Magazine for professional home renovators.

Got a cash flow crunch? Help solve it with Square’s free credit card reader for your smartphone or tablet

If you’re a contractor, cash is king. Slow-paying customers will kill your cash flow. That’s not fun at all.

So why not get your customers to pay you by credit card, right in their homes (or anywhere else)?

To do this, the device you need to plug into your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad is called Square. If you’re a contractor, you can request your free card reader here.

In this video, Canadian Contractor publisher Rob Koci chats with Square’s Swati Mylavarapu about how Square works.

Basically, you need the little card reader gadget and you need to download Square’s app. You can order the gadget online at the above link and it will be mailed to you. Or you can buy one at participating retailers (which include the Apple Store, Best Buy, Staples, Target and more… see

The whole process of downloading the app and typing in your bank information, etc., only takes 10 to 15 minutes. Not a bad investment of your time to help solve your cash flow problems, huh?

When you are set up, and have the gadget plugged into your phone or tablet, you simply hand it to your customer, who swipes their card. (Or you can do it for them.) Then, the customer signs on the screen. You have a permanent record of their transaction.

Even better, if you have people working for you, with Square’s Mobile Staff feature you can set each of them up with their own sub-accounts (all under your own master account) and you can see their sales activity in nifty reports that tell you who sold what, to who, when and what it was for.

The money shows up in your bank account by the next business day.

And finally, you don’t need to worry about which credit card the customer uses. No matter which card they use, you will only be charged (at time of writing) 2.75% to process the payment.

Canadian Contractor thinks Square will go a long way to helping contractors, renovators and repair people to greatly improve their cash flow – and keep better records of payments.

If you have any questions or comments about Square, please email Rob Koci at We will pass them onto the folks at Square.



Posted by
Rob Koci is the publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine. 647 407 0754
9 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Alec Caldwell

    Yes Rob I totally agree with you and our members have been using this for the last 18 or so months.

  2. Alec Caldwell

    Sorry Rob….meant to say our CARAHS members

  3. Wow this is a high fee for cc payment this could have a big impact on bottom line

    • Steve Payne

      Retailers pay 1.5 to 3.0 per cent, depending on the credit card used and the size of the transaction. They do this to facilitate transactions and to keep customers. I don’t see any major retailer having a CASH OR CHEQUE only policy and yet, we see that as the norm for renovation contracting. And so the question I ask, in return is, why?

  4. Credit cards are OK, but some customers want to pay by debit transaction. Square does not accept debit payments in Canada. In the US it does, but the banking rules in the US are different than in Canada. In Canada debit transactions are run as a non profit by the banking industry. I am not sure, but I think that the US uses a percentage as the transaction charge. The Canadian government won’t allow the banks to change this. I would definitely use Square if it accepted debit transactions in Canada at the current fee structure or a possible slight increase (but not a percentage).

  5. It would be fine if it actually worked. I find you have to swipe a card at least 10 to 20 times before it will read it. I complained about this and was told it must be my technique. I don’t think so.

    • Your technique, and several thousand others as well, Steve. That was mentioned in the reviews I read as well.

  6. I was set to jump in with Square when I read online reviews that warned about deposits on large transactions being held for 30 days or longer. Worse, “large” was defined as over $250. Not a large amount for a contractor! Also mentioned was lack of a customer service line – all problems being handled via email, and not in a very timely fashion.

    Can anyone address this from personal experience?

  7. One of my clients working in this industry warned me that I would have to support any loss resulting from a large amount fraud (more that $ 50, like…) since I did not use the chip with password… The merchant is only protected using the chip.

    Beware of the different laws in Canada (or is it only in Quebec ?)

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