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Website for accepting payments

Website for accepting payments

Website for accepting payments

It's time, I think, to start holding back my drawings and other deliverables before receiving payments as a default. I think the easiest way to do this is to use a website service that can take payments and hold files. I send a link to the client that asks for payment, and once completed, offers the drawings/report/etc. Does anyone have any recommendations for such a service or relevant advice?

RE: Website for accepting payments

I always ask for a deposit, unless repeat client.

If you use a service and credit cards, then you will loose some % to them.

Cost of doing business I guess.

RE: Website for accepting payments

So...a digital escrow service? I can't recommend anything specific...but a quick internet search with those terms yields many options (even setting aside those specific to real estate transactions).

RE: Website for accepting payments

I use Quickbooks Online for my accounting and invoicing. Bills can be paid online via a bank draft or credit card.

RE: Website for accepting payments

Thanks for the recommendations. I'm looking for more than just payment processing. I want a service that can store my deliverables (drawings, reports, etc) and provide a download to the client after the client pays. it will look like this: I send a link to the client, they click on it, see a payment processing page, provide payment, and then immediately are able to download the files.

I've found some now: kitchen.co, sendowl, maybe shopify, and others. Not sure about sending something called sendowl to all my clients for them to put banking and card information into though. I'm sure it's safe, but the naming doesn't inspire confidence.

RE: Website for accepting payments


Like XR250, I use Quickbooks Online to accept payments. Then I just email the deliverables. It works fine. I admire your desire to further automate the process, but I don't see the need for it myself.

RE: Website for accepting payments

There are platforms like that for selling NFTs https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/cryptocur...

https://www.escrow.com/ seems to be one similar to the NFT platforms.

https://codekeeper.co/ is one for software

https://arty.ooo/#section-getting-started for art, which might be the closest to your application

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Website for accepting payments

JMO but I would stick to a basic online billing. I make regular use of cloud and online services for purchasing, contracts, etc but am reminded annually not to upload anything technical to third-party servers including Microsoft's to prevent IP going into the public domain.

RE: Website for accepting payments

Right, it may be wise to just stick with online payment processing and just send documents myself. Or do a combination of both. I would prefer to have the system I described for new, one-off clients. No need to argue or haggle, the drawings are just sitting right there ready for download whenever the client pays. I'm not too concerned with IP issues, and maybe I should be, but for any concern of that type I've always felt comfortable with "security through obscurity"

RE: Website for accepting payments

kissymoose - I think you're fine on the IP. We don't really work with proprietary IP. Our drawing showing our design is copyrighted if you claim it, but nothing trade-secrety about run-of-the-mill structural engineering. Unless you've developed your own wiz-bang or do-dad for something. Then some precautions may be warranted.

I like the idea of the instant availability, but at the same time I wouldn't worry too much about it. I've seen it done where the client has to pay upfront for inspections and may not get the report for a week. I don't love that model, but it makes me feel better about 6 or 7 hours later if the last thing before you sign off for the day is to check payments and send out your drawings/reports.

And as for the percentage you have to pay for credit card payments, check your local laws on that. I'm allowed to charge a surcharge for credit cards or a convenience fee if that is not my usual form of payment. So all of my proposals indicate that a mailed check is normal payment, but they can request an invoice through my credit card servicer and it has a surcharge tacked on equal to the fee charged to process the payment. They are forewarned, given an alternative option, and then they are free to choose.

The equation is: [(x+y)*p]+z=y where x=payment to be received by you, y=surcharge fee, p=servicer's charge rate (often 2.9%+/-), and z=servicer's flat rate/transaction (often $0.30). So for a $100 fee, you'd charge a fee of $3.30.

Be careful using this though. It's not legal everywhere. Though it should be, with appropriate limits and protections. The idea that businesses should be required to fund anyone's airline miles balance is ludicrous. But credit card companies have deep pockets and influential lobbyists.

RE: Website for accepting payments

I'm sure that there is no issue with IP anyway - my firm owns a pile of technology, and has a pile of lawyers, and everyone stores backups on onedrive and sharepoint with no issue from legal.

