Last week I was talking to a busy, successful real estate photographer that was asking if I new any invoicing systems that he could use to hook up to his photo delivery mechanism. He was frustrated that he was having to put in so much time and energy getting paid for his shoots. Apparently he has lost some money by not keeping good track of who's paid and who hasn't.
My reaction was why not insist on getting paid at the shoot or before the photos are delivered? I made the following argument for getting paid at the shoot, via your website or via an email:
- There are at least two apps (that work with credit card readers) that allow you to take credit cards via your smart phone (Just in the US for now). Squareup and PayPal. I have and use both of these and they work great. Note that PayPal charges $30/month to take credit cards where as Squareup doesn't have a monthly fee.
- If you go the PayPal route you can also have a button(s) on your site (like this) or e-mail the same button(s) to a client along with the invoice (you just paste a URL into your email). You can easily create a button for all your products and collect on your site or send the client an email with a pay-now button.
- Home inspectors have all figured out the issue of getting people to pay a several hundred dollar fee on time and they all collect their money up front before the home buyer get their hands on the inspection report so agents don't have a good reason to tell you paying up front is strange and unusual.
- In this day and age when every business person carries a credit card and it's now easy to take credit card payment, that it's just setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary work and grief if you don't collect up front!
So, even though there many be many instances where the agent is not at the shoot, collecting your money up front before photos are delivered can eliminate a lot of headaches. Sure you may have some clients that you do regular work for that have established their credibility so it's reasonable to bill them monthly or even quarterly but for the majority of your business why set yourself up for a struggle?
What are others experiences with up front payment?