FlowerChat recenlty included a very interesting take on the issue of "House Accounts". Also known as "Charge Accounts" these are used by many florists that allow customers to order flowers without payment and then bill them later.
There is no doubt that these type of accounts are very important to some florists, and FloristWare does the best possible job of streamlining and simplifying the handling of Accounts Receivable. However it seems too many shops are too liberal with house accounts and create extra work and more headaches for themselves as a result.
Here is what Cheryl Bakin had to say on the subject:
Folks, get rid of your house accounts....all of them!
I know, you are in a small town, they are old faithful customers, etc, etc. In today's world, everyone has a credit card or a debit card. They use 'em everywhere else...why not with you??
We have had a policy in my store for almost 20 years that the product does not go out the door if the order is not paid for first!! We have very, very few house accounts....Our billing each month is very minimal (a few major corporations, a few churches and the like). We also bill those people weekly......Payment is due withing 15 days....not 30! (have you checked what your cc company, etc allows you in days to pay your bill lately? It's not 30 days any more!!)
If you are not processing the credit card before delivery, you need to to start immediately. If you bill and currently bill net 30 days, it need to move first to net 25,...then net 20...then net 15 or 10.
Also, my sales staff is trained, as they are taking an order, and about to request payment, to say the following: "Would you like to place today's order on your mastercard, visa, discover or american express? ". If asked if we will bill them, the answer is: No sir/mam, I'm sorry. We eliminated our in-store billing programs a number of years ago." If asked if the order can be paid for COD? "no sir/mam, our drivers do not carry change, and are not bonded to carry & accept cash payments from you."
This was hard for our shop to do at first.....over a short period of time, however, it grew much easier to ask for payment, and respond to the customer inquiries. We also mail out a receipt on each & every purchase that is made by phone by our customers, so that they have a record of what has been charged on their credit card. (It goes out with a "thank you for your order" letter.). Big PR hit, and enforces our honesty and trustworthiness, expecially with our elderly customers..
Hope the above information helps....be brave...you can also venture into the relm of "almost no house charges" !!
Happy holidays to everyone!
Cheryl credits Emily Moth Chapman and Tina Stoecker with helping form her philosophy.
There are of course times that you will need house accounts, but please don't give them away too easily. As Cheryl says your customers use their credit cards every where else - you deserve the same treatment!