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Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

(OP)
Some customers I support with routine questions that require maybe a few hours per week, and some occasional calculations or diagrams supporting the answers/opintions.  Currently we get a PO from them for maybe 40 hours, then I invoice every two weeks against the PO until its depleted, then get another one and so on.

 Getting a new PO every few weeks is a headache for me, their accounting dept., the customer, etc.  Then theres the invoicing that I have to follow up on, etc. It's inneficient on both ends.

I'm wondering if there is a better way for this type of situation? Maybe I could accept Credit cards, or have a fixed monthly cost like the prepaid attorney plans,...  

Has anyone found a good system for this type of customer.  

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

School?

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Actually, this sounds like a good deal to me. Most of us usually have to wait for our $$.
JIM

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

We are on retainer with several clients, for anywhere to $300-$1500/mon.  Some months we win, and some they win.  Special projects get a specific proposal and cost.
If you decide to accept cc, make sure your fees are high enuf to cover the charge that Visa/MC/Amex will hit you up with.
We have also signed up with paypal for one customer-again, we pay a fee on each payment.

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Expect about 2-3% from CCs, add another couple of percent for PayPal with CCs.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

If your customer will do Paypal, that's probably your best option.  Paypal is viewed as a rinky-dink, unprofessional payment method by some.  Some companies don't like it because it is easy to abuse.

You need a merchant account to accept CC's.  This can get pricey (I looked into this myself, once).  Be careful.  Lots of internet predators looking for a cut of this kind of business.  Best thing probably is to talk to your banker in person.

If cash flow is a problem, you might be able to set up a line of credit with your bank.

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

For engineering work, payment is typically you invoice, and then they send a company cheque.

This has worked for me for many many years.

I use a spreadsheet to keep track of invoices, receipts, etc. If this is too much of a burden, then maybe you need to get someone to help with this.

The other solution of just invoicing a fixed sum monthly, and then reconciling at the end of the year may work, if both sides agree to it. Haven't tried this method, but I would think the amount of work is probably comparable.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Invoicing is easy with the proper software.  QuickBooks allow you to easily credit time against the PO and generate invoices you can e-mail to your client.

I prefer a check, to lower my costs, but I have accepted PayPal from individuals.  Almost as good as a check.

Don Phillips
http://worthingtonengineering.com

RE: Alternative Billing: Accept Credit Cards? Pre-paid plans?

Our firm is a consulting engineering firm in Ontario.  As a favour to a client, I setup the ability to pay by credit card.  They wanted the air miles.  Since I only do 1 transaction per month, the best method is through a Telephone system.  I use Moneris, www.moneris.com.  There are other providers such as Global Payments.  The big advantage I have seen from accepting credit cards is the money is in your bank account the next day.  However it does cost money.  The merchant discount fee can be from 1.75% to 3% of the payment amount.  I suggest shopping around.  My biggest issue was paying $15.00 per month even if I do not use the service.  Maybe it will allow you to offer services to customers who like paying by Visa.

Cvanoverbeke

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