Hi y’all

So, in order to prevent last minute cancellations (which seem to happen often) I’m oing to start taking a nominal deposit via credit card to “hold the date”. Starting this up on September first.

I have a few questions though. I’m worried about scaring away customers with all the identity theft and what not going on nowadays. Have any of you found that some people will not book if there’s a credit card deposit required?

I know, if they don’t want to pay the deposit, they’re probably planning on screwing around anyways. Still, I don’t want to freak out potential good customers that legitimately don’t want to give ot their info like that.

Also, are you getting a percentage of the job amount, or a flat fee as a deposit?

Thanks for any input

I’m starting this as well, actually starting monday. I can’t decide whether I’m doing a $10 or $25 deposit…

I’m not doing it to lock in appointments, I’m doing it so that I have their credit card info on file and can charge them as soon as we are finished and they’re happy with the work (of course we say this when we get the card) and get the money the next day. For simplicity, it makes more sense to me to stick with a flat rate deposit unless you’re installing Rain Flow or something like that where you have to shell out cash first.

As long as you’re up front about it everywhere so it comes as no surprise when they call, and you charge a reasonable amount I don’t see why most people would object. You could add a paypal option to your site and have them pay that way so they input their own info to calm the folks worried about security. If they still decline that, I’d respectfully refer them to someone else.

All this is what I THINK is right, heh. We’ll see at the end of the week how it goes. Good luck to you, if it works there are a bunch of benefits

As a business owner, I see your point and idea, Chris and Taylon.

As a consumer, I would not give you a credit card number for a deposit. Of course, I wouldn’t pay you by credit card either

And I would accept your referral to someone else under the conditions you outlined your new policy to be, Taylon

If these are regular, repeat customers, I think you might, maybe, possibly get a customer to agree to this.

If these are new customers, I don’t think there is a chance in hell that someone who doesn’t know you will give you cash, check or credit card to hold a spot.

I am hearing all kinds of horror stories from homeowners who gave a guy with a squeegee (or powerwasher) a deposit or payment in full for work to be done the next day only to have him vanish with their money.

Perhaps you don’t have the confidence to implement a successful deposit-taking procedure the way Chris at All County Window Cleaning has.

Exactly. Next year, different story. For now, I don’t have a huge customer list, and every single one counts. Thats why I’m a little leery about it.

Next spring, however, I plan on marketing so hard that if someone doesn’t like the fact that they have to pay a deposit, I won’t be hurting on it.

For the rest of this season though, I’m trying to maximize every minute 6 days a week, and last minute reschedules and cancellations aren’t going to help that out.

Its like a damned if you do / damned if you don’t scenario.

You may very well be right, but I hope you’re wrong. If you’re clear that there will be a deposit, and it’s a minimal amount, and you’ve got a good reputation, I think it can be pulled off. We’ll see how it works. We have so much money at any given point in accounts receivables that we have to find a better way, and I’d rather smoothly ask for their payment info right along with their other info (address, number, services needed) than have to be pushy at the door when we’re ready to leave and force them to pay.

They can cancel and get their deposit back with a 24 hour notice, and we will be sending receipts immediately after charging the deposit with a “request a refund” link in them as well from our processing company.

If it doesn’t work I’ll have to look into other options but I’m going to give it a fair try

This is why I love the forum because Randy & Bumblebee have me thinking now…

Perhaps we could just inform them over the phone from now on that payment is expected on the day of service, without exception and that we would be happy to call them and take a credit card that day, or they can just leave a check but if we don’t get payment that day then we’ll charge a fee. Something big like 10%.

It’s only a problem with gutter & exterior window cleaning. The in & outs always just write a check but when they aren’t home they take forever to pay and we even leave pre-addressed envelopes for them.

For Chris’s scheduling problem though, deposits still seem like the best option

I am not opposed to the idea, but…well, I guess I am in a way. I see this getting too complicated and feelings getting hurt. I won’t use a credit card to pay for window cleaning. Personally, I am trying to get my credit score to zero. I have closed almost every credit card account I have. I use a debit card or Paypal. I have a credit card, but it rarely gets used. My personal bias aside…

Taking credit card deposits sounds like a good program. It will make people commit to a service or schedule. That is good. What happens if someone gets double billed, or a refund request gets botched up? I have been fortunate over the years to have had few screwups with my bank and/or card processing, but it has happened. Every time it has happened, it has affected my relationship with my customer.

One of the things I have painfully learned over the years is to KISS, especially when dealing with mechanical or digital equipment.

And as far as payment goes, just like my doctor, “Payment is expected at the time services are rendered,” unless other arrangements have been made in advance. I always have a cash price and a credit price for all jobs bid.

Credit, accepted or extended, costs money.

I have had almost a dozen people reschedule with less than 12 hours notice some under 2 hours notice for an 8am appointment. I REFUSE to reschedule people like that, they ruin my crews day and my day. What the terms would be I don’t know, but with all the people doing this it makes every day a nightmare.

Exactly. THe pattern with me is if they call actually LOOKING for window cleaning, cold, from google or what not , they will most likely keep their scheduled date.

BUT, if I meet them while working, am referred to them, etc, there’s a 50-50 shot of them cancelling. Maybe more than 50%.

I’ve decided that I’m going to definitely start charging a $75 deposit starting on September 1st. Jobs over $400 are going to be charged 25% of the estimated total.
If someone is leery about giving me their CC#, I’ll tell them they can pay via our secure PayPal server on my site, and I will in turn send them a work order or something If they still don’t like it, then I’m not the cleaner for them.

I’m going to be poundig the pavement HARD this and next week with fliers and such, so hopefully I’ll get a decent enough return that losing a customer or 2 wont bother me. I’d rather lose the client than lose the date at this point. Someone else will schedule in their place lol

These people who are rescheduling, are these Phone or website estimates, or did you actually eyeball the property and meet the customer to do the bid?

In my situation it is people who I went to the property and looked at the home.

I cover this topic, in our new WCBO Magazine. Look for it to ship in September. As many know we take a deposit on all jobs, and dont lose any significant amount of work because of the policy.


Random inbound calls normally are on point. People I meet or do in person estimates on are apt to reschedule…

My theories…

  • I’m 34, but look like a teenager… so maybe people don’t take me seriously as a businessman?

  • Inbound calls actively looked for, and found your service for the specific point of getting serviced. Whatever state of un-clean their windows are in, its enough for them to say “I need a window cleaner”. Passive, chance meetings have the chance to re-think their decision and say “well, maybe next year”.

  • I think my prices are decent, but on the high end. I charge what I think the job is worth. There are DEFINITELY cheaper, and more expensive companies out there, but maybe my price is doing bad things. On the same track though, a random-meeting estimate should not be affected by pricing as I’d imagine if they werent actively looking for a window cleaner in the first place, they would be less likely to call around for quotes after you give them one.

Either way, I have 1000 doorhangers in my hand and ready to go today. When the next batch comes in, its all deposit work. That way, no worries on my end.