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Charge cards?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Zeus661, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Zeus661

    Zeus661 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 8

    Anyone take charge cards? Doing so you could bill them the day you do the job and get your money. This would seem to be a great way to eliminate slow payers, bad checks, etc. Comments?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    You are correct, it would seem to be good, but there is bad, too...
    Not to blow your bubble as there may be someone here who is doing this succesfully, and if so then I'm all ears because you most certainly CAN get skru'd unless you get an electronic way of doing it, you'll be charging things on PAPER and if the credit card is no good, you got a worse problem than with a bounced check. At least with a check, it's usually a LOCAL bank. Of course, the electronic billing is either VERY expensive OR you need a LOT of volume, you will need to check with your bank on this because they also charge you either a flat fee or a % per transaction (most are %)... The fee / % varies with VOLUME, meaning the higher your volume, the lower your % BUT as a solo LCO you can rest assured your volume will be LOW because HIGH volume is crap like in excess of 10 thousand dollars/week or whatever and to get a really decent % you will need REALLY high volume which is the reason I don't even fool with this can of worms, lol.

    So far, the few ppls I read about doing c-cards are either large operations with like 500+ accounts and employees and there were a few bad luck stories as well.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Now I charge things electronically for my Web site, a hobby that earns me around 100 dollars/month so yes, the volume is low but nevermind that, I couldn't get high volume if I added my lawncare co. to it.
    For VERY low volume (which may be an option you might consider to use a credit card ONLY for your prob customers as a way out for them) I use clickbank.com but that may not be feasible because the amounts are set meaning you have to pre-set each amount (so someone paying 25 dollars is a different setup than 30 dollars, or 35: EACH amount = 1 setup, which takes 20-30 seconds to do but still, each and every amount = 1 extra step). Also, you have to put up a NON-refundable deposit equal to TWICE the largest amount you plan to charge - So if your LARGEST charge will be 50 dollars then you have to pay 100 dollar sayonara money.

    But, I just thought of this:
    Perhaps you might check into this with Paypal? Of course, now your customers have to be web-enabled, computer literate AND not be total morons with an irrational fear their info get hacked if they so much as let their credit card near the printer, someone might clean out their bank account except if the monitor is unplugged (you get more than a few like that).

    For slow payers, the best I can recommend is use a No check - No cut policy meaning you don't cut the grass again until you got paid for the last cut (this one works for me, maybe give it a try).
  4. Prideland

    Prideland LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    I have been accepting Paypal for my Ebay account for at least three years. I fully intend to offer this as means to my future home and property customers. Yes they will need the internet to complete transactions, with a certain amount (although limited would be enough) of computer literacy. Paypal is a great way to generate a higher profit, it has proven itself many times on the bay. I will be linking it on my website for shure. Another good thing is that the customer can include a note with billing, for last minute instructions. For instance. ( Prideland, I would like the hedges trimmed and the two trees pruned, per our conversation last time you were here. Sent payment to cover this amount. Thanks! )) It is really that easy. They even have an area where they can select (services) when they send payment.
    This is convenient for many customers, you may also get extra work from the people that spend their credit like they will not ever have to pay it back. Think about the people in terrible credit debt, why not profit from the system. It will cost you a bit to use it, I believe it like 3%, so figure on a 45.00 cut, you pay $1.35 to use service. I definately believe you will generate a lot of extra work to certain customers, just by being able to accept their swipe. I know quite winded a reply.
  5. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,382

    That pretty much says it. The small fees that you pay are more than worth it. Your office time is cut in half as well.

    Yes, you still will get non-payers who have their cards maxed out and things like that but you will only be out 1 mowing. It sure beats billing monthly where you could easily be out 6 mowings.

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