Consumers want to pay for goods and services in the most convenient way. While for some, that may be via invoices and checks, others prefer to make payments via credit or debit cards. Regardless of how good your services are, if you aren’t providing your customers with the payment options they want, they will quickly look for someone else to fill their needs.
Construction companies should evaluate whether or not accepting credit cards would help get them paid faster and earn more business. Here are three reasons why you should consider offering this payment option to your clients.
Why your construction company should accept credit cards
1. It’s convenient for your customers.
Accepting credit and debit card payments makes it easier for you to get paid. Most consumers don’t carry enough cash to cover a large expense, and chances are they seldom use checks but have at least one credit card in their wallet at any given time.
Plus, paying by card means rather than dropping off an envelope of cash or mailing a check, they can quickly pay you in person, over the phone or online.
Paying with a credit card can also help customers who are short on funds afford to have work done now, rather than waiting until they have the money in the bank.
Not having the funds when you need them can be stressful. Accepting credit as a form of payment allows your business to get paid for service sooner instead of waiting for your client to receive an invoice.
Many consumers don’t carry cash for purchases anymore. Instead, they rely solely on electronic or digital payments.
2. It inspires customer confidence that your company is above board.
Your customers feel comfortable paying by credit card. This form of payment is so common that a company not accepting it seems odd. This can cause some unease among your customers.
Further, consumers are often told that credit cards are the safest way to pay contractors. For example, Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks recommends paying by credit card because of the consumer protections it offers and the paper trail it provides.
The FTC also advises consumers not to pay contractors in cash but rather by credit card or check.
Clients trust a company that allows more than one payment method and provides an easy and direct way to pay. Displaying credit card logos on your website and at the location can increase trust with clients and prove legitimacy against your competitors.
3. You can accept deposits and other payments immediately and reliably.
When you process a credit card transaction, you know immediately if it goes through or not. This allows you to start new projects faster because you don’t have to wait a few days after depositing a down payment check to ensure it doesn’t bounce before you start a job.
Depending on the scope of the work and with your client’s permission, you may be able to schedule recurring payments or installments that are automatically charged to your customer’s card so you can count on regular cash flow as long as the job is on schedule.
Also, when working with clients who are behind on their payments or have been delinquent payers in the past, accepting a credit card may help you get paid faster and avoid waiting to see if the check is really in the mail.
Potential downsides of accepting credit cards
If you’re not yet accepting credit cards, you may have some concerns that are holding you back. There are drawbacks to this payment method, though there are things you can do to alleviate potential issues.
Here are three common concerns and some suggestions to help you deal with them if you decide to accept card payments.
1. It’s too expensive.
The fees credit card processors collect for each transaction can look expensive when the payment is for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, you can build this expense into your margin, and if you prefer cash or check payments, you can offer a cash discount. Some businesses opt to charge a convenience fee for accepting card payments, but this can be tricky to do since it’s illegal in several states. Card networks also require you to follow certain regulations.
Talking with a payment processing expert can guide you in the right direction, as they can see if your fees are higher than average. If your fees are high, don’t hesitate to negotiate a low price or shop around for a cheaper credit card processing provider.
There are a variety of top credit card processors to choose from. Learn more about some of the credit card processors we recommend in our review of Merchant One and our Stax review.
2. It’s too risky because of chargebacks.
A chargeback happens when a customer disputes a charge. The dispute resolution process occurs between a merchant and a credit card issuing bank until the issue is resolved. While the dispute is ongoing, the funds are withheld from the merchant.
You can proactively take steps to discourage chargebacks. EC&M recommends documenting your work with photographs and doing quality assurance checks with your customers in which you walk them through the work you’ve completed and have them sign off on it stating that the work is finished and meets their approval.
3. It increases fraud liability.
Banks and credit card issuing companies have a history of making merchants pay the price for various types of fraud in their systems. Banks can look for reimbursement if a business owner permits charges by a stolen credit card. Additionally, the processing account may be terminated, which is bad news for future business, as it is unlikely for other processing firms to accept the merchant’s business.
Business credit cards for construction companies
There are many credit card options, but some are more suited for construction companies. American Express is a well-known and trusted company, and its Blue Business Plus offers plenty of perks for cardholders. Capital One also offers a Spark Classic for Business that has benefits built in for cardholders. Most providers have a card geared toward business owners to help make using a credit card for their company more manageable and efficient.
Despite the drawbacks, there are several advantages to accepting credit cards, and the ease and immediacy of this payment method can be a win-win for both you and your customers.
Getting paid should be the easy part of the job, and accepting credit card payments can reduce the time you spend chasing down cash or waiting for checks. If your construction company doesn’t yet accept credit cards, it’s worth considering whether offering this payment option to your customers would be advantageous to your business.