Have you ever described credit card and merchant processing fees as a cost of doing business? Or just accepted that credit card fees are what they are? If you have thought that then today’s episode is for you.
Our guest today is Justin Clegg, who is the founder of a new FinTech seeking to disrupt small business payment processing. They have figured out a way to redirect the processing fees away from the merchant.
LINKS FROM THE EPISODE:
- You can visit our guest’s website at: https://tryallset.com/
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ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Justin is an entrepreneurially-minded business leader with experience in software as a service. He co-founded three Silicon Valley startups and was selected by The Guardian as a rising star in AI and conversational commerce. Prior to startups, Justin led product and marketing efforts for Fortune 500 software companies including Intel, Oracle, and Adobe.
ABOUT BIG SKY FRANCHISE TEAM:
This episode is powered by Big Sky Franchise Team. If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):
Welcome to the Multiply Your Success Podcast, where each week we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team, and as we open today, I’m wondering if you have ever described credit card and merchant processing fees as a cost of doing business or just accepted that credit card fees are what they are. And if you’ve thought that, then today’s episode is for you. Our guest today is Justin Clegg, who’s the founder of a new FinTech seeking to disrupt the small business payment processing space. They figured out a way to redirect the processing fees away from the merchant.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:42):
Part of the reason I wanted to have Justin on the podcast is that I’m starting to see a trend in this direction. For years, I’ve seen the merchant, especially the small business owner, has paid the price of credit card processing fees with little or no protection from chargebacks. And I’m starting to see this trend now of businesses and other processing organizations that are starting to redirect those fees or maybe not all of them, but some of them back to the consumer. So let’s go ahead and jump into my interview with Justin Clegg.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (01:14):
Thanks Tom for having me on the show. I’m Justin Clegg, founder and CEO of AllSet, a FinTech startup based out of Utah.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:23):
Great. Well thanks for being here, Justin. One of the things that stood out to me right away that I’d love to just jump into is talking this idea of conversational commerce that that came up. That really stuck out to me, so I’d love for you to talk about what is it and then we can continue the conversation from there.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (01:43):
Yeah, great question. AllSet is a business that offers conversational texting that has a FinTech business model. So we define conversational commerce as really the ability to transact and make purchases, open customers wallets, all through preferred messaging channels. So we’re very bullish on SMS as a ubiquitous channel. Everybody’s got a phone, independent of whether it’s a smartphone or a non-smart phone. SMS is something that everybody is familiar with and comfortable with and knows how to use. It doesn’t require an app to download. You don’t have to learn a new UI.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (02:27):
So we leverage SMS. We power tens of thousands of concurrent messages to be able to help businesses better run their business and grow with their customers. So we’re excited about conversational commerce. There’s really a lot of developing areas. It’s a bit of a green field, whether that’s disciplines like natural language processing or entity extraction. You can learn a lot and do a lot with of conversational AI and conversational messaging. And that’s a big part of our platform and about our company today.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:10):
Great. So how does a platform like yours then help enable this conversational, especially for a small business, I’m thinking of a guy out in the field who’s trying to text message from his phone and communicate. They’re all of these text message threads going back and forth. How do you help manage and organize all of that?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (03:33):
Yeah, good question. So AllSet simplifies text message payments and text message invoicing. So we handle the ability and we help businesses generate and create payment links that can then be sent and automated to their customers. And the experience is really simple and delightful. As a customer, if you’ve recently received a service, you’ll get a text that’s powered by AllSet. You’ll open up the link, you’ll tap and the link, it will show you a secure checkout page, you’ll enter your card info, which is stored securely, and you can complete the payment right there on the spot.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (04:15):
So we’re displacing the status quo of cash, cheques. We often see Venmo or peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle. And more important is thinking about the fees that are associated with credit cards. And businesses today are really struggling with excessive credit card fees, which we’re eating from their margins. And AllSet is offering zero cost payment processing. So we’re able to redirect those fees in a compliant way across all 50 states. So it’s the most simple payment experience through text without the fees, and that’s our main value proposition today.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:00):
Yeah, that’s incredible. So in terms of those fees and managing that, anyone tuning in, hopefully that caught their attention because as a business leader, we all face those credit card fees that we just automatically assume depending on your volume, that it’s going to be two and a half to three and a half percent of your sale going out the door no matter what. So without getting into all the… I’m sure there are a lot of technical details into it. How does that all work? Because someone’s probably thinking, “Well, that sounds too good to be true, Justin.” So help overcome that.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (05:37):
Sure. The technical term is a fee redirect. So when a merchant creates a text message invoice, we take that fee which we define as a convenience fee, and we’re actually able to pass that on to the client. Now there’s certainly rules and regulations on which states this applies to, but we give the client the opportunity to choose their payment method, whether that’s credit, debit or ACH. And then they’ll also take on that convenience fee, which ends up saving the merchant tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (06:13):
