credit card transaction help

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Precision, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    I am wanting to add credit card processing as a method of payment.

    In my search, I have found out the going rates and all that, but what I can't find is a company who can, or is set up to do the processing the way I want to do it.

    What I want to do is stream line the process and just have a spreadsheet with the clients credit card # and the amount to be billed. Feed that into my virtual terminal program in the computer and hit enter and have the computer process each account and spit out confirmation numbers or problems as is appropriate.

    From what I have found so far, I either have to manually enter the number for each client at each billing cycle, or set them up for recurring charges.

    The first is just way too time consuming, and the second does not allow for flexibilty in the amount billed.

    I know some of you accept credit cards. How have you addressed this issue?

  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I only have a few CC billings. I just have my invoice software create the invoice and then send it to them via E-mail. The customer then has the option of paying via Paypal with a bank transfer, MC, Visa, Discover or Amex. They charge 3% but from what I understand that's not out of line.
  3. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    If you were set up with Quickbooks, you would not need the spread sheet. Have you looked into Quickbooks?
  4. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,552

    I have very few credit card accounts, and I use paypal as well. If you mail invoices, you could put on them to go to your web page. Set up a separate page for payments which will have a link for paypal.
    Makes it simple
  5. Throgmorton

    Throgmorton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    I'm a small business banker with US Bank and a Part-time LCO. Obviously I'm going to tell you to go to US Bank. You have some options. First of all, I believe I would rather draft their checking account each month. If you are set on Credit Cards then you will need to call national bank such US Bank, Bank of America ect. The national banks offer this service and if you deal with a Bank they can get your money to you faster. At our bank you must have a checking account with us, then we will run your credit and approve you for Merchant Card Services (proper industry name for credit card machine), we would then send you out the hardware and set you up. We can get you any report you need. We guaranty same day credit to your checking account. If you have further questions you can email me at
  6. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995


    when I mentioned a spreadsheet, I was using that in the generic sense of the word. I would use quickbooks, act, or whatever program the CC processor could mate up with.

    My problem is more along the lines of how I want to automate the process. The CC company I have been speaking with only offers 2 options.

    1. swipe or type which would work well if I was running a retail establishment where I saw customers at each sale.

    2. recurring billing. where I get approval to charge them $30 weekly, like a healthclub.

    My problem is that I can't do option one at all unless I manually type in each transaction at each billing. Lets say 3 minutes per transaction and 100 transactions per week. That is 5 hours WASTED. With option two, I don't mow 52 weeks per year and the costs vary with extras.


    I am trying to avoid mailing out invoices, at least for the regular weekly / monthly stuff. I also want to stop getting paid in non secure funds like checks.


    I don't care if they pay with their Visa or Visa check card. All I care is that they pay when I bill them not when they feel like it and that the system is minimal on labor. I understand the principles of how credit processing works. My issue is with how I want to control the billing. I want to control when the transaction occurs and how much it is for.

    My understanding is that I am not allowed (by Visa / Mastercard rules) to retain client credit card numbers in a computer file. So this makes it impossible to have a system where I can just punch up list of clients for billing, edit the list for new or lost clients and for price changes, then process the file. Doing it this way give me control over billing to a much greater degree than a recurring billing system would.

    I am looking to bill per cut, problem is I only cut 42 weeks of the year. In the EOW time I would have to cancel and restart the recurring cycle every other week.

    To all who have responded, thanks.
  7. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Get a hold of the member justmowit. He bills his customers like you do and has over 2000 customers. Please let us know what he says.

    Do a search for justmowit and then you can PM him. Good Luck...
  8. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    Just read justmowit's posts. I believe his wife does the billing through Quickbook's and takes approx. 4 hours a day on the 2000+ customer base. Pretty hard to handle if you are part of the crew and out mowing all day. I am in a similar situation and looking for the best way to handle credit cards without letting the customer decide when they will pay. Is the merchant Paypal easy to use? Do I put this info in or does the customer decide when to pay (like the free one on ebay???) Thanks for any info.
  9. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    If you are going to use Quickbooks, then use their own processor within the program. I have had CC info recorded in my system for several years now. I have never heard of that rule about CC storage. Keeping CC on file is a normal thing when a customer is an "on going" customer in many types of business. I do not enter the CC info every time I run a card and all my billing in done with CC's too. It is easy and fast. Only problem with Quickbooks is that you will be stuck with having to use their own processor. But Quickbooks is competitive. It is true that you would get your money faster using a bank, usually the next night instead of 2 days , but you will have to purchase expensive stand alone machines or use a specialized software and both will require double entry instead of having all the accounting and billing in one software like Quickbooks.
  10. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479


    There is another way around the recurring bill. I know what you are talking about. It is the "subscription" function of paypal.

    The way you can use that features only has one requirement, that their bill is the same every bill period ($150 per month or $50 per week etc...).

    As long as that is the case then what you do is have them subscribe to your current bill period of X dollars per X time frame. Then you are paid regularly for the entire season. At the end of the season you use the cancel subscription button and then the payments stop until you restart them the following season.

    You do this and then spend one day at the end of the season doing account reconciliation making sure that the total number of cuts equaled the number of payments.

    The catch - you need to make sure you cut every week and not skip them. And, you need the customer to restart the process the next season.

    It is cumbersome but you never look for the payment. It is made automatically. And, when it is time to do reconciliation and restart of the payments is when the season is done and before the season starts (you are not busy at this time cutting).

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