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Oct. 2014 — Markets Robust But Fade at End Due to Interest Rate Worries

Originally published: 10.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index rose 6.16 points, or 0.49 percent, and closed at 1272.51. Advancing issues handily beat declining issues at a 20-to-11 count.

View Markets Robust But Fade at End Due to Interest Rate Worries

 

Keep Your Money Safe

Originally published: 10.01.14 by Ruth King

Keeping your hard earned money safe is your responsibility. Put the procedures in place to keep the honest people honest and protect yourself from employee embezzlement.

View Keep Your Money Safe

 

Protect Yourself Against Employee Embezzlement

Originally published: 09.01.14 by Ruth King

If you don’t have systems in place, it’s easy for a stressed out bookkeeper or stressed employee to get tempted. They make stupid choices they never would when thinking rationally.

View Protect Yourself Against Employee Embezzlement

 

Sep. 2014 — Techs End Strong, Other Markets Falter

Originally published: 09.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index slid 53.88 points, or 4.08 percent, and closed at 1266.34. Declining issues flattened advancing issues by a 26-to-5 count.

View Techs End Strong, Other Markets Falter

 

Aug. 2014 — Global Issues Roll Wall Street

Originally published: 08.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index slipped into the red, off 5.62 points, or 0.42 percent, and closed at 1320.23. Declining issues topped advancing is- sues at a 19-to-12 count.

View Global Issues Roll Wall Street

 

Your Inventory Days Ratio: Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

Originally published: 08.01.14 by Ruth King

The Inventory Days ratio lets you know how quickly inventory is increasing or decreasing in your business. Since inventory is a bet, it’s important to know how much of your hard earned cash is being spent on inventory.

View Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

 

Markets End in Positive Terrain as Mergers Overpower Iraq Fears

Originally published: 07.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index rose 41.06 points, or 3.20 percent, and closed at 1325.85. Advancing issues overpowered declining issues at a 28-to- 3 count.

View Markets End in Positive Terrain as Mergers Overpower Iraq Fears

 

Your Receivable Days Ratio: Do you have a Collection Problem?

Originally published: 07.01.14 by Ruth King

The Receivable Days ratio tells you whether you have a collection problem or are heading toward one. It lets you know how quickly you’re being paid, and whether you’re being paid on time.

View Do you have a Collection Problem?

 

Your Compensation Percentage: Are Your Employees Productive?

Originally published: 06.01.14 by Ruth King

Even if liquidity ratios are stable or increasing, showing increasing profitability, compensation percentages may show a different story. If compensation percentages start to increase, there’s a productivity problem.

View Your Compensation Percentage: Are Your Employees Productive?

 

Economics Improve but HVACR Business Index Slips into the Red

Originally published: 06.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index slipped 7.83 points, or 0.61 percent, and closed at 1284.79. Declining issues inched past advancing issues at a 16-to- 15 count.

View Economics Improve but HVACR Business Index Slips into the Red

 

Your Debt Ratios - Do You Have Too Much Debt?

Originally published: 05.01.14 by Ruth King

Like the liquidity ratios, it’s the trends that are important. The goal is to get your debt to equity ratio stable on a monthly basis.

View Your Debt Ratios - Do You Have Too Much Debt?

 

Volatile Markets End Mixed

Originally published: 05.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index marched solidly into positive terrain, up 31.93 points, or 2.53 percent, closing at 1292.62. Advancing issues squeaked past declining issues at a 16-to-15 count.

View Volatile Markets End Mixed

 

Your Accounts Receivable to Accounts Payable Ratio: Do You Have a Collection Problem?

Originally published: 04.01.14 by Ruth King

Use the accounts receivable to accounts payable ratio to determine if you have enough money to pay your bills.

View Your Accounts Receivable to Accounts Payable Ratio: Do You Have a Collection Problem?

 

Markets Start Strong, then Fade

Originally published: 04.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index slid 31.18 points, or 2.41 percent, to close at 1260.69. Declining issues outpaced advancing issues by a 20-to-11 count.

View Markets Start Strong, then Fade

 

Maximize Your Mark-Up

Originally published: 04.01.14 by George Hedley

Learn to mark-up your mark-ups for lasting profits. Using variable mark-up charts to strategically boost your gross profit margin

View Maximize Your Mark-Up

 

10 Steps to Setting Up a Payroll System

Originally published: 04.01.14 by HVACR Business Staff

The Small Business Administration’s guide to payroll, tax and benefit withholding, and reporting.

View 10 Steps to Setting Up a Payroll System

 

Your Acid Test - Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

Originally published: 03.01.14 by Ruth King

Your Acid Test - Do You Have Too Much Inventory? Track This Indicator to Get a Clearer Financial Picture

View Your Acid Test - Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

 

Stocks Struggle as Markets Correct

Originally published: 03.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index fell 33.69 points, or 2.54 percent, and closed at 1291.87. Declining issues overpowered advancing issues by a 23-to-7 count.

View Stocks Struggle as Markets Correct

 

Do You Have Enough Cash to Pay Your Bills on a Long-Term Basis?

