Merchant Guide is officially in Alpha Launch!
We’ve been working behind the scenes for a number of weeks now, but we’re finally live on the web and ready to begin testing with a select group of merchants we’ve invited to use the website.
Why We Built MerchantNegotiators.com:
I think all good companies should strive to solve a problem, and as someone who has shopped for merchant account services for my own and my wife’s businesses, I can tell you, the industry’s current setup is broken.
My Experience Shopping for Merchant Services:
I consider myself a reasonably financially astute guy, but after spending an hour on the phone trying get the log in to my online reporting, and another two hours trying to decipher the multitude of fees on our merchant services account statement, I still had no idea whether we were getting a good deal or a bad one. And after calling the company’s sales office, having to leave a voicemail, and finally getting a call back 72 hours later, only to be told that they couldn’t explain the bill any more than what was on the invoice, I was annoyed and frustrated.
What I Did Next: Like all of us when we call big companies, I complained but basically got nowhere. I next considered just dropping our provider and looking for another, but because I was shopping for my wife’s company (she’s a dentist), we knew we needed a merchant account company that could keep her HIPAA and PCI compliant, and finding one proved difficult, because you had to go to each company’s website individually, and most of them didn’t list the relevant information you actually wanted to know as a merchant.
Realizing The Size of The Problem: Being a business owner means I know dozens of other people that own their own small businesses. I started talking to them about this, and realized almost everybody is in the same boat. Nobody knows whether they’re actually getting a good rate, and nobody knows whether the company they’re using is (a) a good fit, and (b) good compared to the competition, but everyone is hesitant to do anything about it because it seems like a daunting task, and given that most business owners are juggling about 50 other problems, we all just sort of let this one go.
I decided to do something about it: I, along with a great team, created this website to collect the relevant information that merchants actually care about into a single place. Then use plain english to explain the differences between providers, try to actually test whether these companies are following through on their promises and publish the results. And finally, through the power of collective bargaining, to try to get better pricing for business owners than they could on their own.
How it’s going: So far, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. Our team is small, but it’s uniformly comprised of smart people who have all themselves been / are small business owners, so it is a project we’re all passionate about.
What’s next: We’re inviting (and/or begging) a select number of people to be Alpha Testers of the website. Our goal is to have them go through the process of using the website to research credit card processors, pick one, compare the savings to their existing provider (if none, then the industry average pricing), and report to us any problems, likes, dislikes, etc. Once we get that feedback, we’ll try to incorporate it into the website.
Thanks for reading!
Rich Founder, MerchantNegotiators.com