Pocketsuite For Beauty Professionals

One of the things that we hear most from beauty professionals, including hairstylists, nail techs, and makeup artists is that managing the “business-side” of their spa or salon is actually the hardest part of being an independent business owner. Some have even gone to work for larger spas and salons because it was just too exhausting to keep everything together and make time for themselves.

That won’t be your story! We’re going to share how you can continue to “be your own boss” without all of the stress. We know that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Hair stylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists handle everything from finding new clients, scheduling, taking deposits, making your clients look fabulous, collecting final payment and a whole lot more. To better understand all of the things that beauty professionals do on a day to day basis, we interviewed some successful, hair, nail and makeup professionals who actively use PocketSuite.

They highlighted 6 common challenges:

1. Scheduling, Scheduling & Scheduling: We know that your day to day schedule is EVERYTHING. You’ve got to get butts in seats and it’s always better when a client books you ahead of time. Your time is too precious to have to wait and see who comes through each day. Besides just knowing what your schedule looks like, there are two things that literally drive beauticians crazy. Not knowing which appointment on your calendar has been paid for and which hasn’t been paid for yet. You have to go back and forth between your email, Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, and your text messages to figure out who paid and who hasn’t. Ugh!!!

2. No Shows: The other thing that is a big pain in the #$% are “no shows”. The worst thing is for someone to take a really popular time slot like Saturday afternoon and then not show up for their appointment…no call, no text, no heads up whatsoever. Besides the fact that it is super rude and disrespectful, it costs you money. Someone else would have literally #killed for that time and you can’t replace the money that you would have made for that appointment.

3. Product Sales: Some don’t just do hair, you sell products too. Whether you are selling bundles of hair, organic shampoos &  cremes, or accessories, it’s hard to remember who bought what and to have it ready for when your client shows up for their appointment. Not to mention, having to keep track of how many products you have left on a notepad that you may not always have with you. #Help Products really boost your income, but the back and forth “remind me when did you buy it…” and “sorry, we just ran out…” messages to your clients are starting to look really unprofessional.

4. Getting New Clients: When you get a client and treat them right, they will stay with you for life! That’s, of course, if they don’t move or have some other major life change. Even though you have some loyal clients, you always need to build relationships with new clients. You should know how many heads of hair you need to do a week to hit your income goal. The typical hairstylist in the U.S. makes $3,000 a month, that means they make $750 a week. If 30% of their income comes from products, that means they will sell $225 in products a week. The rest of their income needs to come from doing hair. If the average client pays about $75, a hairstylist earning $3000 per month has to do 7 heads of hair a week to make $525 ($2,100 per month) in hair styling income. That income plus the product income of $225 per week ($900 per month) will get you to $3,000 per month. That’s basically serving 1 client a day if they work all 7 days or 2 clients a day, if they only want to work 3 and half days a week. That’s the cool thing about being “Your own boss!” You can decide how much you are going to make. Set your prices. Set your hours and do what you love for clients. To serve 7 clients a week when most clients do their hair every 2 weeks and some every month, you need to have a minimum of 14 and more likely ~30 regular clients to be able to earn $3,000 a month as a hairstylist. If you currently have 5 clients now, then getting new clients should be a top priority for you.

5. Rebooking: If you take the example above of the hairstylist who wants to make $3,000 a month, besides finding new clients she needs to make sure that every client that she serves becomes a repeat client. Otherwise, she will need to keep finding new clients in order to hit her goal. The best way to make a client a repeat client is to deliver 5 Star service. You know what they say, “If they love you, they’ll never leave you.” The second best way to make a client a repeat client is to remind them to book you again (and if necessary, give them an incentive like a discount or a free extra service to rebook you). Sometimes it isn’t enough to remind a new client to rebook you just once because they may not do it immediately or at all. You have to regularly remind them. If you are seeing 1 or 2 new clients a day, that’s a lot of people who you have to remember to remind to rebook. And it’s a royal pain because you already have so many things on your mind…

6. Tips or Gratuity: I’m sure I don’t have to say much about tips. You work hard for “your money” and really appreciate it when clients recognize that and tip you. But sometimes they forget to tip and that hurts in your heart and your purse. It’s awkward to have to remind them or ask for a tip. The whole point of a tip is that your client gives it to you because they recognize on their own how great a job you have done. If you have to remind them, it feels weird like you’re cheating or fishing for a compliment. But if you don’t remind them, then you really will miss out. The worst is when you take “the high road” and decide not to mention it when they forget to tip you and then your client gets home an hour later and sends you this message “I’ve gotten 3 compliments on my new look already. I’m so jazzed about it! You did such a great job. Thank you, thank you! Ooh, I totally forgot to give you a tip. So sorry.😭” That’s super frustrating because it is such a hassle to collect tips after the fact.

Did any of that sound familiar? If so, we totally understand. We are going to walk you through how PocketSuite slays all of the problems above. It makes it stress free for Pros like you to get booked and paid by existing clients as well as super easy to find new clients.

 

 

Solutions to these Pesky Problems

“Once I started serving more than 5 or 6 clients a week, keeping track of schedules, deposits, products, and messages became way too much… I knew I needed help.” – Jane S.

  • Appointment Scheduling & Calendar Booking

    • You do everything on your phone already. You may as well manage your schedule there too. PocketSuite makes it super easy for hairstylists and beauty pros. Clients can book you and pay their deposit from Instagram, Facebook, your website, or over text message, using your PocketSuite online booking link. You don’t have to send messages back and forth with your clients anymore to find a date and time that works. Your calendar syncs to PocketSuite automatically so anyone can visit your Instagram profile, your Facebook page, or your website, see when you are free, and book you. You can block out your schedule whenever you want too. So clients can only see the availability that you want them to see. You can require clients to pay a deposit when they book you or require them to put a credit card on file (just in case they cancel super late or no show).
  • Inventory Tracking

    • Products are a great way to earn more money! You should be able to sell them without any hassles. You can use PocketSuite’s “add on” product feature to offer your clients products when they are booking you online. They buy the product from your online booking site and it gets added to their appointment. So you’ll know exactly what they bought, when they bought it, and you’ll have it ready when they come in for their appointment. PocketSuite also tracks how much inventory you have left, so you are never caught by surprise. You can track sales activity and re-order before you run out.
  • Getting New Clients & Hitting Your Income Goals

    • Getting new clients isn’t easy for successful beauty pros like you because you are always in the salon serving clients. You don’t have time to go out and network and you don’t need to. All you need to do is make sure that you post all of the beautiful before and after photos of your clients on Facebook, Instagram, and tag your clients so they’ll share those pictures with friends and family.  If you do that, PocketSuite will take care of the rest. PocketSuite has 3 online marketing features that beauty pros really love. These features help them get new client leads: (1) Online Chat, (2) Suite link, & (3) Online Booking.
    • With Online chat client leads can easily chat with you anywhere online, including on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or your website. The chat message from clients is sent directly to you via the PocketSuite app. You also get the contact information of every client lead … so you can follow up with them easily. Next, you can have your very own Suite link . A Suite link can be added to your website or Instagram and Facebook. You can use it to share your marketing links with your service information/products/other items, social media, pictures of clients that you have served. A Suite link can also be used by client leads to book and chat with you… the options are endless. Your Online booking site makes it possible for new and existing clients to schedule and buy anything from you. You can offer a free consult as a way to build your email marketing list and begin building a healthy, long term relationship with new client leads.
  • Rebooking

