Accepting Credit Cards for Payment

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Dunbar Plumbing, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Is there a cheap alternative to accepting credit cards? I've looked into this before but always ended up in a situation where it was $400 for the machine in the truck, maintenance fees and a percentage for each transaction.

    I've tried to get people to pay me through paypal to simplify things and they look at me like I'm trying to scam them. Even if I describe it on the phone.....most of it goes right over their head.

    My largest hesitation is the fact that those who pay by credit card can refute/stop payment within 60 days of the transaction period and can possibly stop the wheels from turning so to speak. If for whatever reason the stop payment is all means use it. I'm talking of those who abuse the system and try to cheat others out of services in such a way.

    I lost 2 calls in 4 days due to my inability to not take credit cards. The people calling were in emergency status and it didn't matter what someone charged.....they want it put on the credit card. I somehow need to incorporate the charges for services rendered somehow when someone springs at the last minute a credit card so I don't take the amount already calculated and lose the percentage fees out of it. That'll dip right into the profit margin for sure.

    Somebody I'm friends with in FLA told me to wait till next year; there is a device called "Treo" that is coming out that will allow me to process cc# in mobile status....similar to blackberry and other devices.

    In total, I've probably lost about 12 service calls for the year (9.3 months total) due to my unableness to take the card. Not exactly a huge loss but friday I could of landed a $500 job for yesterday morning. That hurt like a gunshot victim with no medical care. :eek: :mad:
  2. Lancaster

    Lancaster New Member

    The way I read it,you want to add a surcharge for people who want to use credit cards,so that they are paying the credit card fee instead of you.I think the credit card company would take a dim view of that.

    Their thinking is that you pay a fee to accept their card,thus bringing you additional business that offsets that fee.I will have to research this,but I think there is a prohibition against surcharges.If anybody knows for sure,let us know.

    What I think you can do,and not step on anybody's toes,is to raise your prices across the board by the 1 or 3 or 5 percent (as applies) fee,and then offer a discount for paying cash.This would achieve the same goal and still keep the credit card company or bank happy.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Many places put a 5% or more surcharge for credit card sales. I don't accept them and haven't lost any sales because of it.
  4. credit cards are my life blood

    Credit cards are what makes the world go around....

    You absolutely got to get one,,,,

    dont be a tight ass about the fees.....

    the fees are no big deal,
    and once you get used to paying them
    its like the price of doing lots of business.....

    and I mean LOTS and LOTS of extra of business.....

    Remember that no one has the money these days
    ....but they got the plastic
    and they want it done NOW.....TODAY...ASAP

    They do not want to wait till pay day and they will
    find the next plumber who will take plastic for maybe
    double what you were going to charge them!!!

    so what if you got to pay 2.75 on every hundred dollars
    if the bill is $1200, and you would not have gotten the job
    unless you took plastic...... how much had you screwed yourself out of??

    We have done over 18,000 in one month on credit cards and
    I dont think it would have been half that if I took cash only.

    I average about $7000 per month, and my fees work out to
    27 dollars per thousand.....I consider it cost of doing business..

    I got a machine in my office only, I rent it from the bank I do
    business with for only 10 bucks month......

    If you want to get fancy and get one of those cell
    phone--swipey kinda of things you can get one of those too....

    I have NEVER been screwed badly by a credit card....
    maybe on one or two over the years amounting to squat.

    I NEVER call in the card to see if it is good or not, I usually
    just take down the numbers on my bill and get around to
    running the card through that night or over the nxt few days....

    Occasionally I have had a declined one... but it always worked out

    Now on my wall right now I got two 500 plus bounced checks
    that are good for nothing...

    I got an old post about credit cards but I dont now how to find it.....

    If you got the credit cards in your yellow page add,
    you will see a dramatic rise in sales

    the only thing I dont take is American Express.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2006
  5. Duane Smith

    Duane Smith New Member

    I would check into the fee for using credit cards. I once was told that this was illegal. Another option is to open up a Paypal account. Most everyone has internet and most everyone has heard of ****/paypal.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    I hate pay pal. I also hate the you-know-what bay, but this is all personal. I would not use the pal and would not use it in commerce , either send or receive.

