By Andrew Neitlich

A simple way to eliminate many payment hassles

By Andrew Neitlich

In the last blog entry, I parenthetically noted that I send electronic links to clients for credit card payments. It’s worth a separate post to discuss this tactic.

If you are like me, you hate anything not related to directly serving clients. And collecting payments is probably one of the biggest hassles.

So I’ve set up my online shopping cart (using www.1shoppingcart.com) to collect payments from clients. Once a client gives me the go ahead, I send them a link for payment. If we agree to 3 installments of $1500, I set up a special product for them so that they pay up front and are automatically billed every 30 days for 2 additional cycles.


The benefits are clear:

– No more sending out invoices and stressing over when you will receive payment.

– Immediate payment.

– Automatic payment.

– You can get paid as soon as a client gives you the go ahead, so you don’t have to worry about “buyer’s remorse” or something coming up.

– I even charge some clients the 2% or 2.5% credit card processing fee, and they don’t mind as this process saves them time, too.

This doesn’t work with all clients. Some large organizations like universities don’t give their faculty credit cards. And for large assignments, you might end up exceeding a credit card’s limit.

But this tactic sure has taken a lot of hassle out of 70% of my jobs.

  • For people who use Paypal, it’s very easy to set up short-term subscriptions such as Andrew does with 1shoppingcart. Just log into Paypal, go into the merchant tools area, and look for the bit on subscriptions. It will walk you through the process, you just fill in a few fields, and it will give you a link or a button to show to your customers. It’s saved me a hundred headaches.

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  • I use PayPal for a lot of payments, at it is so easy to quickly get payments. Plus as I work mainly under sub-contract my clients are tech-savvy and have PayPal accounts already. I get the money in like a minute and put it right into my bank account.

    I still do have some clients send me checks via the mail. I do a few bank transfers as well.

    The only issue I have with PayPal is that you cannot receive payments from Romania, as the entire country is ban. :(

  • hdsol

    I use a merchant account for this and I am able to set up automatic payments for my clients. Even though the fees are a little higher with a merchant account it lends a feeling of security to my clients. We are also in the process of setting up an intergrated billing and invoice system online for the clients throught the use of api’s. this will free my time up as all of my billing will be automated.

  • I have a similar setup using Client Exec. It is essentially a web app to bill for hosting but can also bill for one off work and other services. I can raise invoices with it and the clients can pay online with a variety of payment gateways ( I use Paypal). Clients can also submit support tickets, download files if needed and review invoice history. If you are really into hosting then it will plug into a few control panels e. gPleask and can automate the whole sign up process from your own site.

  • Raphael

    Blinksale (http://www.blinksale.com) is designed just for that purpose, namely sending invoices via E-mail with payment requests via PayPal.

  • jright

    You guys should all check out modernbill.com. It aimed at a web host biulling solution with tons of modules built into it (cpanel, enom, many gateways, etc) but we also use it so generate single invoices. You can store cutomer information in a secure db and bill them whenever you need to. It also allows them to log in and view all their past invoices. This is really nice around this time of year when you have clients calling and asking if you have last years invoices for tax time!

  • I do this right through QuickBooks. I can setup automatic payments (for hosting bills, for example), and the clients credit card gets billed at the first of every month. I can they download the payment records into QuickBooks, and automatically match them up with the invoices – that were also automatically generated each month.

    This process makes life much, much smoother.

    PS: I don’t do any work for a new client without getting a credit card number first, and billing them for 1/2 of the total.

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  • shaxs

    For this exact reason, I built my own Online invoicing system. It sends invoices via email and allows for a high amount of customization: http://www.Onlineinvoices.net/demo login: admin/admin. More info on the product at http://www.PocketPcInvoice.com (theres a mobile pocket pc application as well, optional)

  • Since I’m under 18, I cant use paypal really. I send out invoices and recieve a check. In the signed contract, the client and I agree to a certain downpayment (depending), and it also states by when the payments should be recieved.

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