Businesses in all industries are feeling the impact of COVID-19 as they adjust operational practices to adhere to new government regulations to keep both their team and their customers safe.
Even businesses that are considered essential services and are allowed to continue operating are looking for new ways to accept payments and serve their customers. The team at Helcim wants to help businesses find new ways to accept payments and keep their businesses operating. We have found the tenacity and determination of the small business community inspiring as they work together to conduct business in new ways using online tools like virtual terminals, hosted payment pages, invoicing, and online stores. Businesses who have never before sold products online have had to pivot their operations and rally their teams to offer delivery, online ordering, and product pickups in order to keep sales flowing.
Guidelines for businesses and classification categories for essential services may vary by jurisdiction. We recommend you check with your local and federal government to ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest guidelines and restrictions as they are updated.
Contractors have not been specifically listed as an essential service, however many contractor services including HVAC technicians, electricians, plumbers, and locksmiths provide services that assist people in accessing basic services they rely on every day. It is important for the skilled professionals who provide these services to remain healthy and feel protected when performing these services, especially as many services require visiting customers in their homes.
When Accepting In-Person Payments
If your business is accepting in-person payments from customers, we recommend reviewing how to clean the terminal between each use.
Cleaning the terminal between uses can help prevent the spread of germs from one person to the next. You can also encourage customers to pay using NFC payments, or tap-and-pay so they do not need to touch the PIN pad or handle the terminal directly.
Accept Payments Online or Over the Phone
You can also use online payment tools to process payments remotely so you do not need to bring a terminal with you to your customer's homes. Here are different ways you can bill customers and collect payments remotely:
Use a Virtual Terminal
You can use a virtual terminal to collect payment over the phone and key in the customer's payment information to your desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Approvals are issued in real-time, so you don't have to wonder if a transaction has been approved, and you can issue email receipts to customers from your browser.
Send an Invoice
You can send customers digital invoices after their appointment to collect payment. When the customer receives the invoice they can click on the Pay Now button to enter their payment information and complete their purchase. You can keep track of your outstanding invoices and quickly send payment reminders or follow-up emails if needed.
Tips for Protecting Your Business
Here are some of the adjustments we have seen contractors follow to help protect their employees and adhere to new health and safety guidelines. We want to share them in case they can help other businesses who are looking for ways to continue their operations. By working together and sharing ideas, we can find ways to keep commerce flowing and provide services to the people who need it.
- Share communications on your website, social media, and through your email list if there have been changes to your services or operating procedures
- Ask customers to let you know if anyone in their household is feeling ill and offer to reschedule
- Practice physical distancing when visiting customer's homes and wash your hands often
- Consider using virtual tools like video chat to try and diagnose or troubleshoot common issues before visiting in-person
- Clean and disinfect all tools and materials regularly
Business will return to normal eventually, but in the meantime, we believe that generosity and collaboration will help us overcome these challenges. At Helcim, we have always been committed to sharing resources and knowledge that empowers business owners. We will continue to share information on how businesses can adapt to new government regulations, accept online payments, and find ways to keep their business operating. If you would like to learn more about any of the tools mentioned in this post or see how your business could accept online or phone payments, our team of Helcim Gurus would be happy to help.
Not a Helcim Merchant?
If your business needs to accept credit and debit cards in person or online, Helcim provides honest, transparent, and affordable credit card processing that stands out in an industry known for shady business practices and customer exploitation. Our Interchange Plus pricing is widely regarded as the most honest and affordable billing method in the industry and our customer service is consistently lauded as a step above. If you have any questions or would like a complimentary rate comparison, don't hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Service team.