How to Charge Clients Credit Card After Each Appointment

As a small business owner or solo business, have you ever been in the position of having to call a client after the appointment has been completed in order to get their credit card details? If so, you’re probably very familiar with how awkward a call like that can feel for you and your client.

That is, if they even answer (leaving a voicemail about it is even more awkward).

If you’ve been self employed for any amount of time, you know that as soon as your appointment is over, clients are way less likely to be responsive. It’s not that they are dodging you. It’s just that you are immediately lower on their priority list. You may not be at the very bottom, but you are far from the top, especially if they know you haven’t secured payment from them yet.

Weirdly, you become a little like a “creepy” debt collector.

Your time is spent calling past clients who suddenly are always busy and unable to take your call. You desperately need to get paid for a backlog of past appointments.

You may even lose out on income by not being able to reach that client – they’ve effectively ‘ghosted’ your business, and after getting such great service from you. They literally fall off the face of the earth and are nowhere to be found.

Relax, I feel your pain. That’s why here at PocketSuite we developed a tool called ‘Complete-and-Charge,’ and it’s revolutionized the way solo businesses and freelancers like you charge clients and run your business.

Complete and Charge with Pocketsuite

Not only does it minimize bad debt income by allowing you to charge your client’s card as soon as you complete the appointment, but it also stores your client’s card securely so you can charge them again and again after every future appointment, without ever having to call them for their payment information again.

That’s right – you can store your client’s card details using PocketSuite while remaining fully PCI compliant.

No more shameful, sheepish conversations asking your clients for payment.

Let’s unpack how Complete and Charge has changed the game for businesses and freelancers using PocketSuite. It can do the same for you.

HOW ‘COMPLETE-AND-CHARGE’ IS CHANGING THE GAME 

Require Credit Card to Schedule Pocketsuite

More and more, consumers prefer to pay for everything these days with credit and debit cards.

In fact, a 2017 study by payment processor TSYS found that “fifty-four percent chose debit cards, while 26 percent selected credit cards, and only 14 percent specified a preference for using cash.”

Doing some back-of-the-napkin calculations, that means that a full 80% of consumers (out of a sample size of over 1000) preferred paying with plastic.

That being said, how could you ignore such an important trend by not accepting credit or debit cards for your business? Four out of every five of your potential clients prefer it!

Not only that, but the same study also found that clients are becoming increasingly comfortable with in-app mobile payments – this should further solidify the idea that folks are getting used to paying for things within an app:

Mobile App Payments Data

Another study done by the SCPC in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that…

 

  • “In 2017, 12 percent of consumers reported that they did not pay with cash, even once, during the year.” 
  • “In 2017, one-third of all consumers made a mobile payment, compared with just one-fourth in 2015.”
  • “Fewer than 80 percent of consumers who had paper checks on hand reported using them even once in 2017.”

 

 

 

 

 

I hope by now you’re sold on the idea that you need to accept credit cards. Fantastic.

Now let’s get down to business…

If you’ve recently come to this conclusion, you’re probably faced with a dilemma – what’s the best way to process these transactions?

In fact, we wrote an entire article on this topic, but today we’ll just be covering how to complete and charge repeat appointments.

The fact of the matter is, for the longest time, small business owners were forced to get in touch with clients after every appointment to book the next appointment and collect payment details for the last appointment.

This, of course, came with a set of challenges – clients wouldn’t answer the phone, business owners would get stressed out, and the vicious cycle would repeat itself over and over again.

However, PocketSuite has made a big contribution to breaking this unhealthy cycle by creating a method of payment called ‘Complete-and-Charge.’

For freelancers and business owners using PocketSuite, long gone are the days of calling pesky clients who can’t seem to have a minute to pick up the phone once you’ve delivered the service to them.

You will no longer feel that dread creeping up on you as the workday approaches its end and you still haven’t called the clients for that day to collect payment.

From now on, all you need to do is to with one tap complete the appointments on your calendar for that day.

