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Automatic Subscription Billing

I’ve surveyed the audience and one thing is clear: when it comes to running a coaching business, it’s REALLY nice (some would say downright essential), to have a clear separation between getting paid for coaching work and doing said coaching work.

One invariable muddles the other: blessed is the coach who outright won’t tolerate clients who would make them chase checks, and it’s really nice if the client doesn’t get distracted with logistics of paying for business, life, or health coaching when they’re heads down getting the most out of a coaching experience.

CoachAccountable makes this possible.  All you really need to do is set up your coach portal to process client invoice payments on your behalf, by connecting it to your Stripe or Authorize.net merchant account.

If you don’t have one yet, CA makes it super easy to grab a Stripe account in about 5 minutes.

Once ready, you or your client can enter a credit card up front, have it stored for future charges, and CA will automatically process invoices on whatever schedule you like.

Let’s see how this works!

Creating a Sequence of Invoices

CoachAccountable coaching client invoices are super simple to create.  Just add a date (or default to today), enter one or more line items (with associated prices), add taxes if needed, and you’re done.  Check a box if you want CA’s coaching management platform to email it off to your client, either immediately or as scheduled (when entering in a future invoice).

Invoice for your coaching clients

Be MOAR awesome? Oh yeah, sign me up!

The magic of a subscription is in the ability to create a sequence, by clicking the little “I would like to make a series of invoices just like this one” link towards the bottom:

12 invoices, one every 1 month… sounds about right for a year long engagement!

As you’d expect, this creates a series of invoices, one scheduled to go out each month:

A whole bunch of ostensibly pending revenue… nice!

These invoices will be sent off via email to your coaching client, right on schedule throughout the coming year.

What happens when an invoice’s date comes up?  That depends!

If your client doesn’t have any credit card on file, the invoice email he/she gets will contain a magic link.  Clicking that will take them right to a page they can enter their credit card in order to pay the invoice.

If your client DOES have a credit card on file, our coaching system will automatically process the payment for the invoice, no fuss.  If the charge goes through okay, the email they’ll get will be an invoice marked paid, essentially a receipt.  And you, as coach, will get an email notification telling you of that’s on its way to your bank account. :)

Entering Credit Card Details for your Coaching Clients

In our scenario so far, your client is apt to get sent that first invoice as unpaid, and they’ll need to enter their payment info the first time and then (hopefully) opt to save their payment info on file for seamless processing of future invoices.

But perhaps instead you’d like to set them up from the get-go.  You as coach can do that for them, provided you have their credit card information (perhaps from some form they filled out, or perhaps when they handed it to you during an initial in-person meeting and you’ve got your swanky tablet there and ready to set things up).

Once you’ve created an invoice for your client, simply click the dollar icon next to it to bring up payment options.  You can make and record a payment made outside of the CA coach portal (say for example if they’re handing you a check), and you can process a payment right then and there:

Holy moly this invoice is overdue.  Let’s click that first option and get this all handled!

Clicking the first option brings up a place to process a payment by entering credit card details:

Remember this card for future use? Yes please!

Simple as that.  By remembering the card for future use it will be handy for automatically processing future invoices.

By either you or your client entering that credit card once when you’re first getting started, everything else takes care of itself with the subscription billing you set up to cover the term of your coaching engagement or program.  Nice!

Is this secure for my coaching clients’ sensitive payment info?

Yes!  Like everything else on CA, this all happens over an encrypted connection.  Moreover, CA uses the token-based approach to keeping cards on file–the actual credit card number is never stored or even seen by the CA server.  If anyone were to get a hold of what CoachAccountable stores, they’d only be able to process payments into your account–hardly useful for nefarious purposes. :)

Sounds pretty good, any fees for this?

Nope!  You’ll almost certainly need to pay the usual fees endemic to ANY credit card processing, but CA doesn’t take any cut whatsoever.


Having to play the role of accounts payable is seldom pleasant, and most certainly distracts from doing the real difference-making work of coaching.  Use this setup to get coaching client payments handled without hassle from the get-go, and automate away the drudgery of chasing down (and even processing!) payments later.  Enjoy!

Ready to finally have your invoicing sort itself out in a way that you can easily share with your accounting team? Try CoachAccountable. It’s free for 30 days.

