If you want to get paid with online bookings, you need the right technology in place. Fortunately, collecting payments with your online scheduling app is a lot easier than you might think.
With one-third of all US workers participating in the gig economy and contract work growing at an almost equal rate around the globe, many small business owners are looking for ways to streamline payment collection and take their businesses online.
When you accept payments right at the time of booking this ensures that you’re paid upfront for your work, and eliminates the need for accepting credit card payments at the time of the appointment. This is great news for online businesses as well as those who serve clients in-person.
In this post, we offer a step-by-step tutorial for getting paid with online bookings of customer appointments.
Sign up for an online booking tool that can collect payments
The first step is to sign up for an online booking software that has the ability to collect payments.
One popular option for businesses that work with clients is Vectera, which is an online meeting software that offers the following features:
- Easy online booking for clients
- Private client meeting rooms with whiteboards, stored notes, and meeting room templates
- Payment processing via Stripe
To access all of these features, you’ll need the Pro Plan alongside the Scheduling Add-On. Combined, this subscription is just $15.99 per month when paid monthly.
When you consider the amount of time spent on back-and-forth emails and invoicing, this software can easily save a handful of hours per month, making the subscription cost a non-issue.
Integrate your online booking app with your payment gateway
You need to integrate your online booking app with your payment processor to get started.
Login to your Vectera Dashboard, and click on Settings. Then click on Integrations. You’ll see the direct integrations that you can set up.
Click on Stripe, to hook up the payment gateway to your scheduling system. Stripe is a very popular payment processor that charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per successful transaction.
The online booking tool will prompt you to log in to Stripe in order to complete the integration.
You’ll get a success message saying that Stripe was successfully connected. Then you’ll need to configure appointment types to require online payments for bookings.
Include payment collection in your appointment types
With your payment gateway connected to your online booking system, it’s time to configure your appointment types.
You can have a combination of free and paid appointment types. For example, you might have a free 20-minute consultation that a new potential client can use once when getting to know you. Then, you might have a paid 60-minute appointment and a paid 90-minute appointment.
There are two main ways to set this up:
- Edit an existing appointment type with payment information
- Create a brand new appointment type
Below we walk you through both options.
Here’s how to edit an existing appointment type to require payment
Do you have an existing appointment type that you want to edit? Go to the dashboard of your online booking tool, and click on Scheduling. Then click the Edit button next to the name of the appointment type you want to edit.
In the appointment details, click on the Collect Payments screen.
You’ll see that there are two payment options:
- No payment necessary
- Payment necessary before booking
Change it to “Payment necessary before booking” and then fill out the amount and provide your refund policy.
Here’s how to create a new appointment type that requires payment
You can also require payment collection for a brand new appointment type. Just go to your Vectera Dashboard and click Scheduling. Then select Create an Appointment Type.
From that screen, you can put in all of the important appointment details:
- Booking link ending
- Redirect URL (optional web page you want clients sent to after they book the call)
- Meeting room template (pre-loaded notes, slides, etc.)
- Call duration
- Availability increments
You might also want to customize your availability for this specific type of appointment.
As before, you’ll need to then click on the screen with the payment collection options, and enter these critical details:
- The cost of the appointment
- Your refund and/or cancellation policy
Here’s an example policy you can customize to enter in that field:
Payments are refundable 48 hours prior to appointment. After the 48 hour window, appointments may be rescheduled for any time in the next 30 days after the initial appointment time, but payments are no longer refundable.
The setup part is all done! Next, we’ll cover what the payment process looks like for clients, and how to share your booking link with clients so you can get booked and get paid.
Review what the process will look like for clients
To test what your paid booking process will look like for clients, copy the link for that appointment type or your personal booking page and open the link in a different browser.
Here’s how it looks:
When clients click the button to schedule an appointment, the next thing they will see is your calendar. They will only be shown availability based on your settings with Vectera as well as the events you already have blocking overlapping client appointments (such as personal or professional items in your Google or Outlook calendar).
With online scheduling, you never have to worry about doubling up. The booking system prevents that.
Next, clients will need to enter their name and email address, and any other unique form fields you may have added to this particular appointment type.
After they’ve entered their details, they’ll be taken to a Stripe page to complete their order. The Stripe payment form will automatically pull your business logo and brand color for the button, so if you haven’t used Stripe in a while, make sure to log in and check that your branding is still up to date.
With Vectera, you can set up your booking system to redirect to any page you want after clients complete their booking and payment. Here are some ideas of web pages you might want to redirect them to:
- A branded thank you page on your website
- A more detailed intake form with questions about their needs and goals for the appointment
- Links to resources or videos that can help them prepare for the appointment to maximize their time
Share your booking link
Now that you’ve taken a quick moment to test out the appointment booking and payment process, it’s time to share your booking link so that clients can schedule appointments with you.
There are two main options to do this:
- Share a link to your appointment type or personal booking page (which includes all of the appointment types you allow to be seen there)
- Embed your booking page in your website, such as the sales page for this service type
Let’s take a deeper look at both options.
Copy and paste links in communication with clients
You can copy a link to your booking page or specific event types and share it wherever you want. Maybe you drop the link in an email, a LinkedIn direct message, or even add it in a CTA button on your website.
Embed your booking app in your website
For a professional look, you can also embed your booking page in your website.
In your Vectera Dashboard on the Scheduling page, just click “Get embeddable link.” Then add that link to this line of code like so:
<iframe style="width: 100%; height: 600px;" src="YOUR_LINK_GOES_HERE" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Put that single line of code on an HTML page, post, or widget on your site. You can then drive traffic to that page with your marketing, and start collecting appointments continuously.
As you can see, just a few short minutes of setup can save you an enormous amount of time when it comes to getting paid with online bookings.
Do you want to impress your clients with a great online booking and meeting experience? Learn more about Vectera.