Cash Flow Explained

Contractors run on very thin profit margins however cash flow is even more important for sustainable growth.

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This is how capital (cash) flows in and out of the business over time.  Poor cash flow is a primary reason for contractors failing or their profitable growth being seriously constrained.  

Cash Flow: Money flowing in and out over time. It's not how much capital you have. It's how you make it flow through the business cycles.

When we looked at the basics of project profitability and compared it to a paycheck of $1,000 per week we saw that we only had $50 per week for taxes, savings, unexpected expenses and discretionary spending.  For a contractor discretionary spending includes things like investment in new tools, equipment and technologies.  

We all know the pressures of managing a household budget that was that tight.  We were thankful for the weeks of overtime and dreaded the weeks with rain or no work.  

  • How much more money would you have to have saved if you got paid monthly instead of weekly?
  • What if it were every 45, 60 or even 90 days like many contractors?  
  • What if 10% of your gross income ($100 per week) were held back from your payment for a year or more?  That’s retention!  

Remember that a contracting business has three major constraints to growth.  Sustainable growth is about systematically removing each of those constraints:


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