Business Advice

Receiving payments in person

Receiving payments in person - wedding business coach

{Updated May 2019}

When setting up your new wedding business, one element which needs to be considered is how to get paid – I mean apart from your extreme love of weddings or the craft that you specialise in for those weddings, we are all in business to make money – right?!

There are obvious ways to receive payments when you are considering online options – for many wedding service businesses it’s as simple as issuing an invoice via email to your clients and providing your bank account details on the invoice for payments to be made via funds transfer.  This is a free option for both the client and the business and is therefore a very popular choice.  

The second most popular option for receiving payments online is PayPal.  Through PayPal your clients can not only pay using their linked debit account but they can also use their credit card (which is very handy considering the large amount of wedding payments which are made using credit instead of saved funds!!).  PayPal is a super safe option for both parties, however it does incur fees which you will need to decide whether you charge on to your client or absorb it yourself (and factor it into your pricing) and is predominantly set up for online transactions.


So what about receiving payments in person?

For those of us who are planning on having transactions take place in person there are a few options out there but many of which are either painful (as in not super quick to set up) or again quite costly.  Firstly you can accept cash payments, however we are really moving towards a cashless society, so this option may be less than ideal for your clients. The other issue is change!  What are the chances that your client will have the exact change to pay for their goods or services with you? It’s highly likely they will require change and this means that you need an assortment of denominations on hand ready to provide for them.

For cashless options the traditional way of accepting payments in person has been by an eftpos terminal.  These are commonplace in almost all businesses, however they do come with substantial fees.  It’s always worth fully investigating the options around if this is sounding like it may work for you.  Generally there are monthly terminal hire fees and then there are transaction fees that vary depending on the businesses revenue. Sometimes this is fine for bigger businesses which turn over a fair amount each week, but for the micro businesses which are prevalent in the wedding industry it may be worth cracking the digits to see if it’s financially worthwhile.


Card reader options that are more affordable

Alternatively for in person payments there has been a recent rise in card readers which are either plugged into your smart phone or tablet or connected using bluetooth to your device.  With these readers you purchase the small device outright so there are usually no ongoing monthly fees or lock in contracts, however they still take a small percentage of each transaction.  Card readers vary in price, but to give you an idea the PayPal card reader which uses PayPal for receiving and transferring funds is approximately $99.  The latest version of this device allows customers to not only swipe but to use the tap and go feature.  Credit card details can also be entered in manually for those receiving card payments over the phone. There have been a few other players in the scene that have come and gone since this article was originally written such as a MYOB card reader that I can no longer find details about.

With these card reader options they incur transaction fees each time a client makes a payment to you and those fees vary,  however the average tends to be 2-3% of each transaction.  

I’ve always had my eye out for options to receive payment for my gown business, but it originally wasn’t a necessity for me as my gown clients were emailed invoices throughout the timeline of constructing their gowns and they could easily pay via direct debit or PayPal (and I charged on the small fee currently for those who paid through PayPal).  As time went on though  I started expanding to stock a small range of bridal jewellery and accessories and I also had sample sale gowns which can be purchased off the rack and taken home.  At that point it was time for me to review options for receiving card payments in person.

Quite a few years ago I came across another card reader option, Square, however this wasn’t available in Australia at that stage.  I since went on to purchase a PayPal card reader for another business of mine but I found the whole thing a little arduous as I had to plug things into my phone and then use a separate device for the card swiping, plus it had that 3% fee slapped on all transactions.  I had forgotten all about Square until I recently read an article about the founder of Square (who also founded Twitter) and I looked it up again – and hooray!!! The card reader is now available in Australia!  And not only that – the Square card reader is only $19 and easily purchased at Officeworks and even Bunnings apparently (not sure why you would go looking at Bunnings for a card reader!).  This tiny device plugs into the headphone socket of your smart phone (iphones or android) or your tablet and you then sign up for an account with them and process payments via their app using the card reader attached on your phone.  The other awesome thing about this product is that they only charge a 1.9% transaction fee!!!  So not only is the device much less expensive than other card readers but the transaction fee is less!  This is win-win!!

So what did I do?  I went online and did my next Officeworks order and grabbed myself one of those card readers!!  Over the years I’ve also used this device when running wedding fairs with my other business and accepting card payments for debit or credit cards on the door.  The only downfall is that it requires regular charging and if you don’t use it often it can lose it’s charge when stored.

Square have since evolved to create more card payment devices but the original plug into a phone jack and swipe away is still available for only $19!

What are you planning on setting up for your business to receive in person payments? If you know of another great method I’d love to hear from you!

Receiving payments in person - wedding business start up