This is the 3rd article in a 10 part series covering all aspects of getting paid as a business.
Coming up: 6. Profit & Tax, 7. Maintaining A Money Mindset, 8. Getting Paid As A Sole Trader, 9. Getting Paid As A Limited Company, 10. Saving For Tax & Your Future. Sign up to get the next article in your inbox so you don’t miss any.
There are thousands of ways clients and customers can give you money.
So many ways of getting paid!
It can feel overwhelming and it’s hard to keep up with the options when there are so many other things we need to keep up with as freelancers (I can relate to that).
Maybe you’re starting out or expanding what you offer and you want to explore what’s out there.
Ways for people to give you money face to face:
You can buy a card reader that allows you to put your customer’s credit or debit card into the reader and take their payment. A reader is more familiar to people who aren’t comfortable with using apps to pay and is great for markets, exhibitions and fairs.
Apps work on smartphones and tablets so a few taps and your customer has paid easily and quickly.
Examples: Paypal Here, iZettle, Payleven, SumUp, Worldpay Zinc
Use your laptop or tablet so your face to face customers can order direct from your website right then and there.
It’s great for increasing sales at markets, exhibitions and fairs so people can see your entire range or sign up for your newsletter.
Top tip: Remember a lot of these require wifi, so you may need your own network (ask the mobile providers for details. It’s easy to get, but it depends on a mobile phone signal)
Resources: Download a free income spreadsheet
Ways for people to give you money over the phone:
I use IntuitPay which is now Quickbooks Payments. It’s simple and easy to use and completely secure.
Ways for people to give you money by invoice:
If you use accounting or invoicing software to issue invoices, a lot of them have integrations with (a) payment processor(s) so your clients can pay by credit or debit card direct from their invoice.
Most of the time clients don’t even need to click away from their email, making it super easy and convenient to pay you.
Examples: Stripe (which I use sometimes), Sagepay
Learn more: The Ultimate Guide To Accounting Software
Resources: Download a free invoice template
This is an article on its own. There are hundreds if not thousands of alternatives.
Look through my list, narrow the options down and research a few.
The most important thing is to get selling.
You can improve things later during a 6 month or annual business review.
Paypal is the big daddy of online payment and a good place to start.
Paypal buttons and links are super simple and Paypal.me even simpler and neither requires your customer to have a Paypal account.
Look into both as they have different pro’s and con’s (and don’t get analysis paralysis, just make a decision).
A lot of businesses use only Paypal and there is nothing wrong with that.
Top tip: when your monthly sales are 4 figures, ask Paypal to review your fee payment rate. They reduced mine so it does happen 🙂
Lots of businesses and freelancers sell their products and even services using plugins to their website.
You choose an ecommerce plugin and then a payment processor from the integration options. I use a digital download plugin for my shop which is integrated with Paypal.
There is a lot of choice so take it step by step.
Examples: Easy Digital Downloads (which I use), Woo Commerce, WP E-commerce
Some ecommerce platforms allow you to choose which payment processor you accept (for example, having the choice to use or avoid Paypal).
You make the call what’s right for you.
Examples: Sendowl, eJunkie
Some ecommerce platforms have their own payment systems so you provide your product and they do the rest.
You don’t have the choice of payment processor but these platforms are beneficial for other reasons.
Examples: Amazon, Etsy, Udemy
Some payment processors work by providing a link you can use anywhere.
Like a Paypal link or button, except it isn’t Paypal.
A full website shopping cart for our purposes is when you have a shopping cart integration with a payment processor like Worldpay or Paypal. You need a turnover of 6 figures minimum, 3 years of accounts, and an ability to cross your fingers.
Sometimes, the hassle isn’t worth it though, so keep your options open. There are new payment possibilities arriving all the time and fintech (financial technology) is one of the hottest areas of development right now.
(You can also have your own full shopping cart built for you with your own payment processing – but we aren’t a multinational corporate with entire dev, tax, accounting and PCI compliance departments. Legislators, please note).
Now we pause a moment for a story that will make you laugh and cry.
When EU VAT hit the fan, myself and my fellow EU VAT Action co-founders discovered HMRC thought we had our own accounts with Mastercard and Visa.
They were genuinely puzzled why we couldn’t just ask Mastercard and Visa to give us customer location data.
One good outcome of EU VAT is HMRC are now more enlightened about tiny businesses. We stood up for your ability to trade fairly.
Incidentally, if you want your own account with Mastercard and Visa, you need to be a mid-sized business (£25-£500m a year) with a card turnover of 9 figures. When you make it, please tell me so I can congratulate you 🙂
When you have regular or high value international clients, it is worth investigating your options.
Your goal is to reduce fees as far as possible without compromising on safe payment and convenience for your client (unless they’re corporate or have fixed payment systems, in which case they’ll pay you however they want to pay you).
Ways for people to give you money internationally:
If this is a regular thing for you, read this article.
There are some other factors you need to consider.
I’m mentioning them here so you know they’re there and you can research as necessary.
PCI are the rules that mean credit card and debit card data are kept safe. I have a PCI certificate so I can accept payment over the phone.
For practical action, one of the reasons we use payment processors is so we don’t need to directly comply ourselves. Sometimes a payment processor will require you to take action to comply and when that’s the case, they’ll tell you what to do (there are simplified versions of the full law).
Learn even more ways how clients and customers can pay you in my article Professional Payment Procedures.
Get started and add one of these payment methods to your business.
Maybe another method has lower fees or is more client friendly. Reviewing and updating how people can pay you needs to part of your annual business review.
The most important action you can take is to get started.
If you want support with understanding better ways people can give you money, what’s right for you and a safe space to ask as many silly questions as you want, have a look at my sole trader or limited company coaching packages. I can also create an individual package just for you.
If you want easy to understand guides and courses with printable checklists, a sense of humour and mentions of cake, have a look in my shop.
This article is part of a series about getting paid as a business.
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