Accepting Credit cards???

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Newguy25, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. Newguy25

    Newguy25 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    Tell me everything there is to know about accepting them. What are some of the good places to get the machine from or is there a different way of using them now? Goal down the road is to have customers pay thru my website if this can be done? Let me know your opinions thanks and take care. :usflag:
  2. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

  3. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    The fastest, easiest, and safest way to get your customers paying with credit/debit cards online is PayPal.

    Off the top of my head, there are three ways to go about using PayPal to accept payments.

    1. Create buttons on your website with the amounts that your customers may pay. For example, start with your lowest price and create buttons in increments of $5, all the way up to your highest price.

    2. Have your customers create subscription payments so that they are billed automatically via PayPal.

    3. Utilize PayPal's Email Invoicing Tool (my current method) to send invoices to your customer's email each billing cycle.

    I have used all three of these and found Email Invoicing to be the most effective.

    PayPal is the way to go starting out because you don't have to deal with the liability of keeping up with everyone's payment information. No one can accuse you of fraudulently using their credit/debit card info and you don't have to enter it all in manually. However, it is pretty dependent on internet access even though most people have access to it these days.

    As well, your customers don't need to have a PayPal account to utilize it. They can still pay with their debit/credit card at no additional cost. However, setting up a PayPal account will allow them to draft funds from their bank account, so if anyone tells you they want to write a check because they don't have a card, urge them to do this. It will come to your PayPal account as an e-check.

    Lastly, getting your money from your PayPal account. First off, you will have to request the funds from your PayPal account into your bank account. That will take about 2-3 days for it to arrive.

    If you dont have a bank account, you can request a check to be mailed to you, which takes longer.

    After 30 days, you can get a PayPal check card so that you can access your funds immediately.

    Now, outside of PayPal, you need to check up with a merchant account company. (Yes, I tried this one too)

    This is how your credit card gets processed (most of the time) at McDonalds, Ebay, Walmart. They all have merchant accounts.

    I chose Pipeline Data (

    Basically, you pay a fee per month (I think $30) for them to do your card processing. You can choose to do your processing via online, over the phone, in person via a telephone line, or in person via wireless machine. All of those, one of those, a combination of those, whatever you need.

    However, anything short of e-commerce or over the phone processing and you're going to have to pay for the equipment as well (not too cheap I dont think).

    I simply had e-commerce and over the phone. This worked alright for a bit, but it was just too much of a pain in the rear. First, you need to be code-savvy to integrate the merchant services to your website. I got it done, but it was rudementary to say the least and I wasn't ready to shell out the money to have a programmer set up the code.

    Second, keeping up with everyone's info was something I hated. Right along with having to log in to my merchant account to enter their info in every time. And I mean all of their info, cc number, ccv2 number, zip, email, phone, address, name, etc.

    Doing that for 80 customers got old.

    You -can- set up automatic billing for your customers though if that is the path you chose to take.

    And dont forget, there are other merchant account companies out there. Pipeline Data is just the biggest and most widely used.

    Another thing to think about is that no matter where you go, you are going to be charged a fee for that company processing your payments.

    PayPal's fees are as follows for monthly sales:

    $0.00 USD-$3,000.00 USD 2.9% + $0.30 USD
    $3,000.01 USD-$10,000.00 USD 2.5% + $0.30 USD
    $10,000.01 USD-$100,000.00 USD 2.2% + $0.30 USD
    > $100,000.00 USD 1.9% + $0.30 USD

    So you're looking at probably 2.9% +.30 at first.

    I want to say Pipeline's fees were 2.1%

    So... Minus the +.30 fee because its too early in the morning to figure it up... say you gross $30,000 in services for the year. This is how much you will be spending on credit card processing:

    PayPal: $870 (not including the .30 per transaction)
    Pipeline Data: $630

    $240 difference between the two. Thats a new string trimmer or something.

    Honestly, I prefer to pay extra because of the convenience and security that PayPal offers.

    PayPal -does- offer merchant services of its own, like Pipeline. So you can set up a virtual terminal, do over the phone processing, etc, but it is fairly new and I haven't checked it out too much. I'm not sure how the fees differ.

    Lastly, no matter what merchant service you choose, short of using PayPal's basic tools, your credit will be checked to assess you and your business as a risk. One company wanted me to front them $600 to start up and I gave em the finger.

    Having a website helps with this because they see that you are already out there and looking for legitimate business. They just dont want people signing up for these merchant services then stealing cc info and draining people's banks.

    Sooooo! I hope this helps. If you have any other questions or need help with anything, shoot me a line.
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    Darn good info and explanation.

    I talked with one company recently, and we can process directly over the cell phone through a voice command and number entry system. percentages were a little higher. 4.0-5.0 percent. But no need to buy expensive equipment. Only about a $15-$25 monthly fee and no per transaction fee. I MAY go this route to start and see how many actually pay by credit card. this helps limit the up front costs of buying(leasing) the machines. I haven't needed to accept CCs in 13 years, but I do have people ask. I may also look harder at the PayPal way.
  5. Lovingreen

    Lovingreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    The simplest way is directly through your accounting software such as quickbooks. Accepting credit cards is expensive and not worth it unless you can sell services that you wouldn't have sold otherwise. One benefit for me is that I was able to sell more people on prepaying for the entire season with their credit card which helps with cash flow in the spring.
  6. DiMattia

    DiMattia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi Guys I am new to this site Im starting up my lawn service in Jacksonville FL this month and plan to be up and mowing yards by mid Feb. the latest.

    Any Who Have any of you seen or heard about that nextel phone that has the credit card swipe thing on the side of it? Im trying tofind out more info abut it because that seams like it would be the best route as far as taking cards for payment.

  7. Newguy25

    Newguy25 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    Excellent info so far thanks! Anyone else have more suggestions???
  8. M&MLawn

    M&MLawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I use YourPay and they are great. Paypal is full of scams as it is owned by eBay. I dont trust them worth a dime. They can hold your money for up to 180 days if there is a "suspicious transaction". Chargebacks through them are SO easy for the customer and paypal does not go to bat for you at all....especially when it is a service industry such as this one. I had them hold over $1800 from me for 180 days because a customer claimed I didnt service them once. They held the money in case there were other claims...they didnt want to be liable for the chargeback.

    Anyway, I use yourpay through either their website where I can login and I can enter in the card information and charge it myself. OR....customers go to our website and at the bottom the credit card logo is there that brings them to a form and a secure payment form. You can check that out at

    The best part is I have NEVER had any issues with them. My money is put directly into my bank account within 24-48 hours. Its great.
  9. DiMattia

    DiMattia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

  10. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    That's another thing I didn't mention as a plus to a merchant service provider. Companies like Pipeline Data do deposit the money into your bank account usually within 48 hours.

    As far as PayPal goes, I've never had a problem with any claims. Even so, PayPal's buyer protection doesn't protect buyers from services or intangible items. So their claims are useless.

    As well, you need to know how to work the system to prevent claims in the first place. As I use the Email Invoicing tool, I place each service date into the invoice that is being billed.

    Second, there is a text box which you can write a custom message. Mine says "By paying this invoice, you agree that these services have been performed in full and meeting your expectations. No further disputes will be considered valid by you or Big Green Lawn Care".

    Bam, you've just made a contract that PayPal can see on their own. This way you don't have to fax/mail pictures and contracts and crap like that.

    I hope this helps you guys. PayPal is a great company, some peope just try to take advantage and you have to know how to prevent it! :dancing:

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