You just finished a great session, and the energy was awesome.
You know you and your client did some really good work, and you can tell by her response. She’s a little teary, but okay. And she gives you a sheepish smile, tossing one more tissue in the trash while picking up her purse to leave.
“Thank you,” she says. “I knew this would be hard – but goodness – you are helping me so much and I’m so glad I came…”
You instinctively reach out to give her a little hug, as you open the door and say good bye. She walks down the hall with a small wave. “See you next week!”
And you turn back into your office with a smile. That was fun.
Then you remember.
UGH. She forgot to pay you. Again.
You feel like an idiot for not mentioning it – but gosh, you couldn’t exactly bring up money at a time like that, could you?
Or could you?
Yes. You could.
No matter what kind of business you have, setting up systems to be sure you get paid in a fair and efficient way will make your life waaaay easier.
Here, I used a 1:1 session between a client and a healer as an example, because I know how hard this is for my heart-centered peeps (like those of you who are art therapists, Reiki practitioners, nutritionists, or counselors.)
But the principles apply to every type of business – from retail to yard sales, from chiropractors to craftsmen.
You are not “just” a healer, artist, attorney or consultant. You are a business owner – and revenue is the lifeblood of your business.
Without it, you can’t survive.
So what can you do to make getting paid on a regular basis a little less awkward and a lot more efficient?
Turns out, there are lots of things. :)
Here are 5 simple ways to be sure you get paid. No awkwardness required.
1. Set up packages that allow clients to pay in advance.
Offering packages makes life easier, for you and your clients. Not only do they make a true emotional and financial commitment to the work, but they don’t have to remember to bring a check each time.
2. Set up an on-line scheduling system that requires them to pay when they set their appointment.
When someone schedules an initial consult at my office, they do so through an online scheduling system that requires a deposit as part of the process. Since instituting that system, I’ve never yet had a no-show or missed appointment.
3. Ask for payment at the start of the visit, before the work begins.
When your client or customer first gets to your office, just ask a matter-of-fact question. “How would you like to take care of this today? Cash, check?” They’ll automatically reach for their preferred payment option.
Notice the inherent assumption tucked in to that question: that they will pay.
My clients know that ending on time is not my strength. So I often say, “Why don’t we take care of payment before we get started? That way we don’t have to rush at the end.”
They seem to appreciate that gesture, because it means I’m getting the red tape out of the way first, so I can focus on them.
4. Ask for payment at the end, but make it a routine part of their experience.
If you don’t ask at the start, you can still use that same language at the end. (“How would you like to take care of this today?”) It may help both of you, though, to state that intention at the start.
“Don’t let me forget to get a payment from you before you leave today!” That way, you are inviting them to be an equal partner in making sure that things are done properly.
Said with a smile, they’ll appreciate the reminder too.
5. Follow up immediately when you do forget.
A few weeks ago, I completely forgot to collect payment from a young woman pays by card at each visit. We have a solid routine, so I don’t know why it slipped by that day.
That just happens sometimes.
In the past, I would have waited till she came back, and mentioned it then. Or waited until statements went out at the end of the month.
Or worse yet, avoided the whole subject completely and resented the fact that I didn’t get paid.
(How many of you do that?! Type “Uh oh! I do!” in the comments below!)
Not any more. I realized my mistake as soon as she left the parking lot, so I immediately sat down to send her an email. “Oops!” was the subject line.
I quickly mentioned that I’d forgotten to get her payment that day, and asked her to mail in a check. Instead, she chose to drop one by the next day.
Quick. Clean. Respectful. Clear. Easy.