Originally published: 02.01.14 by Ruth King

Check Your Liquidity Ratios

View Do You Have Enough Cash to Pay Your Bills on a Long-Term Basis?

 

Turning Recovering Refrigerant into Revenue

Originally published: 02.01.14 by Corey Hundley

Safeguarding the Environment, Your Customers, and Your Bottom Line through Smart Refrigerant Recovery.

View Turning Recovering Refrigerant into Revenue

 

Markets Close on a Positive Turn

Originally published: 02.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index began 2014 rising in tandem with national markets, ahead 48.28 points, or 3.78 percent, to end at 1325.57. Advancing issues dominated declining issues at a 27-to-4 count.

View Markets Close on a Positive Turn

 

Why I Hate KPIs

Originally published: 01.01.14 by Ruth King

Comparing KPI ratios to industry standards alone can be a risky move.

View Why I Hate KPIs

 

Stocks Fade as Economic News Points to Taper

Originally published: 01.01.14 by Margot Crabtree

The HVACR Business Stock Index slipped slightly off 14.35 points, or 1.11 percent, closing at 1277.28. Declining issues bypassed advancing issues at a 20-to-11 count.

View Stocks Fade as Economic News Points to Taper

 

The Annual Tax Extenders Dance in Washington

Originally published: 11.01.13 by Charlie McCrudden

Tax credits on the chopping block that impact your business

View The Annual Tax Extenders Dance in Washington

 

Involve Your Employees in Your 2014 Business Plan

Originally published: 10.01.13 by Ruth King

In the first of a three-part series, Ruth King explains why setting goals is the first phase of business planning and why it's important to involved your employees.

View Involve Your Employees in Your 2014 Business Plan

 

In Pursuit of Profits

Originally published: 09.01.13 by Greg McAfee

As an owner, being profitable means earning enough money to cover all your obligations, both business and personal, with some left over to invest as you please. These six strategies will help.

View In Pursuit of Profits

 

Double Your Commercial Maintenance Agreements

Originally published: 09.01.13 by Ruth King

Here are six actions you can take to increase your commercial maintenance agreement business.

View Double Your Commercial Maintenance Agreements

 

How to Handle Embezzlement in the Family Business

Originally published: 09.01.13 by Lois Lang

This article explains what actions you should take when you think a family member may be embezzling from the business.

View How to Handle Embezzlement in the Family Business

 

6 Considerations When Hiring a Bookkeeper

Originally published: 07.01.13 by Ruth King

Owners are usually experts at operating their companies, but not about the details of bookkeeping. So a good bookkeeper can be a tremendous asset. Learn how to identify and hire one.

View 6 Considerations When Hiring a Bookkeeper

 

How the Affordable Care Act Could Impact Your Bottom Line

Originally published: 07.01.13 by Charlie McCrudden

The most significant aspects of health care reform stemming from the Affordable Care Act are set to kick in at the end of this year. Here are four health care reform provisions business owners need to be aware of.

View Affordable Care Act

 

Methods of Decreasing Vehicle Expenses You Might Not Think About

Originally published: 06.01.13 by Ruth King

Vehicle expenses are a major component of overhead expense. Here are seven tips you may not have thought about that will help you keep these expenses as low as possible.

View Methods of Decreasing Vehicle Expenses You Might Not Think About

 

5 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

Originally published: 05.20.13 by Rob Bertke

5 ways to help businesses large and small successfully avoid credit card fraud.

View 5 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

 

6 Strategies for Reducing Debt

Originally published: 05.01.13 by Ruth King

Calculate your debt ratio, then act if it is too high.

View 6 Strategies for Reducing Debt

 

Drive Sales with Daily Tracking of Maintenance-Agreement Success

Originally published: 04.01.13 by Ruth King

Tracking maintenance-agreement enrollments and renewals is critical to growing a strong maintenance customer base. Tracking forces you to focus. Focus gives you the best chance for success.

View Drive Sales with Daily Tracking of Maintenance-Agreement Success

 

Finding, Implementing Construction-Specific Financial Software

Originally published: 03.01.13 by Wayne Newitts

Purchasing business software is unlike buying off-the-shelf software in a number of ways, but perhaps the most important difference is that you are purchasing a relationship

View Finding, Implementing Construction-Specific Financial Software

 

Tracking and Accounting for Commercial Maintenance Agreements

Originally published: 03.01.13 by Ruth King

Accounting for commercial maintenance agreements is performed differently depending on the type of agreement sold and how that agreement is billed. I’ll cover full maintenance agreement accounting and planned maintenance agreement accounting separately.

View Tracking and Accounting for Commercial Maintenance Agreements

 

Have You Outgrown Your Financial Software?

Originally published: 02.01.13 by Wayne Newitts

When does construction-specific accounting and operations software start to make sense for HVACR contractors? It varies. Some businesses approaching $50 million in annual revenue are able to get by with off-the-shelf bookkeeping applications. But they are the exception. In general, construction-specific software systems start to make sense financially for contractors with more than $5 million per year in revenue and at least 10 employees.