As soon as an appointment is complete, you select the appointment on your calendar and tap ‘Charge,’ which brings up a screen that allows you to modify the total; select the client’s preferred credit card (if they have one on file); and even hand your phone over to them so they can add gratuity (a tip).

Setting up an Appointment in PocketSuite

This brings an Uber-like convenience to your transactions and eliminates all of the pain and frustration of having to chase down clients for payment.

It’s no wonder that over 50% of payments that occur on PocketSuite are of the ‘Complete-and-Charge’ type.

This is a massively useful and popular feature for a reason.

Say goodbye to outstanding invoices and unpaid bills – you don’t have to be the pushy salesperson that’s calling again and again because you need to get paid to pay your bills.

In fact, you only have to collect your client’s card once and never again.

From then on, the card details are securely stored and fully encrypted within PocketSuite, which means you can keep charging their card after every appointment without having to chase them down or harass them with multiple phone calls.

Better yet, using PocketSuite’s handy online booking form (which by the way, you can put on your website, Facebook, Instagram, and email signature) you can have them add their credit card details into your booking link, and eliminate the need for asking for their card details over the phone entirely!

Appointment Confirmations in Pocketsuite

So how exactly does this work on your end?

Once you tap on the appointment (unpaid job) you’d like to charge, it will bring up a screen where you can tap on ‘CHARGE’.

From there, you can add your client’s credit card, accept gratuity (if you like), and process payment.

Check out this video for additional details on how a client experiences booking an appointment with you through PocketSuite.

As a freelancer or business owner, your time is precious, and you should be spending it on the most valuable activities – delighting your clients.

Instead of spending hours chasing down clients, why not invest that time in your Facebook/Instagram marketing, getting more clients, and growing your business?

Let PocketSuite do the heavy lifting by using ‘Complete-and-Charge’ today.

One tiny improvement, all from 1 app, can change the game for you, forever.

There’s even a free plan to get you started, so you have no excuse not to start charging your clients directly after every appointment.

Get ahead of the game and take this advice today. Your future self and healthy business will thank you.

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Top Reasons to Take Client Reservations as a Freelancer or Service Business

Taking Reservations as a Freelancer

Have you ever needed to book a multi-day stay for your dog while you went away on vacation? How about hiring a contractor for a bathroom remodel that will take at least 3 days? What about hiring a photographer for rehearsal dinner one day and a wedding the next day?

If you’re a pet sitter, pet boarder, contractor, or photographer – you understand the idea of offering multi-day reservations to clients.

The question that most of these service industry professionals typically ask when they get started is – how do you handle reservations effectively, while making use of the latest technology to create a seamless experience for your clients?

Today we’ll talk about just this – and we’ll also touch on the pros and cons of offering reservations.

We’ll also cover best practices for taking reservations so your client experience is an absolute delight.

Using these strategies, you can ensure that your customers and your staff are happy at the end of the work day, all while increasing your bottom line.

But first, a brief interlude, as we delve into the history of reservations. It turns out, they haven’t been around as long as you probably think…

HOW BUSINESSES STARTED TAKING RESERVATIONS

Historic Graph of Dinner Reservations

Here’s a graph of the prevalence of the phrase “dinner reservation” in books, thanks to Google Books.

As you can see, the phrase appeared briefly in 1915-1925, and then didn’t get used again with any regularity until 1950.

According to an unbelievably in-depth article from the Atlantic, reservations only became a thing starting in the 1950’s and only became commonplace as late as the 1960’s.

WHY DID RESERVATIONS BECOME COMMONPLACE?

With the advent of reservations in the restaurant industry, chefs were able to predict the flow of their night smoothly, which led to less food waste and lower wait times for hungry patrons.

Some restaurants take reservations at all hours, while others only take reservations for their busiest times, such as for the ever-popular mid-day meal known as brunch.

However, choosing to take reservations comes with a downside – folks can frequently show up late or skip out entirely, causing you to lose potential income.

