How to get clients to pay upfront
It is wonderful when you’re constantly getting your money before you do the work. In this video I’m going to go over the three simple steps that will help you get paid up front every time.
Now, the first step is getting things in writing the second step is using payment links and auto billing and then the third step is using the right software. So we’re going to dig in and get a little bit deeper so that you completely understand how to use all three steps.
Now, the first step getting everything in writing. I know, if you’ve started your business you’ve been really busy maybe you’ve kind of stayed away from using contracts but if you want to level up your business and you want to consistently get paid upfront you need to use contracts and proposals. You need to be able to put these contracts into a software we recommend Dubsado and e-mail them to your client and in those proposals and those contracts you need to be crystal clear about what you bill and how you bill and that includes billing upfront.
Different industries do this a little bit differently, so for example, as business coaches or life coaches or fitness training coaches we often get paid monthly. We have our clients sign a one-year contract with auto-billing, so every month we’re paid before we do our coaching sessions.
Our interior designers work off something called a retainer. This means they sit down and tell you what the value of the project is going to be and then they take a retainer for that it may be five thousand or twenty five thousand dollars and it doesn’t matter if the designer works hourly or they actually quote the job completely they can still work off of a retainer you just need to be clear what it is that the retainer is covering. Is it covering just items that you’re purchasing or is it covering labor and the items that you’re purchasing? Your customers are fine with it they just want to know how it works.
Now the other thing are deposits. So for example, our graphic designers often take a seventy-five to eighty percent upfront and they bill the last twenty or twenty-five percent at the end of the project so they’re not being paid completely upfront but they are getting the majority of their money and we know from experience and from talking to our clients the hardest part about getting a website done is often getting the client to give you the information so you may wait weeks for them to give you everything you need to finish the website and that’s a lot easier to deal with if you’ve already got 75 percent or 80 percent of your money.
So I’m going to dig a little bit deeper into step number 2 which is using links and auto-billing to get paid.
In Dubsado which is a software I’m going to talk a little bit more in step number three this software allows you to send out contracts proposals and in those contracts and proposals you can take payments. Those payments are usually processed through Stripe or PayPal. We use PayPal for some things and we actually use Stripe for other things so you do have to set up accounts with payment software.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking I don’t want to spend the 2 to 3% to take credit cards and I’m going to
tell you that is a huge mistake. People consistently spend more money when you accept credit cards. Think about it.
If you go to Starbucks and you’re paying cash you’re most likely just going to get a cup of coffee but if you’re whipping out your credit card and you see all those delightful little things the scones and the cookies right there at the end there’s a very good chance you’re going to grab one because again, when we pay with a credit card it doesn’t always feel like we’re using real money.
So if you want your clients to spend more money with you make sure you make it easy for them to pay you and don’t fret about that 2 to 3% you’re going to spend in credit card processing. Trust me, you’ll make way more money. We see it time and time again with our clients.
Now, the third thing is software. So I’ve already talked to you about the Dubsado. Dubsado is a software that a lot of our clients use because it’s really user friendly. You can do landing pages in it you can do your proposals your contracts, there’s a CRM in it, and they do project management within it, so this one tool has quite a few features and it does allow you to link with a PayPal and with Stripe but there’s tons of different software out there you can
use and it’s just a matter of preference.
For us, we don’t use Dubsado because we use a software called Clickfunnels to manage our landing pages so we just simply insert a PayPal link or a Stripe link and that’s something you can do as well. If you are able to do your own contract in Excel or in a Word document and you’re comfortable sending them that way and just attaching the
payment link you may not need an additional software but again if you need it invest the money in it.
Remember, you’re trying to get your clients to pay you upfront and you need to level up your clients need to feel comfortable working with you. You need to be professional. Your contracts and your proposals need to be branded and your terms and conditions need to be clear and you need to be comfortable getting that payment right away. The time and energy that you spend collecting payments or chasing clients for payments generally will offset the money you spend on software and credit card processing.
The last thing I think you really have to have and it’s not really a step it’s a personal thing. You have to feel like you deserve to earn this money. You have to feel like you do a great job and your clients should be comfortable paying you upfront. You also need to be able to overcome objections and you need to be able to clearly explain your terms and conditions and this just takes a little bit of time.
What we recommend is that you write out your contract and have a couple friends read it over and ask them is this clear to you? Then also ask them if they have any questions Most likely they will give you, “well, what happens if this,” “what happens if I give you a retainer of $2,500 and we only use $2,200?” You should be able to point to your contract and say, “right here it says, ‘if we do not use the entire retainer we will refund you within 15 days of ending the project.'”
So you want to make sure, again, everything is clear and within your contract you have tried to handle every question and every objection that may come up. For example, with us clients may say, “what if I’m in a monthly contract for coaching and something occurs and I need to end my coaching contract?”
In our contract it clearly says that you can cancel your contract with a 30 day notice. It also says we can cancel your contract with a 30 day notice, and the reason we do this is because for us we want our clients to commit to a year because coaching doesn’t happen overnight. We can’t help you improve your business of the magic wand. We have to work with you and help you evolve and help your business evolve in order for you to get where you want to go.
I also know I do not want to be locked in a contract with a client who can’t afford us so they’re so stressed. I want them to have it ‘out’ if they need it, but I also want to have an ‘out’ if I don’t enjoy working with a client you know they’re just not taking steps they’re not making progress, maybe coaching is just not right for them at this time, so I put in our contract that is easy to cancel.
We have very few clients cancel our contracts but again, you want to be clear and you want to be ok with the terms. I also really recommend that you do not make exceptions. I can tell you right now from experience of our own and with all of our clients when you make exceptions you tend to end up, I don’t know, it tends to come back and bite you in the butt somehow! I think if the client ends up, in the very beginning, getting you to change how you run your business they’re more in control than you are and so then they don’t want to get you things in a timely fashion or they’re constantly asking for things to be done differently, so remember you know you have to run your business the best way you can and you need to communicate to your clients, ‘I do this because this is the most efficient way for me to work and this is the best way for me to serve you.’ I really believe that taking payments upfront does that because I know I’ve been paid.
I know I don’t have to chase the client. I know that the terms and conditions are very clear and we are all on the same page from day one.
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