    • PocketSuite is the only mobile first, business management app for beauty professionals, including hair stylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists. Studies show that text messages have a 90% open rate vs. 40% or less email open rates. Most people check their phones obsessively throughout the day, so text based appointment rebooking reminders are never missed. When hairstylists use rebooking reminders, they see a 5x increase in client’s scheduling repeat appointments. Hairstylists simply set up a “Reach out to past client” smart campaign, which will automatically contact to any client who hasn’t (re)booked or paid you in a whatever time frame that you specify with a personalized text message from you focused on getting them to schedule their next appointment. The appointment rebooking reminder includes dynamic field options… in English that means they can be personalized automatically to include your client’s name, appointment date, special promotional offer, etc.
  • Tips or Gratuity

    • You shouldn’t have to worry about asking for tips from your clients. Let PocketSuite do the work for you! You can setup PocketSuite to automatically request a tip from your clients when they are booking or when they are checking out of an appointment with you. Either way, it’s not you doing the asking, it’s PocketSuite. So no need to worry about any awkwardness. Check out the dozens of other features that we offer you, your business and your clients.

PocketSuite has thousands of hair stylists, nail technicians, makeup artists who all started where you are right now. Our community of beauticians are always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any beauty professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300

Pocketsuite For Pet Professionals

One of the things that we hear most from pet professionals, dog trainers, dog walkers, pet groomers, and pet sitters is that managing the “business-side” of their work is actually the hardest part of being an independent business owner. Some have even partnered with larger organizations or partnered with another pro because it was just too exhausting managing everything on their own.

That won’t be your story! We’re going to share how you can continue to “be your own boss” without the stress. 

Pet professionals handle everything from finding new clients, scheduling, taking deposits, working “behavior training”, “dog walking”, “pet sitting”, or “pet grooming” magic with pets, collecting final payment and a whole lot more. For dog trainers, you have the added job of organizing, marketing, enrolling clients in classes and keeping track of all vaccinations and behavioral profiles. For dog walkers and pet sitters, you are mapping your walks and sharing lots of “meme-worthy” pics of your furry wards. For groomers, you are keeping track of cut and fluff preferences and staying mindful of who smells like they need a good scrub. Phew, I get tired just thinking about all of the odds and ends that pet professionals are managing while delighting clients. To better understand all of the things that they do on a day to day basis, we interviewed some successful, dog trainers, walkers, and sitters who actively use PocketSuite.

They highlighted 5 common challenges:

1. Getting New Clients: Pet professionals, depending on the services offered, may have a long or short time serving clients. For dog trainers who don’t also do boarding, your time with clients can be as short as the enrollment period of your behavioral training classes. For dog walkers, you have a client for life unless and until your pet parent moves or has kids who can take over walking duties (at least for a while). However long your service period is with clients, you always need to build relationships with new clients.

2. Payment Processing: With the exception of a few clients who are old school, most clients prefer to pay with plastic. They don’t carry around cash and it is super inconvenient to make trips to the ATM or worse yet to find their check book to pay you. Without a system of your own, you have been subject to clients paying so many different ways. Some will pay via PayPal on your site. Others will send you the money via Venmo. Even more give you their card in person and wait while you swipe them out using Square. Yikes! That’s already 3 different payment tools that clients are using to pay you. It makes it really difficult for you to know how much you are making in total because the money is in so many different places. It’s also really hard to see which of your clients have paid you for appointments or classes that they have booked. You are constantly having to look in 5 different places to fully get control of your calendar and income.

3. Service Packages: We understand you’re busy working with your pet parents & their pet babies every day… the last thing you want to do is to spend the day reaching out to clients about scheduling and rebooking. It takes a lot of visits to achieve the goal of behavioral training. For dog walkers and pet groomers, the visits are so often…it is hard to keep track of the rebooking and follow-ups.

4. Completing Contracts & Forms: It’s important for new clients to complete all of the liability waivers, vaccination forms, pet profiles, and other intake materials, but it’s not always clear to them why. It takes time and patience to walk them through the documents and explain the significance so they really understand what they are signing and getting into.

5. Too Many Apps to Deal With: Many Pet professionals use a scheduling system, a payment platform, a note taking app, excel/google sheets, and text messaging to stay organized… it truly is a juggling act.

Did any of that sound familiar? If so, we totally understand. We are going to walk you through how PocketSuite seamlessly addresses those issues. It makes it easy and efficient for Pros to get booked and paid by existing clients as well as find new clients.

 

 

Solutions to these Pesky Problems

“Once I started serving more than 5 or 6 clients a week, keeping track of schedules, deposits, products, and messages became way too much… I knew I needed help.” – Jake P.

  • Getting New Clients & Growing your Business

    • As long as you are actively posting about your work with pets and pet parents, you will have no problem getting a stead stream of new clients. Your pet parents will proudly share YouTube videos of their pup doing a trick with friends and family. There is literally noone who doesn’t love sending memes, starring their cuddly kitten. If you are actively telling your stories online, PocketSuite will do the rest. We have three powerful online marketing features that help you convert all of those likes, follows, shares, tweets, retweets, (re)grams, etc. into bookings and payment: (1) Online chat, (2) Suite link, and (3) Online booking. With Online chat client leads can easily chat with you anywhere online, including on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or your website. The chat message from clients is sent directly to you via the PocketSuite app. You also get the contact information of every new pet parent lead … so you can follow up with them easily. You also have your very own Suite link . A Suite link can be added to your website or Instagram and Facebook. You can use it to share your marketing links with your service information/packages/classes/subscriptions/other items, social media, pictures of clients that you have served. A Suite link can also be used by client leads to book and chat with you… the options are endless. Your Online booking site makes it possible for new and existing clients to schedule and buy anything from you. You can offer a free consult as a way to build your email marketing list and begin building a healthy, long term relationship with new pet parents leads.
  • Automated Payments

    • There are over 10 ways to process a payment on PocketSuite. Depending on the services you provide, different pet parents prefer different payment tools:
      • Dog trainers – Prefer selling packages, which involves paying for a bundle of appointments upfront that you can track as you use them.
      • Dog walkers – Are all about scheduled invoices. They have recurring appointments for picking up and walking your dog. Scheduled invoices regularly sends their clients invoices with recurring appointments automatically added & itemized.
      • Pet sitters – They take reservations. Yup, just like the Airbnb kind. You can book and check into and out of “overnight or multi-day” appointments. A deposit is typically required for these bookings. Alternatively, some schedule a customized series of repeat appointments for regular clients.
      • Pet groomers – It’s a jump ball between invoicing depending on whether clients are regulars or processing them using PocketSuite’s POS checkout system with all of the products that they buy.
    • There is literally something for every kind of Pet professional. The PocketSuite system encrypts and stores client payment information and their card can be charged after each appointment. No awkwardness. No payment delays. No kidding. 
  • Service Packages