How can service professionals avoid this issue when flakey first timers, fueled by impulse scheduling on social media are driving reservation cancellations to reach an all-time high?

Social Media and Reservations

THE PROS AND CONS OF TAKING RESERVATIONS

The obvious benefit of taking reservations is that you have a predictable flow of traffic to your small business, and you can plan accordingly to save yourself and your clients time and frustration.

The primary con of taking reservations is that you’re limiting your schedule for walk-ins, which may mean losing out on potential revenue.

In fact, more and more busy establishments have been refusing to offer reservations in recent years, which has steadily increased wait times for customers.

This means they’re turning away entire groups of people, and the Yelp blow-back is an ever-present threat and cause for concern.

No Reservations as a new business

If your business isn’t busy or you’re just starting off, you may not want to take advantage of reservations (unless you’re utilizing the pro-tip outlined below). Since exclusivity is part of the charm of reserving a service, there’s nothing that can suck the excitement out of a magical evening like showing up to an empty restaurant.

If you’re a service provider, make it easy on yourself by offering reservations online using a booking link such as the kind available at PocketSuite.

The deciding factor for whether your business should accept reservations boils down to the following metrics:

Do you have a lot of foot traffic? If so, you may want to consider not accepting reservations since you’ll be filling up your schedule with walk-ins. If you don’t have lots of foot traffic, reservations can offer predictable income.

Do you have a waiting area? If so, reservations may be ok, since guests have a comfortable place to wait their turn. If you don’t, watch out, since guests will often simply leave your business and find someone else who can serve them right away.

Are you certain of the duration of your appointments? If so, reservations may smooth out wait times since you’re familiar with how long an appointment will take. If your appointments typically take a variety of different lengths of time, depending on the client and service, reservations may be a bad idea since your appointments may take longer than expected and eat into another client’s reserved time. Picture your doctor’s jam packed waiting room – that’s a bad client experience – you don’t want it to be like that.

If you do decide to take reservations, make sure you don’t overbook. There’s nothing more infuriating than calling ahead to reserve a spot and then having to wait anyway.

Pro-tip: PocketSuite’s online booking form allows you to display your live availability to customers, so you’ll never run the risk of being overbooked and damaging your reputation both on and offline.

So there you have it – a systematic breakdown of the Pros and Cons of taking reservations for your business.

The next thing to think about is how can you best use technology to ease the burden of managing your schedule and free yourself of pen-and-paper calendars?

There’s got to be a better way! Luckily, you’ve come across the right article.

PocketSuite is the #1 app for anyone with clients. It is a seamless app for managing your reservations, period. Whether you’re a contractor, a photographer, a consultant, or any kind of pet sitter or pet boarder, read on to discover how to take the stress out of running your business with just 1 app.

HOW TO ACCEPT RESERVATIONS WITH POCKETSUITE

Accept Reservations with Pocketsuite

PocketSuite arrives as the knight in shining armor for any solo business or small business owner looking to #ditch pen-and-paper scheduling.

No more flipping through your calendar, erasing no-shows from your appointment book, and stressing over filling up your schedule with reservations so you can pay your bills.

You can accept reservations (also known as partial-day or multi-day appointments) in PocketSuite easily.

This comes in addition to being able to accept deposits, send reminders, and offer clients the ability to self-book their reservation online.

Simply specify the name of the reservation, the duration, the price, and your chosen deposit amount.

You can also require clients to confirm a multi-day reservation by paying for their deposit via a credit or debit card – PocketSuite will even text them a link so they can pay online!

Multi Day Reservations with Pocketsuite

Not only that, but PocketSuite takes it a step further by allowing you to display your reservations on your online booking form, which means clients can find you online and book a reservation on the spot, right from their phone or computer!

Reservations and Online Booking

Clients don’t have to download an app.They simply receive a text message with a link to confirm their reservation, which leads to a form where they can input their card details to pay your deposit.

