By Dan Rowe
Hoot Payment Solutions

Raise your hand if you receive payments by credit card or debit card, or via e-check. The percentage of customers taking advantage of the convenience of electronic payments has increased exponentially over the past decade, and today represents a majority of payments for many fuel oil and propane dealers. Those numbers are expected to continue to rise.

But convenience comes at a price, in the form of transaction fees and merchant fees associated with every transaction. These costs should be factored into all pricing decisions in order to maintain the desired margin per gallon. While third party transaction fees and card rates may appear to be a small part of doing business, when multiplied by the thousands of transactions conducted every year it becomes a major line item in your expense column.  For those who are not set up correctly the cost can become a budget buster.

That’s why it makes sense to examine and evaluate your current electronic payment processing provider. They are not all created equal.  Fuel oil and propane dealers qualify for special discounts and many payment providers are unaware. Instead of an “off-the-shelf” processing system, Hoot Payment Solutions is specifically designed for fuel dealers. Because we in tune with the Energy Industry, we understand the need to keep costs low in order to protect margins that are already thin.

To ensure you are set up correctly and keep processing costs under control, you need to have split Merchant Category Codes for each brand of card you accept. By classifying each card separately, you will qualify for the lowest possible rates, including favorable utility rates and emerging market rates.

Sounds like a simple solution, right?  Company research shows only 20 percent of fuel oil and propane companies have a “good deal” (the right set up, correct pricing structure and a fair rate).   The other 80 percent are either set up correctly but paying inflated rates or have inaccurate Merchant Category Codes and are not qualifying for the lower utility rates or emerging market rates for which they are eligible.

Long story short, Fuel Energy providers need a partner in payments, not just a vendor.  A company who fully understand the fuel oil and propane business, how you accept payments, and what it takes to reduce fees to a minimum.  Your goal is simple: get paid faster, with lower fees, and fewer hassles. Finding the right partner will ensure you reach your goal.

Want to learn more about the advantages Hoot Payment Solutions can bring to your fuel business? Email us or call us at (888) 654-4668.  Engage with us for a complimentary account review and find out if your business is set up correctly to get the most out of your payments (in the form of money in the bank).  

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