In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about getting paid as a computer technician. Something I hear about a lot is technicians saying that “their clients didn’t pay them, they’re having to chase them up, and basically why don’t they pay me?”. The answer to that is your clients don’t pay you because you allow it to happen.
00:11 – Why are clients don’t pay you
00:57 – Rules to getting paid
01:40 – Get them to sign a work order if they don’t pay by cash
02:19 – Target wealthy areas of town but still be careful
03:26 – If you must do any terms
03:27 – How to actually tell clients that they need to pay
04:40 – Ditch the bad clients and replace them with the good ones
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In this podcast, I’m going to talk about getting paid as a computer technician. Something I hear about a lot is technicians saying that their clients didn’t pay them, they’re having to chase them up, and basically why don’t they pay me? The answer to that is your clients don’t pay you because you allow it to happen. When we first start out, we all want to impress. We want to make a good impression with our clients and we suffer a little bit from nice guy syndrome. The problem with this is that we get taken advantage of. In life, money is always better off in your hands. Cash in hand is always king and many of your clients are playing the exact same game. They’re holding on to their cash as long as possible.
What is the solution to this? Here are my rules in getting paid by residential clients in order of preference.
If they brought the computer to me, then they simply just don’t get it back until the work is paid in full. However, if you’re at their house, you lose a little bit of that leverage. Always get them to pay cash before you leave the house. Ideally, this is the best option. If they don’t have cash, get them to pay via credit card. In today’s day and age, it’s pretty easy with all the portable readers that are supplied by people like Stripe, Square, Paypal, and a few others. There are fees with them but it’s always worth it. If the fees do bother you, just increase your prices by five percent or so to cover it. It’s the cost of doing business.
If they’re paying by anything other than cash, get them to sign a work order to say that they’re happy with the work. If they do something like file a chargeback with the bank, you can show a signed work order to say that they approved the work and they are happy with the work. If you need a work order template, you can find one in our Computer Business Kit. Only accept checks if you’ve done work with them in the past and they’ve previously paid and been pretty decent. With residential clients, no net terms at all. Home businesses are a little different because you do treat them more like a business but there’s absolutely no credit for residentials. It’s just really dangerous.
If you followed my computer technician story, you may know that I heavily targeted the wealthy areas of town. In my early days, I was a little more lenient with the wealthy residential clients because they are “good for it” and I say that with air quotes. It is not a good idea to assume that you have no problems getting paid by wealthy customers. In fact, the most money lost to a single client was the wealthiest one of them all. People appearing to be good for it doesn’t actually make them less of a liability and makes them more of a liability. They often leveraged up to their eyeballs and have no liquidity. Be careful there, don’t trust anybody.
For business clients, you do have to treat it just a little bit different. Again, cash is always preferred. It’s the absolute safest, best option. Card is next, similar to what I mentioned before with Square, Paypal, Stripe. If they must do check, and some businesses will actually only operate with checks so sometimes you do have to accept them, make sure you have a signed work order. If they don’t pay me, then I can forward them to debt collectors and use the work order as proof.
If you must do any terms, the terms are fourteen days. Don’t go for thirty or sixty. The closer to the date that you saved them, the easier it is to get them to pay. When you helped them out long in the distant sixty days ago, then they seem to forget the bond that you actually got them out of. It’s much easy to get paid closer to the date. Again, make sure you have your paperwork in place and again, you can find that in the Computer Business Kit.
When the money is due at task completion, you may want to had to actually tell them how to do it in a subtle way. The best way to do it is tack it on the end of what you’re saying. You say, “Yeah. No problem, so I can be out there at five o’clock. Just letting you know that payment is due upon completion and we can accept cash or card.” By actually saying that you can accept cash and card, you can say it as if it’s a convenience and not a burden.
One excuse I often hear about not demanding payment at the time is, “I don’t want to lose them as the client.” A lot of people feel they don’t want to upset them. The thing is that they’re not paying you, you don’t want them as a client. Sure, I’ve given freebies in the past but they’re always on my terms. It was my choice, not theirs. Don’t forget that our services have value. Ditch the bad clients, replace them with good ones, and overtime, you’ll basically have nothing but good clients and you’ll love your work. Let your competitors have the bad ones that don’t pay. Be ruthless about getting paid. Try to get cash in hand first, card if they can’t do cash.
Again, anything that isn’t cash have a signed work order which you can find in the Computer Business Kit. If you must do in those terms because the business won’t work with you otherwise, keep the date tight like fourteen days or so. Get the money in your pocket as quickly as possible. You aren’t a charity. You are a business. I hope this podcast has helped you in setting some ground rules in regards to payment. That’s it for this podcast. This is Bryce Whitty with the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Thank you for listening.
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