Savings, robberies, and counting: Why one Seattle business went cashless
There has been a big push of late from businesses to get rid of all that pesky cash they have to count at the end of the day. During Sunday’s big game in Atlanta, the NFL is testing going cashless with numerous tap-to-pay terminals, and recently the Tampa Bay Rays announced plans to convert Tropicana Field into the country’s first cash-free sports venue.
Seattle businesses are increasingly weighing the option of going in this direction as well. The Candy, Mike and Todd Show spoke with Colin Schilling, CEO of Schilling Hard Cider, who explained why his business chose to go cashless. He was one of the first.
“When we looked at the breakdown, we were already doing 90 percent of our business in credit cards,” Schilling said. “So in terms of paying that little bit extra processing fee for that last 10 percent–when you compare that to the time it took to count the cash, take it to the bank, and process everything involved with cash, we were actually saving money by not accepting cash.”
Back in January of last year, a Starbucks store in downtown Seattle at Russell Investments Center began testing only doing cashless transactions. For Schilling, it’s as much about cost as it is about his employees having to count it all up at the end of the day.
“We have some employees who were fantastic workers, great with customers, but not so good with math,” he said. “And so at the end of the night when it came to counting cash, putting the tips in envelopes and things like that, there were just constant issues in terms of getting the math right.”
At his business in Fremont, Schilling says he hasn’t received a great deal of pushback on the move from customers, though on occasion some have complained that maintaining a cashless business is illegal. Not so, says Schilling.
“Cash only has to be legal tender for government agencies like the post office. It’s more of a thing of principle for people who really do like to pay cash,” Schilling said. “Or every once and while you get someone who is credit-cardless, and if someone doesn’t have one, generally they’re with a group of friends and one of them pays for it.”
If saving money and his employees not having to do math wasn’t enough to convince Schilling, getting robbed twice certainly did.
“For a number of other businesses in Fremont, it’s pretty common to have robberies where they’re just looking for cash. The last time we got robbed, they came in — and we have a safe that’s bolted to the floor that we used to use for cash — but they didn’t see the sign on the door that said we don’t accept cash.”
“That safe takes me about four minutes to open when I know the combination, and they cracked it in 60 seconds with zero damage. These guys were total pros,” Schilling said.
“But hilariously when they opened it up, it just had a bunch of receipts in it. There was no cash on site.”