If you’re trying to start a home staging business, you might be wondering how you are actually going to get paid. This is one of the important steps in setting up a business – determining whether you’ll take checks, cash and/or credit cards.
The ability to accept credit card payments is appealing to home stagers, especially since the amounts you’re getting paid are usually quite high.
Setting up a merchant account, however, is very expensive. Not only do you have to pay a large sum to the bank just to apply for and then set up the account, you also have to pay a certain amount each month regardless of whether or not you have any transactions. In addition to paying these fixed fees when you do make a sale, they usually get to keep about 5% of it.
I don’t recommend you get your own merchant account, but I do suggest you set up a PayPal account for your business that will allow you to take credit card payments.
PayPal is essentially an online bank that allows you to accept and send payments and transfer funds to your regular business bank account. There are no fees to set it up and there are no monthly costs. If you have a client who also has a PayPal account, they can send money from their own account or they have the option to use their credit card instead. This is an easy and less costly solution then having your own merchant account.
Even if your client doesn’t have their own PayPal account, they can still pay you using a credit card through PayPal.
By the way, it doesn’t matter where you live since you can choose the currency you want to use when you set up your account. But beware of switching your PayPal balance between different currencies. Their rates are awful! This is not an issue if you’re doing all your business in one country.
Of course, PayPal will keep a percentage of your sales, but it’s roughly what you’d be paying for your own merchant account through the bank to accept credit card payments. In some cases PayPal takes an even smaller percentage of sales than your bank would with a normal merchant account. But because there are no set up or monthly fees to worry about, I feel it’s less costly to go this route.
Cash is king and if you can get your clients to pay by cash or check you get to keep all your sales rather than giving a percentage over to a bank or PayPal. So that’s always the best route in my opinion.
Home stagers, what has your experience been with using PayPal to accept payments? Or have you been using one of those costly merchant accounts to accept credit card payments? Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below.