Business

Credit Cards: Should My Pet Sitting Company Accept Them?

man with dog by his side updates his credit card on the Scout for Pet Owners app.

One might think that in 2019, every business would bill with credit cards. However, some businesses have chosen to remain cash-only enterprises. Believe it or not, you still have a choice as to how you go about your billing. As prevalent as they are, credit cards are not your only option. What are the pros and cons of using credit cards for billing?

Why pet sitters should take electronic payments.

  1. Consumers prefer convenience and points. This is the primary reason dog walking businesses accept credit cards. Pet owners can enter a credit card through the pet sitting app where it’s securely stored. They can also and conveniently update them. No more writing checks or going to the ATM. Customers also accrue points which can be used on vacations. This means more appointments for you!
  2. Spend more time doing what you love. Instead of using your valuable time to chase down pet owners who “forgot” to leave cash, you can store credit cards with your processor and you’re almost guaranteed to get paid on time. Running out of cash is the number one reason businesses fail. With Scout’s automated billing, you don’t need to depend on pet parents remembering to pay for their pet sitting. Getting stiffed just once on a pet sitting invoice can outweigh the cost of processing.
  3. There’s a paper trail. If for any reason you need to chase down a transaction, credit card statements are immediately available with dates and times. These can serve as legal documents and can save a ton of headaches.
  4. Less cash can be safer. If you are a small business, or if you have a revolving door of workers, lots of cash on hand can be a security issue. You’d like to think that most people are scrupulous, but all it takes is one time to make a huge dent. On the flip side, credit card purchases are safe and there is no need to worry about cash escaping from the drawer.

The downside of credit cards for pet sitters.

  1. The credit card fees. As a business, you have to pay for the privilege of accepting electronic payments, and these fees can creep up. This can mean increasing your prices, which customers may not appreciate.
  2. Pet owners have security fears. Some clients will not want to store their credit cards online. Even though companies like Scout contract with PCI security compliant processors such as Braintree Payments, a Pay Pal Company, clients are fearful that their data will be hacked. To assuage their fears you can educate them about the process, but there will always be people who don’t want to use electronic payments. Taking “cash” has risks too. You’ll need to decide if you want to risk getting stiffed or pass up the revenue.
  3. The chance of fraud. This is always a risk to business owners. Accepting a stolen credit card can have financial repercussions. While this fraud is certainly possible, I’m not sure how big the risk is in our line of work.

Overall the pros of taking credit cards, in the pet sitting industry, outweigh the Cons. Getting stiffed and forgetful customers can cause huge cash flow issues. While credit cards do come at a cost and carry certain risks, the cost of not taking electronic payment can have a far greater impact on your ability to stay in business.  Would you rather lose $800 or more on one a pet sitting job, or pay $25 to make sure you get paid. It only takes getting stiffed 1 time out of 30 to erase all the savings of using cash.