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Thread: Wireless/mobile credit card machines

  1. #1
    Member Limo Padawan
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    Default Wireless/mobile credit card machines

    I'm looking for the pro/ cons of a wireless credit card reader that I can have w/ me in the vehicle. It seems (to me anyway) that this would help to avoid any non-payment of overage use instantly in the field. The way I have it set up is that the booking total is charged to the card the customer gives to me over the phone and I have on file and the gratuity amount is to be given to the chauffeur, in cash, @ the end of the night and is performance based. Seems that people often spend this "cash" before the night is over and then my driver gets stiffed.

    I'm a super small operation (1 stretch and one Town Car sedan) and I'm in need of a better way of doing things. As it is now, I take the info. (card # ,date, time, etc..) over the phone, make an invoice and have them sign it along w/ the damage waiver when I arrive for pickup. This has worked OK so far but I feel that it isn't as professional as it should/ could be. I'd rather not talk $$ with the client on the actual day of use if I can avoid it. How do some of you that have been around awhile take care of the payments? I know gratuity is a whole other subject that has undoubtably been beaten to a pulp however, in general do you add it up front and make it part of the charge or take care of it in the end and take what you get?

    I've only been in business for a little over 1 year and naturally have struggled but enjoy the heck out of it. I just wish to streamline a few things to make it flow a little easier. Coming across this site a couple of weeks ago has been a blessing and it's a great place to find others w/ similar problems and better yet, solutions. Thanks guys/gals!

    Steve

  2. #2

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    I'm looking into getting a mobile credit card processor right now also. It will elimiminate overtime problems and last minute changes from cash to credit or split bills. Also, you don't need to deal with credit card imprints anymore.

    As far as gratuity is involved, most companies include a 20% gratuity in the contract that the customer must pay. A lot of big companies charge the client 20%, but break it down to a 15% gratuity for the driver and a 5% fuel charge. I think taking the 5% from the driver is just wrong. Some companies(Jim will let you know) charge a service charge(15-20%) to the client and are able to pay their drivers higher hourly rates and suggest to the client that they may tip if they feel service was indicative.
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

    Limo Kings Limousine Service
    www.limokings.net

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    I have never used them, but I know a girl that owns a couple of Nextel stores. A couple of years ago she showed me the Nextel version (it was a phone with a cc reader built in) of what you are talking about-very slow. How about using a laptop?
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  4. #4
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    I'm not sure using a laptop/notebook would be any faster. The data network is going to be the same. Plus, you are going to be talking about a more expensive piece of equipment that you couldn't use as a two-way communications device. However, I think that today the market for these wireless CC terminals has gotten better, especially as cellular phone companies are always trying to outdo their competition in speed and service area. AT&T has been touting their 3G network. Maybe you could use an iPhone for your CC processing? You wouldn't have much need for a Blackberry anymore as I am under the impression it can access any webpage, not just mobile-friendly pages.

    I am interested in what is discovered in this thread.
    Tim Wiegman, Jr.
    Boulevard Limousine
    Travel Confidently!
    Serving Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka
    http://www.BoulevardLimoKC.com - Kansas City Limos
    KC Airport Car Service

  5. #5

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    The biggest concern I have about charging the card at the end of the trip is that it could be declined, or by virtue of no money exchanging hands when the booking is made the customer is more likely to cancel at the last minute.

    We collect the full bill (rental + grat) 7-30 days in advance.
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  6. #6
    Member Limo Padawan
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    Default Re; collecting in full

    <P>It has been my understanding that there is little recourse if you collect in full before service is actually provided. Can the customer still not simply cancel @ the last minute & ( although you have charged their CC ) they simply call the CC co. to do a charge back even if it was stipulated in the contract about cancellation fees. I guess what I'm getting @ is wouldn't the customer&nbsp; physically have to sign the contract and return it to you before you could charge them. Otherwise you have no signed paperwork stating that they have read and acknowledged the terms/ conditions of the contract. I don't know, I'm just trying to figure out an airtight way of doing things as simple and honestas possible for both me and the client. </P>
    <P>&nbsp;</P>
    <P>Steve </P>
    Last edited by viniculture; September 23rd, 2008 at 12:20 PM. Reason: grammar

  7. #7

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    Nothing is full proof except a card swipe, valid signature and check their photo ID.
    I just don't want to be doing that on a thousand dollar tab with a drunk after 8 hours and only then find out the card is no good.

    When they book we email a contract to them to sign and fax back. It can be automated as part of the final step of the order in Fasttrak.

    Not foolproof, nothing is - as I stated above, but at least they know they have signed their name on something. We rarely have cancellations inside of our cancellation window so this works fine for me.

