HomeGauge News Alert August 2016

Accepting Credit Cards | Templates for Canada | September Classes | Beta Testers Needed

Check in the Mail

Are you still looking for that check in the mail?

"I love it when my competitors don't accept credit cards!"

I heard this from one of HomeGauge's users this week and it made me laugh — and then agree. For some buyers, if you don't accept credit cards they will not choose you to do their inspection.

The biggest objection we hear from inspectors is that taking credit cards is expensive. Yes, it costs more than taking a check, but it is a lot cheaper than not getting paid at all. There are different ways you can take credit cards, so even on a tight budget it is possible to get in the credit card game and give a boost to your business.

How can accepting credit cards help my business?

  • Some buyers are relying on credit and this is the way they're going to pay. If you aren't accepting credit card payments, they're going somewhere else.
  • Advertising that you take credit card payments on your website can help close the sale.
  • With HomeGauge Services you can receive payments online. You can even block viewing of your report until payment is made.
  • You can put away your bill collector hat.

How do I get started?

The ideal way to accept cards with the most flexibility is to get a merchant account and a payment gateway account. With a payment gateway, you can accept online payments and it can link to your HomeGauge account, allowing you to unlock reports immediately on a successful payment, or take an online payment before the inspection takes place. HomeGauge integration works with both Authorize.net and eProcessing for gateways, and most merchant account providers will support one of those. We have negotiated good rates for merchant accounts through Guardian Financial and we recommend giving them a call as they know home inspectors (see link below), but you can use any merchant account provider you like.

Read more about getting a merchant account. (login required)

I still want to take credit cards, but am not ready to setup a merchant account and payment gateway, what are my options?

The other popular options include services like Square, where you can swipe a card in hand on your mobile device or manually enter the card information if taken over the phone. These types of services are typically cheaper for card in hand type payments and do offer some online options that cost a little bit more. Because Square does not support Authorize.net or eProcessing, it does not integrate directly with HomeGauge. Another popular choice is PayPal. PayPal has improved over the years in reputation and security, and a lot of people are familiar with using it. The major objection we have with PayPal is that it doesn't fall under all the same rules that apply to traditional banks. PayPal has been known to hold funds for extended periods of time or freeze accounts. It's a fairly rare occurrence, but it is something to consider — you can do online searches to read some of the stories.

Using the report blocking feature on your HomeGauge.com Dashboard

To block your report from being viewed before payment is made, you first click on the Request Payment link found by the address of your uploaded report. Enter in an amount, an optional description, and check the box to Require Payment to View Documents. This will block viewing of the inspection report documents, but will still allow the customer to view and agree to online agreements and see any online invoice documents. If you have a merchant account setup and the gateway linked to your HomeGauge account, when the customer goes to view the report they can pay and the report will be immediately unlocked. If you do not have an integrated gateway with your HomeGauge account, the customer will still get a message that they owe money on the report and will not be able to view it. Once you are paid, you can go back to your HomeGauge.com Dashboard and enter the payment information to release the report.

Read more about getting a merchant account. (login required)

Oh Canada!
Templates for Canada included in HomeGauge 5.2

While you have always been able to create and modify your own inspection templates in HomeGauge to suit your needs, by popular demand we've decided to give our Canadian inspectors a head start with a set of templates that follow the Canadian standards. We've included the templates CAHPI by System, Canada Standards (CAN A770-16), and also a System plus WETT template. If you're an inspector in Canada, these new templates in HomeGauge 5.2 can really help you get up and running fast. If you haven't tried out HomeGauge 5.2 yet, you can download it at the link below:

Get HomeGauge 5.2

Asheville HomeGauge Training
September training class in Asheville

We only have 3 seats left!

If you've been wanting to cut down on your report writing time, or just want to explore all the features of HomeGauge, we encourage you to attend this great 3-day HomeGauge training class!

Call and reserve your seat today. The class is being held September 14-16, 2016. Cost for the class is $300 for the first attendee, $200 for each additional (multi-inspector firms only) and lunch is included. Call to reserve your spot today before it is too late — (828) 254-2030.

More Information

Looking for a shorter class?

We're having a one day class in Frankfort, KY the day before the KREIA conference on September 22, 2016 from 9am-5pm at the Capital Plaza Hotel. Inspectors who are attending the KREIA conference that week can attend for free, but must still register. For inspectors not attending the conference the fee is $99. Call us at (828) 254-2030 to reserve your spot.

Beta Testers Wanted
Call for beta testers!

HomeGauge is looking for beta testers for our new public appointment request feature for our online Appointment Manager. This feature will enable your buyer or agent to enter the appointment request online with suggested dates/times. You can confirm the date and time with your customer, assign it to your calendar, and download the details to your HomeGauge Software. This is a feature you will be able to add to your website. If you're interested in signing up to be a beta tester, email support@homegauge.com and we'll get you on our list.

Until next time,
Russell Buchanan
HomeGauge, President