Additionally, PocketSuite makes it easy for you to keep all of your reservation and client information in the same place.

Reservation Text Confirmation with Pocketsuite

You’ll be able to see when they confirm their reservation, any payments, and client communication – all in one thread!

You can also sync with your Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal directly.

Now that’s a powerful tool to manage your reservations, if I do say so myself.

Here’s to a full schedule, happy clients, and more income for you!

Don’t have PocketSuite yet? Start managing your reservations using the free plan today.

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5 Types of Estimates For Contractors and Freelancers

Estimates for Contractors and Freelancers

Are you a contractor, consultant, or photographer that’s looking to create an estimate for your client, and you’re not sure how to do it? Fear not, for today we’ll tackle an important topic for anyone who’s ever been asked the question: “Could you send me a proposal?” “How much would it be if …?” “Can I have a quote for that…?”

Whether you need to itemize an estimate for a basic renovation job, or a detailed itemization for a multi-day wedding photography package, or a fixed fee proposal for a consulting gig, keep reading for a quick guide on how to get this done.

Even if you’re an experienced small business owner or solo-preneur, you’ll find some tips in this article that will change your business and lead you to create more accurate estimates that your clients will really appreciate.

We’ll even discuss the topic of how to win more business with your professional estimation tactics!

Estimating costs for a project is a practice that has been around since the 1950’s.

The most official body of knowledge on the subject is called the PMBOK, which stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge, and is assembled by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

There is actually a continuum of accuracy when it comes to pinpointing exactly how much a project will cost.

Win More Business with Estimates

TYPES OF ESTIMATES 

Here are the steps, which are defined by a guide on the topic that was written by the American Society of Professional Estimators, or ASPE, in descending order from least precise to most precise:

Order of magnitude estimate:

A rough cost estimate that’s based on previous jobs. Typically, ranges from -25% to +75% in terms of final cost. 

Intermediate estimate:

More in-depth than an order of magnitude estimate, but still a rough one, leveraging cost benchmarks. It used to judge if a project is something you can even take on. 

Preliminary estimate:

Used for project financing, the preliminary estimate is the one usually given by a contractor to their potential clients. It uses a detailed scope of work and is often used to create a budget.

Substantive estimate:

This type of estimate is often used to control the budget of the project, and make sure the project doesn’t go over budget. It is based on materials, labor costs, final scope of work, and deliverables.

Definitive estimate:

Typically, bottom-up estimates are placed in this category – the most accurate estimate is a definitive estimate, since the way to create one is to estimate the individual costs for the different parts of the project and then put them together into one estimate.

Quotes and Estimates

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A QUOTE AND AN ESTIMATE

Generally, a quote can’t be changed once it’s accepted by a customer unless the project scope of work changes. An estimate, on the other hand, by its very nature is flexible and expected to change within limits as the project progresses.

Typically, an estimate will account for unexpected events. However, if you’re in the construction, house cleaning, or photography industry, you know that the project scope can change once you get in there and actually start doing the work.

For this reason it’s important that if you are unsure of the exact price of the job, you give an estimate, not a quote. That way, the customer isn’t surprised by extra fees down the road.

HOW TO BUILD AN ESTIMATE

Here are some common costs to keep in mind when writing up your estimate:

  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Services
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Facilities
  • Contingency costs

If you are a freelancer, you may also want to consider estimating the time it will take to accomplish the following:

  • Client Negotiations
  • Initial Research
  • Writing
  • Design
  • Re-writing
  • Invoicing / Admin work

You should also try to do a great job describing the project in writing, according to the BBB. This eliminates any room for error or miscommunication between you and your client.

This is an important point, since most of the communication between you and your clients will be verbal by phone, in person, or over text/email.

If your client wants specific tasks done that are outside of the scope of the original project, you’re able to easily point out that those tasks are not included in the original estimate. You can always re-write or expand the original estimate with a higher price and include those tasks.

