No Need to take Credit Cards

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JimLewis, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,870

    A few years ago we decided not to take credit cards any more for larger landscaping / hardscape / irrigation installation types of jobs. We still have a credit card terminal we use for smaller transactions. But I just got tired of taking the hit for using credit cards and waiting for a few days for money to actually hit the bank. With a check in-hand it's just all so much easier.

    A lot of people around Lawnsite questioned that move, saying I would lose business by not taking credit cards. So I just wanted to give you all an update.

    Since that time, I can't think of one occasion where not taking credit cards cost me a job. And I'd know. Because if it's an issue, they always ask. They'll say, "The bid looks good. If we wanted to sign with your company, do you take credit cards?" So when they ask something like that, I know it's a concern to them. But of those people who've asked (which is a small percentage) I can't think of any time when they've gone on and hired someone else.

    What typically happens when I get to the payment time is they ask about credit cards and when I explain we don't accept them, they reply, "Oh. No problem. I can write you a check.....I just wanted the airline miles." That's what I get 95% of the time. So had I said yes, and given up the 2% of whatever we pay then I would have been donating that 2% to their winter vacation. I would have been the one paying for their airline miles. Forget that. I want to save that 2% for MY winter vacation, not theirs.

    Anyway, the other 5% of the time I get something like this, "Honey. He says they don't take plastic. Do we have enough money in our Wells Fargo to write him a check for $8,000? .....Can you wait until this afternoon to cash this check so we can transfer some funds?" And I just say yes. Done deal.

    This week there are three examples I'll share with you. First one, I told them I don't take credit cards, they said no problem and pulled out a check.

    Second one, the guy was all ready to sign a contract right there on the spot right after I gave the bid (FISH ON!!!) When I explained that I don't take plastic, he said he'd have to wait to sign the contract and transfer some funds - he'd cal me back. I thought maybe I just had lost the job. And this time of year I can't afford to be losing jobs. So on my way home I called the guy back. I said, "You know what. I told you I don't take credit cards. And that's my standard response to everyone. But we actually DO have a terminal, I just don't like to take the hit. So I almost always say no. But listen, I don't want to lose your business over it. If it means you're going to go elsewhere for your job, I'll go ahead and take a credit card this time. I can come back to your house and do a contract right now if you want." He said, "Hey. Don't worry about it. We're going to use you guys for sure. I honestly just need to transfer some funds. I don't want you to take a hit either. No rush. You won't lose our business. But I appreciate the call. We'll call you within a few days once we have the funds ready in checking." Sure enough, he called a day later and we got the job.

    Third story. Existing customer. We've done over $10K of work with them in the past. We still keep a good relationship with them. And I had given them a bid for another $10k project a few weeks ago. At the time, they were interested in having us do the work but mentioned they didn't have that much cash and did I take credit cards? I explained that I didn't and they explained that they'd probably have to wait until 2009 to have us do the work, then. Bummer. Thought I lost a job. Well, guess who called back last week and somehow "found" the money? They did. We signed a contract and they came up with the cash. Not sure how. But the point is, you don't have to take credit cards if you don't want to. You won't lose business because of it.

    If we can do $1.2Mil in total sales this year, not taking credit cards. I think that proves it's not as necessary as some of you guys think.
  2. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    nice to hear that update.

    I really never take cards either, on occasion I'll take paypal payments, but nothing over $1500 b/c we get charged so much. I explain that to clients, and they're fine with it.

  3. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I was in same boat a few years ago also. I tried it, my deal was it cost me $35.00 a month min. fee and no offerd to pay with plastic. I dumped that deal and take mostly checks some cash works real good. My current customer asked me when i took deposit to start job i said no, he said no big deal he only wanted the perks. He was the only one in the last 5 years who asked. Also why should i loose 2% and i heard it was illegal to raise your price to make up the credit card fee.
  4. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,444

    I agree it's possible to do business without a credit card terminal, As the transaction gets larger the credit card processing company gets more of your money. It's is not a win,win situation. Forgive me my credit card processing terminology has faded, but if I remember correctly in order to get the best % rate you must have the cardholder & card present to get a "secure" transaction & lowest % rate.

    I had a credit card processiing company three months ago hound me to death for a month, could not take no for an answer. In the end it's a racket, unless you have the wireless terminal, and have the customer present during the "card swiping" 100% of the time. The only way to break even is to charge the fee for the transaction back to the customer for using their amx,visa,mc. No one has done that though???:laugh:
  5. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    Don't think it's illegal but against credit card company rules.

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