Following our recent article on the reasons why window cleaners should use GoCardless, we decided to put a post together to answer the most common questions we’re asked about GoCardless.
What is GoCardless?
GoCardless is an online service that allows you to take direct debit payments quickly and easily. And not necessarily the kind of direct debits that come out on a fixed date each month – rather, it allows you to initiate a payment each time you do a job.
Why is it ideal for window cleaning businesses?
The window cleaning business model is usually based on a high volume of customers generating ongoing, recurring revenue. GoCardless provides a simple, fast and cost effective solution for taking recurring payments, but at the same time offering the flexibility that a fixed monthly direct debit or standing order can’t. If you get behind with your work, it’s not an issue, as you only take payment when you get around to doing it. If you clean jobs on a 4 week schedule (and therefore more than 12 times a year) you’ve still got the ability to charge for every single clean.
So how do I benefit?
Virtually all window cleaning businesses face the same challenges – not getting paid on time, having to chase for payment and investing time and money into collecting debt. GoCardless solves those problems. You control exactly when you get paid, making collecting debt in your spare time a thing of the past. Getting payments on time, every time means better cash flow and a much smaller, even non-existent debt list. You also make big time savings on your admin, but more on that later.
How much does it cost?
The starting plan for GoCardless charges 1%+£.20 of the transaction, capped at a maximum of £4. That’s less than half what Paypal charge. You can see the latest prices on the GoCardless website.
Is it secure?
Yes – GoCardless are an “Authorised Payment Institution” regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They provide services to customers that include the likes of HM Government, Thomas Cook and Virgin. To get technical, your connection to their server is protected by twice the level of encryption required by UK banks. You can find out more about that here.
How does it integrate with CleanerPlanner?
CleanerPlanner recognises which of your customers are signed up to pay via GoCardless. It then gives you the option to process all of your GoCardless payments in bulk:
When you select either of those options, payments are processed and arrive in your bank account within 3-5 days.
CleanerPlanner detects when the payment has arrived and automatically updates your customer records.
How is that easier than taking BACS payments, cash or cheques?
Using GoCardless with CleanerPlanner means zero admin. There’s no need to match bank transfers to customers (meaning phantom BACS payments with blank references become a thing of the past), tally up cash totals, go to the bank to pay in cheques or even update your customer records to say that you’ve been paid. When you take a GoCardless payment, CleanerPlanner does your admin for you.
BACS payments are free though, is it worth it?
Based on our customer data, the average price of a 4 weekly, domestic window cleaning job is £12. So let’s take a £12 job as an example – if you were to take payment for that job via GoCardless, they’d charge you 12p. In the process, you’d guarantee you were going to get that £12, control exactly when you’d get it, you wouldn’t have to match a payment on your bank statement to the customer, or take the time to update any of your records. Most of our customers come to the conclusion that the benefits far outweigh a 1% fee.
Do my customers have to approve every payment?
No. Once they’re signed up, you can initiate payment without their approval. They simply get an email advising them that you’ve taken payment.
How do I sell it to my customers?
It’s easier than you think. From their perspective, they don’t have to worry about having cash to pay you, writing a cheque or even logging in to their bank to make a BACS payment. It requires zero effort on their part.
But my customers have never heard of GoCardless, will they trust it?
It’s true that not everyone has heard of GoCardless. But GoCardless is just a facilitator of the Direct Debit payment method – and everyone has heard of that. It’s key to highlight that GoCardless is a highly secure service, but regardless, your customers are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee. They can cancel the agreement at any time, and are protected against fraudulent activity.
How do I sign my customers up?
It’s simple. You send them a sign up link by text or email (provided by us), they simply enter their personal / bank details into a secure contact form once, and they’re signed up. We also provide a widget that you can add to your website, which allows your customers to sign up there.
Do many window cleaners use GoCardless?
Yes – around 30% of our customers already use GoCardless, and that figure increases weekly.
How many customers is it normally possible to sign up to GoCardless?
We have users with 75% of their customers signed up, but the average take up is between 40-50% – which is a realistic target for any window cleaning business.
How do I get started with GoCardless and CleanerPlanner?
If you’re already signed up to CleanerPlanner, click here for instructions.
If you’re new to CleanerPlanner, you can sign up for free trial here. We’ll guide you through getting setup on GoCardless, so you can test it for yourself.