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Seems to me there was a thread regarding collecting inspection fees by way of credit cards some time ago and I can't find it. The number of out of town buyers who don't attend the inspection is increasing and so are the receivables. I'm considering participating in a credit card payment program. Anyone have experience with this, both good and bad, please let me know.

NORM SAGE

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Originally posted by Norm

Seems to me there was a thread regarding collecting inspection fees by way of credit cards some time ago and I can't find it. The number of out of town buyers who don't attend the inspection is increasing and so are the receivables. I'm considering participating in a credit card payment program. Anyone have experience with this, both good and bad, please let me know.

NORM SAGE

I have in the past used the card system. I quit because of the charges to me for the transaction which is for the customers convenience. The equipment is not cheap I paid best I remember about $800. for the hook up. Another down side is the payment can be cancelled and withdrawn from your account within a certain time period if the customer has a complaint. I think it is 90 days. Has been awhile since I used the card system so may have changed by now. Upside is you get your money immediately but it costs you. 4% is what I paid per transaction plus cost of equipment hook up.

Paul Burrell

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I accept VISA/Master card. The company that handles the details is Moneris. They're an ASHI sponsored vendor. They charge 20.00 per month and 8% of the fee. About 20% of our clients use credit cards. I only offer it if someone asks or for the out of town clients. Receivables is not in our vocabulary.

Not too long ago I did and inspection and the client forgot their checkbook at home and wanted to know if they could mail the check. I ask them if the had a credit card, which they did. Left with payment in full.

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I accept Visa and MasterCard via QuickBooks and Paypal

It is a bit pricey, but I suppose it's a necessary evil.

Historically, if I don't get paid on site or run a credit card, I must harass the agent and client to receive payment.

When I was in sales, an associate explained this phenomenon perfectly. An intangible (service) once in hand is far less valuable than it was when sought and anticipated. No one seems as motivated to pay for it once they've received it.

I would say the percentage of clients that are not present or forget their check books that pay me without a courtesy call or more is a miserable 20%. Sad, but true.

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I accept credit card payments through PayPal.

Advantages:

* No set up fee.

* No monthly fee.

* PayPal takes 3% + $.30 per transaction.

* I keep the PayPal payments in a money market account that PayPal provides. It's currently yielding 4.33%

Disadvantages:

* The PayPal account fuels my E-Bay habit.

Occasionally folks will object to the idea of using their credit card over the internet but that's becoming more and more rare.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I have always been cash or check at the time of inspection. I ask out-of-town buyers to FedEx or UPS the payment along with a signed copy of my Inspection Agreement, overnight if necessary. This has worked well. I lose probably a half dozen inspections a year because I don't accept credit cards.

If were going to be in the business for years to come, I might consider accepting Visa and MasterCard, but I have a short-timers attitude now.

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I recently set up to accept Visa/Master Card through my bank. They charge a one time set up fee of $25.00, a $50.00 for the unit to swipe the credit card, then the only charge is 3% of the charged amount and annual fee of $15.00. I don't plan to push the credit card and may not even advertise that I accept them, but as others have said there is an advantage when the client is out of town.

Robert E Lee

GENERAL Home Inspections, Inc

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I recently got set up with PayFuse....they integrate with my reporting software (HomeGauge) and it is cheap cheap cheap. Well, cheaper than any other merchant account I have ever set up..which there have been a few. No equipment to buy, there is a link on HomeGauge when the client goes to view their report, they have to pay first in order to see it. They are taken to a secure site where they input all the info, it approves it and now they can see their report. Money in my account in 3 days....seamless.

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Originally posted by tneumann

I recently got set up with PayFuse....they integrate with my reporting software (HomeGauge) and it is cheap cheap cheap. Well, cheaper than any other merchant account I have ever set up..which there have been a few. No equipment to buy, there is a link on HomeGauge when the client goes to view their report, they have to pay first in order to see it. They are taken to a secure site where they input all the info, it approves it and now they can see their report. Money in my account in 3 days....seamless.

What is "cheap cheap cheap"?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Well...cheap is defined differently by different people.

But....I considered it cheap because there was no equipment to buy....

I pay 7.50 per month when it doesn't get used at all...or I pay 1.98% + .15 per transaction when the client performs the transaction and 2.23%+.15 per transaction when I do it....security issue.

But if you figure in the cost of equipment, or lack thereof, it is much cheaper. And leasing equipment....ouch! I did that 15 years ago w/ my first business.

Cheap cheap cheap may have been a mistype....I think payfuse is comparable to all other merchant accounts, except for the equipment costs and fees at the onset. They charged me $75 to set up the account. I have had merchant accounts that charged much more than that, required me to buy their equipment etc. All of this at the beginning of my self employment career many moons ago. So in my opinion, payfuse was cheap and easy to get set up on.

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As I am new in the business, I have not yet run into the problem of a client not having a check with them. But, after reading and hearing so much about getting or not getting paid, I have had to give the issue some thought. I believe I would like to avoid plastic, but if it becomes necessary my opinion may change

Here are my thoughts, please critique.

When setting up the inspection, if the client is an out of towner, I will offer the the option of sending the check along with the agreement (as Paul does) or sending them the report c.o.d. Of course, I will explain to them that this will incur additional fees. I will explain that reports cannot be released until payment is made. If they do not accept either option, perhaps I am better off not doing the job.

If the client is from the area, I will still seek to collect the check at the signing of the agreement. If they do not have a check with them, I will explain that I have to return to my office to compile the report, and if they wish they can pick it up there and drop off the payment at the same time. Or if I am dropping off the report I will pick up the check then. Once again, I will remind them that "I am not permitted to release any reports payment is made".

For the on-line reports, I like the PAYFUSE idea.

For other situations, does anyone know where I can get some dissappearing ink?

I used to believe that delivering reports on site was the way to go. I am beginning to believe otherwise. I think coming back to the office and preparing the report makes for a better finished product and it gives me the oppertunity to not hand over the report without insulting the client. Not to mention, especially during the winter when it gets dark early, I end up with more daylight to do inspections.

StevenT

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I REQUIRE a credit card number on the inspection agreement no matter how they want to pay. The processing cost is cheap compared to the conveniance. You get your money right away and don't have to go to the bank. Also, I charge a $50 fee if an inspection is cancelled less than 24 hours prior to the inspection. That alone pays the fees over a year. I have never had anyone contest a charge. I would say 90% of my payments are with CC.I use Costco, I think it is 2%. Just raise your prices a few dollars. They have never made a mistake on my deposits (as far as I know).

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