Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What Service Providers need to know about online booking payments?

What Service Providers need to know about online booking payments?

OK, you want to start taking payment when a customer books your business online. This involves linking 4 components together to process the payment.
You need a (1) website with a (2) booking widget connected to a  (3) Payment Gateway linked to a (4) Merchant account.

Before this can happen your need to setup a merchant bank account and attach a payment gateway.

What is a merchant account?

Put simply, a merchant account links a customer's payment to your business' bank account. This will let you accept debit and credit card payments.
To automatically process credit card payments online, businesses need:
·         A secure server with PCI compliance certification. Use SSL encryption so the data is protected.
·         An order form on a secure server. This is where your customers will type in their banking information.
·         A payment gateway. This works with the merchant account to make sure your customers' information gets processed so that you can get paid.

What costs should you be aware of?
Unfortunately, they're not exactly cheap. There are lots of rates and fees to be aware of:
Application fee. Your application may be rejected, but you have to pay a standard application fee, and may even have to provide a copy of your business license, P&L statements, tax return copies, and a photo of your office.
Per transaction fees (for example, 50 cents per transaction).
Monthly minimums. Vendors usually have a minimum fee that is charged if a certain amount of money isn't processed. They may also charge annual fees like this.
Discount rate. This includes fees, dues, assessments, markups and network charges that merchants must pay for accepting card payments. They are usually between 2 and 3% of every sale.
Chargebacks. It's expensive to process these, so your provider will pass the charges onto your business (it can range from several dollars or more). These are usually charged per occurrence.

Some things might influence your discount rate and fees:
·         The length of time you've been in business,
·         Your personal credit rating,
·         The percentage of sales that are made on the phone or internet,
·         The type of business you're in,
·         The total amount of sales per month,
·         The average dollar amount of each sales transaction, and
·         Service fees tacked on by third party providers.

What options do you have?

1. Banks
Although banks do provide merchant accounts, they are highly regulated and generally unhelpful for businesses who are just starting out. This is because banks will either reject or charge a higher fee for businesses with high possibility for returns and refunds.

2. Credit card companies
Small businesses usually get their merchant account through credit card companies, and not their business bank. Credit card companies will either set up merchant account processing, or ask you to use a third party processor (this is the case for Visa and MasterCard). Some credit card processing companies require you to maintain an account in their bank before you can process cards.

3. Third parties
Small-sized businesses typically need to go through third party providers to secure the merchant account. One example is PayPal. They collect customers' data and do all the work to process payments for your business.
The upside is the sign-up process is much easier and quicker than it is with a bank or credit card company. Also, if you're just starting out and your sales volumes aren't high, this option can save you money. The disadvantage is that if your sales start to grow rapidly, it will start to become very expensive.

What is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is used to process the credit card payment and transfer the payment to your merchant account.  Banks and 3rd parties offer payment gateway services.
A payment gateway is an e-commerce application service that authorises credit card payments for online businesses. It is the equivalent of a physical point of sale terminal located in most retail outlets. Payment gateway services are offered by banks and 3rd party service providers. Bank transaction fees are often a lot higher than 3rd party payment gateway providers.
What costs should you be aware of?
Most payment gateway providers offer a variety of plans that cover pre-purchasing transactions or pay as you go. Like phone companies they do not make it easy to compare plans.
Setup fee are often charge to establish the account
Per transaction fees can range from 26 cents to 50 cents
A failed transaction can often incur a fee.

What about Paypal?

Paypal is an alternative to using a Payment Gateway and merchant account but the fees are high (2.4% + 30 cents a transaction) and the user experience requires jumping to a separate site just to pay you. This looks unprofessional and can result in a customer abandoning the payment which results in unpaid booking. Instead, you could connect your PayPal account with SecurePay, so that the payment process is seamless and processed within your website fully and it's easier for your customers. Using SecurePay and PayPal does not require a merchant account.

If you're interested in testing out bookitlive, take a free trial today. You can start taking bookings in minutes and your trial lasts for 30 days:

Topics: credit card transactions, online payment, payment gateway, merchant account, PayPal, SecurePay.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review of online appointment booking software - bookitlive

Review of online appointment booking software

8 out of 10 adults now use the Internet on a regular basis, which means businesses that don’t are missing out on a significant source of income. 

bookitlive provides online  software that businesses of all sizes can use to make it easier for their clients to book appointments online.

In this bookitlive  booking software review, you will get my take on bookitlive online booking software. By showing how the software works from the perspective of both a business owner and a client  making an appointment booking online, I hope to be able to provide you with a well-rounded view of how bookitlive  can work in a number of different scenarios .

About bookitlive


bookitlive in itself is a simple appointment booking tool, but behind the scenes the software is anything but basic. Businesses can accept bookings through their own websites or through their bookitlive mini website page, and they can manually enter bookings made by telephone or in-person using bookitlive’s  intuitive provider dashboard. bookitlive can  syncs with a business owner’s existing calendars, and it is accessible from any Internet-connected device.

