Casella was describing one of the advantages of text-to-pay, a feature the company added last year to its software for the auto and flat glass industry.
It’s common that a flat glass installer will do a quote and later get a call from the customer saying they’d like to go ahead with the job, Casella said. If the installer requires a deposit for the job, they can immediately go into the software, put the deposit on a work order, and text it directly to the customer’s phone.
“They just have to click on the link, it opens up a secure website, and they can put in their information to process the payment,” Casella said.
Deploying Secure Links and QR Codes
In addition to enabling that rapid response, text-to-pay also offers a way around two barriers that are common in not only the glass industry but other industries and personal lives: the tendency of emails to get lost in cluttered inboxes and of phone calls to not be answered.
“Nowadays it’s pretty common, everybody has a phone with them, and nobody answers their phone anymore,” Casella said. “But if you send them a text message, they certainly see it.”
For customers who prefer email, Mainstreet’s software provides the ability to email an invoice that includes both a link and a QR code. Customers can click on the link to a secure website or, if they have printed out a copy of the invoice, they can scan the QR code to get right to the payment as well.
The software can receive nearly any type of payment method, Casella said. Credit card payments have become common for both consumer and B2B payments. With Mainstreet’s payment processing system, an additional service fee can be added to recoup the money that is paid in fees by the business to the credit card processors.
“A number of years ago, it was much more common that a business is going to pay with a check, but more and more you’re seeing companies pay with credit cards,” Casella said.
Enabling ‘Progress Billing’
Text-to-pay is just one of the latest features added to Mainstreet’s lineup of software packages and features designed to meet the unique needs of the glass industry.
For example, for flat glass installers, common jobs include tabletops and shower enclosures for residential customers, and storefronts and skyscraper windows for commercial customers.
With a residential customer and a job that might cost several thousand dollars, the installer generally takes a deposit to order the materials and then collects the remaining money when the job is complete, Casella said.
With a commercial customer and a project that might cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars and take several months, on the other hand, the installer will bill over time as pieces of the project are completed, Casella said. Examples of this include projects around apartment buildings, hotels or residential builders putting up many homes in a neighborhood.
For that kind of project, Mainstreet has a system in place called “progress billing.” The installer creates a job ticket with everything that’s going to be on the job and later, as parts of the job are completed, goes in and invoices for just those things.
“As things change over time — which they always do — they have the ability to do what’s called a ‘change order’ to change that initial job,” Casella said.
Auditing Invoices Before They’re Sent
For auto glass installers, a lot of their business is insurance driven. A common problem in this segment of the industry is that if anything on the installer’s invoice doesn’t match the insurance company’s dispatch, the audit on the insurance side will reject the invoice and send it back for correction.
To prevent this delay, Mainstreet’s software compares a draft invoice to the dispatch, making sure all the fields are filled out correctly before an invoice is sent.
“The vast majority of their invoices should go right through, and they should get paid quickly — which is, of course, very important to all our customers,” Casella said.