An Accountant's View
The other day a new client asked me how I wanted to be paid, he was no doubt thinking of cash with a discount, or a cheque. I was about to launch into my spiel about standing orders to fit his budget or straight invoices and cheque/bank transfers when I stopped. “How would best suit you?” I asked, and so a happy customer was formed. I have one client who pays in wood (a long story involving a wood burner and the costs to him of disposing of scrap wood, and yes I account for VAT – I am an accountant after all), market traders pay in cash, but now I have a cheap way of taking card payments as well.
Nobody likes handing over their hard earned cash for any reason, so if you want them to give it to you make it as painless as possible. At the same time it has got to be worthwhile. We all know how easy it seems to pay by credit card, but the costs to the supplier are, usually, quite high, so although it suits customers many businesses will not take credit card payments for small amounts, it is simply not worth their while. The best bet is to offer the way that best suits your customer. Now if you are a market trader that is cash, because everyone expects to pay cash at the market. For an airline ticket it is by card, because it always is, but for some accounting work, or a welding job, or what ever you do?
Do not offer customers 50 different ways, a dozen payment plans and three finance options, it puts people off. Try asking them, or offering a couple that you know from experience suit your customer, and perhaps, just perhaps offer something a little odd, just to show you care for your customer, so scrap wood might be an option for you too!
Tim, June 2013