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alehandros_lilbreaker
04-20-2008, 09:31 AM
Okay so I don't know if offering credit card payments are nesesary but I think it would make it easier for clients to chose their payment plan.

I really don't even know the first thing about charging people on their credit cards. If someone can give me the basics on what i do after receiving their credit card numbers so i can bill them up, woud be a great help.

and please also tell me what method your customers commonly use the most. Thanks

musician/lawnman
04-20-2008, 09:45 AM
Quote[/b] (alehandros_lilbreaker @ April 20 2008,10:31)]Topic: Credit cards as a payment method..., how to use one!?

If someone can give me the basics on what i do after receiving their credit card numbers so i can bill them up, woud be a great help.
Well, You swipe the card.......

Sorry, I tend to be a wise ### from time to time....

Little's
04-20-2008, 12:01 PM
Through Bank of America, I have whats called Dial-Pay. On my invoices I put in a spot where the customer can reply with their CC info. Then when I recieve it I dial a number enter their CC# and amount. This also works for taking payments in the field with my cell phone. The service only costs 9.95 per month, and I have no minimum.
The rates are low too 2% plus .20 per trans. I wanted to go as cheap as possible until I have a higher demand for payments, then maybe I will go to a wireless terminal, but the want like $75 per month, plus a service fee. Just not worth it in my opinion.

I also set up payments through my website that transfers customers to my paypal page (go ahead and try it, and send me a little money, I could use some extra right now!). http://littlestreeworks.com/blog/?page_id=17 http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

alehandros_lilbreaker
04-20-2008, 04:17 PM
chuck, lol, i was thinking more on the lines of how to use one without a machine.
Thanks for the info brandon

Steve
04-20-2008, 04:22 PM
You could also set up a paypal account. That might be the easiest way but probably not the cheapest.

clarklandscaping
04-20-2008, 09:02 PM
What I have done for 99% of my customers is setup a billing software on my website http://www.clarklandscaping.biz/invoice , it has the ability to create recurring invoices that get emailed to them ever month. From there they login to their account and click the pay now button and it directs them to paypal. Once the transaction is complete paypals IPN function updates the invoice paid in my software and sends me an email telling me so. So basically I dont have to do anything except setup the recurring invoice once.

You can see an example of this by logging in to the system using the
Username**-> Test User
Password**-> user

justin_time
04-20-2008, 09:13 PM
Quote[/b] (clarklandscaping @ April 20 2008,10:02)]What I have done for 99% of my customers is setup a billing software on my website http://www.clarklandscaping.biz/invoice , it has the ability to create recurring invoices that get emailed to them ever month. From there they login to their account and click the pay now button and it directs them to paypal. Once the transaction is complete paypals IPN function updates the invoice paid in my software and sends me an email telling me so. So basically I dont have to do anything except setup the recurring invoice once.

You can see an example of this by logging in to the system using the
Username**-> Test User
Password**-> user
This is exactly what I was trying to find for my website also. I will look into this further. Maybe I will have my own licence of this software pretty soon.

Anyways.. Thanks for letting me know about this php software.

grounded
04-21-2008, 05:27 AM
Can you post a link to the company that makes the online billing/invoice please.

Thank you

Tom

clarklandscaping
04-21-2008, 08:28 PM
Sure!!! http://www.forperfect.com/seo/cinvoice.php

justin_time
04-21-2008, 08:53 PM
Quote[/b] (clarklandscaping @ April 21 2008,9:28)]Sure!!! * * http://www.forperfect.com/seo/cinvoice.php
How do you like this software ?

How did ya find this one ? I've been looking around and this one seems more decent than all the other ones i've seen.

Also like to know what package did ya take (since there's a 75$ one and a 49$ one)

75$ - Do they install it for you ? is that why it's 75$ ?
49$ - Do I have to install it or not ?

I don't see the difference between the two

04-22-2008, 09:54 PM
A couple of things on this topic. First of all don't forget about quickbooks invoicing feature to invoice and bill clients electronically. I have never used it, but I know it will work well with quickbooks and save you time (if you use quickbooks)

The other processor I HAVE used is ProPay. ProPay.com allows you to accept credit cards. The plan I use costs $60 a YEAR (about $5/month) and they charge around 3.25%. One great thing about them is they have an automated service that will allow you to call an 800# and process a credit card with your cell phone.

Good luck!

StealthDumpTrucks
04-30-2008, 09:37 PM
Paypal has a subscription or recurring payment feature I used to use. You can also send invoices via email with them. In the old days i used a mail merge word/database program to print & mail bills for lawncare. My contracts were annual with a set monthly price. Every bill had a stamped self addressed envelope enclosed. I know I don't like buying stamps to pay bills, so my envelopes came with postage already attached.

Some months I'd offer a 2% discount with a "pay before this date" to take advantage. I never had a slow or no pay problem. the bills would read like a letter on high quality paper. This gave us the opportunity to remind customers of our other services as they matched the seasons.

Back when a dollar meant something, I'd enclose a dollar bill and a business card. I'd ask them to refer a neighbor or friend nearby. The mowing service grew so big I had to sell it off after five years. I do miss those customers, and especially those monthly checks in the mail. I guess you could make a space where they could write the credit card numbers, then just enter them into paypal virtual terminal. That service costs $30/month though.