    As far as I know, it is not illegal to charge fees for credit card use, but the card companies will suspend your privileges if they find out.

    Out here, the Arco gas station brand is a low-cost brand. For a long time, they were cash-only. But for some time, they have been on board with card readers at the pump, accepting all major credit and debit cards. Recentlty, I noticed that they will accept credit cards for mid grade and premium, but not regular! Regular requires a debit card or cash!
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

    My husband used to say, " if you want to dance, you got to pay the fiddler." Afterall, the fees, are reasonable. And, they bring business your way. Good advertising, too. Funny, no one has a problem with what they charge, and some get indignant when their prices are questioned.

    I know people who will only pay with a cc because it gives them more leveage if something is not done right.

    There is alot of information on the net about the surcharges, etc, do a search on yahoo, and type in Credit card surcharges.
  8. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Several years ago, a company I used to work for would have us process CC's in the field, and fill out a separate CC receipt for the customer. The process basically involved calling the co's bank tel # for CC transactions, entering the co's account #, entering the CC#, entering the amount charged, and entering whether it was a charge or credit. If all went well, an authorization # was given, if not a decline message would be given. I only had a decline once, and in that case, an order to reposess the card was given. I didn't reposses the old man's card, but he did find some cash to pay with.

    That service, 5 or so years ago, was 4% of sales. The company added a ZON a few years later to process in the office, to eliminate the % fee. If office staff was available, we would relay the customer and invoice info to them. If not, we would record the card info on the invoice with 'pending' in the authorization field.

    In all cases, customer signatures were required.

    In some cases (after-hours/ weekend jobs) we required a CC # before going out, as service was door to door (home-job-home). In such cases, I informed the customers that they'd be paying me for the time I got out of bed until I got back in bed. At $250/hr at such times, they'd best be serious, as I was.

    AmEx and Discover: not unless you like paperwork and waiting for payment. Even though, as a consumer, I prefer to use my AmEx, it is a bear for the small business owner.
  9. Alexdc99

    Alexdc99 New Member

    Ontario, Canada
    Odds are the fees payed to Paypal are far more than what you'd pay for a credit card transaction.
  10. Thanks for the information/comments. It's going to be a process I'll incorporate eventually into the mix. Don't want to do it but it is like computers.......eventually everyone will have and use one in their home. Its at 60% now.
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    RUGGED, check out Sams Club. A friend of mine says they have some kind of deal for accepting cards that is offered to members. Personaly I know nothing about it.
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Hi Cass,

    Yup, Sams Club has a Merchant Credit Card Processing Service. I got it. I have had it for about 2 years now. There is a number you can call:

    There are different rates. And, fees. Sorry, no free lunch in this world. Business to business, is alittle higher in percentages and cents. Got to pay the fiddler if yo' want to dance...
  13. I dont see what the problem is

    I am not trying to sound like I got money to burn

    but like already mentioned through my bank I am
    only paying 10 bucks a month to rent a machine and
    my rate is 2.3 to 2.7 % on every hundred dollars....

    thats two dollars and thirty cents I pay for every hundred
    I take in on plastic.....

    so for every three hundred dollars on plastic,
    basically I have cheated myself out of one meal
    at Mcdonalds...

    and on the other hand

    I dont take in a penny when I sit all day

    with my thumb up my ass drinking coffe at

    Mcdonalds waiting for cash calls or post dated checks that are good....

    just take a "Leap of Faith"

    after a month, you wont even feel it.....
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I use a merchant account through PayPal. I've never had a problem (I take all cards) or a complaint against me of any kind. That has earned me admiration from PP but not so much as a cigar. I average 21k per month and have $16,936/month for 2006 as of today and I'm going into the busy season; all through PP and CCs. PP has treated me great and never skips a beat and a transaction takes me maybe 5 minutes max and most of that time is me two finger typing. I pay next to the lowest discount percentage plus $.30 per transaction and $20/per month for their services; the record keeping couldn't be better. I have an online history of every transaction I've done since day one and can print out any or all. So far this year its cost me $3500 including the $20/mo. I've been with them for CCs for over two years and a year prior to that for a few e-checks and Send Money payments, the rest ($125k) was done with personal checks and I never lost a penny.

