Problems with checks, sign of the times

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,078

    I have thought about doing credit cards for our weekly maintenance customers. Couple problems I have
    1) doing it every week would be a lot of work, we would do once a month, just as we do our invoices. ( no other industry would charge a card weekly I.e. Uniform companies that deliver weekly, fitness gyms etc)
    2) I believe it is illegal to store anyone's cc number. So you would have to get verification every time you want to charge (my gym, health insurance, car payments etc are all on EFT from the bank, not credit card so that is how they can bill automatically monthly)
    3) prices during the season are the same per service, but when leaf cleanup season starts their charge per week changes drastically and it is always different. Customers would always be calling PiSSED about not knowing what they were charged before they paid it. With paper invoices they see the charges, and can call with questions if they would like.

    That is all. Happy Halloween
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    see responses in red paint
  3. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,078

    I'm not saying the cash flow wouldn't be nice, but I know it would be more work than it was worth for my wife, who does invoicing, to try and do that every night.
    Also for a customer to say "just put it on the card" still wouldn't work in leaf season. I am not on site on these jobs, and the price depends on the amount of time it takes them to do the work, so the amounts are always different. I feel like it would be hell charging them. And also if the amount is different from what they previously agreed for lawn service I believe I would have to get verification to run The card. Cintas has to call me monthly to get permission to run the card when my amount is not the exact amount I have agreed in the past.
  4. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    The others with million dollar companys are not on-site either. Its a proven system, that works. Not theory.

    Checks are soon a thing of the past. Not much else to say. You can be a nah-sayer if you like, we all know where that gets people :laugh:

    ok, holiday time. see all you ladies later
  5. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    credit/debit cards are definitely the way of the future, but i just have to find a way that quick and easy for me. I take them but its only online through my billing system which uses paypal and charges them 3% per transaction so how are you guys dealing with this. just charge it to the customer or what? i just charge it to the customer and he just pays his bill same day or the next day and then it take 2 days to get into my bank account.
  6. stebs

    stebs LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    As a former restaurant manager, I can attest to the fact that checks can be a headache, but for some, its the only way. One big problem is, CC processors take a percentage of the bill in fees whereas checks don't. Although, I had more problems with bounced checks than CC's. bounced checks for me were darn near impossible to collect on. On the flip side, chargebacks on the CC are darn near impossible to fight and win. Also, some people dont even have CC or debit cards. My grandparents don't have a debit card or a CC. If a place doesn't take checks, they don't go there or deal with them.

    I will say that tonight checks saved my bacon. Ordered pizza from a local restaurant. My checking balance was enough to cover it plus some, and have several pending deposits not yet posted. For some reason, their CC machine had a glitch and apparently lost connection in the middle of running my card. It then declined my card TWICE after that. Ended up writing a check to pay for the food. Checked my account online and it shows a pending transaction for the place, which dropped my balance enough to make the card decline when it finally went through. Will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next few days...

    Edit: Meant to mention. PCI compliance can be a royal pain in the butt. Standalone terminals arent bad, but running through software on a PC can be a headache. Start storing card numbers and it becomes an even bigger headache. You have to be able to prove that your system is non-hackable and completely secure.
  7. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,829

    You know, kind of off of the subject, but kind of related.... last week I had a parent teacher conference for my second grader. After the conference we were talking just in general about some of the challenges of teaching and the teacher said that one of her biggest challenges the last couple of years has been teaching kids to count money, specifically identifying coins and their value. The thinks that it's because that nobody uses cash anymore and that everything is either charged or paid for with a debit card. I thought that was pretty interesting.
  8. NJ Grass

    NJ Grass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I'm having similar problems and will be offering and encouraging the use of credit cards next season. My biggest problem this year was having a few customers insist that they sent me a check and I never received it. It puts me in a awkward position. If they did mail the check and it was lost they're most likely going to have to stop payment on it and get hit with $30 charge. I sometimes feel responsible because I still require payment in the form of a check.

    I'd have to agree that it is a sign of the times. The only thing I right checks for is payroll.
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  9. SRT8

    SRT8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CA
    Posts: 1,294

    About 95% of payments we receive are checks. We never have an issue with them. The other 5% are direct deposit, that works out the best because we get paid within a couple days of sending the invoice.
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  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    All merchants pay a discount rate. Usually 3 percent average.

    So when you go to the local WAWA and buy 2 Monster energy drinks, a pack of gum, and a bag of chips - that discount rate has already been factored into the price before thy ever put it out on the shelf / in the coolers. As c-cards become the only form of payment (and it will happen) you will have to factor in the cost jut like you do with All your other overhead
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