If you are a contractor, there are two major ways of estimating: Stick Estimating and Unit Cost Estimating.

STICK ESTIMATING

Here’s a basic way to do stick estimation. Keep in mind, this is not the recommended way of doing estimates, but unfortunately it’s how most folks will end up estimating their projects:

  • List the parts of the job.
  • List the hours that it will take to do each portion.
  • List all the materials that will be used.
  • List each subcontractor that you will need.
  • List all the other items you will have to purchase or rent to get the job completed (permits, rentals, port-a-potties, etc.)
  • Assign a cost to each item.

Here’s why this is a bad way of estimating: 

  • Pros will often rush through the estimate and end up underbidding
  • It is time consuming to do properly
  • You typically need another knowledgeable party to check your numbers

UNIT COST ESTIMATING

A much better way of creating estimates is the Unit Cost method. It’s faster, and often more accurate.

Here are the three simple steps to Unit Cost estimating:

  1. Compile all the line items (scope of work components) for your job.
  2. Attach a unit cost to each line item.
  3. Have a third party check your numbers to ensure you’ve calculated correctly

In other words, instead of estimating the individual labor and materials costs for all of the steps involved in replacing countertops with granite ones, you simply calculate your costs ahead of time for each cubic feet of granite countertop that you replace.

Another example would be parking lot paving. Instead of estimating the cost for the materials, and adding the labor costs, you simply work out a formula beforehand for a per-square-foot price (unit cost) of parking lot paving, so you can submit your quote faster than the other contractors and secure that job!

Better yet, use construction estimating software to create an accurate estimate. You can’t go wrong and you’re eliminating human error from the equation!

Win Clients with Estimates

HOW TO WIN MORE CLIENTS WITH YOUR ESTIMATES

The best way to win more clients with your estimates is to take advantage of the latest software that makes you look more professional; makes you stand out from the other bidders; and helps you respond fastest to client requests.

That way, you won’t have to be the lowest bidder to win a job – you can distinguish yourself by being the most professional, which will allow you to command a higher price for your work!

One way to do this is to send estimates by text using PocketSuite:

PocketSuite Estimate Preview

You can itemize your estimate in PocketSuite and then send it off via text or email to your client.

On the backend, you can track your estimates and view the status of each.

Track Estimate Status with Pocketsuite

The best part? You can actually convert the estimate to an invoice after you’ve completed the job, and send that out via text as well.

The client can also pay via their smartphone by tapping the link in the message that you sent them, and the money is instantly transferred to your PocketSuite account (and into your bank account within 15 minutes).

Now that’s the kind of professional approach that can differentiate you from your pen-and-paper competition. I know I’d prefer to work with someone who had access to this kind of modern, convenient system! It makes for a better client experience.

If you’re already using PocketSuite, here’s how to set up estimates.

If you’re not yet using PocketSuite, check out the free plan to send your first estimate effortlessly.

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How to Setup a Subscription Payment Business Model For Your Clients

Subscription Model for Business

Are you a freelancer, service professional, small business owner, or anyone with clients who sells subscriptions, memberships, or payment plans in your business? From health & wellness specialists, beauty experts and pet professionals to accountants, marketers, life coaches, and therapists – if your business model relies on charging your clients a monthly subscription or membership fee, this article is for you.

In fact, a recent article from Stanford Business suggests in a rather grandiose fashion that nearly every business in existence will eventually become a subscription payment business.

The Guardian and the Harvard Business Review have both raised awareness about the virtues of companies with a subscription payment model.

Hitwise put out a study recently that found the number of companies with subscription payments grew by a staggering 3000% over the last 3 years.

Today, we’ll be investigating how subscriptions work, how you can improve the different parts of your business to include subscriptions, and best practices to follow when doing this.

If you charge your clients a subscription fee, keep reading, as it may change the way you run your business forever.

