You provided the quote and landed the job! Now, how do you get paid for your cleaning services? If your like most cleaning businesses, the majority of your cleaning clients will not be home when you provide the cleaning service. After all, the reason they have hired you is because they don’t have the time to clean their home themselves (or they just really hate cleaning!).
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Have a Plan in Place
Before you go into a home to clean, you should have a plan in place on how you will get paid. Really, this should be settled when you provide your new client paperwork once you are hired.
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10 years ago homeowners would leave cash or check for the cleaning lady and that was it. But what happens if they forgot to leave payment? Or what happens if the check was returned for insufficient funds? Now you will have to wait longer to get paid for your cleaning services.
Now a days there is a third method of getting paid by clients. That is credit card processing, and it has become more accessible to smaller businesses. When we were running our business we started accepting credit cards with our first client.
Continue reading to see how you can get paid for your cleaning services. Or skip down to the bottom on how to save money on your credit card processing fee’s.
How to Get Paid for Cleaning Services
The 3 most common was to get paid for your cleaning services are cash, check or credit card. 10 years ago credit card processing was not as common as it is today. Now, credit card processing for even the smallest cleaning businesses is very obtainable.
Cold hard cash is the cheapest and easiest way to get paid for your cleaning services. The homeowner leaves the cash out the day of the cleaning, in which you or the cleaners pick up after the cleaning. There is little risk the payment will be denied (which can happen with a check). The downside to taking cash is if you have employee’s not all cleaning companies feel comfortable with their cleaners carrying cash. There is a risk of loosing it or even cleaners being robbed.
A decade ago, leaving a check for the cleaning lady was by far the most popular payment method for cleaning services. The issue that can arise with this is if the check gets returned. If you are collecting checks make sure that you have a policy in place for returned checks. It is customary for a maid service to charge a client anywhere from $30 – $40 for a returned check.
With the way of the banking industry, more and more clients want to pay with credit cards as well. The younger generations do most of their banking online and most don’t even have a check book. It is becoming expected that companies accept credit card or electronic payments.
More and more often cleaning services are moving towards accepting credit card payments. Even more so, companies are offering it as the ONLY form of payment. It is now common for Cleaning Business to collect credit card information at the scheduling stage. Credit cards are kept on file to either bill the day of the cleaning, or as a back up if cash or check is not left out.
The good news is there are lots of options for you to use so that you can collect credit card payments. It is easy and very cost effective.
How to accept Credit Card Payments
With most of your credit card processing companies there are 3 ways to obtain payment. Those are through electronic invoicing, through a payment form on your website, using a swipe attachment in combination with your cell phone. I do not recommend the credit card swiping integration. Most companies charge for their swipe tool and swiped transactions tend to cost more than if your client paid online.
Cash flow is very limited to newly established companies. For this instance I would recommend utilizing electronic invoicing. You can send an invoice via email, and your client simply clicks on the provided link and make the payment. When I had my cleaning business, I would send invoices to my clients the night before. They then could make the payment by the end of the next day. It was super easy.
As your company begins to grow, you will not have time to send invoices and will want to create a more automated system. This is where online booking forms become a necessity. My 2 favorite are ZenMaid and Launch 27 both offer automated online bookings, calendar management, customer communications and cleaning team communications. These services are subscription based and do cost around $50 a month for the lowest plan.
Credit Card Payment Processing Options
When running my cleaning business, we used PayPal for our credit card processing. PayPal was a well known brand at the time and clients trusted the site. Fee’s are comparable to others. The company offers online invoicing and integrates with most websites and some booking forms.
Fee’s associated with PayPal: 2.9% of the sale + $.30 per transaction.
Square offers online invoicing and payment processing. You can send invoices for free via email. Square also offers recurring payment’s, which is great for your recurring clients. The company also offers other services which may be helpful for your cleaning business such as scheduling. Some reviews state that many of the different services are not linked together in one app. Rather the business owner would have to jump from app to app to use the different services.
Fee’s associated with Square: 3.5% of the sale + $.15 per transaction
Stripe is another credit card processing option. Allows you to bill clients electronically either one time or on a recurring basis. Allows to you embed check out option on your site. The site also allows for reporting and tracking of payments per customer. You can use it to integrate with other software you may be using such as a maid service scheduling or online booking form.
Fee’s associated with Stripe: 2.9% of the sale+ $.30 per transaction
How to Pay Less for Credit Card Processing Fee’s
Credit card processing is moving into the most popular forms of payments for clients and business, but it does cost money to accept them. Cleaning businesses should avoid paying a fee when withdrawing their money out of credit card processing sites. You will want to limit fee’s incurred on getting paid for your cleaning services, to keep your expenses low and profit margin high. There are ways that you can help decrease those costs.
Bill Clients Monthly
Because you pay a percentage of sale + a flat transaction fee of $.15 – $.30, billing your customers less often will save you money. We did this with our clients and those that you clean weekly you can save almost $1.00 a month per client. Multiply this by just 50 recurring clients whom pay by credit card, you can save $50 a month.
Opt for Electronic Transfers
Don’t pay extra fee’s to withdraw your money. Make sure you are opting for free money transfers. We used PayPal and opted to have our money transferred straight into our business checking account. As long as you initiate the transfer before 7 pm on a business day, you should have your money deposited into your account the by the next business day. There are other options such as instant transfers, these transactions will cost you 1% of the amount of the transfer. If you are billing out Even just $2000 a month for credit card processing, that will save you $20.00.
Use Card Processing Fee’s as an expense write off on your taxes
Credit card processing is a business expense. That means you can write it off on your taxes. By writing off credit card processing fees, you are decreasing your taxable income. You are not liable to pay taxes on the expenses in which you ensure while running your business. Tax write-off’s = LESS Taxes paid!