If you have ever used a layaway plan to purchase merchandise, raise your hand. I knew it. There are a lot of you out there just like me.

I still use it once in a while to put Christmas gifts in a safe place until I am ready to purchase them. I did a lot of layaway purchases for toys and games when the kids were young.

The fact is, buying via layaway remains a viable option for many consumers. If you don’t need something right now but you know you will need it in the next few months, lay it away. That way you know you will get exactly what you need when you need it, especially if the item is very popular (remember Tickle Me Elmo?).

Let’s say your customer is planning to purchase a replacement HVAC system next year because they don’t have the money right now, are in the remodeling stage, or just figure the old system still has 365 days of life left in it. What is stopping them from putting a down payment on it and making monthly payments for 6-12 months until they are ready for installation?

You can put their monthly payments in escrow or simply use that money for cash flow if needed. You have a guaranteed customer next year, and if you treat them right and they like the layaway plan, you may get some referral customers, too.

It’s win-win for you and your customers - so what are the drawbacks? Inventory space? Regulations? No accounting method? Bah, go for it.