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In the Famous Words of Tom Cruise “Help Me Help You”
This Article Will Focus On a rather tough subject and one that sometimes keeps me awake at night. We will do just about anything to serve the needs of Plumbing Contractors and other Contractors; however, there are rare times when we will fire a client or refuse service in the first place.
Having Been Involved in construction most of my life; which includes being raised in a construction family, serving a Plumbing
apprenticeship, having a Washington State PL01 Journeyman Plumbing License, owning and operating several construction companies and a few Plumbing Contracting firms in addition to attending several universities where I majored in Accounting and Project Management and other areas of Business Process Management expertise and having worked closely with thousands of successful and not so successful contractors as their outsourced construction accountant I have a good understanding of what it takes to make a lot of money in construction and how easy it is for a contractor to lose a lot of money in construction.
All Plumbing Contractors have Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T.) and only a few simple disciplines practiced every day are what separate the highly profitable Plumbing Contractors from all of the rest.
Pattern We See Repeated Over And Over
Step #01 – Start a construction company without a Business Plan and target market.
Step #02 – QuickBooks setup by an amateur or worse yet by a non-construction C.P.A.
Step #03 – Data entry by a Bad Bookkeeper who starts out good and then turns bad.
Step #04 – Bad business decisions based upon worthless Financial and Job Costing Reports.
Step #05 – Sales decline because time and effort spent on the wrong customers 80/20 Rule.
Step #06 – Cash flow suffers; late fees and penalties pile up because you’re the customer’s bank.
Step #07 – Game Over; The Plumbing Contractor is out of business and things get real ugly!
***When The Plumbing Contractor’s Bookkeeping Does Not Work and They Want It Fixed ASAP But Refuse To Cooperate They Need A Magician Not A Construction Accountant!
It Hurts When We have to refuse to service a contractor or let one go. We sincerely believe we can help ALL contractors to have more freedom, by earning more money, working fewer hours and sleeping better at night. Simply by taking the pressure their contractors bookkeeping services so they can focus on operating and growing their Plumbing Contracting Company.
In A Few Rare Cases contractor clients have wanted specific financial and job costing reports but they flatly refused to cooperate with us and in some cases adamantly resist our attempts to make changes in their contractors bookkeeping services system which would have made it possible.
These Are All Good Men And Women who appear to sincerely believe they are a “Pearl of Wisdom in a Sea of Ignorance”. Some of them continually repeat a line heard from a popular comedian Ron White “You can’t fix stupid!” and other well-worn phrases heard in construction “If you want anything done right you have to do it yourself!” and finally “It’s my way or the highway!” There is a lot of deep meaning whenever someone uses those statements and most of it comes down to lack of trust.
We Understand They Are Simply Operating from a primeval survival instinct of “Fight or Flight” which means reacting to circumstances rather than responding to them. Human Beings and Humans Becoming have a great advantage over other inhabitants of this planet in that between stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space in the opportunity to stop, think, evaluate options and then respond.
Sometimes We Determine a contractor has some pressing need to spend quality time with a staff member to talk about the issues they are experiencing. Having someone who cares enough about you as a person and understands what you are dealing with in owning and operating a Plumbing Company or other type of Construction Company is like breathing in pure crisp clean mountain air. In these special cases, even though it costs us to provide this personalized service, we provide it to the contractor no charge with their promise that in the future they will pay it forward by being there for another brother or sister contractor.
All Contractors Are Rough And Tumble because that is the world we live, work and play in; however, I have found over the years 98% of them are good people with good hearts and will step in and offer a helping hand up to just about anybody because that is the nature of the construction trade.
Just Having Someone Listen And Pay Attention to you and show you respect by turning off cell phones and blocking other interruptions to just listen and make a sincere effort to understand you and what you have to say without judging or offering solutions or attempting to sell you something may be just what you need.
Oftentimes That Is All a Plumbing Contractor or other Contractor needs to get a clear sense of direction they need to go with their construction company.
Quickbooks Online is NOT the Right Product for Plumbing Contractors
Another group of contractors we cannot help are the good men and women who insist on using QuickBooks Online. This is a great accounting tool for a lot of businesses but construction is not one of them. The reason is contractor’s need all of the same financial reports of regular accounting and job costing reports they can only get from QuickBooks for contractors desktop version online. The issue is the cost to have 24/7 online access to QuickBooks For Contractors desktop version online. It is a better solution for most contractors than QuickBooks Online which means like everything that works better it costs a few dollars more.
