If you’re my age, over 50, then you probably remember a time when everything was cash, and we didn’t have the amazing access to our funds that we do today. Purchases outside of banking hours had to be preplanned, and we tended to do much less impulse spending.
It’s a completely different world we live in now, and we have to keep pace if we want to connect with our clients in a way that allows them to pay in whatever format works for them.
Sometimes clients will deliberately, or not, turn up without their wallet or means to pay you. Fine, you say, pay me next time. Whoa…are we really going to let a client leave our office without paying for a service we just rendered to them? Are you working from a philanthropic or business model here?
Your client has no cash. They didn’t bring their wallet. What do you do?
If you’ve given this some thought before hand, you’ll be able to say ‘no problem, here’s my bank account / PayPal address’ and away you go. Everyone has a mobile phone these days, and internet banking is simply the tap of an app away.
Do you want to offer eftpos facilities? Your bank can assist with this. You’ll need to have a merchant facility set up that connects to your business bank account. This is pretty simple to arrange.
There are many eftpos facilities to choose from. Some require a monthly fee based on your turnover and managed by your bank. There will also be a % cost to you for each transaction as well as a connection fee for the device.
Some eftpos providers will supply you with a terminal that is pre-set, and you rent it on a month by month basis.
Live eftpos is one such month by month service that gives small to medium businesses the ability to have eftpos without the need for contracts through a bank. From their website:
“Live eftpos was launched in Sydney in 2011 by Live group CEO Reuven Barukh, who’s experience included running Live Payments and TaxiEpay since early 2006.
At the time many Australian SMEs were finding it difficult to get approval for merchant facilities from big banks due to their relatively low turnover. Intimately understanding the needs of small businesses owners, Barukh established Live eftpos as a premium service with SMEs as the core business.
Live eftpos aims to make the process of accepting cashless payments as easy as possible and has removed lengthy application forms and tedious delays. Applications are only two pages and are approved within five business days and all customers are provided with a dedicated relationship manager.
Live eftpos provides one of the world’s smallest, most technologically advanced mobile terminals available and continues to develop and evolve its technology to meet the needs of business owners across Australia.”
There’s Paypal, and Paypal Here, and Paypal Virtual Terminal, which charges a small transaction fee and can accomodate credit cards. Paypal has good customer support if you have issues and can be contacted by telephone. Paypal Here is a secure card reader. From their website:
You “pair” the PayPal Here card reader with your mobile to take payments wherever your business takes you. Accept MasterCard, Visa or American Express payments for the same rate, with no monthly fees or lock-in contracts.”
Square is another option that has launched and is proving very popular. From their website:
“We started with a simple idea…That everyone should be able to accept credit cards—and we’ve been rethinking buying and selling ever since. For sellers, we’re creating one cohesive service to run your entire business, from a point of sale in your pocket and analytics on your laptop, to small business financing and marketing tools that drive new sales. For buyers, we’re making it faster to order from your favourite restaurants and more fun to pay your friends back. Buying and selling sound like simple things—and they should be. Somewhere along the way, they got complicated. We’re working hard to make commerce easy for everyone.”
Stripe is another online service that allows you take credit card payments online and works with a number of services. From their website:
"Stripe is the best way to accept payments online. Stripe aims to expand internet commerce by making it easy to process transactions and manage an online business. We want to increase the GDP of the internet. Code: We believe that enabling more transactions is a problem rooted in code and design, not finance. Stripe is built for developers, makers, and creators. Backstory: We had experienced first-hand the difficulty of accepting online payments. On almost every front, it was becoming easier to build and launch an online business. Payments, however, remained dominated by clunky legacy players. It seemed clear that there should be a developer-focused, instant-setup payment platform that would scale to any size. Stripe launched in September 2011."
There are a number of industry specific, and non-specific online booking services and software that connect to various payment options such as www.vcita.com and www.healthkit.com to name but two. There are many more out there so go exploring and see what kind of set up will work for you and your practice.
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Thinking there might be gold in them there emails you’ll gather from all your exciting potential clients? Think again!
In Australia we are governed by the SPAM ACT 2003, administered by ACMA: Australian Communications and Media Authority.
If you want to send out newsletters or promotional material you’ll need permission.
You have two types of permission: inferred and express.
To get express permission you should ask; it’s that simple. Add a box on your intake form for this, and make it a checkable box. Non of this ‘opt-out’ business will fly with the privacy commissioner, so be sure to have it as an opt-in process to be safe.
The inferred form of permission is where you already have a relationship with someone and you use that to contact them, giving people the clear option to opt-out through an unsubscribe. You’ll often see this used in LinkedIn, or if you’ve contacted a company to ask a question. You haven’t given express permission to be put on their email list, but the channels of communication have been opened and there is an inference that could be taken that you’ve consented to be contacted.
Whichever way you go, you should include the following in your email marketing:
• How you got their details - ‘you signed up for our newsletter or you’re a client of so and so’.
• Your address - a physical location.
• How to unsubscribe - must be clear and easy to find.
Trust is essential in our dealings with people electronically. Don’t bombard your clients, but do keep them informed. Treat them with the same respect and courtesy you’d like to get from any email marketing list you subscribe to. Don’t send an email every day, every other day, or so on. Be discrete, because you certainly don’t want to face the consequences of having your email blacklisted by spam cop or a complaint made to the SPAM ACT governing body, ACMA.
For more info on how to not be a spammer