How can I take a deposit of sorts over the phone?

I recently began operating a service in a large metropolitan area that often takes hours to cross at a time. I charge for my service and an additional travel fee since I drive so far.

Thus far all customers have paid, but I dread the day someone doesn’t and I have spent all that time and gas money. I also have to get a babysitter.

Today I had a customer take an hour of my time setting up the appointment then cancel as I was walking out the door.

I use square to take payments in person. Is there a way I could set up a deposit of sorts during the initial phone consultation and take it off the final amount later? I’m so new to owning my own business; I am completely blanking on the best way to handle this.


Smallbusiness | 👁 1033 | Posted 2018-11-17 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: 2018-11-17 | Author:


iamfury 1 year ago

Square has a (relatively) new feature called Virtual Terminal. You basically just log into your Square dashboard on the computer and you can type in the customer's card information to charge it. Not sure if you can do an initial authorization first though. And I'm not sure how this is any better than just pulling up the Square app on your phone and typing in their card number to take the same deposit... 3.5% fee for that instead of the typical 2.75%.

throw_karma 1 year ago

Us too. PayPal for all its issues has a clean invoice interface

jonklinger 1 year ago

You can set up a website to make the orders instead of via phone (something like ScheduleOnce) and add a payment request (paypal/cc) when making the order.

w_a_q_a 1 year ago

Do you have a website? How are these customers finding you? If you have a website where they are finding your number and then calling you, I'd consider adding payment functionality to your website. This way they pay online in advance and you are only meeting with customers who have paid. If your customers are finding you in other ways or you don't have a website, I'd recommend that you make a website with the above mentioned functionality. This was when they call you, you can set everything up like you are doing now and tell them that they must pay on your website in the next 30? minutes to confirm the appointment. If you'd like to go more advance, make it so that your website allows for payment and scheduling so that customers can do everything online and you simply follow the schedule set up on your site.

ABINIDI 1 year ago

Maybe setup a scheduling fee that you charge the customer over phone, and you can deduct it from the final bill once you do the work. At least youd get part of your $$. Make the scheduling fee what it would cost you to travel , etc

codenamejeff 1 year ago

I send invoices via paypal

evie_ohhhh 1 year ago

This is a dumb question but how do I run an authorization vs a charge?

wackynunu 1 year ago

I love Square but they don't make it easy to put a card on file. It is possible, but you have to set up an entire customer profile. It is possible to get all the card info over the phone and key in transaction. That does cost a larger transaction fee. They do partial refunds free and easy so no issues if you have a cancelation. Since you have such a long drive I recommend a sliding scale cancelation refund. That way if they cancel when you are around the corner from destination you can get enough to cover the trip. But if they cancel before you leave then a lower cancelation fee will be fair.

SafetyMan35 1 year ago

You said you use square. You can ask them for a CC number and ou can type in the number on square. Your rates I believe will be a bit higher than if you swipe the card.

americanbandit 1 year ago

If you use square you can send an invoice through the app and use that as a deposit and then run the payment in person for the remaining balance. You can also input a card manually while youre on the phone initially.

halloweenhombre 1 year ago

Yes. Tell your clients in order to schedule the service call you have to run an authorization on their CC for the Minimum fee / travel fee that once scheduled is non-refundable. If they cancel, you can run the transaction from the authorization #

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