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Zoom Zoom Bowen is Bowen Island’s original and sole scooter rental company. They offer easy-to-drive, retro-style, automatic Yamaha Vino 50 scooters that riders can rent to explore beautiful Bowen Island. After a year-long process to amend a by-law in order to operate on the island, Jamie Woodall and her husband opened their doors on May 7th.
The ability to accept credit cards was crucial. The nature of Zoom Zoom Bowen requires the ability to take a security deposit of $300 for each scooter. “People are just not walking around with that kind of cash. I’d say at least 95% of people are paying by credit card. If I didn’t have the ability to process credit cards, then I wouldn’t have a business.” When Jamie began her search for payment solutions, she struggled to find a system that allowed her to pre-authorize deposits.
Since she had used Square before, that’s where Jamie began her research process. Square was perfect for her previous business but unfortunately not for Zoom Zoom Bowen as they didn’t have the pre-authorization functionality. Next, she reached out to a U.S.-based payment processor but heard back months after her initial contact. She then turned to Shopify but was misinformed that the mobile POS could perform pre-authorizations. By that time, she had signed up as a new customer and had no other option on that first busy weekend than to charge the cards and then refund the deposits. Unfortunately, with those transactions, she discovered that it could take up to two weeks for the customer to receive their deposits back. “I was getting really frustrated. I was a brand new business and didn’t want to get a reputation as having an inefficient or ineffective transaction system. I did my homework, got on the phone with a Payfirma customer service rep, and found out that I could do pre-authorizations using the point-of-sale app on my phone. It’s been absolutely fantastic!”
The non-negotiable requirement that Jamie needed her payment processor to provide was pre-authorizations. “For my business, the difference between a mobile system which allows pre-auth and one which does not, makes ALL the difference! This absolutely gives me the tools I need to get riders out on the road smoothly and efficiently. I can spend more time teaching my customers to ride and introducing them to the island, rather than fiddling around with the payment. It allows me to offer much better customer service across the board. I can also trust in the fact that after capturing the payment, people will get their deposits released quickly and securely.” Two other elements factored into her decision. It had to have a degree of user-friendliness, “in that sense, Payfirma has been great”, and it needed to be secure, “which I feel like it has been.”
Ultimately, these three criteria helped Jamie make the decision to partner with Payfirma.
Getting Zoom Zoom Bowen up and running with Payfirma required minimal effort. “I spent about half an hour on the phone with Samantha. She was amazing and super informative, and told me everything I needed to know. From there, she sent me the link to fill out the form, and it was all very intuitive. It was all really straightforward, and we were approved quickly – so that was great!”
Jamie uses Payfirma’s mobile app and card reader to accept payments. There are two charges for every renter: a rental fee and a deposit (which they get back once the bikes are returned undamaged). When riders walk in to rent scooters, she pre-authorizes the rental fee and the deposit together, and once they return, she simply captures the rental fee. The pre-authorization function helps her keep it all as one transaction, rather than two separate ones. This is crucial as it saves a lot of time. “I often have six people standing around waiting, so it’s just easier for me to pre-auth everything and then capture the rental fee afterwards.”
For people that want to book ahead and reserve bikes, Jamie charges them 50% of the rental fee by inputting their card number manually into the mobile app. Riders then pay the remainder when they arrive, along with the damage deposit.
Jamie was impressed with the level of attentiveness and efficiency of Payfirma’s customer support. “The response time has been incredible; the customer service just rocks!” She had a customer from France who wanted to rent a couple scooters, but his card kept declining. Jamie contacted Payfirma support and “within two minutes, I had a tech on the phone – which was great.” The support team was able to confirm that they see all three transaction attempts and that it had nothing to do with the Payfirma system. The code that came up had to do with the customer’s bank. “That was great – concrete information from Payfirma that I could present to my client.” The customer tried once more and got a message on the ATM about his chip, so then Jamie keyed his credit card number into the mobile app, bypassing the card reader, and the transaction went through. “The speed with which Payfirma responded was super helpful to me. I made that sale as a result – it’s amazing.”
Payfirma simply aligned best with Zoom Zoom Bowen’s needs and values. “I feel like Payfirma mirrors my own business. In terms of my business goals, I wanted to offer a really reliable service, meaning my scooters would be well-maintained, always be full of gas, and come with good helmets. Everything would be reliable, and people would go away feeling like they had been really well taken care of. And I would say the same about Payfirma – you have been super responsive. You made me feel like my problem is your problem, and if I’m struggling through something, you guys are struggling through it too.”
After a very successful first season, Jamie is delighted to have chosen Payfirma and is now referring other people to the company. “I know I can trust Payfirma to take good care of my business needs, my customers, and other business owners I am now sending your way.”