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Whether you work in the finance, law, or medical industry, you want to focus on your area of expertise – it’s what you do best. A good payment solution helps automate the billing process, taking any guesswork out of getting paid for your hard work. Here’s a look at the options when it comes to taking payments for professional services.
What are professional services?
Professional services describe any occupations requiring special training, with most requiring an advanced university degree or licence. Examples include doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants, and engineers.
Because professional services involve such a broad field of industries, there’s also a broad range of payment solutions to choose from. For example, architects and engineers might need to take recurring payments over time for large projects. Dentists often need to take large lump sums to pay for a single treatment, while lawyers often work on retainer.
What many professional service providers have in common is the need to send invoices. It’s helpful to look for online payment solutions with automated invoicing, as well as access to a selection of flexible payment options for clients.
Why do you need a variety of payments for professional services?
While a range of payment options is important for many industries, it’s particularly key for professional service providers. Your business relies on customer satisfaction from initial consultation to payment settlement. Part of this is building a good relationship by catering to each customer’s payment preferences. While some customers prefer card payments, others might want to pay by direct debit.
Should you accept card payments for professional services?
Although there are many new digital payment methods out there, credit and debit cards are still widely preferred by Australian consumers. Accepting major credit cards makes your business look more legitimate, boosting trust with new clients. This can lead to an increase in sales.
However, there are also some downsides to accepting card payments for professional services. Fraud can be a concern, so you’ll need to be sure you’re complying with all customer data protection regulations. Per-transaction fees are also higher than some other payment methods, along with chargeback fees.
What other types of payments for professional services are there?
Accepting card payments is a great starting point for professional service providers. Yet it’s worth combining these with some additional payment solutions. Alternative payments like digital wallets, mobile payments, and gift cards are used by some professionals to improve the customer experience.
Many professionals also choose to accept recurring invoice payments using BECS direct debit. For example, GoCardless lets businesses take invoice payments regularly and on-time directly from customer bank accounts. It also integrates with your existing accounting system for quick and easy reconciliation. With this method, fees are lower than they would be with card payments, and you virtually eliminate the chance of costly chargebacks.
How to choose a professional services payment solution
Some of today’s top payment gateways are ideal for professional service providers. Look for an all-in-one processor that can take a variety of different flexible payment methods. At minimum, you should be able to process both one-off and recurring payments.
Security is also non-negotiable, particularly if you’re working in an industry that deals with sensitive client information. Be sure to choose a professional services payment solution that’s PCI DSS compliant. This ensures that all customer card details are handled and stored according to the latest security standards.
Compare fee structures between different payment processors. Some will only charge per transaction, while others will charge monthly subscription fees and other hidden costs. Finally, don’t forget to look at user friendliness. Does the solution include a portal for your customers to log in and pay their bills? What other functionality is offered? The interface must be clean, comprehensive, and convenient for a frictionless payment experience.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.