When I was setting up my providers I found this quite stressful because one, I thought it would be fairly simple and it wasn’t and two, they are very sneaky and you need to watch out! I’m going to do this in two blog posts as this category covers quite a bit.
Phone and Internet
1) This in fact was fairly easy to organise. Like most things do a bit of research. You’ll need to set this up first, it can take quite sometime to get organised and installed. It took about a month from set up to installation for my shop, so once the offer on the shop was accepted and the solicitors were going over the contract I got straight on to it. You need to set up the phone line first because if you are going to except cards on your premisis you will need a card reader provider and they will need the phone number for your application otherwise they can not process it and this also takes 4-6 weeks to set up and install.
2) I think it is fairly important to have internet in your shop, most suppliers contact you through email and usually take orders online. It’s also a good idea to have your own website which you can update regularly and use social media sites which you can have a flick through and update when you are sitting at the shop desk.
3) Look out for packages that combine phone and internet, useful to have free minutes, I don’t make many calls I usually email but with my card reader it connects via the phone line and although it only connects for no more than 30 seconds it all adds up. If possible get a package with a good amount of data/downloads, I have a limit on mine of 50GB which is enough for me.
4) You may also need to get more than one phone line. I have one phone line at the moment but I should really have two with separate numbers. When I was setting up the card reader they said I needed a phone line, which I had, what they should have said is you need a separate phone line to the one that you will be a making and receiving calls. When you accept card payments the reader will need to dial to your provider for authentication. It doesn’t take longer than 30secs but if you are on the phone (which wouldn’t be great customer service anyway) or if someone is ringing you then the connection will not be made and the payment will not go through, you will also not be able to take payment over the phone if you have one phone line. Over the year I haven’t had any major problems with having one phone line however I am about to set up an online shop so I expect I will get more calls after this for customer services etc. You may also need another phone line if you are going to use a security alarm, but check this with your security provider first.
5) When they come to install the phone line ask if you can have a double socket placed or three if possible, as you’ll need one socket for your phone, one for your interent connection and if like me you only have one line you’ll need a socket for your card reader. If they only set two sockets you can buy the cords with extensions on them however you may not get a good line when you do this.
6) If you decide to go with a provider you are not familliar with, make sure you look at recommendations, reviews and forums that will provide you with people who have had past experiences with them or if you know of a company who uses them, call them up and ask, most people are willing to give helpful advice.
1)As soon as you know your phone number get in contact with your chosen provider as this also takes 4-6 weeks to set up and install.
2) When you set up your business account with your chosen bank, they might reccommend a card provider. Before you say yes, do a bit of research, my bank recommended a card provider which I looked into and liked. I had a look around at others and could see that they were a little more expensive then the others so I got a couple of quotes and asked whether they could match it or do better, which they did. Now a days companies are more accommodating to small business and start- ups. Overall by researching and collecting quotes I saved myself £110- Brilliant!
3) When researching providers compare what their transaction fees are- every time you take a card payment they will take a small percentage. The percentage changes depending on what type of card is used, for example they will charge a higher percentage if a credit card is used rather than a debit card.
4) Bear in mind how long it will take your provider to credit your account. Some take up to 7 working days to credit your account others take 2 working days, this is very important for cash flow.
5) Check whether they can intergrate their service for your website so that you can accept payments for your shop website if you wish to do so.
6) You also want to know whether they have a good help desk with 24 hour support telephone number, this will be useful if you run a restaurant or bar or for when you have a web shop.
I hope this has helped. If it has please spread the word! If you have any other tips, just let us know in the comments box below. Thanks.
Next blog post will be on electricity/gas and any extra tips that I can think of.