View Have You Outgrown Your Financial Software?

 

Accounting for Residential Maintenance Agreements

Originally published: 02.01.13 by Ruth King

A good maintenance agreement program will help even out cash flow, increase your company’s bottom line, and keep your field employees productive throughout the year.

View Accounting for Residential Maintenance Agreements

 

Do You Have the Courage to be Profitable?

Originally published: 01.01.13 by Ruth King

Once you understand your financials and start consistent monthly reviews, you must boldly implement changes based on what you see.

View Do You Have the Courage to be Profitable?

 

2013 Economic Outlook: Housing and Exports Strong; Confidence So-So

Originally published: 12.01.12 by John Augustine

John Augustine, Chief Investment Strategist for Fifth Third Private Bank, talks about the impact of the presidential elections, Europe’s rocky economy, and persistent domestic unemployment.

View 2013 Economic Outlook: Housing and Exports Strong; Confidence So-So

 

Can you Afford to Hire a New Office Employee?

Originally published: 12.01.12 by Ruth King

Last month I wrote about how to determine whether you can afford to hire a field employee. This month I’ll give you the calculations to determine whether you can afford to hire a new office employee.

View Can you Afford to Hire a New Office Employee?

 

Can You Afford to Hire a New Field Employee?

Originally published: 11.01.12 by Ruth King

Your company is growing. You feel the need to hire another field employee. Can you afford to hire this person? Find out by using this mathematical calculation.

View Can You Afford to Hire a New Field Employee?

 

Play It Smart After the Busy Summer

Originally published: 10.01.12 by Ruth King

Here are the stupid things that I know you, the smart contractor, won’t do now that the unusually hot, humid and demanding summer is over.

View Play It Smart After the Busy Summer

 

Improve the Financial Health of Your Business

Originally published: 09.01.12 by Ron Edinger

How to be creative and resourceful in finding financing during economic hardship.

View Improve the Financial Health of Your Business

 

How to Keep Inventory and Receivables Balanced

Originally published: 08.01.12 by Ruth King

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue. The second article, which covered debt ratios, appeared in the June 2012 issue.

View How to Keep Inventory and Receivables Balanced

 

Percentage Compensation Measures Productivity of Labor Force

Originally published: 07.01.12 by Ruth King

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue. The second article, which covered debt ratios, appeared in the June 2012 issue.

View Percentage Compensation Measures Productivity of Labor Force

 

Debt Ratios: Look For Short- and Long-Term Warnings

Originally published: 06.01.12 by Ruth King

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue.

View Debt Ratios: Look For Short- and Long-Term Warnings

 

Liquidity Ratios: Trends Key to Profitability Outlook

Originally published: 05.01.12 by Ruth King

Every month you should receive accurate and timely financial statements. Looking at one month’s financial statements (balance sheet and P&L statement) does not tell much. To see where your business is headed, you must look at your business trends. Then you can choose to continue on the current path or make the necessary changes to alter the direction of the business.

View Liquidity Ratios: Trends Key to Profitability Outlook

 

Cash Needs Should Drive Revenue Goals

Originally published: 04.01.12 by Ruth King

Without profits, cash runs out. Yet, your business could have an unprofitable month or quarter and still survive. Many contractors that operate with Dec. 31s as their year-end, state that the first quarter always is unprofitable. They spend the next nine months catching up — just so they can have another unprofitable quarter the next year.

View Cash Needs Should Drive Revenue Goals

 

Why You Need Both Profits and Cash To Survive

Originally published: 03.01.12 by Ruth King

Each month your P&L tells you whether you earned a profit or had a loss. It does not tell you how much cash you have! You must turn your profits into cash by collecting your receivables and paying the expenses incurred to produce those revenues.

View Why You Need Both Profits and Cash To Survive

 

When It’s Time To Stop Cutting and Start Growing

Originally published: 01.01.12 by Ruth King

In lean times you can decrease cash spending by using inventory in your shop and on your trucks. Ruth offers a break-even formula to calculate what your company needs to sustain its overhead.

View When It’s Time To Stop Cutting and Start Growing

 

Is Debt Good? Only You Can Decide

Originally published: 11.09.11 by Ruth King

The reality is that debt usage is an emotional decision. Some company owners are comfortable with a lot of debt. Others can't sleep at night if they owe anybody anything. They pay cash for their trucks and other assets as well as their suppliers. Each of us has to determine our debt tolerance. Only you can decide whether debt is right for your company.

View Is Debt Good? Only You Can Decide

 

Review Your Pricing Strategy

Originally published: 11.09.11 by Ruth King

Decide where you want to position your company in your marketplace. If you want to be known for the “lowest prices in town” then you will most likely have “the lowest profits in town.” If you want to be known as “the highest quality in town,” then your pricing must reflect what is required to have “the highest quality in town.”

View Review Your Pricing Strategy

 

As The Year Ends, Review Your Pricing Strategy

Originally published: 11.01.11 by Ruth King

Determine your position in the market; then define desired profitability.