For a business that’s doing a million dollars a year in annual revenue, they’re typically looking at 30 to $40,000 in credit card fees, which we can help offset by passing those to the clients that they’re servicing. And then we also have flexibility in terms of waiving those fees altogether or splitting them 50/50 or 75/20 and making it just very flexible. And I think that’s the big opportunities, making sure that businesses and their clients that they’re serving have that choice in how they’d like to pay and in how they’d like to address and handle those fees.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:54):
How have you seen this impact? Can you give us a few use cases of some of your clients or some superstars you’ve seen go through this?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (07:02):
Yeah. So since January AllSet has completed over 40,000 transactions. We’ve also hit an annualized run rate of 2.5 million in charges or transactions annualized. So we’re seeing good momentum and traction in terms of offering a simple and convenient way to pay. Now we work with businesses across a variety of sectors within small medium business. So whether those are contractors, so think painters, roofers, plumbers. We also are talking to a lot of outdoor care companies, so think landscaping, pest control. And then we also service cleaning businesses.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (07:49):
Now it doesn’t stop at home services. We think there’s massive opportunity in a number of other professional services and small medium businesses doing payments today. But yeah, we’ve seen some good early signs of traction. We’re a small six person early stage startup, so there’s certainly risk and pivoting and a lot of learning, but we’re doing our best to offer a best in class service from our customer support and success teams to making the product look beautiful and delightful to the customers that we’re working with. So yeah, those would be just some of our early data points that we’re headed in the right direction and that the model is working.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:38):
Yeah. And the folks who tend to listen in at this stage tend to be either franchisors or they have franchising on their mind. So how have you seen this work with franchise companies, but you’ve got the franchisor and franchisees. Are you working with any in that space?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (08:59):
Yeah, we do. So we have businesses we’ve worked with that we’ll call internally multi-locations, so 100 plus locations or 100 plus franchises. So whether that’s a pest control company, a cleaning franchise. And what we’re doing is effectively collaborating very closely with the lead or with the corporate arm of the franchise to help them understand some of the tools and technology gaps that they may be experiencing. And then by partnering with them at the corporate level, then we can essentially issue pilots and we’ll identify 10 of the leading franchise owners and then roll out a beta. And then once we’ve demonstrated and prove success within those first five to 10 locations, then we’ll start to see more of a rollout.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (09:57):
So it’s definitely a mid-market play and our job is to ensure that we have the right resources and can set the right expectations in how we want to support these businesses that are obviously much larger than us and making sure that we’re just very upfront about what we can and can’t do, but also being there as a technology partner in building the world that they would like to see. So those are opportunities and conversations that are actively in place that we’re seeing today.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:30):
Yeah. Well, I would think based on the size that you described your organization at, that it really is more like a partnership in working with these folks. You’re small and nimble and able to adjust with changing trends that sometimes maybe happen daily or monthly, very frequent changes that are occurring. So I think that’s a value add I would imagine for your clients and customers you’re working with.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (10:55):
Definitely, yeah. And we are experts in handling communications. We’re experts in understanding really a lot of the laws and regulation around the handling of fees as it relates to credit card payments and processing. So a lot of things are changing. Being a FinTech company I think certainly creates a lot of expectation around how security is handled, how people’s money is handled, and we want to make sure that we’re supporting these businesses and instilling confidence in the way that we do work with them.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:38):
Yeah. Well Justin, this is great time for us to make a transition in the show where we ask every guest the same four questions before they go. And the first question is, have you had a miss or two in your career and something you learned from it?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (11:52):
Yes, plenty of misses. I think a big one, in 2017, there was a FinTech company in Utah that gave me an opportunity to come and work with their team. They were very small, and I looked at FinTech and I said that, “I don’t know if that is as exciting of an opportunity for me at this time.” I said no and then about five years later, that company sold for about two and a half billion. So I won’t say which one. You can do your homework online, but technology can be serendipitous in the sense that opportunities come and go and we hope to see and create more opportunities like that in this Utah ecosystem.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:42):
Great. Well, let’s look at the opposite side of things now and talk about a make or two. You have a great background, so I’d love for you to share some wins along the way.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (12:54):
Sure. I’d like to think I put myself in a position in Silicon Valley where we’re at the forefront of on-demand delivery. So I had early exposure to businesses that were thinking about on-demand delivery over text messaging, and spent a lot of time thinking about how to recruit drivers and poach them from companies like Uber and Lyft, and essentially help them deliver products instead of people. And being at the forefront of that circa 2015, 2016, I think really set an interesting pace and precedent for what we now have today is businesses like DoorDash and Instacart and Uber Eats among countless other delivery services. So learned a lot in that space. And on-demand delivery is labor intensive, it’s low margin, and I think there’s just as many exciting opportunities in messaging as that develops, as well as payments in FinTech. So that’s been a good career learning and insight, but lots ahead and lots to learn.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:12):
