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View Full Version : Winter Expenses ugh...


warbuff
04-03-2013, 12:50 PM
I've been putting a bit of thought into this and decided it was time to share a few of my practices...

Ever run out of money in the off season and ended up paying with credit cards or taking a loan to cover your expenses? That was me 5 years ago. its hard to put money aside for the winter when you have bills to pay now, it took me a while to get to this point but last two winters have been much more manageable.

I started by making some accounting changes and also charging more. Then I had to get creative in cost cutting and how I paid my bills.

With my insurances I have my renewals in May a month after the season starts and I make sure to pay it off in 7 months, during the season so I do not have to make insurance payments in the off season. For example if you insurance is 1200 a year you would generally make 12 $100 dollar payments Instead I make 7 payments @ $171.50. For a small contractor like me not having to make that extra 100 payment each month from December to April is huge.

I use this same principle for my advertising and various affiliations and or memberships. All costs that are much easier to pay in season.

While you can't do this for every thing. My in season expenses are about $2350 a month not including payroll, when December hits that drops down $1300 which is much easier to handle...

I have to save less for winter costs, but I still try to put an extra $250 away per week to help cover those costs in winter so I will not have to rely on plowing income.

Just curious if any else has ideas on this or does similar things?

GreenBlue
04-03-2013, 08:59 PM
I've been putting a bit of thought into this and decided it was time to share a few of my practices...

Ever run out of money in the off season and ended up paying with credit cards or taking a loan to cover your expenses? That was me 5 years ago. its hard to put money aside for the winter when you have bills to pay now, it took me a while to get to this point but last two winters have been much more manageable.

I started by making some accounting changes and also charging more. Then I had to get creative in cost cutting and how I paid my bills.

With my insurances I have my renewals in May a month after the season starts and I make sure to pay it off in 7 months, during the season so I do not have to make insurance payments in the off season. For example if you insurance is 1200 a year you would generally make 12 $100 dollar payments Instead I make 7 payments @ $171.50. For a small contractor like me not having to make that extra 100 payment each month from December to April is huge.

I use this same principle for my advertising and various affiliations and or memberships. All costs that are much easier to pay in season.

While you can't do this for every thing. My in season expenses are about $2350 a month not including payroll, when December hits that drops down $1300 which is much easier to handle...

I have to save less for winter costs, but I still try to put an extra $250 away per week to help cover those costs in winter so I will not have to rely on plowing income.

Just curious if any else has ideas on this or does similar things?

I'd like to hear responses on this one, and you've made some very good points, I like how you are putting aside money every week, will be doing that for sure once my business is up and running, feels like forever to get here though.

SNethercutt
04-03-2013, 09:08 PM
Ever thought of doing Christmas lights or outside holiday decorating? A lot of people don't care to get out in the cold and do that kind of stuff.... extra money? Christmas lights are a huge business down here but I have yet to get in to it.

willshome
04-03-2013, 09:41 PM
I do the same thing with my insurance but this year I would llike to pay it off in june when it starts. Get it done with and save $5 a month in fees

Steve
04-04-2013, 11:45 AM
For example if you insurance is 1200 a year you would generally make 12 $100 dollar payments Instead I make 7 payments @ $171.50.

That is brilliant! What got you to change the way you did this? Did someone suggest it to you or how did you come up with it?

warbuff
04-05-2013, 08:44 PM
That is brilliant! What got you to change the way you did this? Did someone suggest it to you or how did you come up with it?

in my 3rd year was making more money but I knew winter was going to kick my *** again so I looked at ways to keep my expenses down. Decided it was easier to do it this way when money was coming in faster. That hard choice with that is sometimes you don't pay down your debt as fast as you like but in winter time you can accumulate additional debt so much faster (when your income is lower) so you have to pick and choose your spots.

Its easy to say your going to save $250 a week or 1000 a month in reality its much much tougher...

For someone starting out I would recommend putting $50 a week away, at the end of the month you can add to it that's great but first weigh risk reward of paying down a debt or adding a new piece of equipment. Planning long term can only help. If you fail to plan ahead, you just asking for trouble...

GreenBlue
04-05-2013, 09:30 PM
in my 3rd year was making more money but I knew winter was going to kick my *** again so I looked at ways to keep my expenses down. Decided it was easier to do it this way when money was coming in faster. That hard choice with that is sometimes you don't pay down your debt as fast as you like but in winter time you can accumulate additional debt so much faster (when your income is lower) so you have to pick and choose your spots.

Its easy to say your going to save $250 a week or 1000 a month in reality its much much tougher...

For someone starting out I would recommend putting $50 a week away, at the end of the month you can add to it that's great but first weigh risk reward of paying down a debt or adding a new piece of equipment. Planning long term can only help. If you fail to plan ahead, you just asking for trouble...

I might consider this upon my start up.

SECTLANDSCAPING
04-05-2013, 09:42 PM
Its all about budgeting. If it helps you to spend the money in the spring and summer then go for it.

I do almost the opposite. I run a lean budget in season and do all my equipment purchases in the winter. During the spring and summer my income fluctuates so much its hard to know whats ahead. In the winter Ill get the same amount coming in for 4-5 months with a little added bonus from homeowners.

I guess its all preference and depends on how your revenue comes.

warbuff
04-07-2013, 07:08 AM
Its all about budgeting.

I guess its all preference and depends on how your revenue comes.

You have to figure out what works for you, I tell people what worked for me and if they can learn from my mistakes or ideas and do better for themselves mission accomplished, if they don't but post something else that I find helpful again mission accomplished. In the end I'm here to better my business, and I hope everyone else is able to improve as well...