Three Ways to Make Your Payment Process Easier
Guest post by: SoarPay
Owning and managing a fitness business is a time consuming obligation, so ensuring your cash is flowing in as easily as possible is important. You want to be sure customers and members are able to pay you quickly and on time so you can spend your time perfecting your business, rather than chasing down people who owe you memberships dues.
Below are three ways in which you can make your payment process easier for yourself and your clients. Implementing these policies and payment options can help you spend more time teaching classes and getting to know the people who frequent your business and less time worrying about whether or not your invoices have been paid.
Use Automated Electronic Billing
Gym memberships may not be the first thing people think of when calculating their monthly bills, and paying for your service could slip their mind. Rather than tracking them down, you could use an automated electronic billing service. This could be a simple and efficient way to remind members of their monthly dues, and a time-effective solution that can keep your business up-to-date on billing and payment collection.
Companies like Zen Planner offer software with automated billing and integrated payment processing specifically for fitness-related businesses, like gyms, crossfit studios, dance studios and yoga studios. The software allows businesses to send invoices to customers on whichever date they select, and members can then view their bill online. Once they are ready to pay, they can submit their payment through the self-service portal.
ChargeOver, a company that offers a similar service, syncs with QuickBooks to track invoices and payments. This allows gym owners to better track what payments have been made and which customers need to be reminded again. This option makes it easy to follow up with customers about late payments and failed credit card charges. All of this can be done with little effort on your part.
Accept Online Payments
In recent years, more gyms owners have been asking customers to leave a credit card on file with their business. But, as more credit card fraud stories and data hacks dominate the news, less people feel comfortable doing so. A simple alternative is to accept payments online, allowing customers to make payments at their convenience using whichever payment option makes them comfortable.
Businesses can accept payments online through their website using their own merchant account or by using an online merchant. The merchants, also known as payment gateways, will accept payments on your behalf in exchange for various fees and percentages. The initial cost of opening a merchant account generally is more than signing on with a third-party company, but the transactions fees typically are less expensive.
Depending on the method you choose, your business could be able to process credit cards online, as well as accept payments from online payment systems like PayPal. Having more ways in which customers can pay their membership and fees online can ease the process for them, and it can help you get paid on time.
Schedule ACH Payments
Another quick and cost-effective way to collect membership dues is to use ACH payments. This payment option is a little different because it allows business owners to take the money directly from a customer’s banking account rather than charging it to a card. Instead, it is more like an electronic check. If the payments are recurring, this can be one of the easiest ways to ensure your business is paid on time.
This payment option is something customers can easily set up. When signing up for your services, they can bring in a voided check. This can give your business all the information you need to charge the person through an ACH payment option. You should, however, be sure to have the customer sign a form authorizing the payment, which should specify if it is recurring or a one-time payment. This is the equivalent of signing a check.
ACH payments also can be beneficial to fitness businesses because they tend to have less expensive transaction fees compared to credit card processing. Typically, ACH payments are processed at a flat transaction rate. Although the two options seems similar, they are completely different processing methods.
Finding simple and secure payment options for your customers can help you build a better relationship with them. If they feel safe when making payments, and the process is painless, your membership will not feel like a chore. The future of payment processing is digital, and implementing these few steps can help you get there. The best way, however, to determine what options work best for you is to consult with your customers. They can help you get a first-hand look at what payment options are important to them and how you can simplify the process.
About the Author
Sarah Blanchard is a payments industry writer whose primary focus is in providing unique payment processing solutions for high risk businesses, such as those provided in technical support merchant accounts. Follow Sarah on Facebook and Google+.