View As The Year Ends, Review Your Pricing Strategy

 

Take Advantage of Barcoding's Benefits

Originally published: 10.18.11 by Ruth King

Tracking inventory and counting it once per year (or more often) takes time, labor, and money. Barcoding, which has been used in supermarkets for years, has evolved into one of the most efficient ways to track inventory for all types of businesses.

View Take Advantage of Barcoding's Benefits

 

Are You Ready To Take Advantage Of Barcoding’s Benefits?

Originally published: 10.01.11 by Ruth King

Once implemented and used correctly, you’ll be making much better inventory bets, saving time and — as a result — increasing profitability with barcoding.

View Are You Ready To Take Advantage Of Barcoding’s Benefits?

 

A Good Financial System

Originally published: 09.15.11 by Ruth King

A good financial system is based on both the monthly financial data and weekly information you gather at your HVACR company.

View A Good Financial System

 

Do You Have Too Much Liability Coverage?

Originally published: 09.01.11 by Matthew Stangle

Typically, general liability includes three areas: bodily injury and property damage, personal and advertising injury, and medical expenses. Determine the amount of liability coverage you need by evaluating your potential risk, the state in which you operate (both its legal minimum and its history of awarding high damage amounts), and your personnel quality.

View Do You Have Too Much Liability Coverage?

 

Pulling It All Together: A Good Financial System

Originally published: 09.01.11 by Ruth King

A good financial system is based on both the monthly financial data and weekly information you gather. These five activities will help you discover whether your company is moving in a positive, profitable direction.

View Pulling It All Together: A Good Financial System

 

Is an ESOP Your Best Exit Strategy?

Originally published: 07.01.11 by Ruth King

ESOP may be for profitable companies with high cash flow and skilled, engaged employees.

View Is an ESOP Your Best Exit Strategy?

 

Now’s the Time to Speak Up About Proposed Regional Equipment Standards

Originally published: 07.01.11 by Charlie McCrudden

Our industry has been anxiously awaiting the release of a new federal government rule that sets the minimum AFUE, SEER, and HSPF values for residential HVAC appliances. That wait ended on June 27 when the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy published the Direct Final Rule and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces and Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps in the Federal Register.

View Now’s the Time to Speak Up About Proposed Regional Equipment Standards

 

How to Calculate Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour By Department

Originally published: 06.01.11 by Ruth King

Departmentalizing is the fairest way to allocate overhead to different departments.

View How to Calculate Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour By Department

 

Advances in GPS Technology Boost Benefits of Fleet Tracking

Originally published: 06.01.11 by David Brown

Unpredictable fuel prices and increasing insurance costs for fleet vehicles continue to be challenges for HVACR contractors. Investing in technology can help.

View Advances in GPS Technology Boost Benefits of Fleet Tracking

 

Use Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour, Not Just Gross Margins for Measuring Profitability

Originally published: 05.01.11 by Ruth King

Calculating prices based on gross margin may do you a disservice. Ruth King says the key to successful pricing is to know your company’s overhead-cost-per-hour.

View Use Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour, Not Just Gross Margins for Measuring Profitability

 

Understanding Profit and Loss Statements

Originally published: 04.01.11 by Ruth King

A P&L, or income statement, is a vital document for good fiscal management.

View Understanding Profit and Loss Statements

 

More Balance-Sheet Basics: Liabilities and Net Worth

Originally published: 03.01.11 by Ruth King

Liabilities are debts that your business owes. Like assets, liabilities are divided into two segments: current liabilities and long-term liabilities.

View More Balance-Sheet Basics: Liabilities and Net Worth

 

How To Get Paid for R22 Recovery

Originally published: 03.01.11 by Brad Kivlan

Take a look at how you are managing your refrigerant business and evaluate the recovery programs that are available. Refrigerant reclaimers and suppliers are depending on your recovery activities to ensure future availability of R22 and other HCFCs and HFCs. Make sure you get paid for your efforts.

View How To Get Paid for R22 Recovery

 

Saving on Fleet Costs Requires a Plan

Originally published: 02.01.11 by Kenneth W. Janosick

By using three key tools, contractors can protect themselves against wasted time and money, costly repairs that could have been prevented, and one of the biggest wildcards in operating company vehicles — fuel cost.

View Saving on Fleet Costs Requires a Plan

 

Understanding Your Balance Sheet: Assets

Originally published: 02.01.11 by Ruth King

Convertibility to cash determines "current" or "fixed."

View Understanding Your Balance Sheet: Assets

 

New Year’s Resolution: Befriend Your Financial Statements

Originally published: 01.01.11 by Ruth King

Properly formatted financial statements — along with accurate information in those statements — is critical to making good financial decisions for your business.

View New Year’s Resolution: Befriend Your Financial Statements

 

2010 Results: Attitude and Focus Beat the Economic Blues

Originally published: 12.01.10 by Ruth King

Many contractors I know did very well in 2010 despite the economy and despite all of the bad news in the media. What made the difference for those who did well and those who didn't? Attitude.

