Module 10 – Handling Payments
Okay. In this module I want to talk just briefly about handling payments and some of the things that can come about when you go to deal with things like refund requests and late paying clients and that sort.
Again, always get payment first before you do anything. Something that comes up every now and then, I’m usually always aware of this, every now and then I’ll get a client that might be based overseas. A majority of the work that I do, I’m dealing with Australian based businesses and everything’s fine.
But every now and then I’ll get a weird payment request. I might have a client say, “Oh look, we can’t do internet banking. We’d like to pay through PayPal or can we use Stripe or something else?” I’m just never a fan of doing that because it’s too easy to have those funds reversed.
And I’d really hate to put myself in a position where I’m having to fight with some third party agency or something to try and get my money. So I just prefer to just stick with Internet banking. Send them the invoice, it’s got my bank account details on the invoice. They make payment, the money goes straight into my account.
Dealing with late payments, there’s probably better ways to handle payments than what I’m doing. Everything I do, the invoices and everything else far out automatically through zero, then it’s up to the business owner at their end to make payments. And if they’re busy or if they’re away or they’ve got other things happening within the business, they might be relocating or hiring staff, or buying equipment, whatever I’ve heard it all when it comes to late payments. Sometimes it’s a not intentional. Other times I’ve worked with some clients that are just, they pay late every single month and it’s a real nuisance.
I think if you’ve client that’s constantly paying late, not just a day or so, but like two or three weeks late each time, it’s not like you’re going to be doing the work and having to chase the money. It just throws you out of sync in terms of your monthly billing cycle. That’s the real problem that it presents. When that happens, especially if a client pays say a week late, you’ve only got a three week window to get the work done, so it may only be two weeks after they make payment. Do they get another invoice?
So it can cause all sorts of problems.
Usually with late payments, I keep an eye on when invoices are due. I actually cc myself within Xero. So when the invoice fires, the client gets a copy of the invoice and I get a copy of the invoice as well in my inbox. And I don’t delete those out of there until I know they’d been paid. So every now and then I’ll log into my bank account, I’ll look to see if they’ve been paid. If they’ve been paid, then I delete that email out of my inbox.
Otherwise, I know it’s still outstanding. It’s probably not the best system to have in place to follow up. I know within Xero you can set an automated followup email notification to say, hey this is outstanding. Haven’t yet needed to do that. Most of my clients pay on time, but every now and then I do have to follow up in an email.
Refund requests. This is something that I really haven’t ever had to deal with. Now actually come to think of it, I have, I had a refund request about six months ago from a woman who I told her to stop paying me because I felt that the product that she was trying to sell, there was just simply no demand for it. So she could have been paying me for another five years it wouldn’t have made any difference.
I was truthful upfront and honest with my email and for whatever reason she came back and demanded a refund. And this is what you’ll learn when you’re working with numerous business owners, there’s a lot of broken businesses out there, and regardless of how well you do your job and you provide SEO, I’ve led the can’t save everyone. But in any case, look, if you fucked up big time or you’ve done something wrong and it’s a legitimate request, then you’re always best off to just cut your losses and refund the money.
But it better be a damn good reason. I don’t think I’ve ever, ever given anyone a refund for anything. Typically, like I said, I’ve been doing this a long time, I know what I’m doing, I know when the job’s been done right. And one thing that I do know is that most business owners that work with me are absolutely blown away by the level of service that I provide. They’re not getting anywhere near the level, the quality of service that I’m providing anywhere else. And most of them that have come to me, if not all, that first discussion is “John, I’ve been working with this other SEO agency. I’ve been working with them for two years. I’ve been paying them $900 a month or whatever it might be. And I just don’t think they’re doing anything.”
Once they start working with me, yes they pay more, but it’s for good reasons because I know what I’m doing and I do the job well. We have the end of month strategy calls, I send detailed reporting, the work summary sheet that automates everything that we’re doing. There should be no reason for them to be asking for refunds.
And this is what providing quality SEO is little about. And this is why I mentioned earlier, you got to move right away from that shit stuff, if you are providing that cheap low end stuff, there’s no need to be there. And you see this sort of stuff on the web all over the place, under reviews and so forth, “Don’t work with this company, they’re rubbish. They ripped me off and refused to give me my money back.” It’s just not a comfortable place to be. I want to go to bed at night knowing that I’m providing a good quality service and my clients are happy.
Again, as I mentioned just a moment ago, encouraging prepaid. Get a client on board. Hey, there’s a lot of work to be done here. Consider prepaying six months or 12 months in advance. In a lot of cases, my clients are so happy with the service that I don’t have to worry about a monthly invoice. Hey look, let’s just get this thing moving. Let’s up the hours and I’ll pre pay six months in advance. As I said on a previous slide, great way of bumping up your earnings.
As mentioned in one of the previous modules, I use Xero for all of my payment processing. If I was to use anything web based where I was taking credit cards on a monthly subscription or a monthly billing cycle, I’d probably take a look at Stripe. I think that’s one viable platform. It’s something that I have considered, but I haven’t yet implemented it. For now I’m just going to stick with Xero. But if I did want to move to credit card and just bill people automatically, I’d probably take a look at Stripe because Stripe allows you to accept credit cards on your own websites. A lot different than PayPal. I like it for its simplicity and it works.
Look, people are asking for value exchange. I get this a lot, especially with coaching stuff that I provide. “John, I’ll work for you. I’ll do some link building. I’ll do some content if you train me.” Just stay right away from this sort of stuff.
I remember early on I was seeing a physiotherapists and he said, “Oh, you do SEO, we need some help here. And how about I’ll come down and I’ll give you your treatments and you help us out with this here.” And I stupidly agreed to it. And it just went pear shaped. It didn’t work at all. I was going down there and I was spending 45 minutes getting my back rubbed and my neck adjusted and everything else. And then in exchange I was spending 15 hours a month doing SEO and all of this other stuff. So it just didn’t work, and I learned my lesson from that and I’ve never done it since.
So any type of favours or service offering or value exchange requests, just stay right away from it.