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Smitty58
05-01-2003, 09:03 AM
New guy, learning alot from you guys on this site. I'm considering
getting set up to accept credit cards ,is this something you guys do? Is there a benefit to it? I plan to start with residentials (part time) ,then who knows ,maybe someday full time. I am also wondering about legal issues (taxes ,insurance etc). I am doing this by myself so I guess I don't need to pay all the stuff you bigger companys with employees pay (like workers comp and unemployment). If you're just doing residentials do you guys pay taxes ,insurance etc. or are you doing some of this "under the table". I've read here that everyone is doing everything above board ,butI guess I'm a little skeptical. I'm not looking to start a bunch of trouble ,just curious. If a guy is doing 5-10 customers at say $30 on avg. ,and cutting 30 times a year I guess that would be one thing ,but what if starting out you only do a couple customers. Are you going to be paying out in taxes and ins. more than your taking in? Then at what point do you go "legal"? I already know the right answer ,just wanting some feedback as to what you guys do.

NYRookie
05-01-2003, 05:56 PM
First, I would never do the credit card thing. Second, check your state to see if you have to charge sales tax, I do and I found out the hard way. Third, I would get some insurance. You should be able to get $500,000 for under $400. The first rock you send through someones picture window and you will be glad you had the ins.. If someone pays you with a check, you better claim it and charge them any applicable taxes or you may be questioned come tax time. Hope this helps.

BobR
05-03-2003, 10:31 AM
Seems like you already know the answers, Insurance, taxes (collecting & paying), permits (area dependent). I work alone so I do not concern myself with the 'employee stuff'.. My policy is 'follow the rules and regulations' cuz if you don't at some point the rules will come back to haunt you. You being a part timer are not exempt from these basics, as business is business full time or not, you probably also know of the advantages of being in business for your self (lots of tax write offs) but my accountant takes care of that side. If you go 'Under the Table', I personally know two guys who wish they had'nt so good luck.
BobR

Mueller Landscape Inc
05-03-2003, 08:05 PM
We use credit cards. It works through our software. We get paid within 2 days after we bill the card. If you have the right marketing plan, credit cards will bring a lot more business.

tiedeman
05-04-2003, 02:09 AM
if you are just starting out I would advise you not to accept credit cards. We didn't start accepting them until after our 4th year in business and to this do they are more of a hassle than anything else. The fees alone are a pain in the butt.

Pape's Landscape Maintenance
05-11-2003, 10:01 AM
We except credit cards but we charge the customer a service fee to do so (wich covers the percentage the card co. charges us).

It has proven to us that it increases the up-sell on the extras, that if the customer had to come up with the cash they would have normally passed on. :cool:

Steve

Georgiehopper
05-12-2003, 02:12 PM
We accept credit cards and also provide financing...it gets the sale many times for us.

Smitty58
05-14-2003, 01:27 AM
Georgiehopper, I can see where some people might use a credit card ,but financing? What kind of work do you do that people need financing? I can't see people financing to get their grass cut ,but I guess that's exactly what they are doing if they put it on a card.

Auroris
05-20-2003, 03:26 AM
The reasons FOR accepting credit cards and offering that option to your clients are obvious. It does, in fact, increase sales.

There are many ways to go about it, most pretty pricey, too. The coolest way (in my opinion) is through QuickBooks accounting software. They offer processing and clearing house services through a couple of financial institutions for around $17 monthly.

I've had a merchant account through another bank and have also done e-commerce on the web - one cost me several hundred dollars, and the other around $1200.

The above solution through a common accounting program is simplyhard to beat.

mkogan
05-23-2003, 10:51 AM
I am getting ready to re-enter the industry after an abscence. I am planning to utilize Pay Pal, by which you can accept credit cards without having a merchant account. It doesn't have quite the convenience - people have to pay online, and they cannot simply give you their number, ect. However, it's a nice in-between option between a full merchant account and having nothing at all.

You can send them a link by e-mail, where they can pay by credit card, and there are another couple of ways it can be done.

tiedeman
05-23-2003, 11:01 PM
PayPal still charges you just like a merchant account does

Auroris
05-23-2003, 11:51 PM
Originally posted by tiedeman
PayPal still charges you just like a merchant account does
That's true, and their fee structure is pretty comparable with a Merchant Account, too. The only place a person can really save by using PayPal over a Merchant is in the initial setup (PayPal does not yet charge for this) and monthly "statement fees", etc.

I still prefer PayPal for a lot of eBay trading, but in all honesty, they have had a questionable reputation before eBay bought them out (in the opinion of some folks). Couldn't that actually reflect back on an LCO who is using them for a payment solution?

Anyhow, I would be uncomfortable using them to accept payment for lawn care services.