Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!
Do you take a look at ways to make it easier for clients to do business with your horse business? If so, one of those topics might be if you make it easy to pay you. Don’t get me wrong, horses aren’t cheap and never have been, so I’m not saying that you’ll be able to make it inexpensive. I’m advocating for accepting payment in a variety of forms. The more ways that you can accept payment, the more you remove the barrier for getting paid.
Cash is a no-brainer and I don’t know any horse business that doesn’t accept cash. The majority of horse businesses also accept personal checks, bank checks and money orders. Many horse businesses have a merchant account to be able to take credit cards. You can learn more about merchant accounts, their set up fees, and their transaction fees by visiting your local bank to start a conversation there. Once this conversation has been had, there are still many horse businesses that don’t accept credit cards because having a merchant account is not cost effective when they look at the initial set up costs. Here’s the thing – lots of people prefer to use plastic. It’s just easier for them.
With today’s great online technology, there are ways for you to accept credit cards online using a third party system, also known as payment gateways. You still won’t be able to accept a credit card that someone hands to you like when you are shopping at a store. But if a computer with internet connection is handy, and you and your client are both computer and internet users, you can sit down and take care of it that way if you wish.
There are several third party systems you can use. The one that I’ve been using for several years is PayPal. With PayPal you can get your website set up so that purchases can be made through your website. People could pay for lessons, coaching at shows, training, boarding, gift certificates and any other services that you offer this way. The person receiving the money pays the fee for using PayPal, which is calculated for each transaction. The current rate for domestic transactions varies from 1.9% to 2.9% plus $ .30. Another great thing about PayPal is that you don’t even need an account to send money to someone else or to ask for a payment from someone else.
This may not seem as convenient as just taking a credit card through a merchant account because you do need to be comfortable with using a computer and the internet. But it sure beats not being able to take credit cards at all. And the benefit of using a third party system is that you can review how much you’ve used it over a year’s time. This allows you to make a good cost comparison with what it would cost to have a merchant account, including set up fees and transaction fees.