April 29, 2013

Jim Spielman: Offer a Discount Range Card Program to Offset Credit Card Surcharges

Jim-Spielman-1Jim Spielman is the owner of East Hartford (Conn.) Golf Center.


Jim Spielman on the importance of offering a discount range card program to offset credit card surcharges:
Five years ago, as the amount of people making purchases via credit cards kept increasing, I found that I was losing money, roughly $0.75 per purchase or 2.5 percent, on sales at my range from credit card surcharges. Every single penny counts, and I immediately began looking for a way to save money and avoid having to pay large amounts of credit card surcharges on such a frequent basis. So we started a discount range card. It offers 10 prepaid buckets per card, with the customer getting a dollar off the regular price per bucket. So for my extra-large buckets that normally cost $11, the customer gets charged for 10 buckets at $10 each, saving $10 in total. To keep track, whoever is manning the desk just punches a hole on the card when a customer comes in, and we also keep everything organized in a logbook. It’s been a huge success. It’s easy to keep track of, easy for the customer who only has to bring in a card instead of constantly paying via cash or credit, and has saved me a lot of money in the process. In addition, for business owners who bring clients or for high school teams with deals to practice at our facility, it also streamlines that whole process and makes for a better overall experience.


Jim Spielman on the business impact of offering a discount range card program to offset credit card surcharges:
We offer three different range cards – $60 for medium buckets and $80 for large buckets in addition to the aforementioned $100 for the extra-larges. Because the cards are pre-paid, the average price per purchase went from being rather miniscule – $7, $9 and $11 respectively for individual buckets at each size – to a much larger number. In turn, that lowered the percentage of the surcharge from the overall price, which accomplished the goal I set out to attain. In addition, the fact that we have a card program and the benefits that come with being a member has helped our overall business as the program has accounted for an extra 20 percent in range ball sales. We’ve seen increased foot traffic in our shop, and increased ancillary sales from areas such as food & beverage. In addition, because my customers are paying for their golf balls upfront, rather than a per-use basis and more purchases are paid via credit card, the cents on the dollar fees add up over time. The fewer transactions end up saving me money because I accrue less credit card fees. It’s a program that benefits all parties involved, and that’s the hallmark of something everyone should copy.