View 2010 Results: Attitude and Focus Beat the Economic Blues

 

Set Maintenance Agreement Goals To Cover Overhead

Originally published: 11.01.10 by Ruth King

You need enough maintenance agreement customers to cover the entire overhead of your company so that you won’t have to worry about a flailing economy causing your company to go out of business. Here are six activities to do this fall to start seriously building your maintenance agreement base.

View Set Maintenance Agreement Goals To Cover Overhead

 

Boost Technician Confidence To Sell More Service Agreements

Originally published: 10.01.10 by Ruth King

Customer-service training must be continuous and thorough. If you just tell your technicians what you want, they will only think about what they are going to say and never say it.

View Boost Technician Confidence To Sell More Service Agreements

 

Coming This Fall! A Chance For Bonus Profits

Originally published: 09.01.10 by Ruth King

Invest additional time and resources to inform customers and prospects about the expiring replacement tax credit.

View Coming This Fall! A Chance For Bonus Profits

 

Improving Productivity Through Comprehensive Benefits

Originally published: 09.01.10 by Thomas Giddens

Business leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to help Americans close their insurance gaps, and in turn help their businesses. This is especially true at hvacr companies.

View Improving Productivity Through Comprehensive Benefits

 

Take Action to Correct Bad Financial Statements, part 2 of 2

Originally published: 08.01.10 by Ruth King

7 ways to fix financial statements that are wrong.

View Take Action to Correct Bad Financial Statements, part 2 of 2

 

7 Dead Giveaways That Your Financial Statements are Wrong

Originally published: 07.01.10 by Ruth King

Your financial statements are your scorecards. If they are not accurate, you might make the wrong business decision based on incorrect information. Here are seven things that clearly tell you that your financial statements are wrong.

View 7 Dead Giveaways That Your Financial Statements are Wrong

 

Personal Finance: Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score

Originally published: 07.01.10 by Bruce Cornelius

Your credit score can be the key to home ownership, an auto loan, consumer credit, and even employment. How much do you know about this three-digit number that holds so much power over you?

View Personal Finance: Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score

 

6 Ways to Proactively Raise Cash

Originally published: 06.01.10 by Ruth King

Making calls to past-due customers, former customers, and happy customers helps to keep the cash flowing.

View 6 Ways to Proactively Raise Cash

 

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

Originally published: 05.01.10 by Ruth King

Businesses can improve profitability in many ways. Some require making substantial investments, such as buying new equipment or expanding marketing efforts. But there are inexpensive ways as well. Here are three.

View 3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

 

5 Ways to Boost work Year-Round

Originally published: 04.01.10 by Ruth King

Take a tip from farmers. Plant seeds in the spring t decrease your dependence on the weather and increase customer loyalty.

View 5 Ways to Boost work Year-Round

 

Increase Profits Without Price Increases

Originally published: 03.01.10 by Ruth King

One of the toughest things owners and managers have to do is to productively manage a labor force. But companies that manage their labor and their inventory effectively are among the most profitable.

View Increase Profits Without Price Increases

 

Downturn Made Contractors Stronger

Originally published: 02.01.10 by Ruth King

I observed five trends in 2009 that helped contractors not only survive in a bad economy-but thrive in a bad economy.

View Downturn Made Contractors Stronger

 

How to Get Paid Fast

Originally published: 02.01.10 by George Hedley

Why commercial contractors need to get 'tough' on payments.

View How to Get Paid Fast

 

What Profitable HVACR Contractors Did in 2009

Originally published: 01.01.10 by Ruth King

Everyone knows that 2009 was not a great year economically. Some contractors did well. Perhaps they were not as profitable as they were in 2008, but they still were profitable. What did they do differently?

View What Profitable Companies Did in 2009

 

5 Must-Dos for Increasing Sales Through a Credit Programs

Originally published: 01.01.10 by Bruce Christensen

Your ability to use financing to close sales can be a key differentiator from your competitors because offering payment options makes it less likely your customers will take their business elsewhere.

View 5 Must-Dos for Increasing Sales Through a Credit Programs

 

Make Big Plans for The New Year

Originally published: 12.01.09 by Ruth King

If you want to improve your business, skip resolutions and change what you are doing.

View Make Big Plans for The New Year

 

Consumer Financing Can Improve Cash Flow, Help to Close Sales

Originally published: 11.01.09 by Bruce Christensen

In many cases, a new heating and/or AC unit amy be an unplanned expense. A consumer credit program is a powerful sales tool that also helps customers.

View Consumer Financing Can Improve Cash Flow, Help to Close Sales

 

Keep Employees Informed of Business Costs

Originally published: 10.01.09 by Ruth King

Sharing this information will open their eyes to waste and the true value of benefits.

View Keep Employees Informed of Business Costs

 

5 Ways to Boost Fall and Winter Sales

Originally published: 09.01.09 by Ruth King

Fall is the time to be proactive and make sure your customers understand that heating and air conditioning are necessities, not luxuries. Make sure they call you for the repairs and replacements by working on customer-loyatly programs now.

View 5 Ways to Boost Fall and Winter Sales

 

Consider Taxes and Other Factors When Acquiring New Equipment

Originally published: 09.01.09 by Mike Coyne

This article will summarize the business, tax, and other financial considerations associated with the lease-versus-purchase decision. Ultimately, only you can decide which approach is best for your business.

