Accent Kitchen & Bath
I prefer a check, but if the customer has no other way of paying or they want to collect free airline mileage, I'll accept credit cards. About half of my clients use credit cards. On large items, I decide whether to accept cards depending on my profit margins. If someone hires me for a $10,000 bathroom, and I'm paying the credit card company 2%, it may not be worth it to me. Sometimes a client says I can write you a $5,000 check in a few weeks or I can charge it on my card right now. In that case, I'll take the card because I'd rather know I have the money in the bank -- it's more secure.
We've always accepted cards because they are a part of doing business. Fewer than 5% of our clients use a credit card. We share the credit card company handling charge with the client. We inform them of this up front and split that cost. We have a schedule of the progress payments. Typically customers only use the card for the down payment.
Clients occasionally ask if they can pay using a credit card, because they might want to get rewards or earn a trip. But I have to pay the credit card company 2% to 3%, so I don't accept credit card payments. When I present that to clients, they can't understand why I won't pay the fee. But on $20,000 worth of cabinetry, that percentage adds up. They also don't want me to tack that extra 2% to 3% onto the price I give them. Only one or two clients per year ask to pay with a credit card.
We don't accept credit cards for anything. We might have a price tag for cabinetry of $30,000, and most of our clients don't have credit limits that can handle that kind of charge. Because we have to pay the credit card company a 3% handling fee, it would really add up for our projects. Some clients ask, but once we discuss our reasoning, they say that's fine. Most have arranged for financing anyway. The ones who ask usually do so because of the airline miles they earn from the credit card company -- but I think that era has just about ended.
Grosse Point Woods, Mich.
We do allow customers to pay by credit card, but I don't encourage it. I prefer not to accept cards because of the fee the credit card company charges. When you're looking at containing costs, that's not the best option. It takes away from the bottom line. I will take credit for an item such as a vanity for a powder room. I explain what it costs me for them to use a credit card. If you know up front, you can account for it by adding it to the price. For higher-priced projects, such as a $50,000 job, I ask for $10,000 to $15,000 up front. Many of my customers don't have a limit that high on their cards.