    It is illegal to surcharge for CC use. Saying no to taking CCs is like saying "No I wouldn't give you $20 for that hundred dollar bill"... IMO that's really dumb. But I wouldn't have a bank merchant account unless they gave it to me and reduced my present charges. That's not anywhere near likely, they'd be scared to death of the amount I do. At least they were scared 3 years ago when I guessed I might do a fraction of what I actually have done; who knew! And they wanted hundreds just for an application fee and it wasn't refundable if they said no...

    I don't have a card swipe machine so I pay a higher percentage, I do all of it over the internet. A wireless network capable laptop computer and Verizon Air Card (v620 gets you an external antenna capability for weak signal areas) would work very well and allows you to take it anywhere. With a portable wireless battery operated printer (I have an HP Deskjet 460), you can enter the sale and print the receipt on site and be paid for the transaction immediately (right into your PP account in seconds). You can earn a return on your account or transfer the money a second after it hits your account.

    Anyone with a better deal... I'd love to hear it.
  15. credit cards


    it sounds like you got a really great system worked out

    and you say that you pay next to the lowest you can pay

    which is that about 1.9%?? I am just wondering....

    But like you said if someone is willing to give you a hundred

    dollar bill for the low , low price of around 2 bucks....

    you have to be an idiot not to take them up on it...
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Hi Mark, Hi Gary,

    I don't know if this would be a better deal for you or not, but, Sam's is 1.64% + 19cents and business to business, which I do, 1.98%+26cents. Fair to me. And, to me, that is a price of a cup of coffee at Mickey D's. I think I can buy myself a cup of coffee. I was paying more prior to this, 2 years, ago. So far, so good.

    Mark, I just bought the movie, Supersize, I think it is called for the kids. If you haven't seen it, rent it, and you will be glad you cheated yourself out of that lunch at Mickey D's! That stuff will kill ya!
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2006
  17. Sure enough, got another call this morning that awoke me from slumber asking if I take credit card. Said no but they said they could pay by check.....scheduled for tomorrow morning to rebuild a 3-handle Gerber T/S faucet.

    I actually have a Sam's Club membership.....I buy a great deal from them and sounds like a plan to take advantage of the notion. :thumbsup:

    The reason I have hesistancy to the whole thing is being tied down financially to another company swinging my personal info around. It's business yes but I'm sure after a year of taking credit......I'll probably wish I'd done it years ago.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I had to look my percentage up and I find that since I use their virtual terminal, there is no lower percent. It is 2.2% no matter how much you do over $10000/month. Still I'm more than happy with them, they have a number of benefits that a regular merchant account doesn't have. But hearing from Cookie, I will have to check out Sam's Club. I don't belong, I did many years ago, but I had planned to join in the next month or so. Thanks Cookie.
  19. Cookie

    Cookie .

    No problem, I aim to please, lol. I hope it works out for you.
  20. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    I have dealt with many people in my most recent expensive deal who have a credit card machine back at the office. Give them my card, they call back in with the info while a secretary, or wife or whatever types the info into her machine. A lot of local guys, including a plumber and a heating contracter here do not charge a surcharge for credit cards, but they do offer anywhere from a 2 percent to a 10 percent discount for cash or checks vs. using credit cards or 30 day billing accounts. I'll take the savings anyday, so I have even been known to make a quick drive up the street, insert my credit card into the atm, pay the $1.50 fee to bring back cash, and if I pay off the balance on my first card statement, there's not even any interest!

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