Many would say that Laurel and Perry Bower are living the dream. After purchasing two Carefree Boat Club location in Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Florida, they turned their passion for boating into a business.
Carefree Boat Club built its business on the notion that boating is a great hobby, but owning a boat independently just doesn’t make sense for most people. The organization is made up of over 50 licensed locations across the United States and Canada. Members have full access to the fleet and can take out a boat whenever they like. All costs including slip fees, insurance, maintenance, repair, taxes, towing coverage, winterization and depreciation are absorbed by the club.
Facing the challenges of a small business owner
Upon taking over the Southwest Florida clubs in August 2016, both Laurel and Perry knew they would be putting their enterprising skills to work as they overcame the challenges faced by small business owners. Perry manages the fleet, employees and customer relations full-time, while Laurel handles all the bookkeeping and payment acceptance.
One of the first hurdles they faced as Carefree Boat Club owners was the challenge of accepting multiple payment types (credit card, cash, ACH) for various transactions, including one-time fuel charges, and monthly membership dues. According to Laurel, her busy schedule meant she needed a payment platform that worked seamlessly and provided excellent customer support.
A solution as unique as their business
Luckily, the previous owner of Laurel and Perry’s Carefree Boat Club locations had found a payment solution as flexible as their business model: PaySimple. Not only did Laurel and Perry inherit the PaySimple software when they took over the business, they were able to keep working with the PaySimple customer success manager, Synthia, as well.
Synthia helped Laurel get comfortable with using a merchant account system and trained her on the point of sale system, ACH payments, recurring billing, electronic report catalogues, custom reports and so much more.
“In the beginning I was still learning the system, but Synthia was with me every step of the way. I’ve used many other subscription based companies in my life, and it can be really frustrating when there is no phone support at all, just email. With PaySimple, I get to talk to someone who has gotten to know my business and really cares about it!”
After onboarding was complete, Synthia continued to check in with Laurel, ensuring Carefree Boat Club’s payment system was setup to match their business model appropriately. This meant accounting for all the different types of payments and transactions they would be receiving, from recurring to one time payments, and building out custom reports that Laurel can pull at a moment’s notice.
As Laurel continued to work on building her business and learning PaySimple’s platform, any fears or concerns she initially had about having to adjust her business model to fit the scope of her payment processing system were quickly assuaged.
“The best thing about PaySimple is that I can customize it to fit my business, not the other way around.”
With pointers and directions from Synthia, Laurel was able to customize each item within her point of sales service and quickly pull reports or send invoices and receipts out to customers with just a few clicks of her mouse.
“The platform and itemization of the point of sales system is very user friendly. The custom reports are integral to help me keep track of things, but what is even better is that they are accessible and easy to understand. So much is automated and the things you want to happen, happen quickly and easily. Most importantly, I’ve never had issues getting the money which is the most important thing.”
Calm waters ahead
With the help of PaySimple, Laurel and Perry say their revenue has increased by 28% in their Southwest Florida locations. They look forward to continuing to grow their business—possibly even opening more locations in Florida—knowing that their ability to process payments and keep track of their books is nothing but smooth sailing.