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Precision
01-11-2005, 03:01 PM
I am wanting to add credit card processing as a method of payment.

In my search, I have found out the going rates and all that, but what I can't find is a company who can, or is set up to do the processing the way I want to do it.

What I want to do is stream line the process and just have a spreadsheet with the clients credit card # and the amount to be billed. Feed that into my virtual terminal program in the computer and hit enter and have the computer process each account and spit out confirmation numbers or problems as is appropriate.

From what I have found so far, I either have to manually enter the number for each client at each billing cycle, or set them up for recurring charges.

The first is just way too time consuming, and the second does not allow for flexibilty in the amount billed.

I know some of you accept credit cards. How have you addressed this issue?

Thanks

Richard Martin
01-11-2005, 03:42 PM
I only have a few CC billings. I just have my invoice software create the invoice and then send it to them via E-mail. The customer then has the option of paying via Paypal with a bank transfer, MC, Visa, Discover or Amex. They charge 3% but from what I understand that's not out of line.

Mueller Landscape Inc
01-11-2005, 04:45 PM
If you were set up with Quickbooks, you would not need the spread sheet. Have you looked into Quickbooks?

grass-scapes
01-11-2005, 06:02 PM
I have very few credit card accounts, and I use paypal as well. If you mail invoices, you could put on them to go to your web page. Set up a separate page for payments which will have a link for paypal.
Makes it simple

Throgmorton
01-11-2005, 08:47 PM
I'm a small business banker with US Bank and a Part-time LCO. Obviously I'm going to tell you to go to US Bank. You have some options. First of all, I believe I would rather draft their checking account each month. If you are set on Credit Cards then you will need to call national bank such US Bank, Bank of America ect. The national banks offer this service and if you deal with a Bank they can get your money to you faster. At our bank you must have a checking account with us, then we will run your credit and approve you for Merchant Card Services (proper industry name for credit card machine), we would then send you out the hardware and set you up. We can get you any report you need. We guaranty same day credit to your checking account. If you have further questions you can email me at tthrog@wk.net

Precision
01-11-2005, 11:10 PM
Mueller,

when I mentioned a spreadsheet, I was using that in the generic sense of the word. I would use quickbooks, act, or whatever program the CC processor could mate up with.

My problem is more along the lines of how I want to automate the process. The CC company I have been speaking with only offers 2 options.

1. swipe or type which would work well if I was running a retail establishment where I saw customers at each sale.

2. recurring billing. where I get approval to charge them $30 weekly, like a healthclub.

My problem is that I can't do option one at all unless I manually type in each transaction at each billing. Lets say 3 minutes per transaction and 100 transactions per week. That is 5 hours WASTED. With option two, I don't mow 52 weeks per year and the costs vary with extras.

Grasscapes,

I am trying to avoid mailing out invoices, at least for the regular weekly / monthly stuff. I also want to stop getting paid in non secure funds like checks.

Throgmorton,

I don't care if they pay with their Visa or Visa check card. All I care is that they pay when I bill them not when they feel like it and that the system is minimal on labor. I understand the principles of how credit processing works. My issue is with how I want to control the billing. I want to control when the transaction occurs and how much it is for.

My understanding is that I am not allowed (by Visa / Mastercard rules) to retain client credit card numbers in a computer file. So this makes it impossible to have a system where I can just punch up list of clients for billing, edit the list for new or lost clients and for price changes, then process the file. Doing it this way give me control over billing to a much greater degree than a recurring billing system would.

I am looking to bill per cut, problem is I only cut 42 weeks of the year. In the EOW time I would have to cancel and restart the recurring cycle every other week.

To all who have responded, thanks.

Soupy
01-12-2005, 04:28 AM
I am wanting to add credit card processing as a method of payment.

In my search, I have found out the going rates and all that, but what I can't find is a company who can, or is set up to do the processing the way I want to do it.

What I want to do is stream line the process and just have a spreadsheet with the clients credit card # and the amount to be billed. Feed that into my virtual terminal program in the computer and hit enter and have the computer process each account and spit out confirmation numbers or problems as is appropriate.

From what I have found so far, I either have to manually enter the number for each client at each billing cycle, or set them up for recurring charges.

The first is just way too time consuming, and the second does not allow for flexibilty in the amount billed.

I know some of you accept credit cards. How have you addressed this issue?

Thanks

Get a hold of the member justmowit. He bills his customers like you do and has over 2000 customers. Please let us know what he says.

Do a search for justmowit and then you can PM him. Good Luck...

marko
01-12-2005, 09:36 AM
Just read justmowit's posts. I believe his wife does the billing through Quickbook's and takes approx. 4 hours a day on the 2000+ customer base. Pretty hard to handle if you are part of the crew and out mowing all day. I am in a similar situation and looking for the best way to handle credit cards without letting the customer decide when they will pay. Is the merchant Paypal easy to use? Do I put this info in or does the customer decide when to pay (like the free one on ebay???) Thanks for any info.

Mueller Landscape Inc
01-12-2005, 10:23 AM
If you are going to use Quickbooks, then use their own processor within the program. I have had CC info recorded in my system for several years now. I have never heard of that rule about CC storage. Keeping CC on file is a normal thing when a customer is an "on going" customer in many types of business. I do not enter the CC info every time I run a card and all my billing in done with CC's too. It is easy and fast. Only problem with Quickbooks is that you will be stuck with having to use their own processor. But Quickbooks is competitive. It is true that you would get your money faster using a bank, usually the next night instead of 2 days , but you will have to purchase expensive stand alone machines or use a specialized software and both will require double entry instead of having all the accounting and billing in one software like Quickbooks.

