We got the call from the sub-contractor today.
“I’m finished with the job. Do you think I can get paid?”
Now while I want to make sure all my contractors get their money in a timely manner, there are some things you need to do to actually get paid. And if you want your money faster there are some great tools you can use to get your money INSTANTLY!!.
So, with 6 houses in various stages of being made ready to sell, and multiple contractors doing work and getting paid I hit frustration level this past week and went to the internet to ask my fellow rehabbers and contractors the best tools out there so I could pass them on to all the contractors working for us.
From that online conversation, we now have this article.
So, here goes . . . .
We call you up and ask, “hey can you do this job?”
It might be something simple that because of our business relationship you can decide over the phone or it may be that you need to come look at the job and give us a price.
I highly recommend, sending us a written bid that details out
- exactly what you are going to do,
- what you are going to provide,
- how much it’s going to cost,
- and how when you get paid.
How You Want To Be Paid
Usually, money is due upon completion of the job, all money.
Now if it’s a larger project and you want some money upfront, I get it, you do have materials to buy. And if it’s more than a day or two job you might want partial payment for part of the work midway. This all needs to be decided upfront that so much is due at the start for materials and at the end of the week these specific things will be complete and this much of the payment will be made. You get the idea. Just remember that if the work specified to be complete is not done, the payment for that work will be delayed until it is done.
I love texts as much as the next person. They are a great way to send photos of issues that need to be discussed or to send photos of completed work. Also great to set up a time to meet. It is not a way to send estimates.
These need to be written out either in a document that is attached to an email or if you must text, attached the written estimate, that can be opened up and read, to a text. In a pinch writing it all out in an email will work.
Proof of Insurance and a W-9
We also need to see a few other things along with your estimate and good contractors always make sure to send us their estimate along with their current proof of insurance and a completed current W-9 detailing out who gets paid and what your tax status might be.
If you don’t know your tax status, please consult with a tax professional.
What we really want to see is the name of who we should be paying, the tax ID of that name and the address where we should send payments to that name. We need this for the IRS to prove who we are paying and so we can send you a 1099 at the end of the year. We report EVERYTHING.
To make this an easy process having your both scanned in and saved on your computer in a PDF form is very helpful. You can save it on your computer and on your phone so you can quickly attach them to an email or to a text and send it off.
We will want to walk the job to confirm the job is 100% complete. We don’t pay you until you are 100% complete. And we just can’t give you instant gratification. So if you can’t wait up to 24 hours for us to verify your work before you get paid, you may not want to work for us.
Now to the getting paid part.
My husband Don Tucker coined this phrase a long time ago with our contractors “ No Ticky, no Checky.” And those we worked with at the time knew they had to come to the office with an invoice or ticket hand it to me. I would write the check. Of course, this was 10 years ago when we had an office 5 minutes from most job sites and there were not all the fancy tools that contractors have available today.
Once you are finished with the job, then email us a written invoice. This can be from fancy software, a simple word document, simple excel document or you could handwrite it on a piece of paper. Whatever you use, is fine, but do use something.
If you are meeting us, you can physically hand us the invoice. If you are not meeting us you can email us a copy of the document created on your computer. And if you write it out on paper, you can scan it to make it digital so it could be emailed or texted. You can also use your phone to take a photo of the written paper and then send us the photo.
There are several ways in which you can get paid.
- At the job site when we walk to make sure it’s complete, you can take time out of your busy day from the new project you are working on to meet us at the site and get paid. Or take time out of your busy day to meet us somewhere and pick up a check. But we don’t keep a lot of checks in the car, so if you are contractor number 5 you might be out of luck.
- Or you can tell us it’s complete and send the invoice and just to be safe, another copy of your W-9 if we have never paid you before. We will check the work and then we can either write you a check and mail it or we turn to technology.
- The best way is you email us with your completed invoice and W-9 to let us know you are finished. We run by the job site to check it out. Then we get on our phone, and either click a button in your email or go to an app and send you money – INSTANTLY!
Technology is Great!!
There are numerous ways that we can pay you instantly. You tell us the job is complete, send the invoice and your W-9. My guy in the field goes and checks the work and says, yep it’s done, pay the guy. Then I can pay you instantly using technology. Yes, I’m sure some contractors are women, but so far we are still paying guys!
- Google Pay: This is totally free and once set up as simple as sending and receiving an email. Both parties need to have a Gmail account. With a Gmail account you are then able to set up a Google Pay Account, link it to your bank account and send and receive up to $9999 totally free.
- Apple Pay: This will let you link a bank account to send money and also let people pay by credit card for a 3 percent fee. You can send up to $3,000 instantly. But both parties in the transaction need to be on an Apple Device so this might make it harder for you to get paid from people who don’t have an iPhone.
- PayPal: Also free with no limits on how much you can send although you might have to break larger payments into several transactions. No fee to send money you own money. If sending from a credit card there is a fee plus 2.9 percent of the transaction.
- Others: app, Venmo, Square, Zelle
All in One Tools
- QuickBooks Payments: This is an add on to the QuickBooks Software. While I don’t use it to bill and can’t tell you how it works from the billing end, as a QuickBooks user and having paid many people through its email interface, I am going to assume you can use QuickBooks to create and send an Estimate. Once the job is complete you can convert that Estimate to an Invoice. Then email that Invoice with a “click here” to pay button. You have several options to get paid via ACH (bank transfer) for free or you can also choose to accept credit cards. Note if you do accept credit cards, it will cost you a small percentage of the transaction.
- FreshBooks: FreshBooks provide similar services to QuickBooks. Fees are based on credit card type, volume and state as may or may not apply sales taxes to be collected/paid. Many small providers like landscapers, pool maintenance, handymen use it.
- WaveApps.com: Free for you to use and create invoices. But they do charge a fee if customers pay with a credit card. It sounds really similar to QuickBooks.
- JoistApp: Their website states they are the #1 App for Contractors to estimate, invoice, collect payment and manage projects from anywhere, at any time.
- House Call Pro: Integrates to Quickbooks. Helps with Scheduling and Email Automation. Online booking integrates with Facebook, Google My Business and Yelp. Get paid instantly.
- Others: Service Titan, Workiz, Jobber, Flashtract
Time is Money
Now, guys and gals, I can’t help you save time by running to Home Depot, Lowes and other suppliers several times a day. That’s on you to estimate the job, detail it out and have a complete list of all the supplies needed so you can go shopping once and get the job done faster.
I hope that this article and a little time spend learning how to embrace technology might save you time chasing checks. And at the same time, if you choose one of the all in one tools for estimating, invoicing, and getting paid, you get the added bonus of having a lot of your bookkeeping completed for you.
Three to Five Extra Hours – EVERY WEEK
Think about this. If you are a sub-contractor that does 3 to 5 one- or two-day jobs a week. You drive to the job site to bid it, you drive to the job site to complete it, then you drive to wherever the money is to get paid. I would guess driving to get paid costs you almost an hour of your time. Then at the end of the week, either you or someone you pay, spends an hour entering information into some sort of bookkeeping software. By embracing technology, you can save 3 to 5 hours every week.
What could you do with that 3 to 5 hours? Spend more time with your family? Do one more job and get paid one more time?
Make More Money
And I would think that by using tools you would get a better handle on what everything costs you and might help you make better estimates, so you make more money. And as your customer can see the invoice and pay it instantly, you get paid faster and there is less a chance the customer just forgets.