At our place, we always take a deposit from the customer at the point of ordering. We take 15% upon signature, with the rest paid on completion. If it is a large job, or a conservatory, we take stage payments. That’s how we work, always have and always will. There are plenty out there which offers no deposit, a variety of credit schemes etc, but that’s not how we choose to work.
There are a lot of advantages to taking deposits, but here are just a few:
Improved Cash Flow
If you’re a small business like we are at my own place of work, deposits are a very helpful boost to cash flow. A 15% deposit may not seem all that substantial, but add a few of them together over the course of a working week and they start to add up quite nicely. Especially as they sit alongside the final balances coming in from completed jobs.
A group of deposits helps pay for staff wages, or smaller bills or just quite simply tops up the bank balance. What it also does is provides back up cash if the business find that a customer has failed to pay their big final balance at the end of a contract. Knowing that deposit money is coming in is always reassuring to a business owner.
Speaking of customers not paying, this is another area where deposits and stage payments come in very handy. We all get them, those customers that find a list of excuses not to pay when the time comes to cough up. In these scenarios, it’s deposits and stage payments that help protect your business against professional non-payers.
If a customer has 80% of a balance outstanding and they’re not paying, this is far more damaging to the bank balance than an outstanding balance of say, 10% is. This way, you and your business hold more of the cards, and obviously you need to focus on the issues stopping the final balance being paid in full. But what this does is provides cover and stops and future larger problems stemming from non-payment.
Deposits also force a customer to commit to the deal. That might sound a bit silly, but when you consider that a signature on legally binding contracts seem to carry very little weight with consumers now, getting their cash is by far the better option.
It forces them into a position where after the 7 day cooling off period expires, they are tied in to using you and and your company’s products.
These are just a few points, there are many more, but I risk rambling on. At the end of the day, deposits ensure commitment, improved cash flow and protection for the business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one man band, a small installations company or a national business, a deposit is money in the bank, and that is always a good thing.
Agree or disagree? Are deposits just another barrier to getting the sale? Or do deposits provide security in a consumer savvy age? All comments welcome in the section below.