RE: Website for accepting payments

You could potentially divorce the billing from the product distribution, by separately having an FTP hosting service handle that portion of the transaction https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/web-hosting/f...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Website for accepting payments

Well that's reassuring on the IP spooks. Thanks the heads up on legal concerns with cc upcharges, I wasn't even aware. Looks like we're in the clear with it in my area, though the legalese makes my head spin.
For some new clients, I'll require a retainer, but for a lot of out-of-the-blue jobs, often with clients who got caught not obtaining permits, I think I'll just use this service to automate the payments and enforce the concept of "you give money, you get the product." Tired of chasing down cheap clients who never wanted to hire an engineer to begin with. For most clients though I'll stick with normal invoicing.

RE: Website for accepting payments


I'm sure that there is no issue with IP anyway - my firm owns a pile of technology, and has a pile of lawyers, and everyone stores backups on onedrive and sharepoint with no issue from legal.

Neither Onedrive nor Sharepoint store data, they're just a frontend app for managing/controlling access and flow of data the same as any PLM, ERP, or other database. The default/new setting for both stores data on a Microsoft server but most companies (and many individuals) connect them to their in-house server for IP, privacy, and other reasons. And yes, there are major IP ownership issues with storing data on external servers bc they are generally considered public domain.

RE: Website for accepting payments

First, I always have a signed agreement that includes payment terms.

When I am working with one off clients (like homeowners), I typically require payment prior to starting the design. I have no issues with absorbing the 2.9% fee to receive payment upfront. This way I am not left with hours spent on a project and a client that ghosted me.

For my other clients, I request payment in this priority: ACH transfer, credit/debit card, and as a last resort mailing a check. I use net 30 billing terms with late fees (as detailed in the signed agreement). What I have found is if a client is going to use an electronic method, they typically pay within a day or two. I use Quickbooks for collecting payments and have access to the funds the next day. If they are mailing a check, they typically postmark it the day it is due or the end of their next 30-day accounting period (assuming they pay on-time), it takes up to a week to be delivered, then up to a week for my bank to fully process it with mobile deposit. It can be almost two months between completing work and being able to use the funds. And about 1/10 checks has to be brought to the bank in person because it failed mobile deposit. I will gladly pay 2.9% to avoid the hassle of a check.

RE: Website for accepting payments

LOTE, thanks for chiming in. I am curious about your experience with your "other clients".

First, what type of clients are they; architects, contractors, other? I handle homeowners much the same way that you do, but my other clients usually do things the old fashioned way and mail a check. I would like to be able to get them to pay electronically using Intuit Pay (or whatever it's called) offered through Quickbooks, but in my experience architects and other legit companies (not homeowners) expect you to conform to their policies and procedures, not the other way around. I have had little to no success in changing their minds on this.

Second, how do you implement late fees. I mean I understand the concept of late fees and my standard agreements (contracts) include terms for charging late fees, but I have rarely, if ever, actually charged them. If it were automatic, I think it would be easier to get away with without pissing off clients. I mean if it were automatically handled by a billing software (Quickbooks) without me having to be involved to interface with the client's about it. I know Quickbooks has the functionality, but I have never used it. How does it work in Quickbooks? Does the software amend the original invoice each month and send an updated copy to the client? Also what is your experience with dealing with pushback from the client's when they finally pay the invoice and don't want to pay the late fees? Do you just ignore it and forget about the late fee? In my case, I feel like most architects who are mailing a check will just mail a check for the original amount and ignore the late fees.

RE: Website for accepting payments

I have a mix of contractors, suppliers (like precasters), owners (repeats are real estate companies), and some engineers in that order. I would say it is a 50/50 mix of who pays with check vs online, with the larger companies paying via check.

I set up the late fees through QuickBooks in the settings (simple as turning it on). It sends out automated email notifications when the bill is due and when late payments are tacked on. It also updates the online invoice on the payment portal, but it does not resend a pdf. Another way I try to encourage online payments is by not putting my address on the invoice and including a QR code that can take you to the payment portal even if they print out the invoice (all done through Quickbooks). Larger companies will of course request the W-9 with the address to receive payment.

Of those clients that pay late, they have either paid the fee without question online (usually a contractor that forgot until he was about to send me another project) or mail a check for the original amount ignoring the late fee. I have not gone back and told a client that they need to pay a late fee yet, nor would I do that with a good client. I typically just wave the fee in QuickBooks after the check comes in if it is reasonable (like the big company whose payment cycle is to mail payments from previous month's invoices at the end of the next month).

I have a client that is consistently many months late that did not pay their previous late fee (first invoice with them since I added late fees). I plan to keep it on the books so on the next project I have a bargaining chip to try to get upfront payment in exchange for waving the late fee. I'll let you know how that goes...

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