Say cheese! It’s been four years since we launched Square in Canada. What better way to celebrate than with a snapshot of sellers who have grown up alongside us?
Tech-savvy photographers were among the first businesses to sign up with Square Canada back in 2012. Ontario-based art photographer David Harcombe specializes in urban landscapes and firework photos; he learned about Square through his day job in the technology industry. “I’d been waiting for it,” says David. “On the day it reached Canada, I applied for my Square Reader — even though I didn’t have an art show coming up for months. I was an emerging artist. My previous payment processing option wasn’t reliable and I lost sales because of it. I wouldn’t have been able to take many of the payments that I can take now. My business has grown with Square.”
The ability to take credit card payments on the go has helped photographers get paid upfront for services during consultations and shows. It has helped others grow their businesses by offering online invoicing or e-commerce to customers all over the world. Calgary-based fine art and commercial photographer Jeff Cruz has seen international sales increase since he began using Square and taking payments on location. “I feel like Square is a partner in my business, a partner that I can rely on and trust,” says Jeff. “Because it’s so small I’m always able to keep one card reader tucked in my camera bag. For selling my art it has been a game changer.”
Providing a safe credit card payment option has also helped to reassure clients and legitimize these sellers’ businesses. Ben Kane, a wedding photographer from Toronto, uses Square for in-person payments and online invoicing: “Wedding payments are usually pretty big payments and sometimes it’s hard for people to write cheques,” he says. “I can send them something and they can pay online and it looks really professional. Once in while I get people who want to pay in person and I use the reader to swipe their card.”
Other sellers pointed to the fact that their clients were more confident handing over their credit card once Square was part of the equation. “Square is a brand that clients can trust,” says Victoria de Martigny of Montreal’s Creative Perspectives Photography & Boudoir by Victoria. “Offering a solution that has a solid reputation makes my clients feel comfortable letting me swipe their credit card or receiving a Square invoice. Being associated with a trustworthy brand also raises my credibility in my clients’ eyes.”
Bonus points (and shoots)
Clients are also keen to earn points by paying with credit cards. “My brides and grooms love the fact that they can collect points on their wedding photography and use their frequent flyer miles, etc., for their honeymoon,” says Toronto-based wedding and portrait photographer Matthew Kozovski. Victoria de Martigny agrees: “With so many points programs these days, clients want to use their credit cards to pay for purchases more than ever, so it’s important as a small business owner to meet that need.”
Putting an (F-)stop to monthly fees
Payment systems that charge monthly fees aren’t an option for many freelance photographers. “Because of the nature of my work, I will sometimes go a month or two without using the card reader,” says Jeff Cruz. “Having a monthly payment on a clunky, clumsy machine that needs paper is not the way to go for me. It’s a great value because I’m only paying when I need it.” Shari Nakagawa, owner of Vancouver Island’s Sushi Rice Studios, agrees. “I love the fact that I don’t have to pay monthly. I’ve built the cost of using it into my pricing structure, but if I have an off month, then I’m not on the hook for any costs,” she says.
As Victoria de Martigny grew her business, she began using a customer relationship management system to streamline workflow and manage all aspects of the client experience. She was thrilled to learn that she could integrate Square into the system’s payment gateway. Victoria also uses the analytical functions to inform her business decisions. “Through my Square Dashboard I can access past invoices or payments, validate the transfers for my bank reconciliation and get any other data that I need,” she says. “I appreciate the automated emails every time my business accepts a payment from a client or whenever Square sends me money — and I like the ‘Month in Review’ emails that give me a snapshot of my Square-related purchases every month.”
Here’s to many more years of great photography and success with Square!