Chapter 1: What is consumer financing?
You can’t make it through a commercial or scroll past an advertisement these days without hearing all about consumer financing—but what does it really mean?
What is consumer financing?
Consumer financing is a form of payment that breaks up your customer’s total bill into smaller amounts to be paid over time. On your end, consumer financing is no different than other types of payments like cash, check, and credit cards. But for your customer, consumer financing breaks down a $5,000 HVAC job or general maintenance into a much more manageable $250 monthly payment. And even though the customer’s payments are split up, you’re still receiving the total amount due to you once the job is done!
Offering consumer financing means your customer can still get the work they need taken care of (like that brand-new heater in the dead of winter), and you can still get paid in full. Consumer financing is a win-win for both of you.
Chapter 2: Benefits of consumer financing for home service professionals
Now that you know the basics of consumer financing, let’s talk about all the ways it can benefit your business. You might be surprised to learn how big of an impact it can make.
Win more jobs
If customers see a huge bill on an estimate, they’ll be more likely to walk away and try to find a lower price. Offering consumer financing can help you win jobs you would otherwise lose. When customers see they can afford the monthly payment, they’ll be more likely to agree to the job. In fact, 62% of customers say having a financing option is an important factor when deciding who to work with.1
Win bigger jobs
Not only will you win more jobs through consumer financing, but you’ll also win bigger jobs. A homeowner may not be ready to drop five grand on a brand-new HVAC unit, but if they can split the cost of a job into monthly payments—suddenly, the more expensive yet energy-efficient HVAC unit becomes an option for them. A recent study from Wisetack shows that jobs paid for using financing are 4.5x bigger than the size of other jobs.2
Increase the chance of referrals
Anytime you go above and beyond with exceptional customer service, you increase your chance of getting referrals. Creating an amazing experience where the customer feels like you went out of your way to give them an affordable option can increase the chances of referrals.
It makes you more competitive
People love flexibility, especially when it comes to deciding how to pay for purchases. Think of it this way: If you were a customer and had to choose between a company that requires you to pay an expensive $5,000 bill all upfront or one that gives you the option to make smaller monthly payments over time, which option would you choose?
Chapter 3: Benefits of consumer financing for customers
Let’s not forget who consumer financing benefits the most—your customer! Consumer financing can make the difference between actually fixing the scary plumbing situation in their downstairs bathroom vs. having to close off the entire bathroom until they can save up the money to fix it.
By allowing your homeowners to pay over time, you’re giving them more control. In our world of inflation and economic uncertainty, it’s a sad but true fact that 48% of Americans who make more than $100k a year live paycheck to paycheck.2 Based on that, it is likely that many won’t be able to cover an unexpected home expense.
With financing however, you can ease the monetary stress many of your customers are facing. A customer may not feel comfortable paying $5,000 upfront, but a low monthly payment of $211/month sounds much more doable.
Even if someone can afford a service upfront, they might opt for 0% APR financing (if they qualify) as there is no downside/added costs — and use the funds that would have been used for the large upfront payment toward something else.
Peace of mind
Because of the high cost of home improvement or repairs, many homeowners worry about the financial burden that comes with having to fix their homes. And as a home service professional, this is a great opportunity for you to present yourself as a trustworthy partner.
Successful Pros ensure that they can offer the right solution for all customers, and that includes the ability to pay for an expensive job! A good customer experience increases the chances of you being their preferred service provider and opens the door for more referrals.
Simple and secure application process
The application process is quick and easy through consumer financing offered by Housecall Pro in partnership with Wisetack. A customer fills out a quick online application from the privacy of their own mobile device and receives a decision instantly. As a result, you don’t have to awkwardly ask for their personal information or bother with the administrative burden that comes with the approval process.
Chapter 4: How do I let customers know I offer financing?
The idea of marketing consumer financing might give you a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. But don’t worry, letting your customer know they have options when it comes to paying for a job doesn’t have to feel like going to a used car dealership. There are plenty of ways to use existing marketing tools to inform customers.
How do I market consumer financing?
“Word of mouth” isn’t the only way to let customers know you offer consumer financing.
You can use these different channels to your advantage:
- Social media
- Track advertisements
When you offer consumer financing with Housecall Pro through Wisetack, you’ll get access to free marketing materials like vehicle decals, postcards, social media graphics, and more. Plus, customers can automatically see the option to apply for consumer financing anytime they get an invoice or estimate for jobs over $500.
Chapter 5: How do I talk to customers about consumer financing?
Collecting payment for a job can be uncomfortable. You’re an expert in your trade—not a salesman. But letting your customers know they have a variety of options when it comes to paying for a job shouldn’t make you cringe. Here’s how to do it the right way.
How to work consumer financing into the conversation
Remember, there’s nothing to feel awkward about. You’re here to serve your customers; part of that is letting them know about their payment options. We recommend working with your onsite techs to have these statements in their back pocket when it’s time to pay:
- “Would you prefer to pay everything today or pay over time?”
- “You can pay with cash, check, CC, or financing.”
- “We don’t offer discounts, but we do have financing that gives you up to 60 months to split up the cost.”
Keep it short at first, and if a customer wants to learn more, you can share what financing is and how it works. It also helps to have a handy 1-pager or postcard for a quick rundown of the ins and outs of consumer financing.
If they are hesitant, let homeowners know they can prequalify to see how much they can borrow before committing to financing (this is done with a soft credit pull, which means no impact on their credit score). This creates instant relief from the burden of potentially large purchases, helping you win larger jobs while providing excellent customer experience.
Chapter 6: Case study: Arnold Electric
We could talk all day about how offering consumer financing can elevate your business and help you win more jobs. But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s how Arnold Electric added consumer financing into their business model to meet customer needs.
Nobody wants to drop a ton of cash fixing things around their homes. “We don’t get up wanting to spend $10,000 on electrical upgrades,” said Tim from Arnold Electric. But by offering consumer financing, companies like Arnold Electric are able to take care of their customer’s needs while making the hefty price tag a little easier to handle. And at the end of the day, being a company that does offer a payment plan will set you apart from your competition.
“We’ve definitely won jobs at Arnold Electric because we offer financing other companies don’t,” said Jack, Owner of Arnold Electric. If your company struggles to close bigger jobs and stand out from the rest of the pack, consumer financing might be the secret weapon you need.
Chapter 7: What to look for in a provider
So, how do you offer consumer financing to your customers? Well, first things first. You’re going to need a partner who knows your business. Here are some things to look for:
What to look for in a consumer financing provider?
When selecting a provider, go with a name you can trust, like Housecall Pro. We’ve partnered with Wisetack, recently named the Best Consumer Lending solution for 2022, to help you offer consumer financing to your customers without leaving the app. Your customers break up the project cost into affordable monthly payments, and you get paid in full once the job is complete.
Consumer financing options are automatically added to any invoices and estimates for residential jobs between $500 and $25,000. Your customers may choose terms up to 60 months with interest rates as low as 0% and pay zero prepayment penalties, origination fees, late fees, or compounding interest!
Start offering consumer financing and start closing bigger jobs. Your customer gets the work they need, and you close another deal. It’s a win-win for both of you.