These Same Plumbing Contractors are wise enough not to buy low cost tools and equipment designed for homeowners to tackle minor weekend fix up projects and then call a professional Plumbing Contractor to undo their mess and fix it right.
Top 6 Knock-Out Factors That Make Contractors Unsuitable For Professional Construction Accounting Firms
Most accounting firms will not be as blunt and to the point as I am since most accountants would not know what to do if you gave them a print for a 100 seat restaurant with or without isometrics, a pile of No-Hub Cast-Iron pipe, fittings, bands and a snap-cutter, verbal instructions to rough-in the DWV system, put it under test and call for a plumbing inspection.
If you wanted to add some aggravation to the mix include a couple of second year Plumbing Apprentices for the Journeyman Plumber to babysit, repeat everything twice or more and ride herd over them so they don’t wander off and get lost and continually argue with them since most second year Plumbing Apprentices think they know everything. This one hits close to home because I was guilty of this very thing; fortunately I had one of the greatest Journey Plumbers as a mentor and friend who did not tolerate nonsense and whom I owe a great deal of gratitude.
The following is a list of knock-out factors that will cause us and all other professional construction accountants to invite a Plumbing Contractor and other Contractors to seek help elsewhere starting with the least offensive and ending with #1 reason:
#6 – Telling your construction accountant how to do their job.
#5 – Helping your construction accountant do their job.
#4 – Bringing an Excel sheet or piece of paper with grand totals for sales, expenses and net profit without any supporting documentation and expecting us to put it into QuickBooks for Contractors and generate financial reports so you can get a loan, line of credit or performance bond.
#3 – Insisting on downloading transactions from the bank into QuickBooks. This works well for a lot of industries; but, NOT construction. There are many different places transactions need to be allocated into and expecting the bank to know which item, Schedule of Values, account, customer, job name, job costing account, work-in-process account, direct and indirect cost account, expense account, liability account, asset account, split transaction account or other income and expense account each transaction needs to go to is NOT going to happen.
#2 – Having a chaos mentality by paying vendors online without using Bill.Com and expecting the bank to know which bill, accounts payable, item, Schedule of Values, account, customer, job name, job costing account, work-in-process account, direct and indirect cost account, expense account, liability account, asset account, split transaction account or other income and expense account each transaction needs to go to is NOT going to happen either.
#1 Negotiating with your contractors accounting services provider and attempting to grind down the price because you do it all of the time to your material suppliers and sub-contractors. By the way negotiating beyond a reasonable limit destroys more bottom line profit dollars than anything else including not having a Change Order Management System that assures you get paid for everything you do. Understanding the true cost of competition vs. cooperation can be a real eye opener and mind altering event.
The good news is over the years quite a few contractor clients that we have parted ways with have returned after a while of trying Cheap Bookkeepers. The most common reason given is they experienced a severe Paradigm Shift and realized that everything we said was being validated by other trusted sources. We do not have all the answers, just a few key ones that seem to work well for Plumbing Contractors and other Contractors.
You are a contractor; you have the right to be wealthy and an obligation to share your gifts and talents with the world by bringing value to other people’s lives. And if we can be of service to you please feel free to contact Sharie 206-361-3950 or firstname.lastname@example.org because it does not cost a dime to chat for a while.
About The Author:
Randal DeHart, PMP, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington, www.FastEasyAccounting.Com He is the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. He is experienced as a Plumbing Contractor, General Contractor, Project Management Professional, Construction Accountant, Intuit ProAdvisor, QuickBooks For Contractors Expert and Xero Accounting Specialist, Bill.Com Guru and Tsheets ProAdvisor.
I leave you with this heartfelt blessing – “There is a reason you were called to join the ranks of the family of construction company owners and sometimes in the middle of it all you tend to forget why. Once you re-connect with your purpose you may experience a great awakening which can lead to great accomplishments for your financial and personal benefit and for the betterment of the entire world.”
Randal L. DeHart, PMP, QPA
***Editors Note, If you’re a contractor and you’re being honest with yourself there are so many of these actions and attributes that you can relate to. The reason I know this is because I’ve been there. I never felt that my accountant, lawyer and banker were there to keep me in business. I always felt they were there to close it down. This feeling was 100% fear based. If I could give you one pearl of wisdom it would be this, set your business up the right way with the right people from the start. The reason being is that God forbid you ever have to close you know why and you can go to bed knowing you did everything the right way and most likely you’ll prosper. Also, a company like Fast, Easy Accounting will warn you so far in advance if upcoming issues you’ll be able to change course well in advance of the bottom falling out. Randal has an uncanny way of making you think he’s speaking directly at you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or give Randal a call.