We have only been accepting check or money order as a form of payment for our mobile home parks but we have received several inquiry from tenants about payment via credit/debit card , automatic payment, online payment, or over the phone payment. Can someone advise me on who I should use for these payment method. We have received few proposal from banks and other companies but we cannot make up our minds on which company. Please advise.
I don’t own a MHP yet and have never used this service, but I heard a podcast about it recently and plan to try and use it when I get my first park. The name of the company is Cozy (https://cozy.co/). They allow renters to make payments to landlords through their site and it’s totally free for landlords. I believe it’s free for the renter if they pay through their bank account, but there’s a fee for them if they use credit card or debit card.
They also provide other services that a MHP owner would be interested in, such as allowing the tenant to complete applications online and then providing the potential landlord with just the information they need to make a rental decision. Sounds really nice because it takes the landlord out of the loop of handing out paper applications and collecting sensitive data such as SS# that you don’t want to be responsible for.
Check out their website and I think you’ll be impressed.
@mobilehomepark1 You should contact ABT
They handle billing for over 7000+ sites.
water, rent, you name it.
800.697.9096 Ext 14
At the Louisville Home show, there was a vendor from Pay Lease touting a service called CashPay that let tenants use cash at participating retailers (Wal-Mart, Kmart, to name a few) to pay their rent. Not sure of fees or signup costs, I believe it also integrates with RentManager software
Here are some others:
We asked our tenants to directly deposit their lot rent payments into our bank account with their lot# or home address this year, so far, has worked out great! Tenants like it too. If you want to accept Debit or Credit catds, you can simply download a Square App from app store. The service fee is average 2.3-3.5%, but you can ask your tenants pay it. My only concern is the payee can dispute these chargs months later, especially if it is a call-in charge not a swiping!
In my low income multifamily projects I’ve used two different systems with decent results:
The first is PayNearMe. My tenants can walk into any Ace Cash Store or 7-Eleven Store in the nation and pay what they think is a money order. It costs them $3.95, but they can pay their rent or anything else with cash on hand. This works well for tenants that don’t have bank accounts. Within a few minutes of them paying, I get an email saying when / where / how much they paid… and two days later the money is direct deposited into my business checking account. See www.paynearme.com for more details.
The second is online payment via property management software. I use Buildium, though there are several others like Appfolio, RentManager, etc. I’ve not used any of these but Buildium, but I really like this second method because the ACH or CC transaction costs can be charged to the tenant, and their payments are automatically entered for me into the accounting part of Buildium. The tenant portal website is simple enough that tenants can access it on their phone, so this works for all but the most technically challenged. I literally do nothing other than wait until the day after the payment grace period to start contacting renters about non-payment. Buildium even automatically applies late payment charges for me, so there is very little to do with this method other than watch the rent roll in. For more info see www.buildium.com.
Today I use a combination of the two. For tenants that just don’t have the online skills I still accept PayNearMe, but I only offer it as a payment solution if they just flat out can’t access the only system. Even in those cases I’m starting to offer to login for them and affect payment with their debit card or money card number via the online system.
Hope this helps. There are lots of options out there, but with technology today I wouldn’t even think of having a park dropbox or manager collecting rent.
@Joshmule, What do you do with residents who would otherwise pay by check?
Well I don’t do checks, and certainly don’t do any payment via postal mail… but for those people who are used to paying by check, there is a bright side: they have a checking account. This means they can avoid the 2.75% cc fee for paying rent, and just pay the $0.75 ACH transaction charge.
If they just can’t manage their way to an internet connection, and they don’t have anyone they trust that could, they can text or show me a picture of their check, and I could use those numbers on the tenant portal to initiate payment. I even use the “remember this information for future payment” checkbox so that I only have to enter the numbers once. I won’t do so though unless I hear from them every month, or have in writing that I should run the charge on a certain day.
I do this for them only as a last resort… I let them sweat it out for a while figuring out how they can get their son or daughter to do it for them first. Automation is the key here. I don’t want to have to do anything for payment to just happen.
It’s my first 9 months in the business and I own two parks (total of 91 lots, 61 tenants). Since the parks are over 1000 miles from my home in CO, I have the tenants make a direct deposit at the local bank. The bank can accept cash, money orders, checks, credit cards, whatever. The tellers write the tenant’s name/lot # on the deposit slip and the deposit slips are available to view online at the end of each business day. This way I can check my account from my remote office and determine who has paid. So far so good
I think everyone has this wish!
We consider “knocking on doors” (to collect the rent) to be part of the manager’s job. Do you have to do this in your park, and/or does the manager do it?
In my book no one need knock on a door unless a tenant is actually late. Even then I or the manager would first call or text the tenant. Email goes out automatically saying that a late fee has been charged. Once you’ve trained tenants that the late fee gets applied one second after midnight on the 5th of the month, and that you can’t (won’t) keep that from happening, far fewer are late paying rent.
