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Are You Losing Business by Only Accepting Cash and Checks?

Aug 18, 2007
Many mobile business owners and professionals struggle with payment options. While on the road, moving from one job site (or client) to the next, it can be difficult to keep things organized. Most small business owners have the luxury of a storefront, cash register, and credit card processing terminal. For them, there's no guesswork or potential "run-around" involved - either the card has funds, or it doesn't.

Mobile business owners, such as landscapers, trades people, merchants at craft fairs, and others simply do not have these luxuries. Most are limited to accepting cash or check; the latter with no guarantee that there are funds in the account. It can be difficult for them to find a payment method that is convenient for both them and their customer, especially for big-ticket items. Unfortunately, this may often mean that the sale goes instead to the brick and mortar merchant, simply because they accept credit cards and/or provide a financing option that doesn't involve some sort of collection arrangement.

(In other words, the credit card company acts as the "creditor" for them, in a sense, and gives the customer a self-directed financing plan on their own terms.)

Are you losing sales because you don't or can't accept credit cards? This is a problem shared by many mobile business owners. Imagine the sales you might have had at your last trade show or job fair, if payment of a large sum had been easier and more convenient for your customer.

Customers are carrying less and less cash around. We are quickly becoming a plastic consumer society and few people like to bother any longer with the hassle of cash or check books. They prefer the ease and convenience of their credit or debit cards. Are you losing valuable sales because you don't accept this most convenient method of payment?

Many business owners also prefer credit cards. They offer the advantage instant approval. There is no waiting for days for a check to clear and money to be deposited in your account. Credit cards provide 24-hour payment in a 24-hour world. Payments can be processed quickly, on demand.

What if there was a way for you to accept credit cards from your mobile office or job site? This would enable you to build your business from anywhere, any time. Why should brick and mortar businesses get all the customers?

What would this do for your business? Your business could potentially grow by leaps and bounds - and you'd be making life a lot easier for both your customers, and yourself.

Here's the good news - you do, in fact, have options. Here are two solutions you should consider:

1. Use a Wireless Credit Card Terminal.

If your typical business day consists of a large number of smaller sized transactions (for example, a pizza delivery business with an average of 40 sales under $30 a day), then you should seriously consider getting a wireless credit card processing machine.

Your monthly fees for the merchant account (and equipment, if leasing) will be average, as will the discount rate per sale, but the convenience factor in addition to the potential increase in sales from customers who don't necessarily have cash on hand will likely more than make up for the monthly fees, and then some.

2. Accept Credit Cards by Phone

Now, if you run a business where you're only closing on a few sales a day, but at a higher ticket ($x00 - $x,000), then you'll want to minimize your merchant account costs because your credit card transactions will be more of an occasional occurrence - even though it will certainly impact your business in regards to convenience, efficiency and potentially even sales.

For example, if you own a landscape business where the average transaction is $600, you'll find that quite a few clients will want to take advantage of either their card's built-in rewards points (like "air miles"), the flexible financing - or in most cases, both of these added benefits combined.

The benefit for you is that credit doesn't "bounce" and in most cases, you'll have access to the funds much faster than with a check.

Now, here's the best part - you can accept credit card payments on the spot from any touch-tone phone, including your cellular.

Also, the leading "pay by phone" services available have very low monthly fees and operate in more of a "pay as you go" fashion.

This is the perfect solution for a mobile business - or professional - where occasional credit card transactions are necessary (and profitable), but don't quite warrant the hassle of using a traditional terminal.

Some services cost as little as a few bucks a month at about 4% per sale.

So there you have it - two very viable options for mobile business types that would otherwise have to remain stuck in the "dark ages" of cash and check payments.

Do your due-diligence to see what service might be best for you and your customers.
About the Author
Chris Rempel, entrepreneur and business analyst, highly recommends "Accept by Phone" for small & mobile businesses that need that extra "edge".

Additionally, see their site specifically for Attorneys at AttorneysAccept.com
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