I too think it is a good idea, but we had no takers in the year we offered the service. Make sure you advertise it well. We had the decals on our trucks, on our contracts and proposals, and business cards.... The company we used charged 3% of each transaction. The percentage drops as your sales increase though.
Credit Cards are OK but in all my years of plowing I've never had anyone even ask so I don't offer. Just one less thing to do for me, a friend of mine has got stung by people with stolen cards (his fault for not checking) he ended up in court to get his money.
But their are some people who live by charging everything so if you can get a job by having C.C.'s then it might be worth it.
We had our terminal through Novus, and the program was run by Discover card (through their Merchant Services Division). We were able to accept Visa, Discover, and Mastercard. The terminal fee was $12 per month, and then 3% of each transaction.
I am not sure what the rates are now, or if Discover still offers the program.
Another interesting fact.... begining May 1, 2002 you will no longer be able to use Mastercard through third parties. The hardest one to be "hit" will be Pay Pal. They are currently trying to reach an agreement with Mastercard. I will go find the link again and post it here. Mastercard blames it on fraud, and people running up large tabs then saying they never authorized the charges, resulting in chargebacks to merchants.
I just asked myself the same thing, What about offering credit cards? I only plow and salt, no lawn business. So, I did a search and read the replies and asked myself again.
I think unless I get alot of calls for it, it is not worth the time and money they charge you to offer the service. I will lose time walking back to the truck dialing, waiting to connect then waiting for approval and having to bring the card back to the customer,when I could be plowing or out selling what I have to offer. I would rather do the plow or salt, then bill them from in front of my PC, with my nice hot cup of coffee after the storm.
Rates for processin just keep getting higher and higher.... But it's cheaper than getting bounced checks.
I do quite a bit of credit card business, in the six figures, and my rates are 1.72, for visa, MC and Discover, 2.0 for Amex. I use a software based POS so I don't have a terminal. My recommendations for that are to lease one for "your" season. If you are doing landscaping it might make sense for a year round terminal.
If you get any bounced checks, credit cards are the way to go. You ALWAYS no when you are going to get your money. We have experienced almost the elimination of bounced checks in my Pub.
I like the idea of the cards but why do we have to pay anything>When the sale is made they will make the money on the interest that people pay.At leat if they gave you the machine to use with the supplies or made it a small one time fee but they want to rent the machine,charge you a percentage of your hard earned money.We have been doing business for over 40 years with out that and do fine.Could we do better with most defenatly then you got to worrie weather they don't like your service or for what ever reason and have the credit card co. take back there payment. And it's just another job that you have to do each month.
A couple of reasons to take credit cards as a plower
1) Cash flow, next day in your account for V/MC 2 days for AMEX and Discover.
2) People are trying to earn miles, another selling point for your biz. Don't discount this, their are people myself included that have managed to accumlate over 200,000 miles this way.
3) No worry about a check bouncing.
4) Towing services do it because poeple don't always have the money when the "need" it. People/Businesses don't always have the money when it snows.
5) In a big city, on a one time job it would be very easy for someone to stick you with a NSF/closed account or stop payment after you leave.
I am of the firm belief that the best part about this business is the money. I like to make it easy for people to give me thier money!
Most people understand that checks are going to be gone in the next decade, or sooner. They have checking debit cards that are sponsered by MC/VISA that can take the money from their account to yours in the blink of an eye.
It wouldn't make sense to go out and buy a $400+ terminal for some, but for others it would work great to lease one for $10 a month.
Just got a call from a guy who wants me to sign on and start advertising that I take cards.
Yes, all the things that chtucker said is true, but the this salesman said my costs are $79.00 amount for the wireless unit, $12.00 a month for air time, 1.49% on all money generated, a free website for 6 months and get this, a 48 month contract.
I told him I am in an area that not only is money hard to find but plastic is even harder to find. This would mean I would do at least 5 to 7 average drives for free before any money would be made. He continued to say if I ran an ad with "Cards Accepted" I would have tons of calls.
My Questions are " Who calls me for plowing in the off months"? and "Why pay a middle man"?
If I can't get paid, Like I read before "I can always put it back"
There are MUCH cheaper options out there for terminals. I wouldn't use a wireless one. What I would do is hardcopy slips with the old swipe type paper machines and do voice authorizations on you cell/landline phone.
Mail in your bank slips and your only costs are the transaction fees and the card companies share.
Is it for everyone, certainly not, I just was presenting my view point.
I THINK IT IS A GREAT IDEA I HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOE ABOUT 6 MONTHS . WE PROCESS IT RIGHT ON THE COMPUTER IT COST LESS THIS WAY INSTEAD OF TALKING WITH SOMEONE ON THE PHONE. IT ALSO OPENS UP MORE WAYS FOR YOU TO GET THE GREEN BACKS
Documentation is the key. You will need to provide service information like time spent at facility weather conditions, person performing the service and equipment used. Information is key. The customer would have to PROVE that you did a poor job..
Keep all your records for at least 6 months as this things come back 2-3 months later.
Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. That's what it's about. I bill at the end of the month and have about 30 customers who leave their cc # on file with me. I just run the numbers through and send a paid receipt to the customer. Usually the money is in my bank by the time they get their receipt.
It's a convenience to them and a great way to get money quick for me. It also set's you apart from a lot of fly-by-nighters.
I use CLIP VISUAL which also makes it even easier. I'm up to around $20 -25,000 average per month on credit cards. That's a nice chunk of change to get at the end of the month without having to worry about when it's going to come in.