Clover Mini has been the go-to payment processing system for my guest today, Jennifer Ellis. Her family owns Fink’s Car Care one of the largest auto shops in Chesapeake, Virginia, and in all of Hampton Roads. We’ll be talking about how they use Clover retail to keep costs down and improve their processes.
Clover Mini: The Go-To Payment Processor at Fink’s Auto
Mark Brown: I’m with Jennifer. Her dad who started Fink’s. It’s one of the largest auto repair facilities in Chesapeake. They handle a lot of business. They take care of a lot of cars. It was your father, right, who started it? How many bays do you guys have at your auto repair center? Twelve, 13, something like that?
Jennifer Ellis: Twelve, yeah. He actually purchased it from Steve Fink.
Mark Brown: Fink’s organization had a deep heritage in Chesapeake. Is that right?
Jennifer Ellis: Chesapeake, and Portsmouth, too.
Mark Brown: How did you come to be a part of that? Tell us a little about yourself. How did we come to know each other? Do you remember how we first met?
Jennifer Ellis: Yes. You came in the door. You said that you met one of my sisters—one of my many sisters—and we were trying to figure out which sister it was. She ran into you in a house store, and you started talking to her about doing Clover.
Mark Brown: Jennifer at Finks Auto is using the Clover Mini. It’s surrounding three major reasons why you guys were using that if I remember correctly. But let me know if this is right, Jennifer. Pricing was a big thing. Updating equipment to a more current technology that would benefit you was another, and I know that the service that was behind those two products was probably, if not the most important.
Jennifer Ellis: Oh yeah, definitely. On having to lease it, plus not having to pay all these crazy fees and being able to take credit cards.
Mark Brown: I think it’s a good idea to touch on this. So you have the value and the scope of Clover and then you have the scope of who’s providing that as well. I think you guys had experienced something that had both those value points as well. How the technology was updated for you and the benefits of updated technology.
I know that chargebacks are a concern in auto repair, so making sure we were capturing data was important. Doing it the right way at the business level so that if those chargebacks ever came, we could deal with it without having to assume liability and whatnot. But more at the front of that was your dad’s poor experiences in the past with dishonest, misleading or strong personalities of merchant service providers. What can you say about that? What experience did guys or did he have in the past?
Jennifer Ellis: Another company that promised many things and did not deliver. It was not really up to standards. Definitely not very helpful. And he didn’t know who he could trust because we had been taken a few times doing credit card processing. And not understanding how it all works, too, it does make you a little weary in that part of the business.
Mark Brown: He had definitely been once bitten twice shy. I think is a good way of putting that.
Jennifer Ellis: Exactly
Mark Brown: It’s a real benefit to having someone tangible I think and who can really hold accountable. How has that service been a benefit to you?
Jennifer Ellis: Oh, huge! When I have an issue it’s a quick phone call or an email. And it’s getting taken care of quickly. Anytime you’re calling me before I call you, “Hey how’s it going? Is there anything going on that I need to look at? To be aware of? Do you have any questions?” Yeah, I mean that’s huge.
Mark Brown: So that’s a good point. How many guys do you have employed there? If you don’t sharing.
Jennifer Ellis: We have between 12–15.
Mark Brown: So you have all those people depending on you guys to provide for them.
Jennifer Ellis: Correct. With your business, you want to know what you’re spending and what you’re able to bring in. You want to cut the costs as much as possible. You want to be able to have someone that you can trust, you can depend on, that says, “Hey, let me make sure the transaction amounts are the way they’re supposed to be.” You know, a lot of times you get busy with working in the business and not on the business to be able to look at everything in detail to make sure everything is running like it’s supposed to. It’s good to have that person, like you, who says, “Let me make sure everything is running like it’s supposed to. Let’s sit down, just for a few minutes and just look at it, and make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to do for you.”
Mark Brown: Yeah and that’s a great point if you’re looking for a relationship with vendors like Jennifer has for your business. Look for ways that they communicate. Is there any way to discern from feedback, reviews, public opinion that they are responsible for their forms of communication? Or are you going to be restricted to email only or phone calls only? Things like that; great questions to ask people who might have the product that you’re looking at. And Jennifer’s situation down at Fink’s— it’s a perfect setup for the Clover Mini.
So what do you like about how the improvement was for your business, moving up to the Clover Mini? There was, I think, a lot of feature benefits but what jumps out at you?
Jennifer Ellis: Oh my goodness. It’s so easy to print a report from it, to do a refund, to help a customer do a transaction just using their finger to sign for it instead of having to wait for the machine type everything in or scan it. Sometimes it doesn’t want to go through. This thing is awesome. The customers are like, “Wow you guys are actually getting sophisticated over here.” And it’s easy to use, even someone who’s not computer skilled can figure it out and run it.
Mark Brown: Very good, so would you recommend Clover Mini to auto shops like yours?
Jennifer Ellis: Oh yeah, definitely. For sure.
Mark Brown: What would they be able to expect, if they did get a Clover Mini in their business? What would you think that they would like, that they would experience?
Jennifer Ellis: A lot of times before we got the Clover Mini, my service providers when they were closing out a ticket for a costumer, would just say, “Here’s your credit card,” and they would run it as a credit card. This actually asks debit or credit so the customer can choose to do debit or credit. If they choose to do debit, it helps out our business. It doesn’t charge us as much as if they’d just keep running credit cards. That was one big thing. Another, like I said, it’s so easy to use. You don’t have to know a lot about computers. Even if you make a mistake, it’s easy to correct.
This thing is awesome. The customers are like, “Wow you guys are actually getting sophisticated over here.”
Mark Brown: Jennifer, I really appreciate your insight, your experience, and thanks for making me a part of your business and supporting you guys down there. Thanks for sharing. To wrap up, is there anything you’d like to share with other business owners like you that might help them? It doesn’t have to be about Clover. It could be anything about business, or your personal life. I know you’ve seen some experiences that are uncommon, you have some value to share, is there anything you’d like to share now, that they might like to hear?
Jennifer Ellis: Just that, I have to give you kudos. My dad is very difficult when it comes to different things in his business. And I didn’t know if you were going to make it through to get him to switch credit card processing. But you did well, you handled him well, and you could tell that you were an honest man and that you were going to stick to your word. And it would be good for his business, and you are an awesome individual and we are so glad that you ran into my sister.
Mark Brown: Thank you, Jennifer, it’s been a blessing to be a part of your lives, I consider you guys friends.
Interested in how Clover can help your small business? Schedule a call with Mark today.
“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.” ― Phillips Brooks