In today’s Coffee…
CI businesses make money by producing designs, installations and integrations of complex home technology systems. Clients pay handsomely for these skills. But there wouldn’t be any money or work if the CI didn’t first convince the client of the usefulness and value of their solutions.
CI’s sell. They collect. They produce. Three different activities that must be managed daily to realize optimum profits and cash flow. We call this the CI Management Trinity.
Not a hamburger
In the hamburger business you sell, produce, and collect in pretty much the same moment. Client orders, the burger gets made, the client pays in full. Done.
In CI, these activities occur at different times, in different amounts. First, the job gets sold. Then a partial payment is collected. Then a portion of the job work is produced.
Because there is more work to do, another payment is collected, followed by further production. And maybe again. And again. Only when the job is finally complete does the amount sold = the amount produced = the amount collected.
Yes, hamburgers are much easier!
Measure. Manage. Improve.
To improves sales, or production, or collections, you first need to measure results. Production & Collection are financial events in the VITAL system, so key measures of both are available via financial reports and the Bi4Ci dashboards. Sales – getting a client to agree upon and even sign a system proposal – is not a financial event and must be measured & reported separately. Here’s a quick overview of how the VITAL system helps our clients manage the trinity…
When a sale is made, a JOB Estimate is created detailing the items, hours, & costs. A simple report is used to tally the amount of new JOB Estimates created by sales reps each week. Actual results are compared to sales goals to determine if sales performance is on par with expectations.
Items and hours are progress-invoiced from the estimate as they are delivered to the project. This pushes production totals to the P&L income accounts (Equipment, Parts, & Labor). Active JOB Estimates are reported on and reviewed to monitor project progress. Remaining items and hours are managed to achieve timely completion.
It is essential to know “who owes who” at all times in the CI business. This is easily done via a review of customer balances each month. It is also important to track weekly collection totals, ie, the amount of customer payments received each week. These collection totals can also be used to calculate sales commissions.