This week we are discussing GETTING PAID. Have you ever faced a non-paying client? These posts should help you prevent future problems. Yesterday, I shared how your contract can safeguard you from non-payment. Today, let’s talk about ways to make it easy for your customers to pay you. The easier you make the payment process, the better you’ll be at getting paid.
You want to keep invoicing as simple as possible. There are some great invoicing tools which enable you to request payment from a customer in a few simple clicks. Clients are able to submit payment quickly. Here are my favorites:
I like curdbee (www.curdbee.com) because it’s not only simple, it’s inexpensive. Essentially curdbee is just a prettier way to send a paypal or google checkout invoice. (I’m not a fan of those platform’s interfaces.) You create an invoice with you customer’s name, email address, add a line item services and amount, and send. Voila! The client gets an http link that they then open up to view your invoice. They are given payment options on paypal or google checkout. (If the client wants to pay by check, you can also give them your mailing address to snail-mail a check.) The trial is free and then the first plan starts at $5/month.
Curdbee is ONLY an invoicing system. This is not accounting software and doesn’t integrate with any accounting software. You’ll still need to input your invoices and payments received into your accounting software. Revisit our Accounting 101 for bookkeeping tips.
I like Freshbooks (www.freshbooks.com) because it integrates with 37signals’ Basecamp and Mailchimp. It offers similar functionality to Curdbee, but has some great add-ons such as time-tracking and expense tracking. Payments are also collected via paypal or Google checkout. Paid Freshbook accounts begins at $19.95/month with a free 30-day trial.
Freshbooks has expanded its service to include bookkeeping (accounting software). I haven’t dug into the bookkeeping features, but I think the bookkeeping features are quite limited and you are probably better off using a more tried-and-true software like Quickbooks. (I don’t know about you but I’m hesitant to begin systemizing all of my bookkeeping using a system that doesn’t have much history. Recreating accounting records is a nightmare.)
Quickbooks (www.quickbooks.intuit.com) allows you to do all of your accounting (bookkeeping) and invoicing in ONE place. There is no need to invoice a client using one tool and then having to input your invoices using something else. The latest versions of Quickbooks allow you to create estimates, break up payments, send recurring invoices, and receive payment through Paypal. Quickbooks also has it’s own credit card processing service.
Other Credit Card Processors
I have intentionally left out the traditional credit card merchant processing. I think the fees tend to be astronomical for a small business. I also don’t think it’s the most user-friendly payment form for many of wedding clients, unless they are physically in your office. (So often I am emailing a client their invoices.) If you do find that your clients want to pay by credit card in person, then talk to your business bank about their credit card processing options. You can also check out Square (www.squareup.com). I love how Square allows you to accept payment from anyone anywhere using your iPhone or iPad. Again, make sure to read the fine print on the fees here.
Systemizing Your Collections
Streamline your payment process. If you break up your fees into 3 payments for clients, look into an invoicing tool that let’s you set up recurring invoices. If you want to have more control over sending invoices manually, create an invoicing and payment schedule whereby you are reminded to invoice clients. (I put these reminders on my Google calendar.) Always give your clients a due date and follow up if you haven’t received payment.
I learned something a long time ago in a previous sales job… My friend was the collections clerk for the company. She called clients with outstanding payments every other day. When money is tight for someone, the person that gets paid first is the one that sends out the reminders and the due dates. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. YOU need to be ON TOP of GETTING PAID because it’s not always going to be the client’s priority to pay you.
What do you think? What do you use to make it easy to invoice and collect payment from clients? Share your tips in a comment below.