Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bamaturfguy, Dec 28, 1999.

  1. bamaturfguy

    bamaturfguy Guest
    Messages: 0

    I was reading the post about billing and have been thinking about opening a merchant account so I can accept credit cards for payment. Is anyone out there doing this and if so how is it working out. Did you see an increase in business because of it, or does it just add to the paperwork? Is it costly and time consuming? <p>Thanks
  2. Yard

    Yard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Looks like we asked the same question about a minute apart!<br>Hope we get some good answers.
  3. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    There were some questions about credit cards on the old forum. Here are some of the pros and cons as I see it.<p>1. They speed up collections. Especially if you auto charge monthly payers each month.<p>2. Acceptance of Mastercard and Visa is reasonable and can be set up through your bank. American Express is costly and their customer service stinks. We do NOT accept AMEX.<p>3. You don't need the fancy printer or special equipment. We just have a card swiper and a knuckle buster for imprints (i.e. no monthly equipment fee).<p>4. You will pay more per transaction if you key in the card instead of swiping it.<p>5. Credit cards have been a good way for us to let banks collect money instead of our office. This saves us paperwork.<p>6. I use my American Airlines card for everything from Truck purchases to restaurants. I expect that my customers do the same, and they have not let me down yet. <p>7. Think of credit card acceptance the same as you would a small discount for immediate payment - like when a vendor gives you 2% net 10. You can't charge more for credit card transactions, but you don't have to give a credit card payer the same discount you would give a cash payer.<p>Hope this helps.<p>PHIL<p><br>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply<br><br>
  4. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    I recently checked on this, new charge card acceptance merchants can no longer manually enter the charges, you need to lease the card scanner machine, minimum lease is 18 months, and if you wish to manually enter charges, i.e., by phone, thre is a surcharge. You pay a flat monthly fee, plus the rental of the machine, plus a percentage of the transaction which for the amounts my customers would be charging is 2.9%. I figured it would cost me around 80/month to acccept credit cards-no thanks, I have no problems as it stands now.<p>The cc co also takes from 7-10 days sometimes to post the charge to your account, and if the customer disputes a charge, legit or not it can be held indefinitely. There is also a $20 charge for every day that you forget to sign off at the end of the day, so be diligent about closing out the machine.<p>The last paragraph was from a co who presently accepts credit cards. They do 600k a month in sales and the only reason they accept them still is to be able to get something out of the stiffs, i.e., 180 day late customers.<p>Bill
  5. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    We use EFS/Concord National Bank for credit card processing. It costs us a flat monthly fee of 21.00 for the service and the equipment. The per transaction charge is aroung 2.7% to 3%. I don't like having to pay the points, but, to get my money 30 days earlier, or 2 or 3 days after we have done our billing is worth it to me. You can't charge extra for using a credit card, but if you know who is going to be using them you can make adjustments in your pricing for it.<br>There hasn't been a rush of new business because of accepting the cards, but, I do notice some sales are larger if the customer knows you accept them. I have had customers start a project small thinking they would pay cash, then go large when they found out we would take cards.<p>EFS National Bank is Located in Memphis. I will post the number for them when I get back to my office.<p>Good Luck to All in the new year!<p>----------<br>Greg Pierce, CTP<br>Lawnmasters Lawn & Landscape
  6. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    WOW on some of those fees. I guess we were lucky to start taking them when we did (a couple of years ago). I own the swiper - it came from my mother in law who closed a feed store. It cost me about 100-150 bucks, maybe it cost her 4-500 new. But I own it now and configured it for our system with no problems, so there are no fees, and the company we work with- Nova, doesn't seem to care what we use to read or process the cards. We also don't have to close it out every night, so there are no surprises if we forget to process something. We are in Connecticut and use First Union Bank. They recommended Nova. I will check the overall %age of fees, but its something like 20-25 per month for service and then a %age (around 2%) of sales after that with a discount for more volume. If I were in some of your shoes, I might check with the bank, talk to the merchant account company, and find out about used equipment, or add-ons for PC's that might ease the equipment fees. You can also negotiate for lower %age charges if you do more volume, so I guess that means we have to work harder (hahahaha). <p>There are also convenience factors with credit cards, especially if you deliver materials or products. Today a lady from Hawaii ordered firewood from me for her mother in Milford, CT. I ran the card before I loaded the truck.<p>PHIL<p>ADDITIONAL INFO SINCE ORIGNAL POST:<p>I checked my files this morning and we are paying between 1.9%-2.5% on each transaction. There are different rates based upon the usage of different types of Mastercards or Visas (i.e. - commercial cards, platinum MC, etc.). We don't take AMEX - that last rate quote I received was about 3.1% plus 15 cents per transaction.<p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply<br><p>
  7. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    Thanks guys for that info but I never went with the credit card deal.........
  8. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157


    Yeesh, this was from awhile ago!
  9. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    LOL...............that was back in the day for sure. It's amazing what you'll find back there.
  10. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    We use EFS/Concord also but we pay $25 flat rate a month which includes all supplies (except for the machine which I bought) but we only pay 1.67% but that is because 1) I have been with them for 10 years and 2) we got a special deal through a trade assoc way back then.

    As to the psot about leasing a machine, never do that as that is a nightmare! Just buy outright. I even have an extra one that I paid $1600 with everything including the printer and even a PIN Pad builtin that I would sale cheap.

    Also all those fees and not signing off at night costing you $20 is a crock or a scam and you need to get quotes from another company as no respected processor does that. Plus the most used machine dial in to a 800# through a phone line anyway and don't "stay" on line until you use it. We also always have our money in our checking acct the 2nd business day after the charge, so 7-10 days again they are being dishonest and using your money interest free. That set up sounds like some OnLine High Risk Processor instead of a bank or true brick and mortor processor.

    Also you as the merchant will have to have outstanding credit and bank history to get a cc processing merchant account.

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