My accountant recently introduced me to a better way of taking payment from my clients, whether on a retainer or for one-off work – or indeed any combination thereof. It’s an online system called GoCardless which takes very little effort to set up and puts you firmly in control of payments.
Put simply, after adding your own business and bank details, you define the content of your retainers according to the regular work you do for a client – it might be three blogs each week and a monthly feature, for example, and you add it as a plan. You can assign this plan to as many or as few clients as necessary or set up a tailored plan for each client if you cover a varied range of work. At this stage you also set the automatic collection date, building in around five days from notice of collection to the cash arriving into your account.
The next step is to input your client’s details. You need this to enable the system to send them an automatic request for permission to collect money via GoCardless. Once your client has accepted the request, your payments will be taken automatically on the date(s) chosen until no longer required.
One-off payments follow a similar process, except that there is no automatic request for subsequent payments. In effect, you are creating a direct debit, so you can specify how many collections should take place, at what intervals, and the end date, if appropriate. You can also create invoices as required.
All you will pay is a monthly fee of no more than £2 per payment. I highly recommend the system. It’s efficient and it saves time each month, and all the payments are recorded and stored digitally.
As someone who leaves invoicing to the last minute (just like waiting until the fuel tank is down to the vapours) is that it removes the need to spend time manually billing multiple clients each month. Result? More time for writing or marketing your business.