View Consider Taxes and Other Factors When Acquiring New Equipment

 

Preventing Employee Theft, Part 2

Originally published: 08.01.09 by Ruth King

Most employees are honest. However, when faced with stressful situations, even honest people can do things that are wrong, most notably stealing

View Preventing Employee Theft, Part 2

 

Keep Employees Honest, Part 1

Originally published: 07.01.09 by Ruth King

When faced with stressful situations, even honest people can do things that are wrong, most notably stealing. If you don’t have systems in place to prevent theft by employees, you won’t be able to control it once it starts.

View Keep Employees Honest, Part 1

 

Preventing Employee Theft, Part 1

Originally published: 07.01.09 by Ruth King

If you don't have a system in place to prevent theft by employees, you won't be able to control it once it starts.

View Preventing Employee Theft, Part 1

 

Spot Trouble Quickly with Trend Data

Originally published: 06.01.09 by Ruth King

Financial benchmarking, both short and long term, is critical to making good business decisions that will keep your company financially healthy. When you see the numbers trending in the wrong direction, take action immediately. It could save your company!

View Spot Trouble Quickly with Trend Data

 

Long-Term Benchmarking

Originally published: 05.01.09 by Ruth King

Long-term benchmarking tells you how your company is doing over time. It takes out all seasonality so you can see the long-term trends.

View Long-Term Benchmarking

 

Financial Benchmarking, Part 1

Originally published: 04.01.09 by Ruth King

Financial benchmarking provides you the assurance that your business is going well, or the clues to when it isn’t so that you can take action.

View Financial Benchmarking, Part 1

 

Finding Financing in an Economic Decline

Originally published: 04.01.09 by Chris Talis

To keep your small business flush with cash while the government attempts to create programs designed to ease lending and improve our economy’s conditions, entrepreneurs should be creative and resourceful in finding financing during economic hardship.

View Finding Financing in an Economic Decline

 

When the economy struggles, you don't have to

Originally published: 03.01.09 by Ruth King

When the economy struggles, you don't have to. Keep making telephone calls, talking with clients and prospective customers, and keep a positive attitude. If you do this, the tough times won't be so tough

View Come Out From Under the Covers!

 

Partnering with a debt recovery team can help your business grow and stay competitive

Originally published: 03.01.09 by HVACR Business Staff

A third party debt recovery team can help you improve accounts receivables while also educating you on how to spend time chasing new business, not past due accounts.

View Collection S.O.S.

 

Cash vs. Accrual Accounting

Originally published: 02.01.09 by Ruth King

If you account on a cash basis, you record a sale when you get the money in the door. You record an expense when you write the check for that expense. There are no accounts receivable and accounts payable. There is no inventory.

View Cash vs. Accrual Accounting

 

To Discount or Not to Discount

Originally published: 01.01.09 by Ruth King

Whether you should take a discount is totally dependent on the terms of the discount, your cost of borrowing, and plugging the numbers into the formula.

View To Discount or Not to Discount

 

Reporting Monthly Financial Results

Originally published: 12.01.08 by Ron Smith

By using a margin contribution accounting method, you can report net profits by division and properly allocate expenses.

View Reporting Monthly Financial Results

 

Avoid Down Cycles

Originally published: 12.01.08 by Ruth King

Smart money management protects your business in slower times.

View Avoid Down Cycles

 

Thinking About Selling?

Originally published: 11.01.08 by Ruth King

To get your business ready for sale, good due diligence asks questions in all areas of your business.

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Overtime Pay?

Originally published: 11.01.08 by Mike Coyne

Whether an employee is labeled "salaried" or "hourly" does not answer whether the employee is entitled to overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act has very specific rules regarding overtime pay, and every employer needs to be familiar with these rules.

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Check Fraud Checkup

Originally published: 10.01.08 by Frank W. Abagnale

Annual check fraud losses now exceed $20 billion. Businesses with checking accounts face a substantial shared risk. Frank Abagnale reviews your liability and offers procedures to follow to reduce your risk.

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When Economic Confidence Wavers

Originally published: 10.01.08 by Terry Tanker

For existing business owners with realistic cash-flow projections, excellent repayment histories, solid credit scores, collateral, and strong business plans, it still is possible to borrow money. However, if you are looking for start-up money, it will have to come from private investors.

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Flattening Out Seasonality

Originally published: 09.01.08 by Ruth King

Service agreements, marketing and diversity will decrease dependence on the weather and flatten out the seasonality.

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Lease vs. Buy Conundrum

Originally published: 08.01.08 by Ruth King

There is no one correct answer to lease versus buy. Since cash is the life blood of all businesses, look at leasing versus financing versus buying outright from a cash position.

