When you're just starting your business, it's common for business owners to bend to the need of their customers. Now, there certainly is a fine balance in being flexible and understanding to customers but not when it comes to getting paid!
The first thing that a lot of new businesses do is make serious deals and discounts to friends, family, and friends of friends. Depending on your business, this may be totally fine - the more the merrier and the more people who enjoy your work and can share your business with their network, that's free advertising. A scenario like this could be a win-win. However, the deeper the web, suddenly you're doing favors and knocking off dollars you need for your cousin's roommate's boyfriend's little sister's best friend. No thank you! At a certain point you need to stop doing favors and take your work seriously and charging the right amount. Got it?
How to much is your time worth? Guide to pricing your business
The second thing that a lot of new businesses do is leniency to a fault. Maybe you're spreading your options to wide - accepting cash, Venmo, check, PayPal, debit, credit, bartering with cookies - when you don't have a preferred method of payment, your customers will pay by their preferred method of payment. Again... no thank you! You are a business! You are a business owner! And you have to draw the line somewhere and make it known what your policy is.
It is awkward territory to allow customers to be late on payments and then need to track them down. That elephant in the room only looms larger the longer the payment is delayed, especially if you have upcoming bookings with them. The whole thing can get messy fast. Create a policy and system - it will legitimize you, your business, and not allow your customers to dictate your livelihood.
So if you're wondering how do I do that, or thinking to yourself, I'm one person, I don't have the time or money to create a better workflow for myself, do not fear - this is literally why we are here (yes the reasons below will point to Bounce House as your new best friend)!
The most secure form of payment is accepting a card. Why? Because you can do it online! Everyone knows how to checkout online, like a store, and your business need not be any different than that. Having customers pay via card is secure for both parties - and if you use Bounce House, we store credit cards for easy repeat bookings. All payments will be recorded in Bounce House for you to check in on, you can click on a customer's name and see their payment history. Keeping it all in one place! Bye bye disorganized payments. Learn how to set a price of a class or session.
Customers who book a 1:1 session with you will checkout for that appointment, and be charged after the event occurs. As for customers who book group classes, they will checkout for that class type and be charged immediately. Nothing for you to do, nothing for customer's do! Bye bye late payments. Learn about automated mailers to customers for payments.
In order to keep your schedule running like a well oiled machine, we allow you to set a cancellation policy. For instance, no refunds within 24 hours of a session or class, or perhaps, no refunds ever, or, no policy at all! This keeps customers bound to their commitment and allows you to prepare for upcoming events without wasting your time. Bye bye flighty customers. Learn about setting your refund policy.
We know that discounts go a long way! That's why we included a discount for first time customers option in case you want to entice new people to work with you. Hello new customer incentives! Learn how to set a first time discount.
All this to say, there's a delicate line between flexibility and getting walked over by your customers. You're a human, they are a human, we are a human, and sometimes sh*t happens. Inevitably breaking a cancellation policy will be for a very forgivable reason, or a customer should receive an ongoing discount. Treating people with kindness and compassion will go the longest of ways (but it goes both ways). Hello great customer relationships! Learn how to refund a customer.
Want to get paid for the work you do in a timely manner - Bounce House can help! It takes 5 minutes to create a web page for your the session of class type that you sell, payments + bookings, reminders and charges built in automatically.