Accepting credit card payments digitally means more time with customers and less time tinkering with technology
The advent of a mostly cashless society has made accepting payments easier. Or has it? On the one hand, there’s learning to navigate new technology and deciding who will pay the transaction fees, and on the other benefits like the ability to draft invoices and accept payments out in the field. When weighing these pros and cons, it’s important to evaluate your options and find what’s best for you and your business.
In February, Brad Williams of Flower Mound Pool Care & Maintenance in Flower Mound, Texas, switched up his company’s invoicing system. For 10 years he’d been using QuickBooks, which meant entering customers’ credit-card information and then auto-processing invoices on the first business day of the month. “We wanted an all-in-one system,” he says, “that integrated our operations with our accounting.” With Salesforce and the Accounting Seed add-on, any additional services are lumped into the monthly invoices. “We send them a credit-card authorization agreement that allows us to hold their card on file,” Williams says, “and we bill once a month until they say ‘stop.’ We can’t even see the full information. It’s very secure.”
Factoring the percentage of each transaction fee into the pricing has worked thus far. “It’s just a cost of doing business,” he says. “We price our products and services with that in mind.”
Rolling out any new procedure — especially with invoicing and collecting payments — requires a learning curve. But it’s worth it, says Williams: “Not only is it convenient for the customers to adapt to your business, but it’s also convenient for you and your staff because you’re not chasing money. You can turn a good customer into a bad customer because there’s tension around payment issues and late fees.”
Some services for processing transactions will even allow you to send the customer an estimate or quote. Justin Mathias, owner of Gracie’s Pools in Jacksonville, Florida, loves this perk with Square. Since launching his business three years ago, he’s used the Square app for monthly recurring billing or periodic repairs simply by accessing it from his smartphone. He likes that Square acts as a digital bookkeeper, too. “I look at which customers have paid, and which customers haven’t, and it sends me alerts on my phone,” Mathias says. About 70% of his customers keep a credit card on file. For customers who like to pay by check, Square records payment as well. Using Square also helps ease awkwardness when a customer claims they never got the bill. “If the (Square) app tells me they’ve opened it,” Mathias says. “then I know they’ve seen it.”