At Square, we understand that taking a payment instantly (no matter where you are) is important and is sometimes make-or-break for smaller businesses. That’s why we have a solution for you to take payments every way your customers want to pay.
You’re probably familiar with Square card readers that allow you to take payments on the go, or our APIs that allow you to use Square to take payments through your website. But did you know that you can also take payments (even when the card is not present) anywhere you are, and with any web browser?
Square Virtual Terminal was launched a year ago this month, and allows you to accept payments directly from a web browser via Square Dashboard — no hardware necessary! We caught up with Jeremy Turner, general manager at InstallEx (one of the first Australian businesses to use Virtual Terminal), to find out how his business has utilised the technology.
Tell us a bit about InstallEx and what you do?
We’re a national business that supplies end-to-end installation and construction services covering a range of needs, including events, exhibitions, joinery, store displays and fit-outs. We basically help other businesses do business and work with a range of organisations from smaller retailers to big event organisers and national retail stores.
Seven years ago we started The Inside Project, which is a direct-to-consumer kitchen and bathroom design and renovation brand. Our team of in-house designers works with our clients to design their dream space, and our project teams put it all together to deliver that dream.
When did you start and how have you managed to grow since then?
The business was founded in 1998 by our director, Miles Williamsz, who is a cabinetmaker by trade and also had a background in exhibitions and events. InstallEx as a business evolved really organically as we found there was a growing need for expert installation specialists. We now have a headquarters in Melbourne with project teams across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide. If there’s an exhibition or major event anywhere on the Eastern seaboard, we’ve no doubt had a hand putting it together (literally).
What business tools have you found useful to grow your operation?
We’ve had to adopt a range of different business tools over the years as we’ve evolved. Salesforce has been one of the larger changes we have made, as we now run the entire business through it, and Square has definitely been a game changer for us in helping us get paid faster.
Why did you start using Square in the business?
We signed up with Square when it first launched in Australia a couple of years ago so we could equip all of our project managers with card readers when they went out to project sites. We found this a really useful way to get paid on the spot for bigger jobs that would otherwise take a while to follow up with invoices.
Last year we also started using Square Virtual Terminal, which has been a huge timesaver for our office staff to simply take payments over the phone from wherever they are.
How has the Square platform helped you?
We now take about 90 per cent of our payments over the phone from our office, so using Square’s Virtual Terminal has been a huge timesaver. We used to just have a bank card terminal in the office, but it proved difficult because it meant only one transaction could be taken at a time and not all our offices were equipped to take payments. And because the card terminal was not portable, we would often need to write down client credit card numbers to reenter them into the device. This caused a range of problems and raised security concerns.
Using Square is a lot easier for us and there’s no fuss or worry about renting expensive hardware. We simply give our employees passcodes to log into the Square system (using any web browser) and then they can process a card payment in seconds. It’s the perfect solution for businesses that do a lot of work from a computer, or those who have finance teams that aren’t regularly meeting customers face to face to take payments.
I also like how the system is so simple and quick for tracking where and when payments or refunds have been processed.
What advice would you give to other business managers who may be looking to expand their business operations nationally like InstallEx?
To grow well you need to train well. That might sound simple, but oftentimes businesses can be too busy growing to focus on staff training — and trust me, the time you afford to your staff now will pay you back tenfold in the future.
I’ve found that a common reason staff underperforms is not only because they have not had adequate training but also because they don’t understand the end-to-end process and are unaware of the ramifications if things aren’t done well. Deliver to your team as much information as possible, both the good and bad, because the more information they have, the better they can understand the business and the better they can deliver on its behalf.