Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
Working in the field service industry used to present payment issues. Since most home service providers don’t carry a full cash register in their truck (and by that we mean no one does), cash or check used to be the only options. While you might welcome cash, keeping a stash of bills in your truck isn’t the most secure way to run your business. Luckily we’re now in the age of payment processing software.
Thanks to mobile card readers and point of sale (POS) processors that fit in your pocket, you can collect all manner of payments in the field. Whether you work in plumbing, electrical, carpet cleaning, pest control, or another service industry - mobile payment apps are a lifesaver. Some of the most popular features of mobile payment platforms include:
Accepting payments on the spot from anywhere, even if you’re offline.
Receiving money in your bank account right away with instant transfer.
Setting up automatic billing to streamline your cash flow.
Putting an end to checking the mailbox for payments.
Two of the most used payment platforms are Square and Clover. Which is better for you? Let’s take a look.
First things first: there are some features that most payment platforms consider essential. Before you ask yourself “Is Square better than Clover?”, ask yourself what you need from a POS system. Here are some of the general features of any payment processing software, including Square and Clover.
Mobile Readers: Card readers let you swipe client credit cards in the field using an attachment on your iPhone or a mobile terminal. Perhaps the most essential part of a payment platform, the mobile reader securely processes the payment and sends your customer a receipt.
Add-On Services: You can customize your POS service by adding on additional services. Square allows you to add on things like appointment booking, payroll, and instant deposit. Clover has features including time clock and tip pooling.
Easy-to-Use Hardware: In addition to the efficiency and accuracy of your software, your system should have user-friendly hardware. This includes handheld terminals and phone attachments.
Fees are important, there’s no way around it. Lower transaction costs keep your overhead within budget. Square and Clover arrange their fee structure somewhat differently. Here is an overview of what fees look like with each service:
Square processing fees include a 2.75% rate for for swiped, tapped, or dipped card payments on a reader or stand.
For cards tapped, dipped, or swiped on a Square Terminal, the fees are just 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction. From a Square register, the fee is 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction. There is no monthly fee to use terminals or registers.
Clover processing fees include a flat fee and per transaction fees.
Your rate will depend on the plan you use, and they may also vary if you use a processor other than Clover. If you get your services from Clover, the fees are as low as 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction (with a $29/month fee) for a “Register” plan. This is recommended for businesses that do more than $50,000/year of transaction. The “Register Lite” plan costs $14/month plus 2.7% and 10 cents per transaction.
Square has seven different payment terminal types, and you can use as many or as few of them as you need.
Use the Square register inside your office and take the Square terminal (handheld) and Square reader for magstripe with you on the road. Square tracks all customer transactions, and you can sign in from any device to see your dashboard. It’s pretty convenient.
Square offers a real-time sales report, which allows you to filter by item or tender type.
This makes finding out how many of your jobs are paid for in cash is easy.
Square customer service is a bit non-traditional.
They don’t offer a public customer service number; once you sign up for their service, you can use your dashboard to receive a customer code that enables you to reach a representative. They also have chat support via the web.
Clover’s pricing plans are somewhat inconsistent due to multiple processors involved with Clover payments.
In other words, you may not be dealing with Clover directly. While this gives you some freedom of choice for fees and other features, it could also mean your customer service experience will vary between processing providers. If you want to choose Clover, you likely have some extra research on your hands.
Clover has six hardware systems, which allows for a lot of flexibility.
This includes their popular Flex handheld terminal and Clover Go for smartphone payment processing. The customer Mini is great for in-store payments. Clover also syncs with hundreds of apps, so you can really customize your POS station.
Asking yourself “Should I use Clover or Square?” is a loaded question. If you want easy access to customer service, Clover may be the answer. If you care more about dealing directly with the creator of your hardware and software, Square could meet your needs. Square has more mobile phone POS hardware, which draws in users who want to turn their smartphone into a payment station, while Clover boasts the ability to set up a loyalty program so you can grow your leads.
Summed up, here are our Pros & Cons of using Square as your payment platform for your small business:
- Several different payment terminal types
- Real-time sales reports
- 2.75% transaction rate
- Non-traditional support
- must receive a customer code before getting in contact
Check out Housecall Pro vs. Square
Here is one last look at the benefits and setbacks of using Clover as your processing software:
- Freedom of choice with fees and features
- Very customizable
- Fees as low as 2.3% per-transaction plus 10 cents for in-person transactions
- Multiple processors means you might not be dealing with Clover directly
You can also look outside these popular options to other payment platforms. Companies like Housecall Pro are developing payment processing systems designed just for home services businesses. Our features allow you to get paid in minutes with Instapay, keep customer cards on file, and process payments via card reader, built in processor, or ACH. All with some of the lowest fees possible. Bottom line: If you haven’t entered the 21st century with your accounts receivable, it’s about time, and you have lots of options.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.
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