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Up For Bid

Originally published: 08.01.08 by Ruth King

Look to your financial statements to see what's going on in your company. This will tell you whether you should raise prices or make adjustments in areas like productivity, marketing, or sales closing rates

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Stop Running A Warehouse Supermarket

Originally published: 08.01.08 by Ruth King

Limit access to the warehouse. You may need to hire a parts runner or a warehouse person. It’s the best way to save your hard-earned cash. Make the time to do the paper work necessary to get warranty credits

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Prevent Embezzlement

Originally published: 08.01.08 by Frank W. Abagnale

To avoid losses, carefully select and supervise employees, and adopt internal fraud prevention measures.

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Survive & Thrive The Market Flux

Originally published: 08.01.08 by W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel

Being proactive in the anticipation of change, being diversified in the marketplace, having courage to implement plans and leading your organization to quickly react and adapt are key elements in being proactive in changing market conditions.

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Retirement: What Plan Is Best?

Originally published: 07.01.08 by Mike Coyne

Indeed, properly planning for retirement will ensure you retire with the income you desire. But for many hvacr contractors, retirement is a foreign concept and providing retirement benefits to employees is a challenge.

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Get Ready For Summer

Originally published: 05.01.08 by Ruth King

Now is the time to put the plan in place to decrease your dependence on the weather and increase customer loyalty. Here are four action items for your plan.

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Preparing For An Audit

Originally published: 04.01.08 by Mike Coyne

If you happen to be among the 60,000 businesses that will be audited in 2008, don’t panic. Make certain your paperwork is in order and consult with your tax professional.

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Spring Cash Mistakes

Originally published: 03.01.08 by Ruth King

Start preparing for the busier months ahead while you still are experiencing the slow, late winter months. This slower period gives you enough time to think and plan so that all you have to do when you get busy is execute your plan.

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Tax Man Cometh

Originally published: 03.01.08 by Brandon G. Jacob

Small business tax tips to consider after year end.

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What To Expect From Your CPA

Originally published: 02.01.08 by

Good CPAs are an integral part of your advisory team. They help you see the “forest through the trees” and keep you informed so that you can make good business decisions. Likewise, you have to provide timely, accurate data so that they can help you make those decisions.

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Three Things That Kill Your Business

Originally published: 01.01.08 by Ruth King

Being proactive, eliminating non-productive employees, and watching cash flow are three critical resolutions to keep in 2008.

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How Do You Want To Operate Your Business?

Originally published: 12.01.07 by Ruth King

The best way to operate your business is by plan. Implement your plan. Keep your plan out, communicate it and track it.

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Passing The Torch

Originally published: 12.01.07 by Skip Snyder

You need five to 10 years to develop and implement a sound succession plan. Not developing a succession plan can put your business, your family and your employees at risk.

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Involving Employees In Goal Setting

Originally published: 11.01.07 by Ruth King

Companies that focus their entire team on goals and communicate how they are progressing to reach those goals usually have better sales and profits, and lower employee turnover rates.

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Open Up To Open Book

Originally published: 11.01.07 by W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel

Opening your books for review means opening a piece of yourself, too. If you truly want a team approach to your business where people are fully invested in the numbers, then you have to let them in on the numbers.

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Rules for Business Entertainment Expenses

Originally published: 11.01.07 by Mike Coyne

Understanding deduction and documentation regulations will keep you in line with the IRS.

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Minimizing Bad Debts

Originally published: 11.01.07 by Mike Coyne

Ask for proper information up front, and collect aggressively.

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Is Your Company Ready For A CFO?

Originally published: 09.01.07 by W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel

Business is a game that is scored by profit and loss statements and balance sheets. A CFO ensures that the score is being kept properly and can give critical advice for directional decisions based on the score.

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A good savings strategy will help prevent you from experiencing a financial hardship in years to come.

Originally published: 09.01.07 by Ruth King

Make sure that you are earning enough on your jobs and service work to generate reasonable profits, and that you save some of the money you generate.

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Keeping Productivity High As Summer Ends

Originally published: 08.01.07 by Ruth King

Ruth King offers To keep productivity high, you must plan some end-of-the-busy-season activities.

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Is An ESOP Right For Your Company?

Originally published: 08.01.07 by Mike Coyne

Mike Coyne describes what an employee stock option program is and how it can benefit your company.

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Time To Think About Winter

Originally published: 07.01.07 by Ruth King

Ruth King offers 12 things you should do during the summer to prepare yourself for slower winter months.

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It's Summer - Time to Think About Winter

Originally published: 07.01.07 by Ruth King

Extra effort during the busy summer season stockpiles work for slow times

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Cash Management Especially Important In Busy Season

Originally published: 06.01.07 by Ruth King

Paying strict attention to cash in busy and slow times keeps honest people honest. When you get lax, honest people get tempted and can start a pattern of theft.

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Reduce Service Callbacks With Tracking, Training

Originally published: 06.01.07 by Ron Smith

Callbacks are a serious problem that needs to be corrected. Ron Smith defines callback situations and offers solutions.

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Analyzing Financial Statements, Part 2

Originally published: 05.01.07 by Ruth King

If you are generating accurate, timely financial statements, and the ratios are in line, you know that your company probably is healthy.

