I'm just starting out approaching out of state pet stores to carry my screenprinted doggie tees. Since not everyone is familiar with scanners, and email, we're looking into setting up a fax machine. I've started doing research where to add a second phone line dedicated to faxing, it would be $9.99/mo. I haven't found the setup fees yet. I would just use the existing line and set my computer up to receive, but then I'd have to ask them to call ahead and tell me to setup my computer. I'm out a lot so thats just not going to work. Fax machines can get expensive with the machine upkeep, toner, paper, etc. so I'm looking into efax. Has anyone used this? Is there something else out there similar? I used to work at a booking agency and bands used it so they could get their contracts from the road. It seemed to work well for them so that's the first one I've looked into. It looks like its $12.95/mo + $12.95 setup fee. Received emails are free, and its $.10 to send one. I'm guessing thats per page. Any advice or input is greatly appreciated.
I've just started a dog shirt business and I've been doing a lot of dog walks and we did a big pet expo. Word of mouth, people seeing your items on their dogs and business cards are great ways to promote. We have an etsy shop, and we just created a myspace account. We're working on packaging and then trying to get in to stores. It is tough because there are a lot of dog apparel companies out there, so we're trying to be the different than them dog shirt makers. Definitely check out your competition before you put too much money into it. Make sure your ideas are original and try to protect them. Trade banners or links with other crafter's websites. I didn't think about dogster, now I've got to go edit my dogs profiles. Good luck.
If you didn't have time or money to get a custom stamp made, you could also print your own sticky labels and use those on the tops of the receipts that customers receive.
We thought about doing that too. If you're just doing a few small shows here and there, its cost effective. The stickers run about $9 for 250. The ink, and stickers add up if you plan on having a lot of sales. I think the stamp is good for 10,000 impressions. We also used the stamp on our wooden displays so they didn't get mistaken for anyone else's while cleaning up.
We just got liability insurance from State Farm for $250/year. It is a $1,000,000 coverage for our workspace, computers, equipment, supplies, products and if anything should happen at an event. We've just started doing craft shows, and dog walking events because I screenprint dog shirts. It was a dog walk event in Huntington Beach that the city requires every vendor to have liability insurance for $1,000,000. We live in such a sue-happy world these days that if someone has an allergic reaction, or trips, you can be liable. It is definately better to be safe than sorry.
We ended up with ProPay too so that we could use the phone option if we didn't have wireless internet. It really came in handy at Bazaar Bizarre SF and a dog walk I did last month. Without the credit card sales, we would have lost about $250 worth of sales. It is well worth the fees for the options. We figured that Propay turns out a little cheaper with how many shows we do. We're trying to do at least once a month since there are tons of dog walks in the SoCal area. We haven't ordered an imprinter yet because it is bulky like Karchita said. We bought some carbon copy receipt books at WalMart and bought a custom stamp from Office Max with our logo and information. They made it while we waited and it was only $20. I sat and stamped it on every top page the night before to save time at the show. We had business cards made and my sister stapled one to each receipt. It worked out pretty well. Walmart is a good deal for receipt books if you don't care about carbon. I think Office Max, Staples and Office Depot has the same but carbonless for $9 for 3 books, Walmart is with carbon for $1/each.
We just did some research on credit cards for fairs since we're doing bazaar bizarre and a pet expo. Since we won't have access to a phone or power outlet, we're going with propay. I compared paypal (we're using that right now with our Etsy shop) with propay and propay works out cheaper in the long run, and we can phone in credit cards if we don't have internet access. I called around and did research online, and its just too expensive to sign up to have a wireless terminal. The monthly lease is too expensive if you're doing occasional sales, and you're locked in for 2-4 years. Or you can buy it if you have $1200 to spare With wireless, you also have to pay a monthly phone fee because it goes through a separate cell phone. One company quoted $17/mo for the cell phone service, $25/mo rental of the terminal for 48 months, and i think it was $.35/transaction, plus $.50/wireless transaction. It is too bad you can't use your own cell phone. Nextel and Sprint users I think can use their phones if it is a certain type. We're still trying to find a manual card imprinter, which we found one to borrow until we can buy one off ebay (we waited too long). I hope you all have good luck. I'd be interested if anyone comes across any other companies that have a good deal on merchant services.