Payment for your house cleaning service is why you are in business. So what is the best, most efficient way to collect money from clients?
What Forms of Payment Should You Accept for House Cleaning Services?
The types of payment you choose to accept is your choice. But I recommend cash, personal or business checks, PayPal and all major credit cards. Why?
Payment in Cash
Lots of clients have cash-based businesses, and will also give you payment in cash. It is my least favorite of the payment forms because it is harder to keep track of and leaves no paper trail.
If a client makes their payment in cash, keep it in a secure place. Once a week make a lump deposit and mark the receipt as house cleaning money.
“Getting paid under the table” is another term for receiving payment in cash. And it makes tracking your income and reporting your earnings on your taxes a nightmare. It’s also difficult for customers to track as well. Let’s suppose they leave you $200 on the cupboard for today’s cleaning. They go to work and their college kid wakes up, comes down for some food and takes the money. You never got paid, yet the homeowner left you the money. Now it’s your word against the client, and the homeowner is not going to blame his own kid for stealing your money.
When at all possible, encourage your clients to pay with a credit card or a check.
Set Your Business Up Right
As a company owner, you want to set your business up right from the start. Report all your earnings. Pay your taxes. Deduct your expenses. It’s super simple and will keep you in check with the law.
You live in a free country that allows you to be our own boss. When you drive to work, you drive on public roads. You send your children to public schools. The US Postal system, public parks, and libraries are resources available to you – paid for by taxpayers. Public officials, police officers, firemen, and servicemen are also paid for with taxpayer money. The price is high to ensure our freedoms and personal safety on a daily basis.
Please don’t feel that you are above the law – you’re not. Every year there are famous and not-so-famous people that go to jail for tax fraud. Don’t be a moron and go to jail because you are trying to save a few hundred or a few thousand bucks. It’s just not worth it.
Payment Via Check
Getting paid for cleaning houses with checks is the preferred method for most house cleaners. Checks are simple, you have a record, the bank has a record, and your client has a record.
Bam! You’re done. Well not quite.
You still have to deposit the check. Your bank may offer mobile banking and if they do, I recommend it. Set up your account so you can deposit your checks right from your smartphone.
You might drive by several branches of your local bank each day. Yet you still have to pull in and wait in line behind another car. It’s not much but the 3-5 minute detour every day adds up.
When you close out your account for the day deposit the check from your smartphone. Closing your account is unpacking and repacking your caddy. Checking your equipment and tagging out broken or missing items. Note any special projects or client requests from the day and scheduling any necessary follow-up.
Bam! Now you’re done.
Payment by PayPal
Set up a business PayPal account and link it to your business bank account. It is a convenient way for clients fo pay for their house cleaning. This is a fallback method for people who “forgot” to leave a check for your house cleaning.
With PayPal, they can pay you with a credit card, or a check and the money goes into your PayPal account. You can transfer the money to your regular bank account at any time or you can keep it in PayPal as a saving account.
Accepting credit cards is a privilege once reserved for “merchants” only. As a merchant, you had a hefty monthly fee for the privilege of accepting credit cards. You also paid a transaction fee which is usually 2.75% to 3.0% of the transaction. With PayPal, you pay the transaction fee. They deduct this right from the transaction, so there is no added paperwork you have to do. There is no monthly merchant fee.
The transaction fee is the cost of doing business. 97% of say $100 is better than no money at all. And it’s way cheaper than hiring a collection agency. You don’t have to send harassing letters or phone calls to your clients to collect your money.
Payment With Credit Cards
And just accepting credit cards as payment is also a brilliant idea. Some of your clients don’t have the money to pay you at all. But they are willing to finance your cleaning on a credit card. Or they collect frequent flyer or other rewards points by a credit card.
Without a merchant account, you can use a square reader that hooks right into your cell phone and you can swipe a credit card with ease. https://squareup.com/ will show you how to get started.
It’s easy to create a square account and link to your business bank account. When you swipe a card, the money goes right into your account, minus the merchant fee or processing fee. They take out their 2-3% transaction fee automatically as well. No paperwork for you to do.
You can leave notes such as: “House Cleaning by Angela Brown” in the square app. This note will show up on your client’s credit card and remind them what they paid for.
You can get the reader for $10 bucks. And often under various promotions, the Square reader is free of charge. Check to see if they are running a current promotion.
If you do not have a reader, you can manually enter the credit card information. And then the client uses their finger to sign the purchase right there on the screen of your smartphone. It’s super simple.