Part 5: Managing Billing and Payments
In the final post of this blog series, we will discuss billing and payment management for landscape transactions.
First, it is a good idea to identify some different ways that a landscape project can be structured:
- Fixed price amounts can be invoiced and paid on a recurring basis (monthly, quarterly, or even annually). This “subscription” billing/payment model is commonly used for landscape maintenance services;
- Pay on Account with monthly statements;
- Down payment with one or more periodic payments and final payment on project completion; and
- Pay in full on order placement.
These are just a few examples of a broad spectrum of invoicing and payment approaches. For example, you can have hybrids of the approaches listed above.
Your POS system should support and (wherever possible) automate the invoicing and payment tracking process regardless of the financial approach you take with your landscape customers.
Here are some ideas to lower your invoicing, billing, and collection efforts:
- A good POS system should allow you to capture and store a customer credit card for a “charge card on file” tender. This could be used to support subscription billing or for collecting on any periodic payments due. Any credit card storage by your POS system should be done in a PCI compliant manner that doesn’t expose your customers credit card information to risks that your system could be hacked or otherwise compromised.
- Allow customers to pay their invoices on the web. There are a number of tools that can enable this capability including PayPal. Your processing rate may be higher than you are paying for in-store credit card transactions, but this tool could save you a lot of administrative time and effort.
- Give your installation team the ability to accept credit card payments on a mobile device at the time of service completion. Again, there are a number of tools to support this capability.
- Consider using one or more next generation payment transfer technologies such as Venmo, Zelle or the recently launched (in beta) Apple Pay Cash. With Venmo, for example, a verified customer can pay an authorized merchant up to $2,000 per transaction.
A powerful POS focused on the needs of Garden Centers and Nurseries can provide an IGC with a broad array of tools and functionality to support and manage their landscaping operations.