This month’s cover story focuses on ensuring your business has a healthy cash flow. One reason so many building service contractors are suffering with money management is because cleaning is seen as a submissive industry. Out of fear of losing customers, BSCs are willing to wait 60, 90 or even 120 days for payment.

At ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Chicago, consultant Ian Greig gave a passionate speech urging BSCs to get more assertive with their clients. According to Greig, this starts with the cleaning. You’re the expert, so don’t ask your customers what services they want, and how often; tell them what needs to be done, and when.

You’re the expert. Don’t
ask your customers what
services they want; tell
them what needs to be
done, and when

When your clients start recognizing your expertise and treating you with more respect, then it will also be easier to stand firm when collecting a payment. Your customer shouldn’t dictate when you’ll be paid. You need to fill payroll twice a month, can you really afford to wait three months for your customer to pay you? Get payments on your terms — as early as possible.

If clients still refuse to budge on paying you early, consider this alternative: accept payments via credit cards. Many contractors are reluctant to explore this option because when you’re only making four percent profit on an account, credit cards will eat half of that. But Greig and other BSCs interviewed for the cover story say it’s better than waiting weeks or months for a payment. Instead of resisting credit card payments, BSCs need to spend their time figuring out how to increase their profits.