Welcome to our new series, Launchpad Qs! We answer the most common questions we get asked by students in our Launchpad program, to help you build your business and become a highly successful coach.
Today’s Question - What’s the best way to take payments on my website?
There are a number of options out there ranging from simple and cheap but require ongoing manual work to fully automated, but expensive and complicated. Let’s break it down for you, so you can find the best option that works for you.
This is the simplest and easiest option to get going. All you need is a bank account! You ask your clients to direct deposit funds from their bank account into your bank account.
PayPal or Stripe allows you to take credit card payments either manually or you can integrate their technology into your website (see 4. Website Integrated below). In this section, we’ll talk about manual payments only.
To take payments manually, you can create invoices and send payment links to your customers, where they can simply click on a button, add their credit card details and pay you - all online.
Wave is a free accounting software that allows you not only to invoice and take payments online, it also has many other useful features for your coaching business. You can track expenses, take and save photos of receipts, run reports and keep a record of your customers.
So far the options we’ve talked about require you to send your customer the details for payment, for e.g. you ask the customer to transfer you a specific amount or email them an invoice for payment. This means you need to keep track of invoices and payments, and there’s some communication back and forth required.
A different, more automated option is for your customer to make a payment directly via your website. This means they click on a page on your website, go through checkout and pay - all without having to communicate with you.
This option is dependent on the website provider that you choose. Some websites already include payment and checkout pages, all integrated into your website. You can then simply link your PayPal or Stripe account to your website and payments will automatically be taken for you.
However, some website providers do not include this option. If the latter applies to you, Zoho Checkout below might be a good option for you.
Zoho Checkout allows you to create an independent, website checkout page. So rather than building an entire website, you can simply add a link to your existing website or ask your customer to go directly to your Zoho Checkout page. Here they can then purchase your product or service, enter their payment details and pay you - all online.
This is a great option if your website provider does not have checkout or payment options already included, and you still want to be able to take payments automatically as if the customer was shopping on your website.
Looking to offer payment plans to your customers? The above options can be adapted for payment plans but require manual work. For e.g. requesting a direct deposit from your customer or saving credit card details and charging them manually via PayPal or Stripe for each payment.
If however, you’d like a more automatic option, AfterPay and ZipPay are two popular options, depending on the type of product or service you offer.
Unlike taking payments manually, these options pay you the full amount upfront and then organise the payment plan with the customer, without you being involved.
This is great as it means you get paid upfront, and you don’t have to keep track or chase customers for payment. However, fees to use this service are significantly higher than the previous options we’ve discussed so far. At the time of this article, fees range from 3% to 7%. Also these options require a bit of setup time, and depending on your website provider can be complicated to set up.
Before offering payment plans to your customers, I recommend considering how many customers actually require it and how many would not engage with you without it. As the hassle and costs might not be worth it.
When selecting a payment option, have a think about how many payments you take regularly and how many you expect to take in the next 6-12 months. If you're just starting out, we recommend you pick something you can get going quickly, that doesn’t require a lot of time and money to set up, and is easy and less expensive to maintain like direct deposit or Wave. There’s no point investing in big, expensive, automated options - if you’re only taking payments once or twice a week.
Only when your business starts to grow, then start investing in more complicated and expensive options. That way, rather than investing time and money in improving your admin, you’re focusing your resources on what matters - growing your business.
Which payment option will you choose? Let us know in the comments below.
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