Businesses of all sizes—from Personnel trainers  to corporate Tax agencies—can utilise bookitlive’s advanced booking software. Managers can define separate availability schedules for each of their staff, and they can automatically schedule in break time between appointments to give their staff a few moments to prepare.

Automatic appointment confirmations and reminder emails and SMS text messages help decrease the percentage of no show clients as do deposit and pre-payment collection capabilities.
Main Functionality of bookilive
Advanced integrations and payment features push bookitlive far beyond a typical booking software. Businesses can set up their accounts to accept bookings through their websites or their bookitlive mini website page, and they can define the days and times when each staff is available to work. Business owners can also define how much advanced notice is needed for a booking, cutting down on instances where a client tries to book an appointment with short notice. Appointment durations can be set by the business, and clients have the option to select when they should begin.

Once an appointment is booked, bookitlive sends an automated reminder via email and SMS text massage. Clients have the option of cancelling or rescheduling their appointments online, based on the policies a business owner has defined, and they can pay for their services in advance via Paypal or Securepay. By adding  a booking tab to their Facebook page  business owners can take booking from Facebook.

Benefits of Using bookitlive

Scalability is an issue that every business owner has to think about when he adopts an online booking software, since there is no telling how a business many grow in the future. bookitlive is built to scale, allowing businesses of all sizes to add additional resources and  services to their accounts.

An operating schedule can be defined for each resource when a business sets up their account. Clients aren’t given the option of making an appointment with a service provider on a date or time when that resource is not available, decreasing the chances for double bookings and other types of human error. Add-on services can also be used as a way to up sell clients and increase revenue.

The Basics
Clients can make a booking through your website, mini website or Facebook page, and select a time when they’d like their services to begin based on your availablity.

Each business that signs up for bookitlive has their own booking URL, where clients can book their services online. The booking URL can easily be linked and promoted in social feeds like Twitter and Facebook.

bookitlive’s business dashboard and tools provide real-time insights into the status of your business. See how many bookings have been booked and how much availability you currently have.

Pricing Information

All new businesses can try bookitlive for free for 14 days. Following the free trial, bookitlive offers three pricing plans for businesses of different sizes. These plans range in price dependent on the number of service types that you offer and number of resources that perform the services.

The Bottom Line
Businesses that are looking for a online booking solution that is easy to integrate and easy to use should check out bookitlive. The company offers exceptional customer support for businesses to get started using the software. Real-time tools make it possible for business owners to measure the value of their booking services at any time, to ensure they are generating more income through online booking than they are spending on the bookitlive subscription.

Learn how bookitlive can improve your business.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Media Release - Adidas Australia to use bookitlive to book TaylorMade Golf Clinics

Media Release - Adidas Australia to use bookitlive to book TaylorMade Golf Clinics

Adidas Australia operates TaylorMade Golf Performance Labs in Melbourne & Brisbane.

About TaylorMade Performance Labs:

TaylorMade Performance Labs, utilise MAT-T (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) technology to provide golfers with a 3 dimensional clubfitting experience that far exceeds anything previously available to the public. Located at some of the world’s finest golf venues, every TaylorMade Performance Lab experience provides detailed data for both golfer and golf club throughout the entire swing in measurements down to a tenth of a degree. Our certified TaylorMade Clubfitting Professionals analyse this data to provide you a set of clubs that are built around the specific needs of your golf swing, allowing you to hit the ball longer and straighter with better control. This two hour fitting experience is conducted in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and includes a full analysis for driver, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putter.

About bookitlive: Providing online booking software solutions for all service based business across automotive, education, entertainment, fitness, health, professional and training sectors. Catering for individual and group bookings, online payment, client management and appointment reminders.
For more information

By David Godbold - Online Booking Specialist  at bookitlive

Monday, 21 October 2013

Streamlining the booking process for Automotive dealerships and service centres

Streamlining the booking process for Automotive dealerships and service centres

As the number of vehicles on our roads grows bookitlive is seeing greater interest in its online booking software among automotive dealerships and car service centres.

Aging vehicles require regular maintenance

According to survey results released Aug. 6 by auto research firm Polk, the average age of all light vehicles is 11.4 years. Additionally, the number of vehicles older than 12 years is on the rise.

These statistics bode well for the automotive aftermarket, as independent and franchised operations can expect more visits from both current and new customers.

However, businesses ill-prepared to handle this increase in service bookings will find the scheduling process very challenging.

The best way to automate and streamline this process is through online booking software.

Aging vehicles always require more maintenance, repair and service and as these typically require customers to book their vehicles, the need for a proven and reliable online booking software becomes a necessity.

By placing a "Book Now" button on their website, customers can conveniently select the service centre location and book their service 24/7 operated by the dealership or service centre franchise. 

Automated booking reminders also help reduce the customer ‘no-show’ rate, ensuring that service bays remain full.

As the leader in online booking software solutions since 2007, bookitlive understands the unique needs the servicing industry has for automating and improving their booking processes. Its online booking software helps dealerships and car service centres operate more efficiently and profitably.

Learn how bookitlive can help your business.