Is It Time to Rethink What Forms of Payment Your Landscaping Company Accepts?
Even as forward-thinking landscaping businesses strive to satisfy customers with design customization options and incredible customer service, they often fail to provide options and flexibility regarding the payment methods they accept. Statistics indicate that consumers are moving toward a more comprehensive digital lifestyle in practically every aspect of their finances; few consumers even carry cash or checks anymore. Asking these modern-day consumers to write a check for their new outdoor living space can be surprising, and maybe even a bit off-putting.
Research shows that over 65% of consumers actually prefer using credit cards for the things they purchase today, and with greater ease on your end regarding bookkeeping and managing funds, the time for entering the modern age of payment acceptance may be overdue. But with many of the old processes and systems deeply ingrained in your business, this fundamental change may be intimidating.
To mitigate any anxiety surrounding the change, educate yourself about the available payment options, as well as the most popular ones. If you’re not new to the game, chances are you didn’t grow up with so many technological tools at your fingertips; it can be a bit daunting to learn. But, asking a techy friend, key employee, or family member you can trust to help explain it to you could pay off in the long run. Remaining successful in the landscaping industry requires staying on top of changing technology and consumer behaviors.
Things to Consider
As a business chooses whether to affect change in the payment options accepted, consideration should be given to privacy, service fees, transaction costs, the risk of theft, and the need for electronic or telecommunication facilitation. These obstacles have likely been the reasons that individual businesses in the industry haven’t taken the leap into mobile, credit card, and other forms of payment. Luckily, advances in technology address the largest portion of these issues with suitable and convenient solutions. EMV and chip card technology, as well as third-party security firms, allow your business to reap the rewards of increased sales while painlessly addressing security risks. Additionally, the landscaping industry often faces the obstacle of on-site payment, and advances in mobile devices and apps addresses these concerns. You simply have to learn how they work and grow comfortable with the reliability of the options.
Understanding the expected costs and advantages of accepting credit cards is a necessity to evaluating your business’ accepted payment options. Your business will face two basic options: either open a local merchant account with a bank to process charges, or pay processing fees to a third party. Setup costs and regulatory responsibility come with the decision to host your own account, while the fees may be lower than for those who choose to outsource the role of processing the charges. For most landscape businesses, outsourcing processing will be the best and easiest choice.
It May Be Easier Than You Think
In the past, businesses have often cited equipment/setup costs, potential for customer charge back, and the risk of a customer becoming a victim of identity theft when explaining the decision to avoid credit card payments. The process of being credit card ready today, however, is easier than its ever been. With the same smart phone that landscape business owners use all day to run their operations, they can now streamline financial tasks as well. Managing invoices and processing initial and final customer payments is a breeze–all while on the road or on the jobsite. A simple credit card reader that plugs into a smart phone is all that’s needed.
Larger Projects and Increased Incremental Sales
For a relatively simple setup, the improved growth possibilities for those businesses that choose to adapt are very real. Customers are more likely to increase spending with credit cards. They will choose the higher-priced options, make more impulse purchases, and be more satisfied with the payment process because it’s convenient and familiar. For customers who lack the funds for large landscaping projects, accepting credit cards opens the door for them to use the services your business provides.
The Popular Options
With the array of options now available, you will get paid faster and easier when your business becomes more open to multiple payment options. Here we shed some light on the popular consumer choices:
Online Credit Card or Debit Card Acceptance
Whether you incorporate a gateway to online payments on your website, or choose another method for accepting online payments, most customers expect this option for all sorts of purchases – from pizza to furniture to electric bill payment – and they will likely extend this expectation to your business as well.
Customization of the site with your branding doesn’t require you to become a computer expert. You can facilitate this process with a third party handling the legwork, or open your own business account, and you can limit the number of cards to accept. One key fact to keep in mind is that Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have a stranglehold on the credit card market, making up 47%, 21%, and 12% of credit card purchases, respectively. From 2015 to 2016, the economy experienced a 72% increase in customers who take advantage of this method, making those who fail to provide the option almost obsolete.
Better known as electronic checks, ACH Processing provides the convenience of a check with the reliability of a credit card. This process uses the routing number of the institution and the account number of the customer to process payment directly from the bank. Generally, the fees will be lower for this option than with credit cards, making it a viable option as you plan to extend the payment options for your customers.
Mobile Bill Pay
When on the job, and facing homeowners who are ready to pay, a mobile bill-pay option is incredibly useful to those in the landscaping industry. Often the fastest method of payment, this method requires only a smartphone and an app or a device. Whether you choose Google Pay, PayPal, Intuit, or one of the numerous other options available, keep customer convenience in mind, while also considering the high transaction fees often faced with this payment method.
If you’re concerned about quick payment and the environment, consider ‘going green’ with email invoicing. At least 60% of consumers consider the environment when complaining about receiving bills, and they also generally appreciate a friendly email reminder and link to payment options. In this busy world, customers appreciate efforts made to help them pay in a timely and convenient fashion.
Schedule Recurring Billing
Landscaping companies generally offer year-round service for customers. For weekly lawn maintenance customers, fall and spring clean-ups, or even monthly commercial snow plowing clients, landscaping companies can always benefit from making billing simpler. For those customers who pay a set monthly rate, consider offering recurring billing. Quite popular with the modern consumer, this payment option allows customers to pay effortlessly, punctually, and dependably.
Put Customers First and Win
In this changed financial world, customers expect convenience. Whether you choose to incorporate credit card payments, mobile payment options, payment availability on your website, or even an emailed invoice, thoughtfully consider the various ways that the modern consumer pays, as well as the advancements that make them easy for you. By doing so, you can expand your consumer base, decrease the numerous non-billable trips to the bank and customers’ houses to pick up checks, and increase the number of projects your company books.