I recently needed the service of a consultant and when I received my bill, I was surprised to see his accepted payment methods – Cash, Check, or PayPal. In this day and age of credit and debit cards, it’s odd to see an invoice without those Visa and MasterCard logos as methods of payment. Furthermore, his “invoice” was rather plain, uninteresting, and did not even have his business logo on it.
Now I probably could have used a Visa or MasterCard and paid through PayPal, but he did not put that option on his invoice. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get set up to accept credit cards via the PayPal API. And it only takes a minimal effort and expense to get one’s own merchant account to accept Visa and MasterCard directly. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for that second option, but he should have at least offered the Visa / MasterCard option through PayPal.
It’s a perception thing. He was charging about $200 per hour so cash was hardly a very good option for payment. I ended up writing him a business check but my perception of his consulting service was kind of marred by that. Although his work was excellent and I probably will be using him again, I wonder how many other people are unimpressed by his invoice and payment options?
If your home based business is a consulting business, first impressions are lasting ones. And first impressions don’t always end at the first meeting; they can extend to things like your first invoice. Make those look as professional as possible and your clients will be left with a favorable impression.