HOW SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENT BUSINESS MODELS WORK

A subscription offers a period of access to a product or service. In the case of service businesses (such as gyms or life coaches) the payment is collected on a monthly basis, although the frequency can also be yearly or seasonal.

If you’ve ever had a gym membership or received regular cleaning services, you’re most likely familiar with a subscription payment model.

However, this type of payment is now being used more and more by freelancers & service professionals, which is driving an increase in their revenues as well as client loyalty.

It makes sense that more and more professionals are exploring subscription payments as there are so many advantages to a subscription payment-based model.

GUARANTEED REVENUE

For example, if there are contracts involved, the business is virtually guaranteed to bring in the agreed-upon amount of revenue for the duration of the subscription payment term.

This reduces riskiness and uncertainty (i.e. “How am I going to pay my bills next month?” is no longer a pressing issue)

CONVENIENCE

Subscriptions can also help to increase client retention and build client loyalty by offering the convenience factor.

A client doesn’t have to worry about purchasing the service every month or have to consider another service provider, because everything is already ‘taken care of,’ so to speak.

In other words, if you’re already paying for a gym membership, you’re less likely to go searching for an alternative, especially if you’re locked into a good rate or even better, a long term contract.

A repeat client that has a subscription with your business is more likely to stick around, which increases your LCV (lifetime customer value) – more on that below.

This in turn gives you the ability to spend more money acquiring that client (and thus broadening the range of different advertising methods you can invest in as a business owner).

This also means you have better cash flow, which allows you to hit your income goals and immediately begin making a profit.

Service Level Satisfaction
Source: Chief Outsiders

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENT BUSINESS MODEL

FIGURE OUT YOUR PRICING STRUCTURE

According to Zuora, you can tweak your pricing in the following ways:

Your subscription pricing model can be “tiered according to functionality, discounted to incentivize bulk purchases, metered according to usage levels, or optimized to reward loyalty.”

Zuora goes on to share that pricing can be “adjusted to incentivize activity from particular geographic regions, term-based to lock in long-term commitments, or adjusted in cooperation with partner promotions.”

If I’ve lost you, just stick to the basics and offer two or three different tiered pricing models based on a scale that make sense for your industry – for example, if you’re a trainer, you could have a basic subscription for group training class access and a higher fee for one-on-one training subscriptions. If you are a life coach, you could offer an entry level subscription plan and price for those doing group coaching and meeting with you once a month and more one on one access for those in the higher priced plan. For beauty professionals, it could be that you offer a low price option for those just looking for basic bi-weekly hair/nail/skin maintenance while the higher priced option is for more involved treatments and add on products.

Know Your Numbers

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

The three key metrics you should be paying attention to in terms of subscriptions are the following:

  • Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) – The expected amount of income your client will pay you (a quick and dirty way to calculate this is to multiply the average monthly revenue per client by the average number of months they tend to stick around)
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – How much are you paying to acquire a new client (or lead)?
  • Retention Rate – What percentage of your clients actually stick around past a certain time period? (This is often measured on a month-over-month basis.)

Measure your numbers regularly and improve them by testing different things in your business.

COLLECT PAYMENT AUTOMATICALLY

Use an app like PocketSuite to automate your billing, so you’re not having to manually charge customer’s cards every billing cycle. This also eliminates the need to store credit card information, as everything is self-contained in the app.

Collecting Payments Contained in App

Simply specify the $ amount, payment period, and # of payment periods in the subscription.

Then you can send out the subscription with 1 tap.

You can also attach a contract to the subscription so when the client receives the subscription payment plan, all they need to do is e-sign it from their phone or online and confirm the subscription with a credit or debit card (which can also be done in the app) and off you go!

Your clients simply confirm the subscription payment by entering their credit / debit card details at which point the subscription begins.

The subscription payment will automatically be auto-charged every billing cycle, leaving you to focus on growing your business and finding more clients.

