Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be deemed to be or used as legal, employment, or health & safety advice. For guidance or advice specific to your business, consult with a qualified professional.
Businesses now have more options than ever when it comes to taking payments for their professional services, including online transfers, in-store transactions, or even over the phone payments. But which option is right for your small business?
Online payment solutions are becoming increasingly essential for small businesses, with 38% of UK retail sales predicted to take place online by 2026. There’s never been a better time to take your business payments online.
Whether you have a physical retail store and need a customer-friendly POS (Point of Sale) system or if you trade online and need a secure payment platform, it can be tricky to navigate the right option for your small business.
Explore the four main ways you can take payments from your clients using Square.
Why payment versatility is important
In the professional services industry, it’s important to be flexible with client payments. Paying for your service in a way that suits them adds value for your customers.
Exceeding consumer expectations could reap rewards for your business, through customer retention, brand loyalty, and even positive word of mouth.
Offering multiple payment solutions also makes it easier for your small business to be paid for its services. Chasing clients for payments wastes business time and resources – not to mention being an awkward experience. Demanding overdue payments is essential, but it can leave a sour taste.
Taking payments over the phone or via a contactless POS system can save you and your clients precious time, so you can focus on improving your offering and customer experience.
4 Ways to expand your payment options
1. Over the phone (Virtual Terminal)
Doing anything by phone call feels distinctly retro these days, but there’s still a place for over-the-phone card payments in the professional services industry. Customers may be hesitant to part with their card details this way, but as long as your business is following PCI DSS guidelines, their details should be safe.
Taking payments over the phone is easy with Square Virtual Terminal. Just sign in via the Square Dashboard and call your customer. Ask for their card details to enter into the system and click ‘Charge’. The money should be in your account the next business day.
This method is great for flexibility – if you work on-the-go and don’t have enough time to wait for immediate payment. Or it can be beneficial if you’re taking a deposit for your service. Customers also may feel more inclined to part with their money after a human interaction, as opposed to a fully online transaction.
2. Online (Square Online)
Modern businesses of any size must think digital first. Whether through your website, app, or social media profiles, your small business needs an online presence. Creating an Online Store with Square Online makes eCommerce easy, helping you streamline your small business transactions.
It’s quick and efficient to set up a user-friendly eCommerce site with Square and it’s even faster to start taking payments, with no bank visits needed.
Square Online is already set up with Square’s payment gateway, which can accept payments from all major cards as well as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Square Pay and PayPal. With multiple payment options, the checkout process is even easier for your clients.
3. In-person (Hardware)
For client-facing small businesses, taking in-person payments is an everyday consideration. You must have the right hardware to take payments securely. Square Terminal enables you to seamlessly take customer payments, print receipts, and manage inventory from the same device.
It’s easy to take payments from clients in the office or on the go with the portable POS system. With an in-person payment, you can be sure your customer doesn’t leave your business without paying – saving you time invoicing your services.
It’s simple to get started with Square Terminal – all you need is an internet connection, and you can set up in minutes. It accepts multiple payment methods, including chip and PIN, contactless, and mobile payments such as Apple Pay – making it easy and efficient for clients to pay.
For your peace of mind, Square resolves any payment disputes directly with the bank, so you can focus on providing the best possible service to your clients.
For professional services, invoices are a useful way to bill for your time. An invoice should have a record of the services you provided, the costs involved (labour and parts), and a balance for the client to pay. You can bill online with Square Invoices, via your phone with mobile invoicing, or through the Square Invoices app.
Send digital invoices to your clients immediately and use the online platform to track which have or haven’t been paid. Or implement service-agreed contracts with an e-signature.
Square invoicing software can help organise your business by scheduling recurring invoices, setting payment reminders, and sending digital receipts. Scheduling invoices can be beneficial if your small business offers regular or repeated services, to help you and your client keep track of all payments.
Square also makes the payment process easy for your clients. They can choose to pay their invoice online, in person, or from their smartphone or tablet.
Keeping customer data secure
As a professional services business, it’s essential to keep your client’s data safe. Client confidentially is paramount. Not only could you lose their trust, but your company could get into trouble. You may be fined by your bank and prevented from taking any further card payments. If there was a data breach, the consequences could be serious for your business.
To keep customer data secure, you must choose a payment system that’s PCI DSS compliant. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) aims to minimise customer and bank data breaches. Any seller or service provider that processes card payments, along with banks and other organisations, must prove compliance.
Before you introduce a new payment option to your business, check they’re PCI compliant. Payment providers that are PCI compliant should have this information displayed – after all, it’s a selling point for their service.
Having a diverse range of payment options can be beneficial to your small business. By offering your customers increased flexibility, their experience is improved, and they are more likely to use your services again.
Square’s advanced technology can upgrade the way your small business takes payments, whether that’s in-person, online, or over the phone. Our seamless payment solutions can streamline your professional services business – allowing you to focus on providing the best possible customer experience.