Tips on summer business from Ruth King.

Make sure you stay profitably busy this summer. Here are six things to remember:

1. Have a backup technician for after-hours emergencies. At this time of year one on-call technician might not be able to handle all of the calls, especially if you have a lot of commercial customers.  Assign a back up to the on-call technician.  You won't burn out your on call technician and you will keep your customers happier.

2. Have a backup plan for answering the telephone.  The person who normally answers the telephone will need help. If the telephone rings three times, who answers it? On the fourth ring, who answers it? This backup system allows your customers to be helped quickly and efficiently.

3. Watch your inventory purchases. Inventory is a bet.  The fact cash is coming in the door is not a reason to stock up on inventory. Technicians or others going to parts houses may get two parts instead of one because "they might need the part and they don't have time to come back." Don't slack off on your inventory procedures because it is busy.

4. Continue billing and collecting. Collections is one area that can get slack because there is a lot of cash coming in to your business at this time of year. However, make the time to collect. Your weekly cash-flow report will help you keep on top of accounts receivable. Along the same lines, make sure that you submit all financing paperwork.  The last thing you need is to find financing paperwork under a pile of papers 60 days after the job was completed. (I actually saw this happen).

5. Return warranty parts. This can represent thousands of dollars to your business. Make sure that the parts don't pile up in a corner and that the proper paperwork is submitted to get your money back.

6. Go to lunch. A 30-minute break for your dispatchers, receptionists, customer service personnel, managers and you is critical. Even if you don't eat, walk around the building, go somewhere and get your mind off the business.  You'll come back fresher and ready to handle the busy times of the year.

This is the time of year to generate profits. Don't let things slipping through the cracks decrease your profitability.

Copyright Ruth King. All rights reserved. Write to Ruth King, 1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405, Norcross, GA 30093. Call (800) 511-6844; e-mail