    • Many pet pros offer packages which are essentially a bundle of appointments that clients buy upfront, which are automatically updated and tracked as client’s book their pre-paid appointments. With the ability to offer different types of packages. Packages are popular with Dog trainers and Pet groomers who like to pair different offerings for their clients. For Dog trainers, they will include a mix of behavioral training and puppy training classes and private appointments in their packages. For Pet groomers, it may be a mix of wash and cut services with some products like a chew toy and collar.
  • Contracts & Forms

    • With Pocketsuite, Pet professionals can import client forms & contracts. When clients book an appointment, they are prompted to sign a contract and/or complete a vaccination and pet profile form about their pet. They can do all of this online from a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. All completed client contracts and forms are saved in their PocketSuite profile for you to access whenever you need. Client’s typically complete and sign contracts and forms within 1 business day of receiving them on PocketSuite. Now before clients show up for their first appointment, they have already completed all of the intake materials. Most Pet professionals love this feature because it saves them hours of time that they would otherwise spend emailing, faxing, printing, and filing paperwork.
  • Multiple Apps & Software

    • For all your essential business needs, PocketSuite has everything a Pet professional needs for their business. Pocketsuite offers a simple data export to support Pet professionals come tax time. They or their accountants can easily import that data into Quickbooks. PocketSuite has so much more to offer Pet professionals, including extensive appointment and notes features that is automatically, securely saved within client profiles; a dedicated business line; repeat appointments to make scheduling even easier; income and client reports to track performance; options for Pet professionals with a team; and much, much more! Check out the dozens of other features that we offer you, your business and your clients.

PocketSuite has thousands of Pet professionals who all started where you are right now. Our community of Pet professionals are always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any Pet professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300

PocketSuite For Therapists

One of the things that we hear most often from therapists is that managing the “business-side” of their practice is actually the hardest part of being an independent business owner. Some have even (re)joined larger therapist groups because the back office work kept them from really enjoying the best part of their practice – the cherished time in session with clients. That won’t be your story! We’re going to share some great alternatives to the typical outsource, merge , or (re)join a larger practice solutions to this all too common challenge. 

Therapists handle everything from finding new clients and doing intake, to scheduling, delivering treatment, billing (payment collection) and a whole lot more. To better understand, we interviewed successful, therapy professionals who actively use PocketSuite.

They highlighted 5 common challenges:

1. Awkwardness of asking for payment: Asking for payments is a weird part of the professional – client relationship, especially one that requires a huge amount of vulnerability.

2. Late cancellations / missed appointments: Most Pros work with adults that have equally busy schedule, meeting work deadlines, picking children up from school, taking care of aging parents. In the midst of all that, priorities sometimes change and many sometimes have to cancel last minute or forget and miss the appointment entirely. Either way, it’s a loss.

3. Lots of follow-up: It can be tricky to remember to followup properly and quickly with clients after an appointment because of the need to shift focus to preparing for and serving their next client.

4. Endless contracts, forms, and paperwork: It’s important for new clients to complete all of the liability waivers, consent forms, and other intake materials, but it’s not always clear to them why. It takes time and patience to walk them through the documents and explain the significance so they really understand what they are signing.

5. Too Many Apps to Deal With: Many use a scheduling system, a payment platform, a note taking app, excel/google sheets, and text messaging to stay organized… it truly is a juggling act.

Did any of that sound familiar? If so, we totally understand. We are going to walk you through how PocketSuite seamlessly addresses those issues. It makes it easy and efficient for Pros to get booked and paid by existing clients as well as find new clients.

 

 

Solutions to these Common Problems

“My time is for my clients not for paperwork.” – Dr. Sue P.

  • Automated Payments

    • There are over 10 ways to process a payment on PocketSuite. Many therapists find the best solution is to require credit card when confirming recurring appointments (a series of repeating appointments). The PocketSuite system encrypts and stores client payment information and their card can be charged after each appointment. No awkwardness. No payment delays. No kidding. 
  • Scheduled Appointment Reminders

    • PocketSuite is the only mobile first, business management app for therapists. Studies show that text messages have a 90% open rate vs. 40% or less email open rates. Most people check their phones obsessively throughout the day, so text based appointment reminders are never missed. When therapists use scheduled reminders, they see a 3x decline in client’s missing appointments . Therapists simply set how many hours or days before each appointment they want reminders to go out to their clients and PocketSuite takes care of the rest. The appointment reminder messages include dynamic field options… in English that means they can be personalized automatically to include your client’s name, appointment date, etc.:)
  • Followup Messages

    • As a therapist, we understand that the relationship you develop with your clients is sacred. Open and consistent communication is an important part of sustaining the relationship. Much like scheduled appointment reminders, therapists schedule personalized messages to be sent on specific dates following client appointments. There are so many ways to use this feature, whether as a simple thank you… a reminder to schedule their next appointment… or a description of homework they should engage in before their next session.
  • Contracts & Forms

    • With Pocketsuite, therapists can import client forms & contracts. Before an appointment, they text the contract or form to the client and the client can fill it out and e-sign it on any device (mobile or desktop). The contract or form is stored in the client’s profile within the app and can be printed and accessed anytime. Client’s typically complete and sign contracts and forms within 24 hours of receiving them on PocketSuite. Now before clients show up for their first appointment, they have already completed all of the intake materials. Most therapists love this feature because it saves them hours of time that they would otherwise spend emailing, faxing, printing, and filing paperwork.
  • One Integrated App

    • For all your essential business needs, PocketSuite has everything a therapist needs for their business. PocketSuite is HIPAA compliant, which means all client records are always securely and permanently stored. Pocketsuite offers a simple data export to support therapists come tax time. They or their accountants can easily import that data into Quickbooks. PocketSuite has so much more to offer therapists, including extensive appointment and notes features that is automatically, securely saved within client profiles; a dedicated HIPAA compliant business line; repeat appointments to make scheduling even easier; income and client reports to track performance; options for therapists with a team; and much, much more! Check out the dozens of other features that we offer you, your business and your clients.

PocketSuite has thousands of therapists who all started where you are right now. Our community of therapists are always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any therapist to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300

10 Ways to Accept Payment – POS

Today we’ll review Point of Sale systems, which industries use these types of systems, and how it can benefit you and your business to have one.

Can you guess what was the first organization to use a Point of Sale system? Read on to find out…

Are you a small business owner or solopreneur that accepts credit cards for your service business (or wants to)?

If so, here’s a follow up question – let’s say it’s time for your client to pay for your services. Have you ever experienced the following:

You’re trying to accept payment from your client, but your client is hesitant to give you their credit card details.

Whether it’s because they don’t want you to take a picture of their card or because they’re simply uncomfortable with the idea of providing you with their private financial information in the first place…

Either way, a Point of Sale system is the solution to this challenge because it addresses those concerns and allows clients to just ‘swipe’ their card to pay you.

