General contracting entrepreneur solves cash flow struggles
February 14, 2017
Striking Out On His Own
Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of a contracting project gone wrong. From not getting done properly, to taking too long, to perhaps never even being completed. In fact, Mario Hernandez, a contractor himself, was finding that he was often being called on to come in and “wrap up” failed work from other contractors.
It wasn’t difficult for Hernandez, who was working for a construction company at the time, to see a gap in the market for a reliable company that could do everything from renovating bathrooms to restoring flooded basements.
Two years ago he decided to take the entrepreneurial leap and leave his construction gig to start his own company, Accuro Contracting Ltd. Fittingly, “Accuro” is a Latin word that means to take extra care or pay special attention to something. Today, his Greater Toronto-area company builds and renovates commercial and residential properties, whatever a property manager or homeowner needs to get done.
The Work Is Its Own Reward
“I knew that having my own company wouldn’t be easy,” he says. “But I like doing my own thing. It’s more rewarding.”
Business has been both brisk and interesting, he says. His team has worked on a variety of projects, including a major residential renovation and change room updates in a condo development’s fitness centre.
“You have to know a little about everything,” he says. “And then you have to hire people who are good at what they do.”
But, despite plenty of work at hand, starting a new business hasn’t been easy. For Hernandez, a major challenge has been that every client pays on a different schedule — and none are fast. Some take 30 days to pay. Others take 60 days. A few take three months or longer. “There’s nothing really defined from place to place,” he says.
Commercial Jobs Often Sign By Committee
A few of his larger repeat clients are commercial property managers. They are great to deal with and can always be trusted to pay, but it can take a while due to different steps it actually takes to get payment out. “A property manager has to make a purchase order. Someone from the board has to sign it. Getting a person on the board to sign off on an invoice can take weeks, sometimes even months. Then it finally goes to the property manager’s office, where they’ll print off a cheque.”
The money eventually shows up, but in the mean time, Hernandez must lay out the cash to fund his next round of work. “You still have to buy materials. You still have your insurance costs, gas bills, Internet, labour. None of that stuff changes,” he says.
“And your subcontractors all expect to be paid, or they’ll stop working for you. You have to balance everything.” Like many others in his trade, Hernandez was not able to be as aggressive in growing his business because he was always having to wait on payment from his past projects in order to fund the next one.
The Way Forward
However, about four months ago Hernandez read about a company called FundThrough that helped entrepreneurs that were in his exact situation and decided to give them a try.
An invoice funding service, FundThrough lets small business owners like Hernandez eliminate cash flow gaps in their business and get their invoices paid within 24 hours.
Steven Uster, CEO and co-founder of the Canadian based lender says that FundThrough was created to solve the natural cash flow gaps that occur as a business starts to grow. “When invoice payments are lagging it’s extremely difficult for a business owner to take on new business, buy more inventory or pay suppliers and contractors,” says Uster.
FundThrough allows any business owner to get those funds right away and put them to work. All it takes is 3-5 minutes to get set up and approved. “We’ve completely automated the signup process where all a business owner needs to do is sign up and click a few buttons to connect to their accounting or invoicing software and their bank account and they’re done,” adds Uster.
Once approved, invoices are automatically pulled into the FundThrough app and are available for funding. One click on an invoice and the funds are in your bank account the next day. Repayments are made over 12 equal weekly bite-sized payments and include a small fee of 0.5% per week. For the ultimate customer experience, if a customer pays early, FundThrough makes it easy to repay the advance and will waive all remaining fees
For Hernandez, FundThrough was a way forward and the experience of getting started was about as easy as could be. It took him less than 5 minutes of work to sign up and get approved. The next day he was able to start funding his invoices and he didn’t bother talking to anyone at a bank first. “I knew I didn’t have the history they were looking for,” he says.
Renewed Confidence and Growth
FundThrough, on the other hand, could see the potential in Hernandez and Accuro Contracting Ltd. “Too many great businesses get stuck or stalled in their growth due to cash flow challenges. In so many cases it’s not a result of a bad business, just the reality of having to deal with payment terms, some going out as long as 90 to 120 days now,” says Uster.
“While the banks like to look backwards, our technology is able to see the actual cash flow of a business to know instantly how much that business can afford to borrow, and repay, and then make those funds available immediately. For many of our customers this one small change in their cash flow changes their entire operations and ability to grow.”
For Hernandez, the experience of using FundThrough has been nothing but positive. “It’s very hassle-free,” he says. “It’s very intuitive. Everything is well organized and very easy to use.”
Hernandez no longer has to wait or dip into his own personal savings to fund the next round of work “For me, FundThrough gives me the confidence and peace of mind when I pitch a new project knowing that if I get the job the funds to get it going are just a click away.”
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