Two years ago, Mike Kochergen, President and Owner of All Valley Environmental and Green Valley Recycling, found a simple way to measurably reduce costs and increase profits—without any substantial investment or disruption. Today he continues to enjoy the benefits of what he discovered back then.
Serving hundreds of customers in the Fresno area, All Valley Environmental Inc. is based in the Central Valley of California. The company is committed to the sustainability of California with a unique operation of a 100 percent diversion rate from landfills.
Established in 2001 and accepting green waste from waste haulers, landscapers and even home owners, Green Valley prides itself in offering sustainable solutions to assist in landfill diversion. Green Valley Recycling is committed to “Closed Loop Recycling”, meaning that green waste accepted at the facility is made into OMRI certified Organic Compost available for purchase.
All Valley Environmental and Green Valley Recycling have a commitment to customer service as a top priority.
Adding to the Bottom Line
Looking to increase their bottom-line profit, Kochergen took an appointment in 2017 with Payzone Systems agent, Jim Woods and he discovered that Payzone had an automatic and legally compliant way to offset the cost of taking credit cards from his customers. Utilities, gas stations, schools and many government agencies have been doing it for decades, thanks to special business classifications with the card brands and rules allowing cost recovery.
However, Kochergen was not aware that recycling facilities could do this legally, and he did not know what risks or trade-offs there might be if he switched to this form of payment processing. “When we found this could reduce our costs by 2 percent, that got my attention. We’re always looking for ways to protect and add to our bottom line. I trusted my rep, Jim, who explained how it all works. He showed us examples and made a simple plan for the switch,” he says.
Payzone Systems, headquartered in the San Francisco, CA Bay Area, is an independent sales organization for core credit card and ACH payment processors such as Elavon, TSYS and others. Payzone Systems tailors its solutions to fit the needs of large and small clients across many different industries, retail, B2B, education and government entities.
A Successful Transition
Very little was required of Mike’s staff during the transition. There were no real upfront costs and Payzone offered many ways to accept payments, including electronic bank transfer. Payzone provided the company with a new counter top credit card terminal with their proprietary cash discounting software. Kochergen kept it simple, accepting cash, checks and cards. The change produced the results he was promised from the day it was implemented. “It was about time someone figured out a way to get the costs to ‘0’ on credit cards for operators like us,” says Kochergen. When Kochergen is ready to add electronic invoicing and payment, he can easily add that too.
Customers value choice when it comes to payment, so accepting credit cards encourages recycling activity. Customers embraced the new payment system and there was no push-back or complaints about the new payment policy and fees. “We have two companies. Each had a good result,” Kochergen states. “Green Valley Recycling charges customers a fee to dump green waste that we use for our composting. Those customers still present a fair amount of cards for payment, but they know our policy upfront before they pay and just accept the fees.”
Kochergen continues, “One of our operations charges customers to pick up their used fry oils. Most of these customers now send checks to pay their invoices. We got the results we needed while also eliminating credit card fees we would have otherwise had to pay for those customers who still use cards.”
The stand-alone terminals were installed within a few minutes once delivered to the business. Signs were posted and the policy was posted on invoices. All of it, including listening to the sales presentation, signing the application, installing and leaning about then new terminals and putting up signs took a few hours in total. Had billing and web payments been added, it would have added maybe another hour of work for their website provider. For a change requiring less than one business day to realize more than a percentage point of immediate gains is phenomenal. Kochergen smiles, recalling his own doubts, however he stresses, “Our business has not slipped at all. In fact, we have seen an increase in both businesses.”
Green Valley Recycling and All Valley Environmental provide solid examples of how any operation in the recycling industry can cut costs and add to their bottom line with minimal effort and zero disruption to their daily operations. Payzone can enable easier and faster methods of payment than many recyclers accept today while dramatically cutting costs. As Kochergen will tell you, this method of offsetting credit card fees deserves serious consideration, “We found the 2 to 3 percent in cost reductions we were looking for. Our bottom line is growing. And it works just like Jim said.” | WA
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