My husband’s business is still alive, but we’ve had to make some big changes. For one thing, we have decided that the distance he is willing to drive must be reduced dramatically. From the beginning when he started his business, he would take any job no matter how far away. On some jobs that meant more than 100 miles from our home. People complain about trip charges – one repeat client actually said “It’s not my fault you moved all the way out there.” (Uh, it’s not our fault you bought your rental home all the way over there, two years after we moved all the way out here). Mr. A has always been reluctant to impose outright trip charges. (Although I’ve seen a lot of businesses lately that have no trouble whatsoever charging $1 per mile, coming and going!) Gasoline costs have always been huge drain on the bottom line for his business and with prices rising to nearly $4 per gallon it is something we must address.
In addition to limiting the miles driven, we’ve also been looking into accepting credit cards since more people have been asking for this option; although so far people have been willing to write a check. However, since we are limiting the travel distance, there have been less opportunities. The calls that have been appropriate distance-wise just so happened to be clients wishing to make payment by credit card. We’ve mentioned PayPal because it is an option, but that so far hasn’t been met with much enthusiasm.
The ability to accept credit cards is quite a process as I learned when my employer began looking into accepting credit cards several years ago. At first we weren’t sure what we needed: could we do it ourselves, or would we need to pay someone? Should we go with a small local company or a large company that spans the nation? Do we need to buy a machine to run cards, or can we manage with a virtual terminal?
The first thing we did was look into the option of doing it ourselves. After a bit of exploration I realized that this could take some time to manage, and not only that but the laws seem to change so frequently. Someone would need to dedicate time to this additional task. As I mentioned the other day we’re all overworked at my job, and for once I put my foot down and said no.
I was unwilling to take on yet another task (yay me!) so I suggested we not handle this ourselves but hire professionals. We checked into the options through Costco, and also through the bank which handles our business bank accounts. As it turns out our bank manager had a contact for a small local credit card processing company that they highly recommended so we went with them. The company provided us with a website page which looks similar to our company website. Now people can go online to purchase items or make donations, and we also have a virtual terminal whereby we can process credit cards in house or over the phone.
Now back to Mr. A’s business… we are still tossing around the options and trying to decide if the additional costs are worthwhile. We’ve been tracking the number of potentially new clients that ask about credit card acceptance and we may eventually go for it.
I am really glad we have PayPal nowadays for this is enough for most of us. Have you ever had to go through the process of accepting credit card payments or has PayPal been all you’ve needed as well?