Cashflow - You're not a bank so why act like one!!!
Why do so many tradesmen (not just plumbers), leave, or worse - 'SEND OUT', a bill to their customers?
Why are you not asking to be paid at the end of the job - on the spot before you leave? This phenomenon has long had me baffled and I'm sure it stems from the 'goold old days' - when Joe from down the road did a job for Doris (before there was such a thing as an ATM or credit cards.....), and Doris had to wait for her husband to come home with the chequebook as he was the only signatory on the account!!! Or something equally as ridiculous that went on in the Dinosaur ages.
The point is - we don't live in that world of 'WAITING' anymore. We live in the 'NOW' world. Nobody goes to Woolies or Coles or IGA and expects to be able to walk out with a trolley full of food and tell the checkout chick (ooops, sooo not politically correct - change that to person) - that "I'm not paying for this today, I'll send you a cheque in the mail!!!" So why do we let our customers get away with this? YOU ARE NOT THEIR BANK.
If you want to keep your cashflow under control - you need to get paid NOW.
Obviously if you're doing work for real estates or strata or builders or even some commercial businesses - this may be a little more challenging. But it doesn't mean that your invoice should be put to the bottom of the pile for payment. If you're billing a business - make sure your terms are crystal clear and easy to find on your invoice. Make sure that you or your bookkeeper ring on the due date to check the bill is being processed or payment is on it's way. If you don't ring or hassle them in some way, your bill will go to the bottom of the pile. It seems to be that those who hassle most for payment are the ones that get paid fastest. If you don't have time yourself to chase your payments then it's time to turn this job over to someone who does - or outsource it to a company like Chaser.
But....getting back to Doris. Today's Doris will most surely have a Credit Card or Eftpos Card - she has NO EXCUSE not to pay you at the end of your job, except if you don't ask for it!!! So, invoice your 'Maintenance' customers ON THE SPOT and ask for payment. In fact, why not bring it up before you start the job - at the initial point of contact on the phone? "Just letting you know Doris, it's payment on completion and we accept Credit Cards, Cheque or Cash - how will you be paying for that today?"