In any setup with a decent sized tenant base you’ll have someone who is still late, but minimizing that number and automating the rest isn’t all that hard to do. A park manager knocking on a door should be the absolute last step just to say “you’ve not responded to calls or texts, just want to let you know we will see you in court in a week or so unless you pay the full rent and full late fee in the next 24 hours.”
Thank you for all of your ideas. We are currently asking our tenants to deposit the money into our bank account and almost everyone is good at writing down their names but every month, there are always some payments that aren’t identified because the tenant or the bank fail to write their names even though we remind them every single month when they deposit cash and it’s a lot of hassle to figure out who those payment belongs to. I am just trying to figure out which vendor most of you use for this kind of transaction!! We are trying to choose between PayLease, Chase Bank, and other similar payments. We are currently using rent manager.
I would pre-print on a laser printer 12 months of deposit slips for the tenants with their name and unit on them so that doesn’t happen as often. It still happens from time to time, but to a lesser degree.
Thanks for the info Josh!
Quick question, what portion of your residents have bank accounts or credit cards?
My main concern to switching over to this system with my park is the majority of my residents don’t have bank accounts, and traveling to a 7-Eleven might be fairly tough for some of my more elderly residents.
I found that almost none of them have credit cards, and few of them have debit cards… many don’t know what a debit card is. This is of course because they don’t have a checking account. They had one at one time, but after they learned the hard way that writing a check doesn’t equal having money to spend, they closed their bank account with all the overdraft fees and went all cash.
What that practically means is that they pay around $5 to cash a check at the check cashing store, and then pay another $1 to $4 per money order to pay their bills. While standing in line to pay $15 or so every month because “I don’t believe in no banks”, they notice the “money card” that they can purchase and refill. Typically no one tells them that it is really a debit card, so they often don’t realize that they do have a debit card and can pay for things online.
I gave up long ago in explaining to my renters that my credit union or bank is just like their check cashing store, but that I pay zero for all those services. That said, I do find it worthwhile to explain that they can use their “money card” to pay rent with me online. Financially illiterate people work in mysterious ways, but every once in awhile the streams of their and my realities cross, and magic happens: Low Income Folks + Money Card + Public Library Internet Access = Handsfree Rent Collection
I believe strongly that it is the responsibility of a landlord to train all new tenants. I do not cater to my tenants. I teach them that it is their responsibility to insure I get my rent money by midnight on the 1st. It is not my responsibility to ever chase tenants for rent.
The majority of my tenants supply me with post dated checks for the year. Those without bank accounts send me a money order each month before the 1st of the month or deliver cash to me personally.
If a check bounces or a money order does not arrive on time they get a call and have 3 days to have cash or a money order in my hand. If not they receive a eviction notice. This is very rare as they all know if they have more than two NSfs or late’s in a year they are a target for eviction.
The bottom line is you must train your tenants to understand it is their first priority in life to insure they pay me on time it is not my responsibility to ever chase a tenant for rent. If I have a tenant that does not get this point they get an eviction notice. If that doesn’t correct their bad behaviour they get evicted. My business is based on getting paid so if a tenant does not realise the importance of that they do not fit my business plan.
I do not care what their personal life issues are and do not accept excuses. Once trained they are either good tenants or someone else’s problem.
+1 on the Tenant Training. “Yes I really am going to charge you a late fee”
joshmule: May I play devil’s advocate?
I am a tenant and you want me to incur a fee to pay you your rent. Electronic payments are a total benefit to you. You are not having to handle checks, open envelopes, try to figure out who it is from, copy them, post them, deposit them, wait for the rubber ones to bounce back, etc.
I say you should pay all of these “convenience” fees because the convenience is yours. I contracted to pay XXX in rent, you need to accept my payment by cash [crazy, but it is legal tender] or check. All other payment methods are for your convenience. Think of all of the headaches with cash and checks, now don’t you think the SAVINGS you are gaining by using other payment methods is worth 2.5-3.5% to you?
Many of your neighbours do not pay on time and cause considerable time and expense to me and my business. As a result it effects all tenants in regards to how I afford to operate my business. It is unfortunate that I am forced to require this form of payment but you can blame your neighbours for that because they do not respect me or you enough to pay on time. Sorry.
My response would be that the convenience is for both parties. I could require you to send a money order, but then you have to drive to the check cashing store / post office / etc and pay the money order fee. The credit/debit card fee is 2.75% which is steep, but the ACH transaction is $0.50. Would you like to pay $0.50 to avoid a $2 to $4 money order fee?
So really this benefits you just as much as me, but in truth I as the park owner don’t have to accept anything other than what I put in the lease. I’ve got a copy of it right here which we both signed, and it clearly indicates that this is the only method of payment to which we both agreed.