“Can’t I just swipe it?”

A Point of Sale system is any system that allows for the payment of goods or services – essentially it’s the toll booth where you pay for whatever you’ve bought or services delivered to you.

This can take the shape of a cash register, a swipe dongle, or even Point of Sale software.

Although the acronym POS can stand for many different things, (including slang terms we won’t be repeating here) for the purposes of this article we’re referring to Point of Sale systems whenever we use this acronym.

Having a Point of Sale system (or POS for short) may be the mark of a tech-savvy solopreneur or small business owner, but the fact of the matter is, POS systems have been around for at least 3 decades.

THE HISTORY OF POINT OF SALE SYSTEMS

One of the earliest, rudimentary Point of Sale systems was actually used at McDonalds.

The first digital Point of Sale system ran on an Atari system, which is famous for being one of the first video game consoles.

In light of the advent of micro-processors (post 1990’s) most Point of Sale systems started to include bells and whistles such as inventory management and reporting for accounting purposes.

Post 2000’s POS systems typically stored information in the cloud, which would add a layer of security and redundancy to ensure data remained safe.

Check out this breakdown of the differences between the old-school On-premise POS systems and the newer Cloud-based systems:

Doesn’t it seem a whole lot easier to go with a software-based Cloud POS system?

  • Instead of purchasing licenses, you just sign up for a membership (in PocketSuite’s case, there’s even a free option)
  • Instead of updating and maintaining the software, cloud-based software is updated automatically.
  • Instead of requiring dedicated IT personnel, it can be managed by a single person.
  • Instead of requiring costly hardware purchases, you can just download an app on your phone!

All in all, it seems  like business owners could benefit from and would vastly prefer having a cloud-based POS system within reach.

The convenience and low up-front cost is simply too appealing to resist.

You can rest assured that cloud-based POS systems are safe as they use the latest in 256 bit encryption to secure your transactional data.

Newer versions of cloud-based Point of Sale systems are even safer due to load balancing and further redundancy, so your data will be fine even if an entire data center is burned to the ground (such as in Microsoft’s case) or hacked (like Subway’s was – to the tune of $3M).

WHICH INDUSTRIES USE POINT OF SALE SYSTEMS

The retail industry is a key player in the world of POS systems.

Hospitality businesses also use Point of Sale systems regularly – think of any fast food chain restaurant to get an idea of how prevalent this technology is.

Imagine the following businesses, as they all use POS systems:

  • Spa / Esthetician
  • Barber Shop, Beauty Salon
  • MakeUp & Nail Salons
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Retail Shop
  • Dog Trainer
  • Pet Groomer
  • Fitness Trainer
  • Contractor
  • Mobile Detailer
  • Movers

For the purposes of this article, however, we’ll be focusing on the small business and solopreneur side of things.

The reality is, as a small business owner, you need a quick and reliable way to charge a client’s card if they hand it to you, or if they share their card details over the phone.

In addition, for regular clients, it would be especially useful for your Point of Sale system to be able to store the client’s card details for future use.

Any POS system worth its salt will have this capability and more.

But your best bet is to use one that’s connected to the app or software that you use to manage your business.

Imagine having a Point of Sale system that’s siloed from the app where you handle your business messaging, your customer notes, or your payroll.

That’s invaluable data that must be kept together if you want to make sense of what’s going on in your business.

In terms of cost, almost half of all businesses spend about $1,500 per year on their Point of Sale system, according to Capterra.

The Point of Sale industry shows no sign of slowing down – in fact, according to research by MarketsandMarkets, it’s expected to hit $3.73 billion by 2023.

YOU SHOULD HAVE A POINT OF SALE SYSTEM

We’ve touched on the importance of having a Point of Sale system already.

You can accept credit cards from your clients in the field or over the phone.

More importantly, your POS system should be tied to your business management app, which gives you reporting and other capabilities.

There are lots of Point of Sale systems on the market and if you’re shopping around – try choosing one that has competitive rates.

Most will have transaction fees and monthly fees as well so do the math and pick one that makes fiscal sense.

Read on to learn how PocketSuite elegantly solves both problems by offering an affordable, yet powerful Point of Sale system with lower rates than you’ll find anywhere else, but also includes a suite of tools that rivals an entire business management platform – all in a single app.

HOW POCKETSUITE’S POINT OF SALE IS DIFFERENT

Although all credit card processors do charge a fee per transaction, PocketSuite allows you to save on processing fees at 2.9% + 30¢ per payment, compared to Square or PayPal.

PocketSuite also automatically stores your customer’s card for future purchases, which eliminates the friction and pain of having to ask for their card number with every transaction.

You also get the benefit of being able to tie in your messaging and scheduling data with PocketSuite’s business management tools.

Normally when you’re shopping for a Point of Sale system, you have to ensure that your POS vendor integrates with your payment processor / gateway. Not so with PocketSuite – it’s all integrated in 1 convenient app!

For example, with PocketSuite you don’t just get a POS –  you can handle business messaging, payroll, team scheduling, inventory management, contract e-signing, and a ton of other features for your service business.

This gives you the ability to do the following:

  • Reference any invoice
  • Reference any scheduled appointment
  • Manage your clients
  • Manage your inventory
  • Sales Reporting

Imagine having all of that power at your fingertips, all wrapped up in single app.

Not only that, but there’s a Premium FREE trial to get you started – talk about a good deal.

If you’d like to read more about PocketSuite’s Point of Sale system, check out this article.

Like this article? You’ll love these articles:

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Grow your business as a Boutique Gym Trainer

Are you a trainer at a boutique gym? Are you looking to lift your business to the next level?

Maybe owning a gym has always been your dream since you did your first set of curls, and you’re just now starting out on your solopreneur journey as a small business owner.

Perhaps you already have an established gym and you’re interested in ways of growing it like you have your muscle tone (or making it more profitable!)

Whatever the reason, fitness services are growing in popularity, we will share the earning potential of boutique gym pros, as well as explain how to grow your specialty fitness business step-by-step.

As a fitness enthusiast, you are likely familiar with the concept of dedication and hard work.

However, you probably also know that the most determined gym rat that’s employing the wrong techniques with diet and exercise still won’t achieve their desired physical goals.

As Tony Robbins says, if you’re running East looking for a sunset, it’s not going to happen no matter how much you run!

Let’s funnel your effort and sweat equity into the most productive and effective methods of growing your small fitness business.

Ready to learn the correct form and hit your first set of business owner reps?

Before we plunge in, let’s cover the popularity and earning potential of boutique gyms.

ARE BOUTIQUE GYMS POPULAR?

The answer, in short, is yes.

Boutique gyms (otherwise known as specialty gyms) are known for instructor-led classes, group classes, and have a wide range of fitness plans available – from barre workouts, to monitoring heart rate, crossfit training, pilates, and even powerlifting.

From 2015 to 2017, membership in boutique studios climbed 15%, while conventional club membership declined 3% during the same time period.