Steve
05-01-2008, 06:35 AM
Quote[/b] ]Back when a dollar meant something, I'd enclose a dollar bill and a business card. I'd ask them to refer a neighbor or friend nearby. The mowing service grew so big I had to sell it off after five years.

Eric, that is a great idea. I have never heard of that one before. I wonder how much would make it work now? Maybe you could still try that with a $1 bill and wrap it around a few business cards or maybe even a $5.

You could try a $1 bill with half of your customers and then a $5 bill with the other half and see which one pulls in more leads.

Did you get most of your customers from referrals? I would love to hear what other ways you attracted new customers.

StealthDumpTrucks
05-01-2008, 01:29 PM
I can tell you what doesn't bring in alot of work, at least for us, the yellow pages never really paid for itself. One division of my corporation sold topsoil, sand, fill and mulch. My secretary took the orders and made the delivery schedule depending on how many trucks we had running and drivers at work. Each delivery had a fair sized three part work ticket that listed all our products and services. Top copy was white and had signature line, next was pink for customer, then a hard card for the back.

The white & hard copy come back with a signature and check. The checks are lined up on the copy machine and each sheet dated. The bank deposit slip was completed and ready for the next morning. In the meantime all the contact data was entered into the database off the check copy. Checks have a wealth of info like the wife's first name. We utilized this with the same type of marketing letters sent out to our maintenance customers.

Keep in mind the wives usually get the mail first in a household. Anyone who's married knows the real boss decides exactly what projects are going to take priority. So if you called us and ordered materials, paid with a check, expect to see our marketing in your mailbox addressed to your spouse. We also did spring and fall seasonal sales based on what you purchased last year. So if you got a mulch delivery, it would be noted in the database for resale prompting next season and year.

Part of our mowing services was asking permission to place a small sign in the yard. It was a simple sheet of white painted aluminum with a leg screwed on the back. Had green vinyl lettering with our name and phone number. You couldn't really read it driving by at 35MPH, but walkers and bikers in the neighborhood would see it. Naturally we would circulate a small number of signs between many properties so the owners wouldn't complain. One week a month the sign would show up. We'd pick it up the next week before any complaints.

Small ads in the newspaper classified brought alot of business. Each spring the paper had a Lawn & Garden circular in one Sunday paper. We bought the entire middle section and paid for full color & size photo's listing our stuff. My ad won ad of the month March 1990. In April 1991 we won the entire state for best ad, which gets you a free mention later. People would save these things because they may not need you right now, but a few weeks or months later. Many times I'd show up for an estimate and the prospect would pull out those ads and start talking about it.

All our trucks were block lettered in a simple fashion for readability. The dump trucks cab protector and tailgate also were lettered to allow four side identification. Script lettering and logo's were not allowed since they are hard to read. A logo draws the eye away from the phone number. We operated in one area code, so we deleted that number. Six or seven days a week our trucks were on the road at all hours up to 9PM. Since we were the only supplier who delivered past 4 or 5PM, we stole alot of jobs. Same goes for Saturday & Sunday delivery.

When you raise the bar on the whole industry, they have to follow or go out of business. We sparked alot of copycats, one even stole part of our name. The one thing they couldn't tap into was our database and phone number. They also couldn't compete on our targeted mail marketing and newspaper ads.

clarklandscaping
05-01-2008, 02:12 PM
Quote[/b] (justin_time @ April 21 2008,4:53)]Quote[/b] (clarklandscaping @ April 21 2008,9:28)]Sure!!! * * http://www.forperfect.com/seo/cinvoice.php
How do you like this software ?

How did ya find this one ? I've been looking around and this one seems more decent than all the other ones i've seen.

Also like to know what package did ya take (since there's a 75$ one and a 49$ one)

75$ - Do they install it for you ? is that why it's 75$ ?
49$ - Do I have to install it or not ?

I don't see the difference between the two
I love this software as It does everything for me once I set up the customer initially via recurring invoices.
The 75.00 is for installation only as you still have to pay the 49.00 for the software. Just purchase the 49.00 software and install it yourself, its dead easy.

Steve
05-01-2008, 03:03 PM
Eric,

That is awesome! Do you have any pictures of how your trucks used to look like with their lettering?

I'd love to see them.

What about your ad that won awards? Do you have any pictures of that?

StealthDumpTrucks
05-01-2008, 06:03 PM
I have the actual color velum film that was used to print the ad. It's pretty faded, and too big to scan. I'll take a picture and upload it later. I sold that corporation in 1994, I have some pictures stashed away, but that was before digital cameras were cheap. All my stuff has to be scanned and uploaded. I still have the database on my old apple laptop. I was doing landscape plans in black & white Paint program. I kept a copy of everything even though I sold the desktop Mac with the business.

If you're really interested i'll dig around and see what I can find in the files.

Steve
05-02-2008, 02:51 AM
Quote[/b] ]If you're really interested i'll dig around and see what I can find in the files.

Oh I absolutely would love to see all this and I am sure I am not alone here!