Collecting Online Payments for Commissions/Private Sales?

  • I just opened a business bank account to start the process of setting myself up as a freelancer/sole proprietor, but I'm having trouble with how I should go about collecting payment. I've considered PayPal Business and have a personal account with them, but I've heard horror stories of people having their accounts locked, suspended, or closed for arbitrary reasons causing them to be unable to access the money for business expenses or just losing it all together. That freaks me out, so I wanted to ask if you guys knew of any other services or methods that didn't charge to much or worked well.

    I've got a large commission coming in soon and I don't know how to approach this, save for just asking for a regular check or something. I'd appreciate any thoughts 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    I have set up a Paypal account and set it up so that it automatically sends the money over to my bank account. You can also set up a kind of „direct link“ that you can send to the customer and he can pay directly without the need to enter your mail address.
    However, I’ve used it only twice and then stopped. Here are the reasons:

    • PayPal takes a commission on the payment which I find quite high. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I remember being quite shocked by it;
    • From the moment the transfer is activated to the moment the money is in your bank, 3-4 days can pass. I totally dislike the idea of my money sitting in a limbo for three days while being transferred from two accounts that both belong to me...I think PayPal makes an awful amount of profit from that delay and I’m not willing to support that if I have an alternative.

    So, now all my payments go via international bank transfer. You only need to provide the IBAN (I include it in my invoices, of course) and with online banking and all I think it´s ok to ask the client to make a bank transfer. Especially if it´s a publisher or an agent. There is still a delay, but it’s much shorter and at least it´s from two different accounts, so I feel safer that if the money doesn’t arrive I have some leverage.

  • SVS OG

    I haven't had any issues using Paypal for business. It's nice to have some kind of credit card/pay online option, whatever you decide to do. Make it easy for people to pay you and you are more likely to be paid! Paypal has a clean and easy invoice sending feature.

    Also have some sort of contract or payment agreement with your client so the process goes smoothly. The horror story stuff in my experience is from red-flag clients trying to weasel out of paying, so be clear about your terms, have documentation of their agreement to the terms, approval on the project, etc.

  • Pro

    Most of my clients pay me by bank transfer (e-transfer). I still accept Paypal only for personal commissions. The one exception to this rule is a client who has a small business and she prefers Paypal, but she has agreed to pay the Paypal fee in our transactions. Bigger companies and publishers have no problem with bank transfers though. The new contract I signed for my first book deal specifies that I'll be sent checks in the mail... I haven't seen one of those in a long, looong time.

  • @nessillustration Yes, I've been reading that companies do bank transfers which is nice. I was curious because I do painting commissions as well and private sales and don't know the best way to collect from individuals. Thanks!

  • If there is a better solution than Paypal or direct bank transfers, I'd love to hear it, because most of my clients use Paypal, and they do take a crazy fee for international payments. And if the fee isn't on me, it's still on my clients.

    Other than that though, Paypal has been working really well for me. 🙂

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