The New York Times attributes this phenomenon to a lack of human connection at most big-box gyms. The big gyms like Crunch, 24 Hour Fitness, Bally’s seem soulless.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 10% growth in the Fitness Training sector, which is higher than the market overall.

IBIS estimates that Fitness is a $30B industry, so there’s lots of opportunity to go around.

But one thing that may surprise you is that Boutique Gyms are also quite profitable.

ARE BOUTIQUE GYMS POPULAR?

The answer, in short, is yes.

Boutique gyms (otherwise known as specialty gyms) are known for instructor-led classes, group classes, and have a wide range of fitness plans available – from barre workouts, to monitoring heart rate, crossfit training, pilates, and even powerlifting.

From 2015 to 2017, membership in boutique studios climbed 15%, while conventional club membership declined 3% during the same time period.

The New York Times attributes this phenomenon to a lack of human connection at most big-box gyms. The big gyms like Crunch, 24 Hour Fitness, Bally’s seem soulless.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 10% growth in the Fitness Training sector, which is higher than the market overall.

IBIS estimates that Fitness is a $30B industry, so there’s lots of opportunity to go around.

But one thing that may surprise you is that Boutique Gyms are also quite profitable.

HOW TO START A BOUTIQUE GYM

Let’s take it step by step. Here’s a great source of information that explains the basics in great detail, but we’ll summarize it for you here:

  • Get your Personal Trainer Certification and Become CPR Certified
  • Consider costs for space rental, employees, insurance, and equipment
  • Write a business plan
  • Find your niche
  • Form a legal entity (such as an LLC)
  • Register for taxes
  • Open a business bank account
  • Set up business accounting
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses
  • Get business insurance
  • Define your brand
  • Establish your online presence

With the basics out of the way, let’s talk about how to get your boutique gym training business off the ground.

HOW TO GROW YOUR BOUTIQUE GYM TRAINING

With the above checklist in mind, you must be on the edge of your seat and excited to plunge in headfirst!

Keep in mind that the price of entry isn’t a nominal fee. Entrepreneur Magazine estimates that starting your own gym can cost between $10,000 and $50,000. How do you raise the money? Keep reading. 

HOW TO RAISE MONEY

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you should probably be looking at obtaining unsecured funding. Unsecured funding is a loan with no collateral required. Read more about how to do this here.

HOW TO GET CLIENTS

We wrote an article about how to generate online leads for your business. As a business owner today, this should be one of your top priorities.

Consider building your online presence, which includes creating a Facebook page, Instagram profile, and website for yourself.

Incidentally, you can put your PocketSuite online booking link on any of these platforms to encourage potential clients to book your services online.

You should also consider running paid ads on Google (formerly called Google AdWords), which PocketSuite can help you with as well through our partnership with Google.

Lastly, make sure to do some offline marketing as well! Word of mouth, flyers, and referrals are all amazing to get more clients for your boutique gym.

Now let’s talk about some of the practical ways to grow your boutique business that involve capitalizing on battle-tested tactics that work in fitness.

OFFER A FREE TRIAL

One gym owner said she retained 67% of her clients after offering a two-week free trial to her classes.

CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF REVENUE

Besides your monthly membership fees, you should consider providing other value added services for your patrons, which will increase your income per customer.

Other sources of income include nutritional juices or smoothies, coffee and healthy snacks, and gift shops containing logo t-shirts, towels, and other apparel. You can also consider providing childcare during workouts and nutritional guidance.

In the next section of this article we’ll unveil some major hacks to take your boutique gym training business to the next level.

USE POCKETSUITE TO GROW YOUR BOUTIQUE GYM

Here are some of the features that boutique gym owners as well as fitness trainers love about using PocketSuite to run their business:

Memberships – charge your members a monthly fee to be part of your gym.

Classes – fill up your Crossfit, Cycling, or any other type of classes and make the most of your gym space

Messaging – Stay on top of client communication over text without using your personal cell phone number

Smart Campaigns – Create automated client follow-ups that help you get more bookings and keep your gym full

Thousands of boutique gym trainers are using PocketSuite to make six figures. Isn’t it time you did the same?

Try out the Premium plan FREE trial on us – we promise you’ll love it. No strings attached.

If you’re already using PocketSuite, here’s how to set it up for Fitness professionals.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this primer how to grow your boutique gym. We’ve covered how to get started, how to get clients, and even how to make your life easier using a special app called PocketSuite.

Now go out there and max out your business. I expect you will have all kinds of income gains!

Like this article? You’ll love these articles:

Our Frustrations with Square article

Why do many choose to use Quickbooks self employed

Are you a fan of QuickBooks Self-Employed?

Maybe you own and operate a small business, or you’re a solopreneur and you’ve heard that QuickBooks Self-Employed is the best way to file your taxes.

Maybe you’re a Lyft or Uber driver and you heard that they have partnered with QuickBooks Self-Employed to help you file your taxes and get reimbursed for your mileage.

Alternatively, you might be a freelancer, Real Estate agent, or eCommerce site owner that needs to file a schedule C.

Whichever position you’re in, you’ve clicked on this article because you want to learn more about how to use this software successfully.

So here we’ll dive into what makes QuickBooks Self-Employed a great choice for filing your taxes and/or  mileage tracking.

We’ll also cover the best ways to use the software as well as what supplemental business tools you may be missing in your solopreneur toolbelt.

As a small business owner, it’s impossible not to know about Intuit (the creators of QuickBooks and TurboTax) in the blog-o-sphere. They’ve been around since 1983 and are the market leader as far as tax filing.

Created in 2014, QuickBooks Self-Employed is actually one of the newer additions to the Intuit family.

Compare this to QuickBooks Online, which is more suited towards larger companies.

QuickBooks Self-Employed is the perfect choice if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner that’s working for yourself and building your own empire – one brick at a time.

We salute you as charting your own course in life can be a challenging journey. So let’s see how QuickBooks Self-Employed can be an ally on your journey.

IS QUICKBOOKS SELF-EMPLOYED RIGHT FOR YOU?

Here are some general guidelines you can use when deciding if QuickBooks Self-Employed is right for you:

  • Do you primarily pay for expenses in your business with cash or cards?
  • Do you need to file a Schedule C with Form 1040?
  • Do you not have any employees or contractors? (QuickBooks Self-Employed Self-Employed doesn’t have a payroll function)
  • Do you accept credit cards as payment? (Not more than 10 invoices per month)
  • Do you generally not write many checks?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to most of these, you’re a prime candidate for using QuickBooks Self-Employed.

If you have employees or contractors, you may want to check out the features of QuickBooks Online.

TOP FEATURES

Business owners and solopreneurs use this software to separate their business expenses from their personal expenses.

You can track vehicle expenses, home office deductions, healthcare expenses, office supplies, equipment purchases, and more.

If you haven’t put much thought into which business expenses you should be deducting as a freelancer, check out this article for ideas.

Users also take advantage of the available accounting features, although it must be said that QuickBooks Self-Employed is primarily tax software with some accounting tools added.

If you’re a driver, you can plug the software directly into Google to enable location-tracking, which makes mileage tracking super easy.

With QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can use the mobile app to scan receipts and track expenses (no more throwing receipts into a box in your closet!)

One of the most magical features is the OCR technology they use to automatically scan your receipts and input the data automatically – no more manually punching numbers into Excel!

The software also has some bookkeeping capabilities, which helps you as a solopreneur to get insight into your business – especially the numbers side of things.

You can pay estimated quarterly taxes and file federal and state income tax returns (if applicable) right from the app.

The tax reporting also lets you pay your estimated quarterly taxes online – how convenient is that!

The system also gives you with a handy Tax Checklist to give you peace of mind.

You can also add your logo to invoices, send payment reminders, and even accept payments online using QuickBooks Payments.

QuickBooks Self-Employed also gives you a client portal that clients can use to view and pay invoices online. You can send receipts after the client has paid you for your services.

You can even track your business assets with the Asset Management feature as well.

PRICING

You can get the software for only $10 per month, or $17 per month if you’re opting for the Tax Bundle (which includes TurboTax integration, another Intuit product).

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what QuickBooks Self-Employed helps you accomplish and what’s included, let’s talk about some of the key features that are missing in this software that are essential for most small business owners. 

FEATURES NOT INCLUDED IN QUICKBOOKS SELF-EMPLOYED

As we know, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a back office tool.

For the accounting enthusiasts out there, you’ll find that QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t offer true double-entry accounting, but for most solo-preneurs this is a minor setback.

Here are some functions you may need that QuickBooks Self-Employed won’t be able to provide:

  • Contact Management
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Business Messaging
  • Invoicing (over 10 per month)
  • Invoice Customizations
  • Send Invoices thru SMS
  • Sales Tax support
  • Send Estimates

Here’s how you can double down on your business productivity – use PocketSuite to handle everything listed above and make your life easier.

PocketSuite is a tool that allows you to run the entire front-end of your business from a single app.

You can export data from PocketSuite to QuickBooks, which is how the majority of Pros using PocketSuite prefer to do it.

In fact, here’s what some industry Pros using PocketSuite say about the 1-tap experience:

“OMG… I just tapped one button in PocketSuite and all my data is right in QuickBooks… like the old Staples quote goes, that was easy!!”

Jennifer R. – Dog Walker – Pasadena, CA

“…I itemized all of my travel expenses in my invoices so I can just put those into QuickBooks…”

Robert W. – Limo Driver – New York, NY

So how can PocketSuite help your business succeed beyond what QuickBooks Self-Employed can help you with? There are so many additional functions you can turn on, we’ll take them one by one.

PocketSuite allows you to…

  • Manage your business Contacts (add notes separate from your personal contacts)
  • Track your Inventory (with smart reminders to replenish stock when necessary)
  • Handle Business Messaging (so you can run your business over text)
  • Take care of Invoicing (unlimited # of invoices)
  • Make Invoice Customizations (fully customizable)
  • Send Invoices thru SMS (so your clients actually receive it promptly and you get paid within 24 hours instead of having to wait 14 to 30 days)
  • Sales Tax support (no more manual calculations on your part – put away that calculator!)
  • Send Estimates (thru SMS as well)

It’s never been easier to put your business on auto-pilot. Now you’ll be able to export your data to QuickBooks Self-Employed so you can manage your expenses, track your mileage, and file your taxes with ease.

It really is as easy as 1 tap in the app.

Let PocketSuite do the heavy lifting while you go build your empire!

In fact, if you haven’t tried PocketSuite, there’s a Premium FREE Trial that’s beckoning for you to give it a shot. You can download the app here and get set up in minutes!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

 

How to run your real estate photography business with pocketsuite

Are you a solo real estate photographer or run a small real estate photography business?

If so, you don’t want to miss out on the tips we’re sharing in this article, as they may just change the way you run your business forever.

There’s no question that Real Estate photography is an awesome career and here we’ll discuss the practical aspects of how to dominate your local market as well as run your business smoothly as it grows.

You may be wondering how important Real Estate photography is when it comes to selling more homes. The answer is very important.

Homes with professional photography sell 32% faster, and homes from $200k-$1M sell for $3,000-$11,000 more with high quality photographs.

Redfin even found that homes listed between $400,000 to $500,000 sell 18% better in the first six months with high-quality photography.

Knowing this, it should be no surprise that NAR found that 87% of home buyers listed photos as the most important factor in their decision to make an offer.

With 90% of home buyers finding their home online, it’s more important than ever to have great photos for real estate listings.

Recently, real estate agents have even started using drones to take awesome pictures and videos of their listings in order to get them sold faster at higher closing prices.

The opportunity to make great income for Real Estate photographers is well within reach as salaries range from $100K to upwards of $500K according to FixThePhoto.com.

It’s no question that Real Estate photography is a booming industry.

Just imagine you wanted to buy this home… which pictures would make you want to buy it more? (Keep in mind, this also features staging as an essential add-on):

HOW TO START YOUR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

If you’re a Real Estate photographer, chances are you’re always on the go.

You’re busy getting confirmations, collecting deposits, and creating relationships with potential clients.

Your main clients are probably either Real Estate agents or folks with high net worth that have boats and luxury properties.

Unfortunately, for you and your small business, typical Real Estate agents will hesitate to recommend your services to other agents for one big reason – they don’t want another agent to have high quality photos, since they’re directly competing with them in the local area.

This puts the onus of drumming up new business squarely on you as the owner and operator of your solopreneur Real Estate photography business.

After all, you can’t count on referrals if your clients are stingy with their recommendations, especially to other agents in their market.

This is why it’s vitally important for the success of your business to proactively reach out to new Real Estate agents.

You can find directories of Real Estate agents on sites like Zillow and Trulia, as well as by looking up local offices of popular brokerages such as John L Scott, Windermere, or Keller Williams online.

Contact these agents by giving them a call and offering a discount on first-time services, or send them an email. 

The great thing about contacting Real Estate agents is that it’s very easy to find their contact information, and due to the nature of their job, most are likely to pick up the phone or view your email.

You should also consider your area’s specific rules and regulations regarding photography. You may need to obtain some permits or licenses, depending on where you operate.

Format recommends to set your prices differently for different sized homes, as this may impact the amount of shooting and editing time that it takes to finish the job.

Some Real Estate photographers even offer 3D modeling using a special 3D camera, so they can give the agent and clients a virtual walkthrough of the property. This helps clients get a sense of what it is like inside the home directly from their computer or phone.

You should also consider setting up a relationship with a printing company so that you can quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively process and print completed photos for your clients.

You can also consider offering premium services such as drone phones, 3D models, color/glossy/matte printing, and more.

This article is especially geared toward the business aspects of your photography operation, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include a section on how to provide an amazing end-product.

This article details a more exhaustive checklist of items to keep in mind when shooting photos, which we don’t have room to cover in this article, such as: 

  • Use a 16-35mm lens to add foreground and minimize ceiling
  • Sunrise shots for optimum lighting
  • The dusk/dark technique
  • Vertical line correction
  • Avoiding diverging lines
  • Lens correction tools
  • Optimum exposure for indoor shoots
  • Adjustment brush in Photoshop / Lightroom
  • Bounce flash
  • Light painting

We highly recommend you visit that article to learn what separates Real Estate photography from other types, and how to do it properly.

