Cash flow is critical in any business, particularly in the landscape industry, where professionals need to be paid in a timely manner to keep things running.
To help with this issue, Housecall Pro, a software platform designed for home service professionals, has rolled out the My Money suite, which is a collection of tools that ensure landscapers get paid faster and gain greater transparency over their spending.
Housecall Pro has partnered with small business credit platform Fundbox and integrated the payment platform Stripe to provide all the means to run a business and manage cash flow on a single app.
“Our goal is to ease every aspect of running a business for home service professionals, and handling finances is a big pain point,” says Ian Heidt, co-founder and CEO of Housecall Pro. “Home service professionals haven’t been able to find the money management functionality they want in one place, and existing one-off options are difficult to use. To solve this, we are working with industry leaders to build a comprehensive, intuitive suite for them, eliminating the need to turn to individual providers.”
Roland Ligtenberg, co-founder and SVP of growth & innovation, says Housecall Pro was built for professionals to help them provide a better experience for their customers. He says My Money was added to assist service professionals in managing the back-office aspect of their businesses.
My Money suite includes Instapay, the ability to accept credit card payments and keep customer card information on file. Landscapers can access short-term credit through the app as well as manage expenses with prepaid cards. Housecall Pro can also integrate with Quickbooks Online for increased reporting and visibility.
“For these types of companies to use Instapay as a product allows them to get instant access to cash from a credit card transaction, which historically could take days to get,” Ligtenberg says. “When you’re working in a resource-constrained world where maybe you need to make payroll by Friday, inside of our product you can have Instapay toggled on always. Or you can do it as an as-needed basis, but it gives you instant access to that capital if you need to buy more equipment last minute, pay that payroll or that employee.”
Instapay is powered by Stripe, which also allows Housecall Pro customers to accept credit cards. Landscapers can accept credit card payments for a flat low rate of 2.69 percent on every transaction regardless of the card type (Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Discover). The 2.69 is the lowest rate available currently, with Square at a close second with 2.75 percent, according to Ligtenberg.
“We decided to do flat-rate pricing as low as we could get regardless of the credit card type,” Ligtenberg says. “Often in the market, you’ll see credit card vendors say it’s as low as 1.99, but it’s only for a debit card and if you run an Amex you get charged 5 percent. For us, we decided rather than charging multiple different prices for multiple different cards for multiple different entry methods, we took the buying power of all our combined pros to then negotiate for a really good rate, and we have passed those savings on to our pros.”
The credit card information can also be kept on file, which makes paying for repeat jobs fast and easy for customers. Ligtenberg says this helps landscapers transform their businesses from a Blockbuster-based system to a Netflix-style business, which is more subscription based.
“We’re thrilled to work with Housecall Pro to power the advanced payment features in its My Money suite,” says Shreyas Doshi, product manager at Stripe. “For service professionals, especially those in small businesses, getting paid quickly and easily is a big help. Now, whether they’re swiping a physical card on Stripe Terminal for the first time, or they’re charging a repeat customer whose payment information is securely stored with Stripe, it’ll be easier and faster than ever for any home service professionals using Housecall Pro to get paid.”
My Money also allows landscapers to create prepaid cards for employees and deposit money on it for them to spend on specific purchases. There is no limit to the number of prepaid cards they can create.
“Now the owner can track exactly where that money is going to and also limit the stores that it can be spent at,” Ligtenberg says. “So, for example, this is supposed to be used at Arcos and Shells but not at other gas stations or this can be used at Home Depot, but not for drinks and candy. It gives them the ability to control their finances in a way that cash-based businesses haven’t been able to.”
Through the partnership with Fundbox, landscapers can use their business history, credit and invoices in order to get access to a short-term loan. These loans are typically paid in about three months.
“If a pro needs to make payroll for example, especially for landscaping companies after the spring, summer and fall seasons, then there’s this barren period,” says Ligtenberg. “It gives them access to capital to make it through the slow months or conversely in the good months, invest in another truck or another tool.”
The nature of the loan varies on a company-by-company basis and businesses can choose how they want to repay it. Landscapers can repay it instantly and there’s no pre-payment fee or they can pay on a weekly basis so they don’t have to pay a lump sum at the end of the loan.
Housecall Pro says My Money increases visibility as well by automatically pushing all invoice line items and charges to users’ QuickBooks Online account, helping eliminate manual accounting work.
Housecall Pro offers different plan sizes for companies at different stages of growth. The Start plan is $39/month for the annual plan and can be used by one person. The Grow plan costs $109/month for the annual option and can be used by up to six users. The Manage plan is $199/month for the annual plan. Up to 10 users can access the Housecall Pro app on the Manage plan.
There is also the new XL plan for the larger companies that Housecall Pro rolled out this year.
“There’s no contracts,” Ligtenberg says “There’s never any contracts so it’s a month to month product, which makes it so we have to earn the right to bill our customers that amount every single month. A lot of other providers will try to lock you in. We allow our pros to pre-pay for a year to get a better discount.”