Tn Lawn Man
01-12-2005, 11:48 AM
Precision

There is another way around the recurring bill. I know what you are talking about. It is the "subscription" function of paypal.

The way you can use that features only has one requirement, that their bill is the same every bill period ($150 per month or $50 per week etc...).

As long as that is the case then what you do is have them subscribe to your current bill period of X dollars per X time frame. Then you are paid regularly for the entire season. At the end of the season you use the cancel subscription button and then the payments stop until you restart them the following season.

You do this and then spend one day at the end of the season doing account reconciliation making sure that the total number of cuts equaled the number of payments.

The catch - you need to make sure you cut every week and not skip them. And, you need the customer to restart the process the next season.

It is cumbersome but you never look for the payment. It is made automatically. And, when it is time to do reconciliation and restart of the payments is when the season is done and before the season starts (you are not busy at this time cutting).

Precision
01-13-2005, 09:44 PM
Mueller,

I did some research into quickbooks and that looks like the winner for me. I was planning on getting their program for this coming season anyway. They allow almost what I want.

My goal was to have a file with all my monday clients in it and just edit what needed changing, hitting send and coming back in an hour and seeing what got declined. I can't do that, but I can just check each client one by one and have it run that way.

They are competitive in pricing. The best I found was 2.19% and .$19 per transaction and Quickbooks is 2.39% +$.23 per transaction. Their minimum monthly charge fee is $5 less and the start up fee is $60 as opposed to $195. Just for the fact that I don't have to have a separate program and manual reconciliation makes it worth is.

Thanks for suggesting I check there.

Precision
01-13-2005, 09:47 PM
Marko,

I have read the posts from Justmowit. I was kinda hoping he would put his $.02 cents in here. But I think I have found a solution that works for me.

I know very little about PayPal, but I have used it as a consumer and had no end to problems, so I am not terribly interested in that.

Soupy
01-13-2005, 11:45 PM
Marko,

I have read the posts from Justmowit. I was kinda hoping he would put his $.02 cents in here. But I think I have found a solution that works for me.

I know very little about PayPal, but I have used it as a consumer and had no end to problems, so I am not terribly interested in that.

Let me know how it turns out for you. I have thought about using QB for credit too since I already use their software. I use paypal, but it makes the customer have to have a paypal account. I also only except it if they go to my website and use the pay online feature which takes them straight to my paypal account.

MMLawn
01-14-2005, 12:12 AM
I The best I found was 2.19% and .$19 per transaction and Quickbooks is 2.39% +$.23 per transaction. Their minimum monthly charge fee is $5 less and the start up fee is $60 as opposed to $195. Just for the fact that I don't have to have a separate program and manual reconciliation makes it worth is.

Thanks for suggesting I check there.

I use EFS/Concord HQ'ed in TN and I only pay 1.67% with No per Transaction fee, No setup Fee, and only a $7 monthly service fee that includes all machine maintenance and upgrades and all machine supplies. EFS is one of the worlds largest CC Merchant Services Companies. The one thing is that you will have to be pretty well established (time wise) in business and have outstanding business credit to get this kind of deal.

Mueller Landscape Inc
01-14-2005, 10:46 AM
Mueller,

I did some research into quickbooks and that looks like the winner for me. I was planning on getting their program for this coming season anyway. They allow almost what I want.

My goal was to have a file with all my monday clients in it and just edit what needed changing, hitting send and coming back in an hour and seeing what got declined. I can't do that, but I can just check each client one by one and have it run that way.

They are competitive in pricing. The best I found was 2.19% and .$19 per transaction and Quickbooks is 2.39% +$.23 per transaction. Their minimum monthly charge fee is $5 less and the start up fee is $60 as opposed to $195. Just for the fact that I don't have to have a separate program and manual reconciliation makes it worth is.

Thanks for suggesting I check there.

Your welcome Precision. Not having to do double entry will be a real benefit when you start recording lots of customers everyday.

Precision
01-15-2005, 10:21 AM
MMLawn,

I have only been in business for a year and that has major disqualifiers for rates. And I am trying to look at this as a net cost saver to me. It cuts down on the labor I need to pay for to keep billing in order, so The difference between 1.67 - 2.39% is still less than I would be spending on getting invoices printed, mailed, reconciled and having to CHASE down the late payers. I will let you know how it works out this time next year, but I think it is a premium well worth it.

Mueller,

I can't agree more. With the short list I have now it is annoying. I can't imagine when I grow.

marko
01-18-2005, 11:20 AM
Precision-
I have done some research on this yesterday. I called local companies and the fees vary quite a bit. I found equipment lease from $24.95 - $39.95/mo for 48 months, and from 2.09% through 2.98% for key in entrys (no swipe), and free statement to $10.00/mo. There are also batch fees (.35) per day.
Quickbooks pro is $17.95/mo, 2.39% + .20 (I think) fee. plus cost of the software, plus I think 60 or 70 to start up. I am worried too being new w/ no business credit, so I used my personal credit to get approved. Now I just need to see if the Quickbooks is the way to go. I have a CPA who will be taking care of the financials so I do not really need the Quickbooks. Hope this helped!

Precision
01-19-2005, 10:54 PM
The thing is if you just dump a pile of reciepts and your bank statement at the accountant it will be thru the roof in cost.

If youdrop off completed spreadsheats and he essentiall does your taxes it will be cheap.

No free lunch with accountants.

My bill this year should be about $500 and he is being nice.

He said I will pay half that next year if I use quick books, because all the tedious stuff is done.

Hope that helps

I forget exactly what quick books is but it is $.23 cents per transaction, but the good thing is no rental fee for equipment and no contract. You want to stop after 3 months, no big deal.