This is a double whammy of convenience for both you and your client:

  • You can sleep tight knowing that your subscriptions are being billed automatically, which eliminates the need for you to invoice or manually charge clients.
  • Your client can rest easy without having to worry about forgetting to pay you.

Don’t forget, if you are offering special promotions you can discount the first client payment or choose how many subscription payments to apply the discount to. There is nothing like a discounted membership offer to attract new clients. Try it out, works like a charm.

For those that have to do some setup work to onboard new subscribers or members, you can charge a subscription setup fee or activation fee or membership enrollment fee. That fee will be charged immediately when the subscription is confirmed. That covers your costs for creating the subscription payment plan for the client.

Some freelancers and service professionals, including personal trainers, life coaches, consultants have an early cancellation fee to encourage clients to complete the full term of their subscription. You are welcome to include a cancellation fee that will be charged if the client cancels the subscription before the plan expiration date.

Including Cancellation Fees

BONUS: CLIENT SIDE APP

With PocketSuite you literally give your clients access to their own version of the app, where they can track their calendar, status of their appointments, packages, subscriptions, and things like their payment history, update their credit card information, and contact you if they have questions about their subscription.

With all of these convenient features, it’s no wonder that thousands of Pros use PocketSuite to manage their subscription businesses.

The best part is, everything is self-contained in 1 app, so there’s no need for extra software or running to open your laptop or boot up your desktop.

Client Side App Texting Feature

You can run your entire business from your phone – it’s the independent professional’s, freelancer’s, and small business owner’s dream come true at last.

What are you waiting for? Download PocketSuite today – there’s even a free plan to get you started!

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How to Create, Sell and Market Service Packages to Clients

Service Packages Feature

If you’ve ever sold a package that includes multiple services or products, you know exactly how powerful it is to get paid that way. Whether it’s a package of multiple personal training sessions, life coaching or therapy sessions, or dog training sessions – the upfront cost is usually high because it includes multiple services and/or products, which makes it a wonderful way to make money and build client loyalty as a business owner.

For this reason, in this article, we’ll be covering how to use packages in your business, how to sell them to clients, and also how to market them online.

HOW TO USE PACKAGES IN YOUR BUSINESS

If you sell a service that can be packaged into bundles, here are some advantages of doing so:

  • Higher up-front payment
  • Guaranteed income from each service
  • Opportunity to deliver a full program or specific results to clients
  • More client loyalty

HIGHER UP-FRONT PAYMENT

When you receive up-front client payments, you’re essentially pulling forward cash in your business.

“Why is this important?” You might ask.

Source: The Balance SMB
Source: The Balance SMB

Cash flow is important for your business because it allows you to pay for all of your expenses, including marketing, which is an important for attracting new clients.

In other words, the more cash flow positive your business is, the more you can re-invest in your business, and the faster it will grow.

Selling packages is an important part of having strong cash flows, which will keep your business healthy.

GUARANTEED INCOME FROM EACH SERVICE

Another positive benefit to offering packages in your business is that you guarantee the income from each service that you offer in the package.

For example, if you offered the services individually, the following things could limit your income:

  • client’s credit card is declined
  • client cancels the appointment
  • client no shows and you can’t charge them

Since the client has pre-paid for the package of services that they’ve bought from you, you won’t have any billing or collections challenges or setbacks.

Source: Wordstream
Source: Wordstream

CLIENT LOYALTY

According to research by Bain & Company, it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new client than to keep an existing one, so increasing your income per client and getting them to repeat their purchase should be a very high priority for any business owner.

Sadly, this statistic is often ignored and most businesses still aren’t really focusing on their existing clients to grow their income.

Don’t let this be you!

Utilize packages to increase client loyalty by increasing how often they book you and making using your service a habit – part of their weekly or monthly routine.

This will really create stickiness and make them feel more comfortable renewing their package in the future or better yet converting them into a subscriber and regular paying client.

Compare this to selling services a-la-carte – with only 1 service, it may not be enough to convince a skeptical client with plenty of options to stick with your business.