Great. Well, the name of the show is Multiply Your Success and have you used a multiplier or two to grow yourself, your companies, or anything in between there?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (14:24):
Yeah. Being a founder is a lonely journey, and there’s certainly a weight of leadership that myself and my leadership team, I think all feel in ensuring success and a positive outcome for our investors and folks who have spent a lot of time in us and in what we’re building. Multipliers, I think are one, just protecting mental health and prioritizing that. And then the second is just physical health. So investing in whether that’s a trainer or a gym membership and then being consistent and thinking about nutrition, those things have, I think, unlocked a lot of energy and output and you have to take care of your body and your mind. And if you can’t take care of those things, you really can’t take care of a company and others that are also working towards the same vision. So that’s been a big multiplier and something that I’m always thinking about is how do you craft and design and build the body and the mind that I’d like to have to be able to support the demands of and the stress of this job and encouraging my team to do the same.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:46):
Yeah. Well, and the final question we ask every guest is, what does success mean to you?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (15:55):
Good question. I think success can be relative to whatever the desires of your heart are. For some it’s monetary or financial for others, it’s having freedom to be able to choose where and how you spend your time. And I think personally, success for me, I think really evolves a lot around family and time with family and building a family. And I think that truly is one of the most important things. So I think success to me is, did I develop good relationships with family and friends? Was I able to leave people better? And then can you create economic impact? And whether that’s generational wealth or job creation, it’s less about head count. And I think just more about the impact on what this company or any other future companies had on people, their livelihoods and creating favorable economic conditions.
Justin Clegg, AllSet (17:15):
So we feel really lucky to I think, be in an ecosystem where we can start companies. I think the tools and resources that are available now are exciting. It’s not hard to start a company. It’s really hard to execute and find problems that people are willing to pay for and then scaling. So we have a lot to learn in those areas. But yeah, I’d probably just summarize that as success being defined as being a good person, having a framework that leaves people better, and then focusing on family. And those are some areas that are important to me right now.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:56):
And Justin, before we go, is there anything you were hoping to share or get across that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Justin Clegg, AllSet (18:03):
Come check out our website. It’s tryallset.com. If you’re a business owner or a franchise owner, come learn more. And we offer a free payments platform. So come take a look. If we can help lower your credit card fees, we’d love to help and the website is tryall.com.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:24):
Justin, thank you so much for a fantastic interview and let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is when Justin described the definition of what conversational commerce is, that was a new term to me. And he talked about the ability to transact and communicate with your customers in their preferred method of communication or preferred channel. And his specifically is regarding SMS and text messaging. Takeaway number two is about the fee redirect and that this is a going trend. And when he said he’s seen clients that are generating approximately a million dollars in revenue, they’re saving 30 to $40,000 a year by switching to his program. And I thought that’s substantial. I mean, if you think about 30 or $40,000 a year, that could be a part-time employee or a marketing campaign at your company, it’s pretty significant.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:18):
Takeaway number three is just something that Justin mentioned right in the midst of talking about what success means to him. And I thought it was a great nugget. He said, “It’s hard to find a problem that people are willing to pay for a solution.” And I thought that was great. That’s what he’s trying to solve in these other tech companies and just any other creative organization. They’re trying to find problems that people have, find a solution and then figure out a way to monetize it. And now it’s time for today’s win-win.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:52):
So today’s ties back to this fee redirect that Justin was talking about, and it’s a speculation I have really. So this is just again, purely speculative, just some ideas that I have in my mind. But I see this fee redirect as a real opportunity for merchants and consumers to now be sharing the cost and these merchant processing. And to me, I think it’s a win-win because the consumer will now start to see these extra costs of purchasing these goods or services that they’re buying. I think that this could be a stepping stoner starting point to help reduce a huge crisis we have in America, which is the consumer credit and consumer debt crisis I should say that we have.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:41):
So from an altruistic stance, I view this as an opportunity to maybe put in view of the general consumer to see the cost of that merchant fee and maybe cause them to not use credit card and force them to use a direct more cash-like transaction through maybe an ACH or cash on hand, which may reduce them expanding the debt that they currently have or maybe even reducing it. So that’s my win-win for today.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:17):
So that’s the episode today folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone might be ready to franchise their business, take their franchise company to the next level, please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having you back next week.