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How to Profitably Scale Your Business Using a Salary Cap

Integrating and Implementing a Salary Cap in Your Business

Sports fans understand the concept of a salary cap because most of the major professional sports leagues have some version of a salary cap. In business the term salary cap is used to define a determined payroll limit that restricts the amount of money to be spent on wages and salaries for a specific period of time. Some restoration business owners do not think about how their business could benefit from establishing a salary cap.

As a restoration business owner your single biggest expense is likely labor– the salary/wages that you pay to your employees (including yourself) and the money paid out to subcontractors or vendors for labor. If you want to impact your overall success and your profitability, then you need to start by looking at your labor productivity as the biggest component in your business.

In a growing business, labor costs can quickly balloon out of control. When small businesses are making the transition to medium-sized businesses it is possible to fall into a dangerous feedback loop of borrowing and spending. As you scale your business, your costs will grow, and it is tempting to see break-even (your previous measure of success) as sufficiently safe growth.

Greg Crabtree is the author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits, and one of the great ideas in his book is the recommendation that every business should self-impose a salary cap just like the one that NFL teams deal with every year.

How to Calculate Your Salary Cap:

To keep the math easy we will use an example of a business that generates $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the business owner has determined that they want a 10% pre-tax profit from the business after paying themselves a reasonable market wage.

The non-salary costs were calculated by adding up all the fixed costs like materials and subcontractors, and operating expenses like rent, utilities, insurance, communications, and advertising, etc.  This would also include the cost of goods (less labor and management labor) for $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the non-salary costs are $400,000. As you can see, that means the salary cap is $500,000, which includes all labor costs.

A simple calculation can help you determine the total labor costs allowable with your current revenues.

Labor CAP Formula:

LC = (total revenue) – [(0.1 x total revenue)] – (non-labor costs)

($1,000,000) – [($100,000)] – ($400,000) = $500,000

Here is an example:

If the current payroll expense is more than $500,000 (and the other numbers are correct) then this business is not going to hit the profit target and the business is at risk. That gets us back to the labor productivity idea- the key is to generate $1M in revenue from that $500,000 of labor, and if you want to be more profitable than 10%, then you either need to cut your salary expenses without impacting your productivity (do more with less) or grow your revenue without increasing your salary (again do more with less…or technically the same in this case).

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

Make it a prosperous month!  Stay tuned for next month’s article.

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