Cash flow is all the money that comes in and goes out of your equine business. How you manage your cash flow can determine whether your business is successful. There are things you can do to improve your profitability. Knowing when and where your money comes from and where it goes is the starting point.
Here are some things you might do to improve your cash flow.
If you look through your books, you will recognize that there are specific times of the year that you have more or less cash coming into your business. The same is true of cash flowing out of your business (i.e., bills).
If you know that you spend more in October of each year because you buy your winter’s supply of hay that month, then you can plan for that big expenditure. If you know you generate your largest income during June each year because that’s when you have your annual horse show, then use that information to plan how your cash flow will affect other months.
If you know you need a new tractor in 2020, start planning now on where that money will come from in one lump sum, or how you will make payments. Also, start now to shop around to determine if there is a better time of year to purchase a tractor in your area.
This is just a fancy word for the money that you are owed. Being able to cut down on the amount of money you are owed, and the amount of time you are owned money by others, will improve your cash flow. In other words, if you have people who don’t pay or don’t pay on time, then you need to enforce stricter payment policies, offer other methods of payment (such as credit cards on file) or get rid of the bad pay customers.
Rates and Reality
Sit down (preferably with your accountant) and go over all of your income and payables. Determine how much time you are spending and what your time is worth. Then look at what you are charging your clients or boarders.
It could be that you are long overdue for a rate increase.
Because you have all of the facts at hand, you can show your clients why the rates must increase. If they have paid the same board rate for the past three years, then you can easily illustrate how feed, bedding, labor, insurance and other costs have continued to rise.
Try to pay your bills within the grace period so you don’t accrue interest payments, especially if you use credit cards. This is one more reason why it is important for your clients to pay you on time and in full. Keep in mind that credit cards can offer an easy way to pay bills, and those that offer cash back or other incentives might be worth using on a regular basis. But, beware of high interest rates on credit cards on unpaid balances.
Credit Card Interest
If you do use credit cards and often don’t pay off the full balance each month, negotiate with the lender to get a lower rate or switch to another credit card that offers better terms. Be careful of switching too often as that can have a negative influence on your credit score.
Aside from raising rates, there are other ways to improve your income. Consider adding a trainer who pays you to train at your facility. (See other articles on StableManagement.com about trainer relationships.) Or, if you are the trainer at your facility, you might consider adding another school horse for individual lessons, a summer camp, or other types of group events that could add to your bottom line.
If your boarding facility is not at capacity, market your facility to enable you to have full income from your operation.
If you are out of stall space, but you have plenty of acreage left, you might consider boarding mares and foals that aren’t stabled or retired horses that are not kept inside.
One of the best ways to make money is to not spend the money that you are already making. Are there areas in your business that are “nice” but not “necessary?” Cut the fluff and provide what is necessary to your clients.
Running an equine business is not easy, but with proper financial oversight and planning, you can do a better job of being profitable.