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Announcement • Product Release

Boulevard Offset: Keep More of What You Make

Share the cost of convenience with clients for a healthier, more transparent business

What would your self-care business do with an extra $9,000 in annual revenue? Would you refresh your aesthetic? Upgrade your equipment or make that change in suppliers you’ve been mulling over for months? Maybe even add another station? These kinds of improvements don’t have to remain the stuff of daydreams. And if you’re a Boulevard customer, you may not even need to change any of your offerings or prices to make them a reality.

We’re proud to introduce Boulevard Offset, an easy-to-implement, optional feature that could save the average Boulevard customer $9,600 per year in credit card processing fees. And it’s available right now.

What is Boulevard Offset and who should use it?

Boulevard Offset is a new credit card surcharge program that lets Boulevard businesses share the cost of credit card processing with their clients. This allows businesses to recoup more revenue without the need for disruptive price increases. With the introduction of Offset, Boulevard is now the only integrated payment platform in the industry to support client surcharges.

The feature works by adding a flat 3% fee to all client credit card transactions. In turn, the business only pays a 1% fee for credit cards. This allows customers to effectively recoup 99% of their product and service revenue, minimizing how much processing rates cut into your bottom line. However, due to certain state laws, Boulevard Offset is not currently available in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, or Oklahoma.

Given the continued growth of credit cards and credit-card-based digital wallets as the most popular in-store payment methods, Boulevard Offset is helpful for any self-care company that wants to eliminate a substantial source of hidden expenses. Businesses that have smaller tickets on average, like barbers and nail salons, may benefit even more from using Boulevard Offset. Why? On top of a percentage-based fee, credit card processing charges typically include a flat cost. The more small transactions your business does, the faster those costs add up.

For example, a hair salon that charges $250 for a typical two-hour session may pay 2.65% plus a $0.15 processing fee, which equals $6.78 or 2.71% of the order total. A barber that charges $25 for a half-hour haircut would pay the same processor a fee of $0.81, or 3.24% of the order total. Over a year’s worth of transactions, those higher chunks of revenue can quickly eat away at your margins.

How do I get started with Boulevard Offset?

Getting started with Boulevard Offset is simple, whether you’re already a Boulevard customer or are thinking about upgrading to the first and only client experience platform for appointment-based, self-care businesses:

  1. Register with Mastercard 30 days before you want to begin surcharging.

  2. While you wait, use our template to create signage for your entrance and point-of-sale area that informs clients of the upcoming surcharge policy, and reach out to both staff and clients to inform them of the change (more advice on that in a minute).

  3. Turn Offset on for each location in your Manage Business settings, then continue doing business as normal. Each credit card transaction will be charged the extra 3% by default, while other transactions, such as those paid with cash, debit cards, or checks, will not be affected.

Not sure how your clientele will react to the surcharge? Don’t worry, you aren’t locked in. You can turn the feature on or off at any time and return to your previous processing rates.

How to talk to staff and clients about surcharges

Any changes that increase what customers pay are inevitably a sensitive subject. But surcharges are meant to be a net positive for both Boulevard customers and their clients.

Margins are getting thinner for businesses thanks to rising inflation, but clients are feeling the financial pinch too. Nobody wants to see menu prices increase on the self-care services they look forward to all month long. Surcharges offer a more equitable and transparent alternative to across-the-board price increases — after all, it’s hardly fair to charge more for clients who pay with cash or debit because other clients’  are paying via credit card.

Integrating Boulevard Offset into your business starts with staff training. Be frank and open when discussing the impact of credit card transaction fees, and share how that impact has grown substantially in recent years. By implementing this small change that allows your business to recoup 99% of its product and service fees, you’re freeing up money that can be spent on elevating the client experience with better service and better products, all while making your business an even better place to work.

With your staff on board, it’s time to turn your attention to your regulars. Plan to let regular clients know about the incoming surcharges several weeks in advance, even before you start posting signage. After all, you’ve built a relationship with these folks and want to remind them that they’re valued. And while in-person communication is helpful, some may inevitably fall through the cracks. You can use emails and social media posts that clearly communicate the change to ensure it isn’t a surprise for anyone who relies on your business. You could even do special offers on gift cards to help savvy clients stock up before the surcharge goes into effect (both saving them money and ensuring they’ll come back to spend their card’s value).

Whether you’re crafting an email message, writing up an Insta post, or talking with a cherished client face to face, try to put things in perspective. When clients learn how these small, formerly invisible fees quickly add up to major expenses for the small businesses that help them look and feel their best, they’re more likely to understand why surcharges are positive for everybody involved. We’ll be happy to provide you with even more materials to help educate staff and clients on how Boulevard Offset works once you get started.

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