Easy Ways to Collect Payments from Clients

Collecting payments from clients via credit card processing

Once a job is done, you need to get paid for the services that you provided. The easier you make it for your clients to pay, the more likely they are to pay you in full and on time. That’s why it’s so important to develop a straightforward and simple payment process that works for both your clients and your business. 

In this resource, we’ll cover the steps you need to take to:

  • Choose a payment processor
  • Define payment terms
  • Collect payments from clients

Step 1: Choosing a payment processor

Before you decide how to collect payments, you need to choose a payment processor. Processors make debit and credit card transactions safe, secure, and valid. You may not have realized it, but you use a payment processor whenever you enter your credit card information online, or use your card at a store.

Payment processors can help you to: 

  • Receive payments quickly and easily
  • Offer different payment options to clients (i.e. online or in-person)
  • Improve accounting and financial record-keeping
  • Collect payment in installments via consumer financing

Some payment processors also allow you to accept payment through Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also issue refunds, collect deposits, and get support during the event of a disputed payment

Most good payment processors work with major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. 

Costs for payment processors vary depending on the processor and plan that you choose, but most charge a base interest rate on each invoice and an additional fee per transaction. For example, you’ll see rates written as “2.5% + 30¢.”

Some popular payment processors for home service businesses include Square or Jobber Payments

When choosing a payment processor, carefully review the plans that they offer and how well they’ll work with your existing accounts. For example, Jobber can sync with Quickbooks, allowing you to book jobs, send invoices, and receive payments using just one software. 

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Step 2: Define payment terms

After choosing a payment processor, you need to determine your payment terms. For example:

  • When are payments due? On the day the invoice is received or within 14 days?
  • Will clients incur late fees on unpaid invoices?
  • Which payment methods do you accept?

Payment terms and options should be included on every invoice so your clients aren’t left in the dark. The more clear you are about how and when you expect clients to pay, the easier it will be for them to follow your lead. 

service business invoice with payment terms and options

Create a custom invoice with payment terms, like the one above with our free quote and invoice app.

Step 3: Collect payment from clients

When it comes to actually collecting payments from clients, you have a variety of options. As long as you have a payment processor in place, you can accept payments in many different ways.

Here are some of the most popular ways for home service businesses to collect money from clients:

1. Save credit cards on file so you can charge automatically

Collecting credit card information to store on file is a great option, especially for clients who need recurring services, like weekly yard maintenance or house cleaning.

With a payment processor, you can safely save credit card information, and charge the client automatically when a service is performed. 

To collect a client’s credit card information, you can enter it manually into your payment processor and click “save this card”, or invite the customer to add it themselves. Here’s what that looks like in Jobber Payments.

⚠️  You must always have permission from the client to save their credit card and to use it for future billing. Make sure the client is aware of how and when you will bill their card. You can include this information on your invoice or in an email.

email request to save credit card on file

2. Collect payments with an app or card reader

If you’re collecting payment on-site, use apps and card readers to swipe, scan, and tap debit and credit cards. 

You’ll need an up-to-date mobile device, a payment processing app, and, in most cases, a small piece of hardware that plugs into your phone, known as a card reader. Many apps and card readers can facilitate credit and debit card payments as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

Jobber card reader

Card readers and apps vary in price. Some providers charge per card reader, per transaction, or a mix of both. They’re great for collecting payments at job sites and in-person, and many offer online integrations as well, which means you can offer a variety of convenient payment options to your clients.

Accept credit and debit payments on the go with Jobber’s card reader

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3. Provide a payment link

Payment links are an easy, one-click way to collect money from clients. Clients can pay 24/7, when it’s convenient for them — again, the easier you make it for clients to pay, the faster they will.

payment link sent via SMS to collect payment from client

Payment links can be attached to text messages, invoices, websites, and emails. When clicked, they take clients to your payment processor. 

To use a payment link, you’ll need to set up online payments with your payment processor. When taken to your payment processor, clients are often given the choice to save their payment information on file, which facilitates quick and easy billing for future jobs. 

Payment links are convenient, straightforward options since they allow clients to make payments on their own schedule, from the device of their choice, and using their preferred card. 

RELATED: See 5 examples of customer self-service portals

4. Checks

Checks are a relatively secure way to collect payments from your customers, but they come with a lot of downsides. They can take a long time to receive, they get lost in the mail, and, if they have a mistake on them, you have to start the process all over again. 

To collect check payments, you’ll have to invoice the client, wait for them to mail you a check, and deposit it once it’s been received. 

While some clients — especially those who aren’t comfortable with technology — may prefer to pay using a check, they should be the exception and not the norm.

5. Bank transfers

Bank transfers are a safe and secure way to pay, and depending on your bank and type of account, they may have lower fees than other options. However, in order to make a transfer, a client will need your banking information, such as your account number and financial institution. 

They may also have to call in or visit a branch in-person to make a payment, which can be inconvenient. While bank transfers can be a good option in a pinch, they aren’t the most efficient or accessible way to collect money from clients. 

6. Cash

You can also choose to collect money from clients through cash. For small and one-off jobs, cash is fine, but not recommended. Cash payments are easy to lose, hard to track, and inconvenient for both you and your clients. They also need to be entered into your accounting system manually, which can become tedious when you have more than one cash payment to input. 

Plus, if you don’t collect a cash payment once you finish a job, you’ll have to arrange a time and place to meet to accept payment and provide a receipt. 

For these reasons, cash payments are less secure and more likely to cause complications than online and digital methods. 

This post was originally published in July 2017. It was last updated on March 1st, 2021.

Tags: FINANCE

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