As a Real Estate photographer, you probably offer standard, boiler-plate packages to your clients.

Every photographer takes pictures of the various rooms in the home, an outside shot of the front, the back of the home, etc.

Keep in mind that all of these will go into your portfolio, so you want to do your very best on each shoot to highlight your skills and peak the interest of future clients that may be checking you out online.

One way to protect your work is to watermark your images so others can’t use them in their advertisements without giving you photo credit.

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of how to run your photography business well, let’s dive into how PocketSuite can make your life easier and boost your bottom-line income as well!

HOW TO RUN YOUR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS WITH POCKETSUITE

It’s extremely important to collect payment up-front, so when you deliver the photos you already have the full amount in your bank account (or at the very least a deposit).

This helps you to protect your time and energy in case your client cancels last minute.

One way to do this is to use PocketSuite’s deposit feature to collect advance payment before you spend your gas money and time to travel to the location and take the pictures.

Some Real Estate photographers even give their clients access to a customer portal, where they can order their services or special prints whenever they want (such as when they have a new listing).

One way to do this is to give your agents a link to your PocketSuite booking form so they can book their next photoshoot in a flash (pun intended…haha) and fit right into your schedule.

Another tip is to provide your agents with a way to book and pay you online – such as by sending them a link to your PocketSuite online booking widget – this way they don’t need to use cash, and they save time because they don’t need to meet you at the property. They can simply provide you with the lockbox code for access and you’ll handle the rest.

Here is an article from PocketSuite’s Help Center on how to set up PocketSuite as a photographer – keep in mind we have thousands of photographers on our platform and they love it!

If you haven’t tried PocketSuite yet, try the Premium FREE Trial and revolutionize your Real Estate photography business forever. You can get set up in less than 5 minutes!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to win Chargeback Disputes

Chargeback disputes are frustrating to deal with.

They’re often unfair, illegitimate, and place the burden of proving innocence on the business owner.

However, every small business ill at some point need to deal with this nuisance, so let’s discuss the best way of handling a client chargeback.

First of all, if you’re not taking payments online, you should be. Only 15% of consumers prefer to pay in cash – a whopping 80% prefer using debit and credit cards.

However, with accepting credit cards comes the risk of chargebacks. This occurs when one of your customers decides to dispute the transaction either because they didn’t like the service your business provided or because they’re attempting to defraud your business.

In either case, there’s a proven strategies for fighting these disputes and in this article we will be covering the basics of how to put your best foot forward while increasing your chances of winning disputes and coming out ahead.

So what are the most common reasons for chargeback disputes?

WHY DISPUTES ARE A PROBLEM

If a merchant regularly has client disputes, your payment processor may impose a monitoring program to keep an eye on you. If this trend continues, your processor may end their relationship with you.

You may even be added to the MATCH list (a blacklist that will restrict you from being able to accept credit cards) if your rate of chargebacks exceeds 1.5% of your total payments.

If you are an online merchant, a good idea is to highlight information on your website about how you handle customer service complaints, refunds, and cancellations.

You may also want to give clients a way to contact you for support and share information on how you respond to unhappy customers on your site. This type of transparency helps prevent confusion from clients who may feel like they didn’t get what they paid for. If they have that feeling and it isn’t addressed, they file a dispute to get back at you or your small business.

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO WINNING CHARGEBACK DISPUTES

First, let’s go over the basic steps that take place when a chargeback occurs.

  1. Your client submits a chargeback dispute with their bank.
  2. If their bank accepts the dispute, they issue a provisional refund to the client.
  3. Their bank contacts your payment processor and gives them a code, which explains why the chargeback was filed (usually the terms to describe the types of chargebacks are: credit not processed, duplicate, fraudulent, general, product not received, product unacceptable, subscription canceled, unrecognized).
  4. Your payment processor lets you know about the chargeback.
  5. You choose whether to accept or fight it.
  6. If you choose to fight it, you need to submit information to your payment processor (usually proof that the charge was authorized).
  7. Your payment processor reviews the information that you’ve submitted – if they believe it’s sufficient, they submit this information to your client’s bank for review and a decision.
  8. Your client’s bank reviews the information that you’ve submitted – if they believe that the charge was indeed authorized and your client’s claim isn’t valid, they decide in your favor and your payment processor returns the funds to you. Your client’s bank takes up to 90 days to decide on a dispute. Once the decision is made, your processor immediately returns the funds to you.
  9. If you do not receive a favorable decision and you do not believe the ruling was fair, (you or the client) can request a second arbitration to decide if your client’s bank’s decision will be upheld.

If you’re still with me, you’ve learned that a critical step in you winning chargebacks is the evidence you submit to your bank to prove the transaction was indeed authorized.

Here are some great examples of evidence you can submit – try to collect as many of these items as possible and send them to your bank:

  • Sales receipts
  • Order forms
  • Tracking numbers
  • Transcripts of email communication between you and your customer
  • Delivery confirmation
  • Records of previous transactions that were not disputed

Here are some more examples of evidence that we’ve seen our customers utilize to win disputes here at PocketSuite:

  • Phone transcripts of conversations you’ve had with your client
  • Photos / videos of the completed job or service (if you’re in the service industry)
  • IP address of the client matching their location to the service address
  • Match the address on the credit card to the service address
  • Signed proof of delivery (if you sold a product)
  • The terms and conditions that the customer agreed to at the time of purchase
  • Messaging history between you and your client
  • Signed contract by your client
  • Completed intake forms
  • Appointment confirmations
  • Gratuity/tip payment receipts to prove client was happy with service

Here are some more tips to prevent chargeback disputes from occurring in the first place:

  • Check the client’s name and address on their ID – make sure it matches the name on the credit card. If it doesn’t match, get authorization in an email or text message from the credit card owner.
  • Have your terms and conditions visibly displayed on your website, including on your booking form
  • MyMoid recommends using customer service to resolve the dispute
  • Make sure you fight the disputes – otherwise you’ll damage your reputation with payment processors

Here is a graphic that displays a more detailed list of dispute reasons with associated codes which was referenced at a high level above – make sure you are familiar with these codes when you’re submitting your evidence. Your response should be targeted to disprove the specific reason given:

Note that if you’re using Venmo for your business, you’re not allowed to fight chargeback disputes.

Similarly, if you’re using Square, their dispute resolution library is really confusing, difficult to navigate, and almost impossible to take action on.

Instead of using a standalone payment processor, why not use one that comes with integrated business tools like booking, contracts, forms, notes, and more? You get invaluable data (such as client, transaction, and sales data) which makes it so much easier for you to protect yourself from disputes, in the first place and effectively fight them when they do arise. 

Imagine if a credit card company gave you insurance – that’s what it’s like using PocketSuite to process your payments and protect your from chargeback disputes.

If you’re going to be processing credit cards, you need a payment processor that has your back.

