I'm new to this board. I have been on the side lines for the past month or so. I am usually too busy working for a living along with bear making that I've only been reading everyone's ideas and suggestions. I hope to be able to add valuable input where I can.
I have attended a few shows over the past year since I have only become enlightened to bears just over a year ago. I have attended the Albuquerque show a couple times and the Octobear show in Schaumburg last year. I had no idea of the following! I want to thank SueAnn for her encouragement while I visited her at the show in Albuquerque.
I've been making bears since the start of 2004 with patterns from both Intercal and the 'competition'. Once I got the idea down coupled with additional prompting from several bear artists I started with my own patterns. I have run out of room in the house for more bears so I have to make room and pay for my hobby by selling them. It's amazing what you can do when you can turn off the television!
I will be doing my first show later this year and I am working like mad to get all the parts ready; business cards, a website, photos and bears. I have at least one question about setting up a credit card account for selling bears. Where, what, and how? The web is somewhat helpful but I'm certain since you are users you have lots of suggestions. I'm guessing that I will want something that operates only temporarily while at a show and 'turned off' while not showing.
I appreciate any suggestions.
Your new bear kid on the block,
Mark, how wonderful that you joined us here on the board!! A huge, warm welcome and hope you enjoy posting with us. Hooray that you are going to participate in a show . . . which one . . . Schaumburg?? Since I still don't take credit cards yet myself, I can't give you any advice, but there are many members here who do. If you are going to the ABC show, they will take credit card payments for you . . . for a small fee. Bright Star Productions (Valerie Rogers) also provides this service. Again, welcome to the board . . . I'm really, really proud of you, Mark!!
Hi Mark!! So glad you've joined us!!
I went to my bank where I have my bear business account and had my account set up to accept credit cards as well. They gave me a merchant number and an 800# to call to get authorizations. So, anytime someone pays by MC/VISA I simply call the automated 800#, provide my merchant # and the credit card info and I get an approval right then and there. The money goes directly into my business account within 24 hours. Nothing to take to the bank. I can call while I'm at a show if cell phone works and I'm not real busy or I can call them all in at once after the show. Always get the person's phone number and a mailing address if you can... just in case!! I've not had any problems yet...2 years. There is a fee per transaction and a monthly fee as well... I'm sure each bank is different. Paypal is now offering members with a business or professional account (I've forgotten what they call it) the ability to accept credit cards off line. This might be something to look into as well.
It's helpful to accept credit cards but it also costs money. You might want to do a few shows and see if it's worth doing or not. I know just as many artists who don't acept credit cards as those who do. I used to offer lay away with free shipping at shows so as not to loose a sale.
That's just my two cents.....
Good luck at your first show!
We'd love to see a photo or two of your bears if you're willing to show us!!:)
Hi Mark and a huge welcome.
We accept both Mastercard and Visa. We went to our bank and signed up as merchants and received everything we needed. I find that we dent use it that often however but for shows it can be an extra way for those impulse buyers to grab one of your bears. We find most people want to use paypal from our web site however from time to time I do have customers that want Visa or Mastercard.
Shop around because it can be quite expensive if you are not bringing in high volumes for them. I guess you need to decide how beneficial it would be for you.
Mark, check out ProPay (www.propay.com.) I used them for my first and to date only show. At the lowest subscription point you can submit credit cards via computer; for a bit more of a fee you can also use your telephone (which I did at my show, afterward, because the building didn't get reception! If I had a laptop, tho, and had been able to access the internet at the show -- which I didn't investigate, because I did NOT, in fact, have a laptop to use -- I would have been able to use the internet option.)
There are limits to how much you can process per transaction and per month; let that decide which "package" you choose, if any. Check here for specifids: http://www.propay.com/cgi/appProcess1.exe/tier_detail
For larger sales volumes, ProPay might not be your best option, but for small sales volumes -- other than shows, I generally take credit cards via PayPal only -- it was a quick and easy set up and far less cash outlay than my local bank merchant accounts would have been.
I haven't had any troubles, glitches, or issues with ProPal at all and have now used them for about ten transactions. Having said that, I must add that their customer service is absolutely horrid. I wrote them three times about a particular issue and even though their website says they answer all mail within 24 hours, not a single letter got even a single response from them. Ugh.
Good luck! Oh, and welcome to the board!
I agree with the others that your bank is a good place to start. That having been said, when we read through the fine print that our bank provided and got some numbers from the card processing place... it was TERRIBLE pricing. We would never have been able to afford it, a very high monthly fee and either renting or purchasing a machine would have cost an arm and a leg. We instead joined a local chamber of commerce as a small business, and have received many perks for doing so, including good deals on health insurance and links to local small companies that do credit card processing. For the record, we even shopped around for which local chamber of commerce to join, and are infinitely glad that we did (they are technically on the other side of the city and in a different town, but are so good they serve a nine county area). We did sign up with one card company that they recommended and have been very pleased with their service. We wound up buying a small, basic processing machine outright (would have been cheaper in the long run than the lease option) and our service charges are a whopping $5 a month. Fees on individual transactions are at essentially the same rate as PayPal's fees (which we also use for online transactions). At our last show, we had the people that ran the show take credit cards for us for a small fee. At our next show, we will be bringing our card imprint slider, gathering all necessary information, and will run it through our own machine when we get home. I know of other people that do this (gather the information at the show, process it when you get home) and they haven't had any problems.
Hope this helps!
Congratulations Mark....and welcome.....I have been off for a few days and get to come back this morning and discover that you have decided to come and play with us! Yiippeeeeee!
I have a separate bank account in a bank that we do not use for all our other accounts or mom's accounts. I keep enough in it to be able to order supplies on a whim but not enough for any real damage to be done were it to fall into nefarious hands. Also this way everyhting on it is business related ( I say this tongue in cheek as I have a hard time really viewing this as a business) and makes accounting easier.
Daphne and Louise just gave us some great advice and I wil print up what she posted and take it with me next time I actually set foot in the business bank. so far I've been very lucky with the people who have ordered from me.
I am really happy for you to take this big step-it is an addicting process. Thank goodness it is leagal! :D
Welcome again, look forward to reading your insights and experiences
Hi everyone thank you for the warm welome and the responses.
I can see I have a bit of research on credit cards to do before the show.
Yes, I will be at the Octobear show in Schaumburg. Sabine Klett a close friend of ours is up for a TOBY this year asked me to serve as her assistant at the show. I was more than happy to oblige. She has helped with patterns from Germany so I got to use my 20+ year old high school German lessons to translate the patterns. She also helped with encouragement and direction when I ran into problems. She also got permission for me to display a couple bears of my own so I plan on bringing some along.
Thanks again for all your help.
Your bear guy,
A belated "hello" Mark!
Great to see you'll be at the Schaumburg October show! So will I! Still deciding on CC info myself. I will definitely check out Discover... (Millie, do you have the website?) Paypal has JUST started offering this service themselves. They charge a $20 monthly fee plus a percentage. I think the percentage is only 2.9%. I think that ABC offers the service to their artists too... but not sure what their charge is.
I like the fact that Discover has no monthly fee.... since the majority of my online biz is thru Paypal....