For those that accept Credit Cards

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by MOOSE, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. MOOSE

    MOOSE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    I'm looking into other payment types to cut back on late payers and such.

    What company do u work with to accept credit cards. I heard of Paypal, but Nope! If u could let me know who you work with, it would be greatly appreciated. Looking for the best setup.
     
  2. The Ripper

    The Ripper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    Talk to your bank. That is how I am getting set up to take credit cards right now.
     
  3. TurfdudeNCSU

    TurfdudeNCSU LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    Call EPS (Electronic Processing Solutions) they set us up with a wireless terminal so that we can take payments right at the customers house and print out a reciept on the spot. Works GREAT! Contact Breck Granger at (561)998-3441
     
  4. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    I looked into the same thing for the same reasons. I had a company from Cleveland and a local guy sit down and explain it all. It gets to be expensive unless you have over 80% of your customers on board with it. I sent out a letter asking if this would interest them and all but 2 said no, but then I got thinking its my damn company not their's. So this year I'm going to go ahead and try it out for a season because I'm tired of non-paying customers. My plan costs 2% per transaction, a 35.00/month fee and a 150.00 initial set up fee. But in these days people seem to be looking for a easy way to extend payments (bigger landscape jobs, jobs over say $500.00 and up).
     
  5. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I accept CCs, but it does nothing to deter people from paying late. It makes it easier to collect from some folks, but does not make customers pay on time if that's what you're after.
     
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,917

    I did an evaluation for my operation. I'm small with only about 40-42 customers at any time, processing about 40 transactions per week. My evaluation was based upon the information given in QuickBooks credit card processing offering.

    Direct costs -- that is, money out of pocket to handle:

    Monthly invoices, sent once per month, about $180. Includes printing costs off laser printer, envelopes, postage (oops - I am not out of date on that one!)

    Credit card processing, processing each day's work to make transfer within 2-3 business days of work, about $1,400. This includes setup fee, monthly maintenance fee, discount rate and per-transaction processing.

    The first option does not include many hours of my time, that is developing the invoices, printing, stuffing envelopes, preparing bank deposits, trip to bank, etc. Also, it does not include chasing some late payers, and even loss of some money because of non-pay.

    My assumptions included moving all customers to credit card. If some moved, but others remained on an invoice/pay-by-check, the percent loss for each transaction does go up. I have many good paying customers, getting me their checks by the 8-10th of the month. I hate the idea of putting only a few problem customers on credit card system, while having to pay setup and monthly fees.

    I've heard many on LS speak highly of changing to credit card payments. But, I've not heard anybody provide specific numbers of the costs. Anybody else willing to share their cost analysis?

    At the moment, I have decided not to accept credit cards. I'm implementing use of QuickBooks for 2006 season, and will be able to supply better records and invoices for the season.
     
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Is that $1400 figure per year, or month? And why would you process daily? I send out monthly statements and process once a month. You can't compare the two if you are mailing monthly statements and planning to process credit cards daily. Your best bet is to process once a month, like I do. That way your charges are less and you spend less time billing.

    I looked up my stats. For the entire last year, my credit card fees were $603. That is on $12,500 recieved. Which boils down to about 5% of the transactions. I bill through quickbooks, using email statements and online payments through Billing Solutions. The customer gets the email statement, goes to the secured website provided by quickbooks, and pays online with their credit card or check card. 99% of the customers pay right away after receiving their statements. I have about 15 people I regularly bill this way every month. It is quick, saves $$ and time on creating paper statements, mailing, receiving and depositing payments. I'm trying to get more people to pay this way. I used to spend at least 4 hours a month creating and folding and mailing the statements, not including time spent entering charges. I cut that in half. I've got over a hundred customers, between online billing and prepayments, I only send about 40 paper statements a month.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,917

    mtdman ... I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. My amounts were for the season, not per month.

    I had thought also of the monthly credit card route, not daily. I did not include that option on my spreadsheet. The daily routine presented the worst case, the upper bound. I don't have the spreadsheet right here now, but I believe the percentage was more like 3.4%, not 5% like you found. My receipts were much more than your $12.5K.

    From what I've read on this site and those collecting by credit card, I believe that most are collecting daily, not monthly.
     
  9. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Then they are wasting money. You have a per transaction fee as well as a percentage fee. You are giving away that transaction fee by billing every day. I was of your opinion as well about credit cards, but the way I do it with quickbooks is so easy and quick I've changed my mind. I used to dread doing billing because it would eat up so much of my time. Now it barely takes no time at all. And those credit card charges are costs that can and will be factored into new rates this year.
     
  10. Doug Z.

    Doug Z. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    Let me start by saying that I do about 15 times as much landscaping than lawn maintenance. But, I have a friend that sells used tires, he bought the company from his uncle about 2 years ago. a couple of years before he bought it, his uncle was getting a few hundred dollars a week in bad checks. In time, he would recover most of that, but that all takes time too. He went to a service that accpts credit cards and runs all the checks through. His system takes the money out as soon as the checks are run through, and you can give the check back as part of the reciept. Rick, and his uncle have not run into one bad check, or not getting paid since.
    Last year, I was kinda bit&*ing to him about how getting money out of some of these people was like pulling teeth.(I have no problems with any of the lawn care contracts, they all pay very well). Currently i get 1/2 down when they sign the contract, remaider due upon completion. (Big jobgs are 1/3 down, 1/3 on start date, and remainder due upon completion)He suggested that when I have the contract signed, i also get their credit card # and if they dont pay within one week of completion, I can automatically take it out of the card account.
    Is this legal, or do you think people would be hesitant to sign this contract?? I like the idea, and I'm finding out, over the last few years, I'm running into more and more people that dont want to pay, or hold your money forever...What to you think????
     

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