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Thread: Your own Web site Bookings/reservations questions

  1. #1

    Default Your own Web site Bookings/reservations questions

    Hey all, being a small company we are looking to have bookings done on our web site where we handle everything. Was wondering how most of you handle this with say payment. We are getting set up with a processor and are going to have a cell phone swiper as well. We have a 3 hour min so when someone books do you just get their ccard info but not charge it or do you do an initial charge before starting the trip? Also cancellation policy what do you do if someone cancels last minute? I was thinking 24 hr in advance or they pay but not sure standard procedure? Any input appreciated.

  2. #2

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    LoneLimo,

    Look at setting up a non refundable deposit whether it be a flat fee (say $100) or a percentage. We do both. For a regular limo its $100 non refundable deposit but if they rent a Party Bus then the deposit is 50% up front and 25% is non refundable because of the cost of the rental. I think Quick Books has everything you need for accounting and if you want to be simple you can always use excel for rentals but that can get complicated over time.
    Phoenix Limo Service
    Party Bus rental
    Mirage Limo
    813 N Scottsdale Rd
    Scottsdale, AZ 85257

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,695

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    Lone this is a complicated thing for our industry because of the presence of "bookers". First lets talk best practices:

    When they reserve a limo, get a Credit card to secure reservation (charge your deposit to it if that is justified) . Say 3 days before the run you do what is called an authorization for the remaining estimated total amount. That Holds the money for you and confirms the credit limit is there to pay you. Now these "hold" times vary between precessors and card companies. SO get to know them.

    If your authorization does not go through then you have to call them up and inform them that the vehicle will not be there until you can get a good autorization or get a new CC number for the trip.

    Then when your drivers goes to do the pick up he should first confirm that the same card that was used for the reservation is present with the person in the car. You do this by having your reservation sheet show the last 4 digits (not the whole number for security reasons) of the credit card. If your on location card reader will allow it consider using an "Open Bill" type of arrangement wher they give thier card, swipe it and sign for the estimated amount but it does not charge it till you close out at the end of the night where you may have to put in extras (overtime, fees, etc.) and obtain another signature for the excess.

    If the "open bill" is not an option then get a swipe and sig for the estimated amount up front and make sure the transaction goes through. Issues arise when customers are drunk at the end of the night and can claim you overcharged them when they were drunk. rare but happens. Also if at the begining of the night they are within $400 of there credit limit, spend $200 at the bar on their Credit card then at the end of the night you try to charge $600 you will be the one out of luck.

    If your drivers shows up and there is a complelety diffrent card there for payment than the one you authorized before then you will want to do a swipe and sig for the entire amount upfront (including the deposit, then refund the first deposit) before the car rolls.

    Now this scenario is the most common. the person making the reservation will not be the one that is being picked up. Think secratary making a reservation for a newly hired employee. In this case you have to be with a processor that allows transactions where the card is not present. You usually pay a higher transaction rate for this type of transaction as it is more risky. With accounts that required this type of scenario we had a credit card authorization form we sent to the client where they made a copy of the card front and back and sent it to us with their signature. We would then note in our software that payment was "Signature on file". This would not guarantee a win in the case of a chargeback so we only did it with our good corporate clients. We would not authorize a retail customer to go this way.

    The cheapest and most secure way to make sure you win all chargebacks is to get that swipe and sig at the time of service. Usually anything short of that and you can loose a chargeback situation.


    On cancellation charges you should have that set out in your contract on what will be charged and when. If you have a good credit card and charge it for the cancellation fee. if the people are pissed (many of them are) they will most likely dispute the charge and you will get a charge back. Since you did not have a swipe chances are you will loose the chargeback. You can try to do a contract with a credit card authorization section that spells out the cancellation police in big letters. Might help in some instances. But mostly we loose out on charges for cancellations on credit cards. You could combat this by only accepting checks for deposits then they loose the deposit if they cancel within a certain amount of time. But that is ususally only feasable when they are not booking at the last minute. Ususally need a few weeks to get a check and have it clear. will really depend on the type of work that comes your way. Weddings get alot of notice to handle deposits. Night on the town and corporate stuff not so much.

    For trips that you know are going to be a standard charge you can go ahead and charge it the day before the run to make sure it is good. Ones like trips to the airport. PU at the airports are safe sometimes to but if a flight delay results in a lot of waiting time ther maybe resons for holding off on the charge.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

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