If you’re anything like me these days, when I watch a movie, I am appalled by the actors who are shaking hands with strangers, standing within six feet of someone at the bar, or not using hand sanitizer as soon as they leave a public place.

But then, I snap back to reality and remember that our world is normally all about touch. 

From cutting someone’s hair to giving a massage to swiping a client’s credit card, we are used to touching people and their belongings without thinking about it. But 2020 changed the rules, and we need to be cleaner and safer than ever before.

Now, we know that you’ve figured out how to do your trade with limited contact and while keeping your clients safe, but there’s one area that’s a struggle for us all: the moment in any transaction when you have to actually pay. Given how disgustingly dirty cash is, the credit cards we touch, hand to clerks, swipe, tap, and dip every dang day can’t be much better.

Schedulicity (and specifically Schedulicity Pay) can help you cut down on that risky contact. Instead of handing a credit card or cash back-and-forth, our hands-free system can limit your (and their) exposure during payment. But that’s not the only way to go hands-free with transactions! Here are some of our favorite tips.

How to Build Contactless Payment into Your Business

1. Go Hands-Free from the Start with Prepayment, Partial Deposit, and/or Hold with Credit Card

Requesting some form of prepayment means your clients do the work for you ahead of time, so you can focus your appointment time on just that — the appointment.  

On Schedulicity, once you have a payment processor hooked up to your account, you can require that for each service, class, or workshop, clients set up payment ahead of time in three ways:

  • Prepayment: 100% is paid at time of booking
  • Partial deposit: You pick the % you want as a deposit to hold their spot
  • Hold with credit card: Your client enters their credit card # but won’t be charged until the time of service (at that time, they can switch payment methods)

With these tools, your client does the manual work of inputting their credit card information so that during your checkout process, all you need to do is process the rest of the payment (don’t forget about getting your tip!) and send them on their way. 

2. Embrace the Stylus

The Schedulicity Pay team recently clued us into a simple, yet effective contactless payment hack (you can read all their tips here), which also happens to be a cheap drugstore or Amazon purchase. Behold the stylus pen.

Buy a dozen of these, then leave them at the front with a container for “clean” and one for “dirty” pens. Clients can use them to sign your iPad or iPhone screen, then you can disinfect the dirty pens between sessions or at the end of the day. (By the way, did you know that you can set custom “cleaning time” windows between sessions through Schedulicity?)

3. Offer Packages as a Value-Add

Think about how often you get your services done with your favorite provider. Maybe you get your nails done before every special occasion, your pet groomed every four months, or your lashes re-done every six weeks. You know you’re going to need that service done again, but the cadence may vary.

Cue packages, which are another way to carry out hands-free transactions with your clients. If your client comes in three times in six months, you can sell them a package for three of the services (or classes). That way, the only work you need to do when they’re in your space is to mark off one of their session credits. The best part? This is built right into your Schedulicity account via our Package Management add-on.

Better yet — your clients can purchase packages during booking! Once they’ve picked their service/class, date, and time, they will have the option to add a package during checkout and pay for it outside of your business. Even less contact. Woop, woop!

4. Automate, Automate, Automate with…Automated Billing

This tip requires the least amount of work — hence why we always use the term “set and forget” when we’re talking about it.

Automated billing is best for businesses whose clients come in on a regular schedule, and you want to charge them once a month. Think: most classes, one massage a month, a chiropractic adjustment every two weeks, or the guy who gets his haircut EVERY third Monday of the month.

Set these clients up with automated billing, so that once a month (on the date that you choose), they will get the same bill they’re always expecting. Schedulicity’s Auto-Billing feature lets you do just that, plus offers handy reporting that gives you a clear picture of your recurring revenue.

5. Go Old School (AKA Wipes)

With the options above, you can significantly cut-down on hands-on payment exchanges, but admittedly, that won’t be the case all the time.

With Schedulicity Pay credit card reader, you can leave the device on your counter (meaning you don’t have to touch their card!), have the clients swipe or dip, then leave. Then, just wipe down the device for the next client.

Handling cash is another story, but it’s still possible to tackle. Here’s an explainer on how to do it safely during the pandemic.

All of these tools also help protect against no-shows (which are more costly than ever when you’re already limited by how many people you can safely see each day). Understanding today’s climate about clients likely needing to cancel or reschedule more than normal, you can also update your cancellation terms here to let your clients know how much (if any) they’ll still be charged depending on how late they cancel. Let’s keep your clients safe and get you paid!