Small-business advice: Take credit cards

Dear Karen: My home-based business sells $25,000 annually. My clients want credit card payment options, but is that financially viable?

Answer: Here’s the real question: Can you afford to lose current and prospective clients because you don’t accept credit cards? Fees, which will probably run 2% to 4% per transaction, can be built into your pricing structure, says Paul Nisenbaum, a credit card consultant with

“Setting up your business to receive online credit card transactions will involve some initial paperwork, but once your system is in place, it is not complicated for you or your clients,” Nisenbaum said.

Look for a reputable, full-service payment provider who will set you up with fair pricing. Make sure you also get personal training on using the system and ongoing technical support, Nisenbaum said.


• Holding company might not pay off

Dear Karen: My group dental practice has a common holding entity that pays business tax on gross receipts. The doctors also pay business tax. Isn’t that unfair?

Answer: As a separate business, your holding entity must pay taxes on its own receipts, over and above the taxes paid by each dentist, said Donald Lucove, an accountant with Lucove, Say & Co. in Calabasas.

Presumably, the holding company was established for business advantage. If it is not achieving the results you intended, talk to your accountant and reevaluate the arrangement.


Small-business questions? E-mail Karen at