No matter how passionate you are about what you do, please don’t forget you’re in business to make money. When you land a new client, you need to be ready to easily accept their payment.
The ease of tools like CashApp and Venmo make them popular choices for professionals who want to process payments in person without swiping a card. But if you’re a coach, consultant, or other service provider who wants to present a polished customer experience, I suggest using a more robust and professional option.
How Will You Process Payments for Your Business?
For retail businesses who process high volumes of transactions, fees are often the number one consideration. If you’re a service-based provider, you likely won’t be processing as many transactions as product-based businesses, though the transaction amounts may be higher. You may, however, have other considerations that your retail-based counterparts don’t need to consider, such as:
- Do you want to set up automatic recurring billing with automatic payments for clients who are contracted to pay you the same amount each month?
This eliminates having to send invoices and chasing down payments.
- Do you want to be able to send invoices or contracts directly from your payment processor?
- Will you need to manually process payments? This could be critical if you conduct discovery calls and want to be able to close the sale immediately to prevent your prospect getting cold feet.
- Do you need your payment processing system to integrate with other online tools you use in your business?
- Even if your billing is traditionally processed online, will you ever need to process in-person payments, such as book sales at an event?
There are plenty of options out there that provide similar features, but you’ll find that each may execute better in certain areas than their competitors. In my knowledge-based business, I use three different payment systems: PayPal, Square and Stripe. Below, I’ll share what I like most about each of them. I’ve included referral links that may provide special offers if you use choose to use one of the apps.
PayPal completely changed the game for small and solo business owners when it comes to easily accepting both online and in-person payments. One of the things I like most about PayPal is that it easily and often automatically integrates with many of the platforms I use, like the online courses I offer in Kajabi.
If you have higher-ticket products and services, your clients also have access to PayPal Credit or Pay in 4 options that are wildly popular now, which may allow more people to say yes to doing business with you. PayPal also lets you set up recurring payments as subscriptions that can renew at the intervals you set, continue indefinitely, end on a specific date or after a certain number of payments. You can also use the virtual terminal to process client orders without the credit card present.
Another thing I like is that PayPal offers working capital loans that deduct a percentage from each sale for repayment. The lending rates are a bit high, but if you don’t yet qualify for traditional business credit, this can be a useful tool. You can also get a debit card connected to your account that allows you to make purchases or withdraw cash easily. Transfers to your bank account take 1-2 business days, or immediately for a small fee.
Square seems to be putting more energy into their banking tools and loans, which could eliminate the need for having a separate business bank account (although I recommend doing so to build your business credit).When the PPP loan application process was launched, many banks had backlogs and system glitches that kept small business owners anxiously waiting. I was able to apply through Square and have the money in my account the next day! If you have employees, you can manage scheduling, timecards and payroll for employees and contractors as an affordable add-on service.
One of the things I like most about Square is the ease of their invoicing and recurring payment setup. Although PayPal also does this, it’s a bit clunkier. You can also send estimates and contracts, and they also offer a virtual terminal like PayPal.
I built an online bookstore with Square (powered by Wix) that I use with a QR code to sell products during my speaking engagements, and it’s also linked to my primary website for people who want autographed copies instead of buying on Amazon. Like PayPal, Square also offers point-of-sale purchases through the app. My hairstylist uses Square to set appointments, and I love the ease it provides. You can even create gift cards!
I won’t get into a lot of detail because I don’t use it much, but I have had experience using Stripe as an integration in one of the platforms I use to with my coaching clients. One of the things I like about Stripe compared to Square and PayPal is lower transaction fees. Although the fees are tax deductible, it still hurts to see huge chunks of money vanish from a transaction! Stripe is very flexible for web developers if you need custom integrations. One thing I don’t like about Stripe is that you don’t have instant access to your money; it takes about three days or so for a transfer.
To sum it up, there are plenty of tools out there that you can use, but if you want to present a higher level of professionalism to your clients, while making it easier to manage your data for tax season, find yourself a good payment processing system.
Do you have a payment system you love? Send me a message and tell me why you like it.
Tired of the overwhelm and isolation of building your business by yourself? Join the Startup Life Support mastermind community.