bit while I was working. But I declined.  Then he offered me some whiskey which I thought was odd and declined it also.  Then he said, “I thought all contractors were drunks!”  He was not what he seemed to be.  Many people are like that.

To drink on a job is not smart at all no matter  how tired you are, how hot it is, or if other people are drinking beer.  Some companies will fire you on the spot if they catch you. This is where rule #11 comes from.

#11 Never accept a beer from a client.

It does your reputation no good if you are found to accept a drink while working.   You may think no one else will ever know.  Brian Tracy taught the truth that everyone knows everything.  People will eventually know you do that and so will all your suppliers and professional contacts.  It could spell disaster for your business in the long run.

#34 Don’t show up with a three day growth on your beard.

One of the painting companies I conversed with on the internet in a trade association had a policy of no one going on a job unshaven.  The owner said, “We have a bathroom at our shop supplied with razors and shaving crème.  If they come to work unshaven, they either shave or go home.”

Many companies, if you do any kind of warranty work, will call the customer after you have been there and ask, “Were they on time, were they courteous, were they dressed well, were they clean shaven and were you comfortable with them in your home?”

Think for a minute.  You knock on the door, and the woman looks through the peep hole with three little ones in tow, and her husband is at work.  She sees a man with a three day growth on his face, holes in his jeans and a dirty tee shirt.  She will not be anxious to let you in.

What looks cool on Friday night when you go out does not inspire confidence on Monday morning.

#31 We only will wait 10 to 15 minutes. 

I called a client on one job, and he said he could meet me.  I got there and waited about five minutes and then called him to “see how far out he was.”  Really I called to see if he had left work yet because sometimes they haven’t.

He said he got tied up but would be there in about 10 minutes.  At 12 minutes, I called again.  (I usually write the time down on a clip board that I carry so I remember what time he said that.)  Then he tells me he is leaving in a few minutes.  What he is really doing is trying to get me to wait till he gets off work.  He said, “Can’t you wait for a bit?”  I said, “No. I have other jobs to do.”

It was a couple of weeks before I called him back. The next time he was prompt.

He never intended to meet me. He wanted to string me along until he got off work. We don’t wait.

Sometimes people will want to meet at 4:00 PM.  You can ask, “Do you want to meet at 4:00 or is that when you get off work?” If they won’t be actually there until 4:30, we decline and wait for another day.

If you wait much longer than 15 minutes, it appears as though you have nothing else to do other than wait on them to be able to make some money.  It gives a very poor image of you and your business.

#21 Only reschedule once.

If you have to reschedule a job, only do it once.  More than one reschedule makes you look flakey besides the fact that many people look down on contractors as being unreliable.  It also gives the appearance that you can’t run a good schedule or a good business. The reputation you want to build is that if you say it, you will do it and on time.  People will pay more for that than great workmanship.

#15 Be on time.

Some people are always late, and they will tell you so.  If you are late, hey, that is how they are and it is very acceptable.

But there is a class of people out there that prize punctuality.  If you are late, they will never call you again.  That is just how they see life.  You are unreliable, and you will not put forth the effort to be on time.

So if you want all the work you can get, be on time and get those “clock watchers,” too!

Having said that, the only other acceptable thing that works is to call or text them, and tell them you will be late.  It is not quite as good, but it is much better that just showing up late.   Some people won’t wait long if you are not on time.  So if it happens – call.

#40 Never go into homes with only young children, especially girls.

This rule came up again this week. The lady told me that if I beat her to the house, her daughter would let me in. I told her I would wait.

It is just good policy. Another time, I was working out of town on a job.  I had called the man and verified the time I would be there. I got to the house and an 8-10 year old girl answered the door.  She said her dad had called and said to let us (I had a helper with me) in, and that her dad would be there shortly.

I told her we would wait in the truck. I told the man who was the local fire chief that we never enter a house with only underage girls there. He said he understood.

Sometimes you have to find out if the young person is a boy or girl and what age they are. Boys are not quite the problem. You could ask if they go to college.  If not, tell them, “It’s nothing personal; it is just against our company policy to go into homes with only young girls there unless they have graduated high school. I need the adult to meet us. Most people will understand.

What I don’t understand is instructing a young girl to let an adult into their home that they have never met.  It seems odd to me but people do it.

 #7 Go get the work.

If you want the work, you have to go get it.  Figure out every possible avenue that could use what you do.  Then call or go by and drop off some cards.

  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers
  • Tradesmen
  • Apartment complexes
  • Real estate agents
  • Builders

I found a list of all the builders in our area online in the beginning which was about 400 people.  I entered them all into a data base, so that we could print out envelopes and have them look nice. Then we mailed them all letters.

This was a lot of work, but every time I did that we would pick up two or three builders.  If you do that four times a year, it will pay off after a while.

Spend some time on the phone calling people that could benefit from your business especially if they are out of town. I picked up some accounts on the fourth call.

Always look for a way to pick up more business.  I did a job for a wholesaler years ago.  When I was done, I called him on the phone and visited with him.  I asked him what brands he sold.  He mentioned one that I did not work for and I told him that.  He said that they had just hired a new salesman and gave me the man’s number.  A few weeks later I was in with that brand and have done a number of jobs over the years and also gotten a great many referrals.

Finally, pray and ask God to open doors for you.  He will because he is your Father.  If God is not your Father, then get born again and then pray.  He will be able to be more help to you than you can ever imagine.

