Do you have trouble when you bill your customers around the holidays? Do all of your clients pay on time? Does holiday collections make you stressed? Are you looking at a pile of receipts from the holiday shopping and a pile of bills that you haven’t seen all year?
You are not alone.
As a business owner that services other businesses, we never pick up new customers around the holidays, and have stopped marketing all together during that time. The owners are either too busy, or on vacation depending on what kind of business they have.
You would think after 20 years of owning my own business, I would be used to this and the lack of income wouldn’t bother me.
This year I didn’t even go over my gift budget, so I should be feeling better. If I didn’t spend all of the money I planned to spend on gifts why would I be stressed about money. The simple answer is “annual bills”, and a 40 foot palm tree that snapped and landed on my neighbors roof. That was a dozen or so Benjamin’s I didn’t plan on spending this week.
This time of year, many major organizations send out invoices, I have an entire list. For example, as an investor I have a Real Estate License simply because the good and experienced realtors don’t have the time to dig for the deals I want and the new ones don’t have the experience to get it done. Every week for the last three weeks, I have been sent a gentle reminder that I owe my Realtor “board dues”, local association dues, computer access dues, Supra Key dues and oh by the way, they would like another $80 for the political action fund.
Note to the National Association of Realtors. You might save a ton of money on the reminders if you didn’t have January 1st as your due date and made it more sensible like June 1st. Why? April 1st, everyone is worried about taxes, that is out, May they are booking vacations, that is out, October, the holiday plans start, November and December the holiday spending begins.
The Realtor associations aren’t the only ones. Every group I belong to wants money on January 1st. It feels like the day after Christmas I have to clean out my accounts and send checks to everyone at once, never mind every charity I ever donated too has also sent a request for money. In fact, I am going to write more checks this week then I wrote the rest of the year because I won’t let any of these groups “auto bill”.
The one that got it right was the Vail Corp. In order to get the best guaranteed price on Ski Passes, I am on auto renewal with them. They took the deposit in June, good, and then charged me for the rest in late October, pretty good. By the time the slopes opened, my annual pass was paid for and I wasn’t having to stand in a long line to pay nearly twice as much for my new pass.
I think at our board meeting we are going to try and figure out how to change our customers plans so that January 1st, there isn’t an invoice, Maybe even May 1st to let them recover from their tax bill.