Banking And Money Matters
At the age of 42, former lawyer Stephen Miller opted for a career change and set up his own sandwich-coffee bar. Despite the challenges and hard work, he has found it very satisfying to set up and run his own business.
Banking and money matters
One extra expense right at the start is the float. £100 will probably be sufficient. Obviously you should have a reasonable selection of notes and coins. Some people take out the next day’s float at the end of the day and leave it in the shop. Personally I prefer not to leave money in the shop overnight. It’s your choice, but if you do leave money overnight check with your insurance company or insurance brokers that it is covered. Always remember to leave the till open. Insurance companies will almost certainly not pay for damage to tills left closed overnight.
Paying by credit/debit card
Should you offer your customers the possibility of paying by credit or debit card? The use of plastic is becoming far more widespread though it still takes me by surprise when I see someone in a pub paying for a modest round of drinks in this way. I do think it encourages people to spend more, in which case it is potentially good for business. However, you will be charged approximately 2–3% of each transaction for this service. I’m not in any doubt that sooner or later payment by plastic card will become the norm. Equally, given the size of most transactions, I think sandwich-coffee bars will be amongst the last to succumb.
Paying by cheque
If people pay by cheque it is vital that staff know the correct procedure for checking bank cards and noting relevant details. You should also consider charging an extra 25p or so per transaction to reflect the bank charge you will incur for processing the cheque.
What about Luncheon Vouchers? Again the charge to you is about 2% and again there is a certain amount of paperwork and administration. You post the Luncheon Vouchers to an organisation called Accor Services who then post a cheque to you eight working days after they receive the vouchers. For a charge of 5% they will reduce the eight day period to one day. For more information contact: Accor Services, 50 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SWIV 2RS. Tel: 0207 887 1278. Fax: 0207 931 0700. www.accorservices.co.uk
Banking the takings
You will probably want to bank the takings two or three times a week. You might be taken aback at what banks charge for handling lots of cash. One way round this is to pay the bulk of the cash into a building society (or one of the banks which were formerly building societies) and then have them write a cheque in favour of your bank. It’s quite a lot of messing around but the saving amounts to many hundreds of pounds a year – and you soon get into a system.
Alternatively you can pay bills in cash and cut out the bank altogether. However, the cash departments of some of your suppliers will be many miles from your shop so that posting cheques is the obvious method of payment.
There are two situations where security – of you and your staff – must be considered:
- 1.when cashing up at the end of the day. Any reasonably smart criminal will realise that this process happens at about the same time every day. It is therefore important that before cashing up begins the shop should be locked.
- 2.when going to the bank to get change. In this situation a member of staff will be walking along the road carrying quite a lot of cash. Make sure that this outing takes place at different times of day and that the money is in a polythene bag or something similar which will not attract the wrong kind of attention.