To avoid losing clients to competitors, sell packages to lock in your client base, expose them to how great it is to work with you, and keep them loyal.

HOW TO SELL PACKAGES IN YOUR BUSINESS

The easiest way to sell packages is to use software that can help your clients buy them easily and conveniently with just a few steps to purchase and track their usage.

Let’s take a look at two popular fitness training packages that are great revenue-drivers:

  1. Fixed term transformation packages – choose price, length of time, and the transformation (translation: result) that you’re offering. Make sure your description and terms specify exactly what the client needs to do in order to achieve the result
  2. Monthly recurring packages – choose price (which will be billed regularly), frequency of billing, and the services and/or products that you’re offering. The beauty of these recurring packages is that once your client puts these expenses into their budget, they’re likely to stick around for quite a while. They’re also used to paying for things monthly, such as their phone bill or utilities bill.

Another thing to consider is adding extras to your packages.

For example, here are two examples of packages for a dog training business. Which one would you choose for your pup?

  1. 10 dog training sessions
  2. 10 dog training sessions, eBook about Best Practices for Teaching your Dog Tricks, access to a mastermind Dog Training Facebook group where others can share their experiences and lessons learned after their dog graduated from training, weekly emails and video training, a weekly plan for continuing education for your fluffy friend, and a custom plan for your dog specifically based on the sticking points noticed in the training

I’m sure any rational dog parent would probably opt for option 2. Wouldn’t you?

See below examples of packages that client’s love for your industry:

Here’s what it looks like:

If you’d like your very own version of this just like above, simply click on the link below and then click File-> Make a Copy once the sheet comes up:

Package Examples:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hR64xrM0REVE7881_ditqXjuW4FDly_0FabZnzlMDpI/edit#gid=0

See all of the industries that we have included package examples for in the above list. Download it today!

So make sure you sweeten the deal for your clients by including loads of extras to encourage them to buy your package of training sessions.

Moving on, which software can you use to easily set these types of packages up? There is one that comes to mind, and it starts with P…

For example, use PocketSuite to package up some of the services and products that you offer and then sell them as a bundle to your clients.

Simply add any packaged product or service that you’d like to offer, choose how many sessions you’d like to include and the overall price, and set an expiration date. That’s it!

Tap the ‘Show Online’ slider if you’d like to include this package on your online booking form.

Alternatively you can keep the package private and offer it as an exclusive deal to your clients when they’re booking in person or over the phone.

From here, PocketSuite makes it so easy to track your client’s sessions using a simple display.

You can see how many sessions are left, the time left until expiration, and options to request payment. 

You also have the option of offering prepayment in exchange for a discount – it’s a win-win for your small business and your clients.

You’ll get a convenient notification when your client pays for a package, or you can mark it as ‘Paid’ manually if you’re accepting cash or checks from your client.

You can swipe left to schedule package sessions, or do it from your PocketSuite calendar.

Here’s a great video explaining in-depth how Packages work in PocketSuite.

It couldn’t be easier to manage, sell, and track your packages, all from 1 app.

HOW TO MARKET YOUR PACKAGES ONLINE

So now that you’ve set up your packages in PocketSuite, how do you market them to your clients?

If you’re in the top 5% of fitness and health trainers operating on PocketSuite, you sell over 5 new packages each month.

They also all share 1 thing in common – they all put their PocketSuite online booking widget onto their website, Facebook, and Instagram, so clients can book them directly from their website and social media.

This is important for several reasons, but the numbers speak for themselves – the top 5% PocketSuite Fitness pros get on average 17 new bookings per month from this simple practice. Not bad!

In order to attract potential clients to your website and social media, check out an article we wrote about how to generate leads for your service business.

Here’s how to install the booking widget on your website.

We hope this guide will be impactful in helping you create and sell your packages in order to earn more income.

If you’re looking for an app to manage your entire business, check out PocketSuite’s free plan to get you started.

Here’s to your success!

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