Years ago, when you wanted payment for your contracting business services, you had only a couple of options. Mostly, you sent an invoice and waited for a paper check. But the times have changed. These days, many clients are looking for seamless websites where they can send you payment through a variety of methods with a click of a button. Here are a few you should consider.
If you are working primarily with businesses, you’ll probably need to get comfortable with sending an invoice. You have a variety of options:
- Creating your own invoices individually
- Searching for invoice templates
- Using invoices through an online payment system
- Whether you choose to design your own invoice or use a template, you need to make sure that the invoice includes all of the relevant details. Specifically, you need a date, the amount due, methods of payment, time that the payment is due, and where people can submit the payment. All of this information is necessary to ensure a timely payment that is correct and submitted in the right format.
Credit Card Payments
If you are working primarily with customers, not businesses, you may want to consider setting up to accept credit cards. There are a few different ways that you can do this. The most traditional involves setting up a merchant account with one or more credit networks, like Visa or Mastercard. If you take this route, you will need to set up a merchant account for each type of card you would like to accept. Merchant accounts usually have restrictions on the way that you can handle transactions, as well as a fee you pay for the service. Since a lot of people conduct business mostly or entirely by credit card these days, including businesses, finding a way to accept credit cards is a worthy goal.
Online Payment Systems
Although setting up your own merchant accounts is a viable option, there are other ways you can accept credit cards. Online payment systems like PayPal or Stripe charge fees so that you can accept payments through them. The added benefit is that you can rely on their extensive protections of consumer information, instead of having to maintain that degree of security for your own website.
Systems like Square are useful when you need to accept payment in person. Square and companies like it have tools that you can attach to a smartphone, tablet or other device to turn it into a Point of Sale device. This way, you don’t have to direct customers to your website when they can just hand you a credit card for processing.
How to Accept Payments
If you maintain a website, it may be practical to put in writing how you handle billing and when payment is expected. Keep in mind that people may be used to different payment options than the ones you are expecting. If you work primarily with businesses, you can expect that they will either pay by credit card or mail you a check on receipt of your invoice. Customers who aren’t business owners may expect to pay with a credit card, personal check or even cash. It’s wise to outline which forms of payment you will accept before you agree to do the work. This avoids complications and stress at payment time.
Ultimately, you need to get paid for the work you do. The best way to set that up depends on the business, but it requires consistency. For example, if you choose to invoice clients, you can’t let it become a last-minute task that you are forever putting off. If you bill on a net 30 days or net 90 basis, you are waiting for that amount of time from the date of invoice. If you’re taking a full payment on the date of service, however, the consistency is built into it.
Getting paid is one of the most important ways to keep your contracting business going. With a variety of payment options, you can find a system that works best for your clients. To get started building a great construction career, contact CSLS today!