In fact, we’ve heard of customers leaving Square because they didn’t hear back from them when trying to resolve a dispute.

One client mentioned “There was no notification from Square, the money was just taken out of my account… I didn’t hear back from them, and by then the fraudsters were long gone…”

Another former Square client explains:

“I had an extra fee dispute fee, and I didn’t hear back about anything happening with the process. I submitted information and didn’t hear back if it was considered – I had to wait 90 days before I heard anything. The money was held up for that amount of time – then I lost the dispute and I didn’t even get an explanation for why.”

PocketSuite helps you collect additional proof that your terms of service were agreed to and your payments were authorized, which can expedite your client’s bank’s decision.

We will give you a heads up before the official dispute is filed as we get advanced notification from our technology platform partner, Stripe.

This gives you an additional window of time before the dispute is official to contact the client and resolve the issue, even if you need to split the difference with them.

This way a chargeback dispute doesn’t give you a bad mark and the entire payment isn’t clawed back by your client’s bank. As they say in healthcare, prevention is better than cure.

So go with a payment processor that helps you prevent disputes before they even occur.

This way you can rest easy knowing you’re taking all of the necessary steps to prevent disputes before they happen and are armed with all of the tools to help win disputes that you will inevitably get (hopefully, very infrequently) on your journey to achieving your business and income goals.

Winning disputes doesn’t have to be hard – you just need a payment processor that has your back.

Speaking of payment processors, why not give PocketSuite a shot? We have a free plan to get you started accepting credit cards ASAP.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Should I Implement a Live Chat Feature?

The eternal question of Live chat – should you install it on your website or not?

The pros are more clients, more sales, faster support, and a more professional looking site.

Some of the drawbacks include having to respond to client inquiries quicker than phone or email support, and not being able to install the widget on your social media… until now.

New studies suggest more than 30% of customers expect you to have live chat on your website.

On a mobile device, that number shoots up to a staggering 62%.

Even though live chat has been around since the 1970’s (believe it or not) it has been getting more popular recently.

In this article, we’ll get into the specific reasons why live chat is great for closing more sales, stepping up your customer support game, and automating your followup.

You’ll learn the practical ways that live chat can increase your bottom line revenue as well as make your prospective clients happier, and your current clients more satisfied with your outstanding service.

It’s easy to discount live chat as ‘just another widget,’ but let’s take a closer look at why this is one of the most game-changing features that you can add to your website. (Or as you’ll learn in this article, to your social media as well!)

WHY LIVE CHAT IS A MUST-HAVE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

When clients land on your website, chances are they’re looking for information – more specifically, answers to their questions.

They generally either want to know more about your business to decide if they will become a paying client, or they want to get in touch with you because they have an issue with their upcoming, current, or past service.

If you have a live chat feature on your site, this can be a wildly successful shortcut because it eliminates most of the searching that a customer needs to do in order to get the answer(s) they want.

For example, here are some ways that live chat helps:

INCREASE IN SALES

Live chat builds trust by reassuring the potential client that there is a real person behind your business.

By receiving answers to several questions about your business in real time, they can rest easy knowing that they aren’t just inputting their credit card information into a website that’s built by some scammer or con artist.

You can also have them input their name, email, or phone number, which allows you to take the follow up off-line and onto a communication platform that’s more accessible to them. After all, they’ll leave your website soon enough, and after that you need a way to be able to reach them for follow-up to close the sale!

Essentially, live chat becomes a lead generation system to help you close additional business by providing you with leads.

You’re essentially converting your website visits into client leads, like magic!

Really you’re just capitalizing on the website (or Instagram) traffic that is already visiting your page by converting them into a lead that you can call, text, or email!

To back all of this up, Forrester found that there was a 10% increase in order value from clients who engaged with a rep in live chat before buying.

HELPS WITH SUPPORT

Having a live chat feature also cuts down on the back-and-forth of email and eliminates the wasted time of having to look up answers from past client responses/message threads/emails.

One of the worst things you can do to a frustrated client is force them to be inconvenienced or have them wait to hear back, because this can lead down the road of them leaving negative online reviews on platforms such as Yelp or Google, which will negatively impact your credibility in the eyes of future potential clients.

The quality of your response matters, too. Kayako found that 19 out of 20 clients would prefer a high quality response, even if it took more time.

This can even cut into your current business, if your current clients happen to look your business up online!

Just make sure you respond – SuperOffice found that 21% of live chats get ignored. Don’t become a statistic!

OTHER LIVE CHAT PLATFORMS

Other live chats that you can make use of as a small business owner or solo-preneur are generally  platform specific. We’re talking about Facebook (Messenger), Instagram (DM), and Yelp (Message My Business Feature).

There are also a number of standalone live chat platforms such as Intercom, Weebly, Wix, and Olark.

The problem with these platform specific chat programs (as well as the standalone ones) is that they’re all generally stuck to the platform that they operate on.

PocketSuite is changing the game by having a portable live chat feature.

That’s right, you can now place your live chat directly onto your own website without the knowledge of how to code or get your programming degree!

But websites aren’t the only place you can install PocketSuite’s live chat feature…

LIVE CHAT ON YOUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM

How’s this for a mindblowing idea – did you know you can install Live Chat on more than just your website?

That’s right – PocketSuite allows you to install your live chat widget anywhere, including on your Facebook and Instagram profile!

You can engage your clients in real time while they’re browsing your social media, which is probably the best time to engage with them because you’re top-of-mind and they’re not distracted by the million other things that are occupying their busy day.

POCKETSUITE LIVE CHAT HIGHLIGHTS

The PocketSuite live chat widget defaults to OPEN, so your client’s definitely won’t miss it.

When clients submit their info or start a live chat with you, you instantly get a notification in your PocketSuite app, which allows you to start a conversation with them in real time.

You can message them through the PocketSuite app (which you’re hopefully already using for all of your other booking and payment needs) so it couldn’t be any easier to stay in touch.

Once the client inputs their phone number into the live chat, it will send them a text, which they can essentially use to continue the conversation with you.

Texts have a 98% open rate, so you can rest easy knowing that your clients have received your communication.

Just make sure you respond quickly – on average, customers have to wait over 2 minutes for companies to respond to their live chat inquiry. That’s troubling!

From there, they simply respond to the automated text, and their response gets funneled directly into your PocketSuite app for follow-up! PocketSuite automatically marks Live Chat messages as “LIVE” so you know to prioritize responses to those messages, if your Inbox is too full and you need help triaging responses.

It’s simply the best way to convert your website or social media visitors into leads and then into clients!

Speaking of getting more clients and making your current clients happy, have you checked out the best way to run your business using just 1 app – PocketSuite?

Upgrade your business with online booking, accept credit cards, process payments, scheduling, business messaging, and a wild array of additional features that will free up your time to focus on answering all of those live chats coming in!

Try the Premium plan if you’d like to take a look at one of the most powerful business apps out there. Of course, don’t forget to turn on Online Chat and add it to your website, social media, and any other online sites.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019 and of course our Frustrations with Square article!