Online/credit payment options...educate me

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by nitro121, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    I looked up some old threads but still have questions. It seems to process credit cards you need to buy a machine, about a $30 a month fee, and 1 - 2 % fee on each transaction.

    Question: Is this the same deal if you set up online paying through a website?? I wasn't sure if they have made advances besides having a machine sitting on your desk.

    I'm looking to upgrade my site and hope to take credit card payments this year.

  2. DavidR

    DavidR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    There is a fee but I don't think there is a $30 fee for many of these machines. I had a small business that my wife ran and we did not pay a monthly fee. I think it was through American Express, may want to contact them to see if they can help.

    Also, may want to check with your local bank. Many of these banks provide this service as well.
  3. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,924

  4. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    but I did search...that's where I got the numbers in my first post. That thread is all about paypal and question....

    How does the pay through a website work? Is it the same fee's? you still have to purchase the same equipment, or is it handled online by another company? I've also called my bank and they referred me to call Universal Debit and Credit..that's the company they use...I'm just at work and can't call right now. But yes, more people should use the search function. :)

  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    Thanks for the topic.

    Its got me thinking if I really want to offer VISA payments next year.

    I'd like to hear from Lewis, but might end up PM'ing on this one.

    VISA customers may unlock the door to a different breed of customers, and I'd like to learn more about what that breed behind the door is.
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,924

    PayPal and QB are two choices, of many. It seems that many LCOs are using PayPal. You can tap into their web site and attempt to learn more. I felt the web site didn't answer all my questions, but some others in the thread offered good information.

    Also, it seems many are accepting credit card payments through QB. I am using QB and I see all the information in my Pro version to begin that path. Also, I have learned about their plans through my association with QB. I believe you could probably tap into their web site and read about the costs etc.

    I am a small operator, with about 45 customers, having about 1,200 mowings per season. I also do some other work, perhaps about 20% increase in transactions. I did some calculations last Winter, and the extreme cost for me would be about $1,400 per year. This includes setup fees, monthly fees, discount charges and per-transactions charges. That would mean a transaction after each day's work, for all customers. The other choice (probably more realistic) is to do a transaction each month. This would cut down on the number of transactions significantly. Also, I am doubtful that I could convert all 45 customers to a credit card scheme, probably more like half of them. Therefore, the $1,400 is way out of line of a realistic expected cost.

    I have discarded the idea of PayPal. Obviously, many are making it work and are happy. I don't have a web page for any reason, including accepting payments. PayPal seems best suited for those with web pages. Also, PayPal requires the customer to take a proactive measure to get the payment done, not unlike writing a check. With QB, I am the one initiating the payments. The transaction is outside the control of the customer. PayPal use demands the customer remain in control.

    I hope I have characterized these two approaches properly. My primary interest is to require those customers who are consistently late with check payments, to be converted to a credit card payment plan. I would much rather have those accustomed to, and are prepared for, collecting money from late payers.

    Just my thoughts on the matter ...
  7. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    Out of 85 customers only 10 are trying to rip me off/made me write them letters. And I kinda enjoy getting a mailbox full of checks and "holding" the money. :clapping:

    But after reading Mow-n-Go's website.....I really just want this feature to cut down on paper invoices and stuff. I'm sure 2/3's of my customers won't want to give the "lawn guy" their credit card number :nono:....although I have a TS clearance and I'm an Security Specialist/Antiterrorism Officer at my full-time job. :laugh: If at least half my customers don't jump on board w/ the online's not worth my time I don't think.
  8. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    It probably wouldn't be beneficial for me either then. I'm still small enough where I'd like to keep 1000 bucks in my pocket. I'll just keep buying 4 reams of green paper and 3 ink refills each season for now. Unless they start to offer this stuff for free. :laugh:
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    I don't do maintenance weekly, just a ton of other services.

    But since 1988, I've competed about 3,500 projects for about one thousand five hundred customers, and have never had ONE failure to pay or collection.

    Nor one bad check - except a mistake by a deputy sheriff, where their checkbook got messed up. They delivered in-person the next day.

    That's why I really want to think through whether something like VISA will bring a different breed of customers.
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I take credit cards, but phone them in. its not really anything special that will help you out at all. Just a convenience for the customer. Just as easy to enter a check in the cpmuter as it is to do a cc pmt.The biggest thing is that it makes you appear to be more professional. Doing it by phone is cheap though, about $10 a month, plus 2% of total cc receipts & 35cents a transaction. The software to do it online is outragous, The $1400 seems about right for that. That is not really made for a small business.

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