Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tips for a Tuesday - Tools of the Trade

A couple weekends ago, I was at a craft fair. The woman at the table across from me was selling some beautiful jewelry - lots of semi-precious stones in abundantly rich color. People were stopping frequently to admire her work. Many declared they wanted to take something home... but when they were told she didn't take credit cards, many had to pass.

Now, there's an ethical consideration here in that people will buy things on credit that they can't really afford... and given our current economic climate, many are digging themselves deep holes for non-luxury items, like groceries. So, as purveyors of non-essential goods, I suppose one has to decide how they feel about being responsible for others' financial decisions...

That aside, I've decided that I too would like to eat, and so I signed myself up as a merchant with Square. Now, I'm sure many of you have heard of Square, but for those who haven't, I'm considering proclaiming myself their unofficial spokesperson (nope, don't work for them, just love them!). Quick summary: started by one of the founders of Twitter, Square provides owners of smartphones (iPhone, Droid) with a handy little device that plugs into your headphone jack and allows you to accept amd swipe credit cards. Their fee structure is more reasonable than most other merchant services. And, it's a local company. So if you find yourself at craft shows hoping to capture a broader audience, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out their service.

You can either key in the card number or swipe it. The card holder actually signs your screen, and you can send off a receipt via email or text message that very moment. Funds are deposited in a couple days. Honestly, this has been one of the best sales tools I've added to my handy box.

And that is my quick tip for this Tuesday!


  1. I love that you threw in the ethical consideration in there. I appreciate that side of it. I'm considering square myself but I don't have a smart phone so it would mean purchasing a whole new phone. Decisions, Decisions.

  2. Yeah, it's a tough one (on the ethics). But it seems people rarely make money by just doing the right thing. I guess what we need to ask ourselves is what is fair, and what is reasonable. I try to keep my prices fair, so I don't feel like I'm gouging anyone. As for the phone, I must say (AT&T aside, which I hate), my iPhone has saved my butt on a number of occasions - mostly the map feature. But I can also take pics and send them to people, which is handy, I can pick up emails, relist items on etsy while I'm out and about... I'm sadly too dependent on the thing...

  3. I signed up for Square as well. I love it too. I love the ease of use and being able to tell people, "yes, I can take your credit card." I also like that there are no monthly fees, just the fees for swiping, or keying, and thats it.

  4. Awesome Tip!!

    i have been using Square since last holiday season & I LOVE it!!!! I love that you can take a photo of the item(s) that you are selling & it emails it w/ the receipt. Many hip bars/cafes have been using it for some tien too. It's a great tool.

  5. Yes, if you have a phone that will work with Square, get it. So easy!

  6. I'm so jazzed about this! I signed up yesterday & should be ready to use it soon!

    Thanks for the article and discussion at the April meeting.

  7. I am just about ready to do this. Any advice on the least expensive phone plan? ATT or verizon? iphone or android?


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