Credit cards have become a popular form of payment for almost all consumer transactions. A survey conducted a couple of years ago by WePay shows that “…on a regular basis, 58% of small businesses are asked by their customers to accept credit cards.” If you’ve been in business for any length of time the odds are good that you’re among that 58% of small businesses. The question is, if you don’t currently accept credit cards – should you?
The Case for Accepting Credit Cards
First, let’s explore why homeowners might want to use credit cards to pay for their lawn service or for a landscape job. They’re all pretty simple:
- convenience – in the survey we mentioned above, 64% of consumers indicated that they write fewer than three checks a month. Between credit cards and online bill pay, a lot of homeowners never get the checkbook out nowadays. They don’t want to have to dig it out of the back of a desk drawer for one transaction.
- financing – A homeowner may not have $5,000 sitting in her account to do that front walk, but she knows she can pay it off within three months or less.
- reward points – if every $X is a worth a mile on their United card, or they get 1% cash back, why wouldn’t they want to use that card as much as possible?
For the sake of this discussion, these points can really be boiled down to one reason homeowners choose to pay with credit cards: because they want to. The value, then, in accepting credit cards is that you’re not throwing up a barrier that keeps them from buying from you.
If the customer doesn’t want to be bothered with writing a check, they’ll find a way not to have to, and that may well mean hiring someone else. If they’re using the card to finance the purchase, what are your options if you don’t take credit cards? Finance them yourself? Tell them “call me in three months when you have the money”? Similarly, if the homeowner knows they’ll get 20,000 miles if they hire your competitor and 0 miles if they hire you, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Every business is a sales business. Don’t chase away sales. Forbes magazine asked why more small businesses don’t accept credit cards, and this is a great quote from the article:
The benefits of accepting credit and debit cards far outweigh the cost. The various studies show that when people are given more payment options (beyond cash); they are more likely to make impulse purchases, join loyalty programs, and spend more per purchase – and that can only help your business to grow.
Should You Charge a “Convenience Fee” for Credit Cards?
The biggest objection I hear with regards to accepting credit cards is that “I don’t want to/can’t afford to give away 3% of my revenue every year!” Some lawn and landscape business owners then decide that they’ll recoup that money by charging a convenience fee for credit card customers. I don’t think it’s a great idea, and here’s why.
I mentioned above that putting up a barrier between the prospect and the sale is never a good idea, and that is exactly what a convenience fee does. In sales and marketing we call it a “friction point”, something that can slow a sale down to the point that it could even kill the deal. It’s 2015, that homeowner is paying for almost everything with plastic. They’re not going to see that 5% “convenience fee” and think of the small local business owner, they’re going to think about United Airlines and all the fees and surcharges that get added on to what started out as a great ticket price.
Make it EASY for the customer to buy from you. Bake that credit card transaction fee into your pricing so that you know you’re covered, no matter how they choose to pay, and tell them with a smile that you’ll take payment however they want to give it.
The bottom line is that your landscape business relies on a steady flow of happy customers to succeed. In any market you’re overcoming worries about pricing and competitors and lead time to starting the job. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to buy – from you.
Not sure how to easily accept credit card payments from your customers? We can integrate payment portals right into your landscape company’s website design. Not only is it simple for customers to pay and for you to be paid, every time they make a payment they’ll be able to see all the services you offer. It’s one more way Green Pro Marketing helps your business grow, You should contact us today to learn more!