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Accept credit cards?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Smitty58, May 1, 2003.

  1. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    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.
     
  2. NYRookie

    NYRookie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 240

    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.
     
  3. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    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
     
  4. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 489

    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.
     
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    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.
     
  6. 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
     
  7. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 187

    We accept credit cards and also provide financing...it gets the sale many times for us.
     
  8. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    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.
     
  9. Auroris

    Auroris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    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.
     
  10. mkogan

    mkogan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    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.
     

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