    Answer this - does Dell charge your card before your PC arrives in the mail? Hell yeah.
    Collecting early is simply smart accounting.
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  8. #8
    Member Limo Padawan
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    Thanks for the info. It's exactly what I was afraid of...nothing is better than card, ID, signature. On another note and quite possibly should start a new thread w/ this but I'll take the flaming and ask it anyhow. How do you deal w/ the client that seems to take their sweet time returning the fax w/ the signed contract? Take for instance what I have going today. The client booked the car for this Sat., I sent out the contract yesterday (mon) explaining that the car wasn't considered hers (reserved) until she returned the signed contract due to the fact that we are so close to the date she wants it for. I know she's out price shopping and that's fine as the price I quoted is firm. I have called her this a.m. and let her know that I hadn't recieved anything from her and cannot hold the car for her unless I recieve the CC info./ contract by noon today. I know I hold all the cards as it is my service she is vying for but I've got that crazy notion in me that wants to think/ believe in the customer. I'm not going to hear from her again am? I think I've answered my own questions on all this. Think I'll go bang my head against the wall now. Sorry for the rambling. Thanks for listening.

    Steve

  9. #9

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    Hi Steve, Welcome to the forum. Before I was in this biz I was a professional photographer and I ALWAYS got paid upfront before I opened the shutter, saved on billing disagreements! So now I always take their cc info charge a 50% deposit upon booking and the remainder 3 to 5 days before the event. Money in my pocket, including grat and fuel charges, before the limo moves. I simlpy talk with the client first to get a feeling and repour going, saves on hassels. I must be old school, on overages I use what is called a telephone to get my aproval instantly.
    Good Luck

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    I realize this is not an option for the larger companies, but we do not accept credit cards. We almost started to until all the talk on here about all the troubles that come with it-and they charge you to accept them! I am sure I will get flamed for this, but so far we have only one customer out of 100 that did not use us because of this (and we do have frequent business travelers that are fine with this also-they claim our service is worth it).
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  11. #11
    Senior Member HeavenOnWheels's Avatar
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    50%??? What is your cancellation policy? I still have a problem getting customers to sign contracts!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Harrod View Post
    Hi Steve, Welcome to the forum. Before I was in this biz I was a professional photographer and I ALWAYS got paid upfront before I opened the shutter, saved on billing disagreements! So now I always take their cc info charge a 50% deposit upon booking and the remainder 3 to 5 days before the event. Money in my pocket, including grat and fuel charges, before the limo moves. I simlpy talk with the client first to get a feeling and repour going, saves on hassels. I must be old school, on overages I use what is called a telephone to get my aproval instantly.
    Good Luck

  12. #12
    Member Limo Padawan
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    I totally agree, as soon as I mention down payment, pre-payment, cancellation charge or whatever, it seems to spook 'em. I suppose I should be happy that they run before I actually provide service. I also see that it tends to weed out the trouble makers/party people. That's not the clientle I wish to deal with anymore.

    Rich (Cedar Mill) do you then only accept a check/cash @ the arrival? No deposit in advance or do they send a check w/ the contract beforehand?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viniculture View Post

    Rich (Cedar Mill) do you then only accept a check/cash @ the arrival? No deposit in advance or do they send a check w/ the contract beforehand?
    Just a note-our area is a suburb of Chicago, so we are not "big city", but yet we are in a way. In fact-we are close to Indianapolis also. For airport transfers we do not require deposits. We ask that total is paid when picked up (if it is a departure and arrival booked at the same time we have them pay for both so we don't get stood up on the arrival). They can pay in advance if they wish-some have. We only accept cash/check. For all other runs if there is enough time we ask for a deposit (with option for us to pick it up for them if they do not want to mail it). If it is a short notice run (at this point we are booked pretty far in advance so it is not an issue) we just ask that the run is paid before vehicle leaves (if it is by the hour we ask for a reasonable amount).

    The contract is sent with money or signed on arrival. Now look, we are a small company-I realize this doesn't work with the bigger companies and we will have to change eventually. As far as farmouts-we do not do an extreme amount, but the same rules apply.

    As far as getting stiffed on tips-I mentioned this before. We do not have a mandatory tip policy, but a lot of companies in our area do make it mandatory. We have not been stiffed yet-I believe 2 out of 100 runs were below 15%. The rest have been 15% or higher. I realize there will be a point were we will get stiffed-I just can not stand the fact that someone will charge me money to give them business! Not only do the CC companies charge their customers an outrageous amount to lend them money-but then they charge you to accept their business! These are growing pains, just thought I would throw our experience out there-as little as it is.
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  14. #14

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    Rich, good for you, screw the cc companies. I wish I could do the same, but a lot of people just don't have cash here.

    Steve H., it sounds like your system is working for you and all I can say is congratulations, you've had good clients. But there are slimy people out there that will dispute their bill and say whatever lie they have to. I go to court on the 1st with some such slime.
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

    Limo Kings Limousine Service
    www.limokings.net

  15. #15
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    I'm not naive-I know we won't be able to do this much longer. So far so good though.
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

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