Mobile credit card processing for a carpet cleaner?

carpet-cleaners-accept-credit-cardsLet’s face it- we live in a credit card world.  Even your customers who carry no revolving balance on their cards likely use them instead of cash or checks for everyday payments.  I honestly doubt if Sioux and I write 20 checks a year.  We pay for everything with our trusty American Airlines Citibank card and rack up thousands of Frequent Flyer miles in the process!  (Of course, we pay our credit card off every month.)

In addition, numerous studies prove that customers paying with a credit card will have higher job tickets.  Even better, credit card buyers will be more likely to buy additional “up-sells” that you tactfully propose. But since as a carpet cleaner you are “mobile” the ability to process credit card payments on the spot is essential.

Now some of you know that waaaay back in the 1970’s I was in a very successful carpet cleaning partnership with a young guy named Chris Gripp!  Chris and I were a great, synergistic team.  (Since Chris doesn’t read this site I’ll tell you folks I was the brains of the partnership- NOT!)  In 1984 I bought Chris out and he went back to Dallas to take care of his aging parents.  This smart entrepreneur then founded a sign supply distribution business that has grown into one of the largest in the industry.  (Think the Jon-Don of the sign world!)  In fact, you can check out Chris’ website right here!

Even though Chris and I are no longer in business together, we are better friends than ever.  (It says something about our friendship of forty-plus years that it survived the rigors of a partnership!)  Chris and I find that my readers (largely cleaners) and his customers (sign professionals) just aren’t that far apart. For example, I’m shamelessly going to cut and paste part of Chris’ recent blog post on the mobile processing of credit cards …

These five tools for iPhone, Android, Windows Phones and other Smartphones allow you to do mobile credit card processing.  Getting started is fairly easy: sign up, attach a credit card reader hardware to your device and figure out the fees.

There is some cost involved in running a credit processing tool on your Smartphone. First of all, you will need to pay a recurring fee for the merchant account. Each transaction incurs a flat fee and possibly a percentage fee. There is, of course, the initial cost of the hardware, and in some cases a monthly fee.

Check out these 5 handy applications:

  1. Roam Data’s RoamPay Of all the tools for processing credit cards remotely, this is the most versatile. It runs with iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and over 200 other phones. It plugs into the microphone jack and voila! You are on your way. RoamPay isn’t the prettiest or most efficient of interfaces, but it certainly gets the job done. The service costs about $150 yearly, with a 1.95 percent fee per transaction, and $45 for the hardware.
  2. Intuit’s GoPayment This is a simple, sleek interface that streamlines transactions, and saves time. It interacts with Quickbooks, and allows you to create a price list of your inventory and draw on that when processing orders. It does however, lack a few key features, such as the ability to store transactions offline. The cost of the hardware depends on the type of phone you use, ranging from $150 to $180. The monthly fee is $13, 3o cents per transaction, and 1.7 percent for swiped charges.
  3. PayWare Mobile The software for the iPhone seems pretty chunky, but the hardware is pretty sleek. It can be confusing to understand the processing of the card, as the interface is difficult to navigate. However, it does keep track of more data than its competitors. The cost is $20 monthly, plus 1.59 percent and 25 cents per transaction. Setting up runs you $45 and the hardware costs $115.
  4. iMerchant Pro Another reader of the iPhone, the software will cost you only $1, while the swiper itself runs $100 ($50 off for new customers). For each swiped transaction you pay 1.69 percent and 24 cents. One nice feature is the password protection; you can’t use the app without logging in.
  5. Square This tool should be considered the PayPal of the Smartphone credit card transactions. It is the only one that does not require you to have a merchant account; all you have to do is verify your identity and they will send you a free credit card reader. No monthly fees, just a charge of 2.75 percent plus 15 cents for each transaction. Higher fees mean it isn’t ideal for bigger businesses, but can work for those with fewer transactions.

Disclaimer: All but Square require you to have a merchant account.  Remember that in most cases you will have to pass a credit check in order for the bank to trust you enough to give you a merchant account.

So that is some input from the sign-making world.  What system are you using for your credit card processing?  Please share your ideas below.  After all, we are all in this together!


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