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Where Outsourcing Works

Originally published: 04.01.07 by Pat Panchak

It’s important that companies of all sizes understand and implement outsourcing, so they can achieve the benefits of the practice. Another company may have the set of skills that you need to grow your business.

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Getting Ready To Sell Your Business

Originally published: 04.01.07 by Mike Coyne

A successful sale of any business requires planning, and some of that planning must start well before the business is even offered for sale. Here are some ideas on how to get your business, and yourself, ready for a sale.

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Formulas For Success: Commercial Contractors

Originally published: 04.01.07 by Skip Snyder

Based on his business experience, business model (commercial; no residential), and outlooks and opinions, Skip Snyder discusses highlights of what he's learned over the years as a teacher and commercial contractor.

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Analyzing Financial Statements, Part 1

Originally published: 04.01.07 by Ruth King

Unfortunately, many contractors pay more attention to blueprints than financial statements. To make good business decisions in your company, you must analyze your financial statements each month.

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Know Your Liabilities Before Borrowing

Originally published: 03.01.07 by Mike Coyne

Commercial lenders have a great deal more latitude in designing their loan agreements. Likewise, borrowers have the opportunity to negotiate for terms that will fit their business needs.

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How To Boost Revenues With Price Increases

Originally published: 03.01.07 by Ruth King

It is possible to increase revenues per service ticket without increasing your hourly rate. Ruth King describes how.

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Financial Basics For Contractors

Originally published: 03.01.07 by Skip Snyder

Why it's important to be able to analyze your own financials and five crucial measures of a financially sound company.

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How to Plan Your Marketing Budget

Originally published: 02.01.07 by Ruth King

Marketing drives sales. So plan now to boost sales with a spring marketing plan. Be advised, however: As you ramp up for the busy spring and summer months, you’ll spend money marketing before you see a return on those dollars. A budget is your roadmap to prudent spending.

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The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan Goes A Long Way

Originally published: 01.01.07 by Terry Tanker

A major drawback to most marketing plans is their complexity and length. Guy Kawasaki pointed Terry Tanker to The World's Shortest Marketing Plan by Kelly Odell, senior vice president/head of marketing, TeliaSonera AB. It's a simple way to condense important points and share with your company.

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How to Protect Your Business Secrets

Originally published: 01.01.07 by Mike Coyne

Your trade secrets may consist of customer lists, training manuals, financial records, contracts with distributors, and the like, that would be very valuable to your competition. Keep them secret with some of these simple, inexpensive steps.

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How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

Originally published: 01.01.07 by Ruth King

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.

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Business Planning, Part 2

Originally published: 12.01.06 by Ruth King

When you track your results, you’ll have a better chance of making corrections as events unfold.

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Business Planning, Part 1

Originally published: 11.01.06 by Ruth King

The most successful companies in our industry — and no doubt in most industries — plan, execute, and measure. That means they create, execute and track a business plan.

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Set Your Profitable Price

Originally published: 10.01.06 by Ruth King

To calculate your hourly rate consider the direct wages of the technician, the associated labor expenses, a truck, the associated truck expenses, non-productive time, and overhead.

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Maintenance Programs Protect Profitability

Originally published: 09.01.06 by Ruth King

Creating a profitable program requires planning and persistence. You must get your staff on board, develop and deliver direct mail and advertising pieces, and train the office and field personnel how to sell and fulfill the agreements.

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Sales Price Using Net Profit Per Hour, Part 2

Originally published: 08.01.06 by Ruth King

Ruth King offers examples of how to better estimate your selling price to the customer.

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Inventory is a Bet

Originally published: 08.01.06 by Ruth King

Ruth King reveals what happens when you don't manage your inventory and how to do it so you don't get hit with a surprise loss.

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Sales Price: Gross Mistakes, Part 1

Originally published: 06.01.06 by Ruth King

Dual overhead recognizes that there are different costs associated with materials and labor, and it is more accurate than gross margin.

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Calculate Your Sales Prices Using Net Profit per Hour, Part 2

Originally published: 06.01.06 by Ruth King

Clear cut examples illustrate the best ways to calculate sales price.

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Update on Inventory Issues

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

Ruth King offers reminders for proper inventory management. You are betting that you can sell the parts or equipment that you are purchasing with your hard earned dollars.

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Three Things That Can Put You Out of Business

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

Lack of attention to these key areas will eventually lead to business failure. Ruth King says take care of your customers, take care of your employees, and watch your cash.

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How Much Should I Charge?

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

This pricing methodology uses gross profit per hour, overhead cost per hour and net profit per hour decisions.

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Become the Contractor of Choice in Your Area

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

7 keys to a more productive and profitable work force that will put you on the map as being the Contractor of choice in your geographic area.

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Be Proactive – Sell IAQ Products

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

IAQ products differentiate your company from your competitors. However, it takes being different, educating, and explaining to create and install the best possible, not least expensive, products for a customer.

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Apples to Apples

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Ruth King

Your job as the owner or manager is to review accurate financial statements on a monthly basis. You don't need to know the intricacies of how each entry is made. You do need to know enough to question if the statements don't appear to be right.

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