A great book to read along these lines written by Jay Abraham is Getting Everything You Can out of All You’ve Got.  He explains how to make a great business with very little to not cost.  It is well worth reading.

Dealing with People

This one does not have a rule as such, but it is interesting.

Three or four times when I was younger, I had people call me and say “It’s 10:00, we had an appointment for 9:00, and I took off work to meet you. Are you coming?”

At first I told them I was sorry and rushed over and did the work. I could not remember making the appointment, but since I talk to a lot of people maybe I did.

After this occurred three or four times over a couple of years, I began to realize I never set that appointment.  So I began to ask them who they talked with to set this appointment.  They usually responded with “your office, the job foreman or the manufacturer.” I tell them that I am the only one to talk to to get service.  I will call you in the next few days, and we will figure out a time.

What probably happened is that they took off from work that morning for whatever reason, and it was convenient for them to have me come that morning.  Rather than asking, they tried to guilt me into doing the job right now. That worked a few times but no longer.

  • Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day.  (The Message)
  • Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Accumulating rules that govern life are all part of The Prosperous Life.



We Don’t Pick Up Checks!

Roger's Rules for Contractors

Many years ago I was waiting in the outer office of a builder with about 20 other contractors.  It was Friday afternoon about 2:20.  A door opens and the lady says, we are not giving you your checks until after 3:00 so stop asking.

I had picked up checks several times on Friday afternoon.  This day I asked myself, “What are you doing here with these people?”  I did not like the picture it painted of my business nor did I like being treated that way.   I did not like the feelings I had in me being there.  It was demeaning.  I never picked up another check on Fridays again.

When you wait in line as a contractor to pick up checks on Fridays, it gives off the impression that you cannot make it through the weekend without the money.  It says you cannot manage your money well enough to run your business without getting a check on Friday.

Learn to leave enough in your accounts to make it till the middle of the next week when the checks come in.  You can do it.  It is just what you allow in your life and what you get used to.

So from then on we asked to be mailed the checks and never picked them up again.  This is where rule #20 came from.

# 20 We don’t pick up checks!

Then this freed me up to do more jobs on Friday afternoon and increased our bottom line.

# 23 Take care of call backs immediately.

No one is perfect.  If you messed up a job and got a call back to correct it, take care of it immediately especially if it’s for a major account.  Fix it within the first 24 hours or sooner so they know that you can be counted on to take care of problems when they come up.  This is great for your reputation.

Repairing the goof ASAP also makes your mistake leave their mind quickly.  You don’t need the thought of your screw up lingering in their head.

Don’t argue over $25 or $100 especially when you make $1,500 – $5,000 year from that account.  Don’t argue over pennies; you lose dollars so just fix it. It will save you a ton of headaches when you go looking for new accounts.

# 37 Eat that frog.

I listen to Brian Tracy some, and he has a set of CD’s called Eat That Frog.  The idea is to do the worst job or the job you dread doing the most first thing in the morning or the week.

Brian said think of it as a frog you have to eat live today.  If you eat it first thing in the morning, then it is over with.  That is far better than dreading the thought of eating it all day long and then finally eating it at 5:00 PM.  Do it first thing in the morning and it is over with.  The rest of the day is free.  Very nice!

Sometimes I do the call backs first.  I hate those.  Or I call the jobs with cranky people first.   There can be any number of reasons you dread doing certain jobs, but no matter, do them first thing and it greatly reduces your stress for the day.

If that idea works for you buy the set of CD’s from Brian Tracy as a way of saying thank you. They are interesting and fun to listen to as you drive around.

# 27 Don’t stay on hold for too long.  

Staying on hold too long is like you are begging, like you have nothing better to do while they take care of their business.

  • If they called you, let them all back.
  • If you called them, wait a couple of hours then call back.

Apologize and say you could not wait but had to go — pressing issues.

Like it or not life is a lot about impressions.  If you stay on hold long, it gives the impression that you are not busy. I would rather leave the impression I am very busy, thus, very good at what I do, even If I have nothing else to do.  Think about it.

# 28 Use the 80/20 rule.  

When I was young, I did this with my grass mowing accounts.  At the beginning of each year I culled the ones that only wanted the grass cut every other week so that it was tall and very time consuming to do   with no extra money. Or the ones that did not want to pay more because their yard was too large for the price they were paying.

You can use this rule for any wholesalers, other contractors or manufacturers that you work for.  Most people are great but some need to just be gotten rid of.

This 80/20 rule is old, and the principle is found in many different areas of life.  The following link can help you to understand some of how it works:

  • 20% of your customers give you 80 of your grief, when the time is right, cull them.
  • 20% of your customers give you 80 percent of your income. They go to the top of the list for priority when you make out your schedule.

Rules guard our lives – our minds.  They help guard, most importantly, our minds from feeling frustrated, defeated, used, belittled.  This is important because the more you have these feelings, you are likely to see yourself as not worth much.

Rules also help guard our integrity in the minds of others.  They will begin to realize that you run a business and are not just someone that needs to buy groceries for their family.

Many people have a very poor attitude toward contractors.  Looking at some of the contractors out there, that is understandable.  So it takes a little work on your part to set yourself apart from the other contractors in general and to set yourself apart from those in your field.  Self-imposed rules of conduct can help you accomplish that very quickly.

  • Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day.  (The Message)
  • Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Accumulating rules that govern life are all part of The Prosperous Life.