13 Comments »

  1. Debra Wilson Guttas said,

    April 5, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

    Yayyy!

    To clarify, I currently use Stripe’s subscription option to automatically charge my clients’ credit cards so that I don’t ever have to think about it. Are you saying that this option would replace that while still using my stripe account?

    I like the idea of having it all in one place. I assume that both they and I can always see what payments are coming up…?

    Thank you!

  2. John said,

    April 5, 2018 @ 3:25 pm

    Hi Debra,

    Close! Stripe Subscriptions support indefinite recurring charges, whereas in CoachAccountable you need to generate a series of invoices (which is finite).

    You as coach within CA can see all future/scheduled invoices, but they are not visible to your clients until sent on schedule.

    Cheers!
    John

  3. Darinenne Mobley said,

    April 16, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

    John, can you do subscription billing through Paypal. Or does it have to be Stripe?

  4. John said,

    April 16, 2018 @ 12:40 pm

    Hi Darienne,

    This is supported for only Stripe or Authorize.net.

    Cheers,
    John

  5. Glenn ost said,

    May 26, 2018 @ 5:11 pm

    Hi John,

    Stripe now processes other European payment methods like Bankcontact, IDeal,….

    https://stripe.com/blog/european-payment-methods

    Does this mean that we can apply the method of adding a Belgian Card like Bankcontact (belgian) to CA?

    Warm greetings

  6. E.G. Sebastian said,

    June 1, 2018 @ 5:09 am

    If a client pays me $100, how much of it will show up in my bank account?

    (what % transaction fee is charged?)

    thank you

  7. John said,

    June 1, 2018 @ 7:09 pm

    Hi E.G.,

    Great question! And that’s actually one that’s entirely up to your payment processor. CoachAccountable doesn’t take any cut, so the only transaction fee is whatever you have set with Stripe or Authorize.net. Par is something between 2.5 and 3% + something like 30 cents per transaction.

  8. J Lynn Fox said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 2:59 pm

    If I am asking the client to set up his card info during the first billing, how will I know if he has saved the card info and so be billed automatically the next time???
    I can ask him to click “remember” but how can I be sure and how would I see if he has canceled that option??

    Thanks,
    Lynn

  9. John said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 3:19 pm

    Hi Lynn,

    Good question! You can see whether or not a given client has a card on file from the Accounts listing found on the Client Invoicing page. The presence of a rectangular credit card icon next to their name means they have a card on file, and if that icon has a check mark on it that means it IS set for automatic billing.

    More broadly speaking, if you have concerns over your client not having their invoice paid automatically, you can set your “Unpaid Invoice Lockout Settings” on the Client Invoicing Config page. These settings allow you to set rules that client access should be restricted when outstanding payments are overdue (which can be quite handy if automatic payments fail to be made for whatever reason!).

    Cheers!
    John

  10. Katrina said,

    October 15, 2020 @ 3:22 am

    I see you have authroize.net as able to use for subscriptions based payment t but I dont see it in the online payment processor. Is this option still available

  11. John said,

    October 15, 2020 @ 9:02 am

    Hi Katrina,

    Good question! I’m afraid for now we’ve sunset support for Authorize.net, on account of an advancing state of the art, security-wise, from when I originally integrated it with CA (which therefore would necessitate a redo of that integration). That, coupled with a general lack of demand, led me to the decision to prioritize other projects.

    We’ve since added Square as an additional alternative, and may one day re-add Authorize.net if demand for it reveals itself. Your vote in favor is counted, thanks for weighing in!

  12. Sarah said,

    October 24, 2020 @ 8:13 am

    Hi John! If the client pays for the first monthly payment in an offering, will they also receive an invoice asking them to pay if a monthly payment engagement is triggered?

    Or will it be triggered as an invoice that is marked paid, like the following monthly payments will?

    Hope that makes sense, thank you!

  13. John said,

    October 27, 2020 @ 7:04 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    If an Offering includes an Engagement that entails an immediate invoice, then the Offering’s price will be what the Engagements prescribes. (Conversely, if the Engagement has invoices but the first one is set to delay, then a client will pay whatever you set as the price for the Offering with no effect on the Engagement.)

    That above is a mouthful, but it suffices to say that CA with do the Right Thing(tm) however you set it up!

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