As many teachers are considering what it may look like to run their studio (temporarily) online, one topic that may be necessary and quite urgent is making the move to online payments.
If you’re still taking checks from parents and worried about making the switch, rest assured, while it may take a little leg work setting everyone up, your future self won’t regret it.
Taking online payments will not only save you time from manually depositing checks but the payment portal I want to share with you today will save you money compared to 90% of the other online payment services out there.
(P.S. That number was arbitrary. Basically, the fees are cheaper than anything else I’ve found out there.)
Coinhop has been my payment portal of choice for several years now. I hope the reasons why I love it will help you as you’re considering online payment options for your studio.
Making the Switch
When I started my studio in 2011, online payments were becoming popular but I wasn’t ready to get on the bandwagon. Even though I was a Millennial and young professional, I wasn’t willing to forego the 2.0-3.0% fees involved as I was just starting my business.
Then I read this article on The Free IMT website…Why I Switched To Automatic Payments…Finally!
Kyle easily convinced me in his post that it was time to move to automatic payments and introduced me to a website/app called Coinhop. (At the time it was called Skeddle.)
What Makes Coinhop So Great
Unlike PayPal, Stripe or other online payment services whose fees are around 2.5% (plus a transaction fee), Coinhop only charges 1% plus $0.30 per transaction).
(Some portals even make the sender – not the receiver – pay the extra fee and I wasn’t interested in passing the expense for convenience onto my families.)
Coinhop keeps it simple. It has both a mobile app and a web-based client so you can access it on your desktop.
Here’s the process:
- You create an account and connect the bank account you want your money deposited into.
- Add client’s names by email or mobile and set their monthly fee and how often it should be taken out (monthly, weekly or every 2 weeks).
- Coinhop has pre-written instructions for you to email or text your client directly from the app (of which you can edit to your liking).
- Clients receive the invitation email/text with instructions to download the app and connect their bank account.
- Coinhop will verify their account by depositing a few cents into their account.
- Coinhop will let you know once their account has been verified. You’re all ready to go!
- The first day of the month (or however often you’ve set for them to be taken out), payments are extracted from all of your client’s accounts. You will get an email notification.
- Within 10 days max you receive one payment from Coinhop (minus the very small fee).
- If at any time you need to pause their billing (such as if they don’t take lessons in the Summer), you can “pause” their billing and then hit “resume” at any time without having to go through the connection process again.
The interface is very user friendly and self-explanatory. I’ve had almost no problems at all with their setup.
Only once or twice have I encountered small issues when student’s bank accounts weren’t connecting properly. It wasn’t even really an issue though because Coinhop’s customer service was excellent. They were very prompt in communicating with me directly and it was resolved quickly.
Tuition Payments – A Few More Details
All of my students who pay monthly are set up for automatic payments through Coinhop.
Since I’m sharing details on how I manage tuition I wanted to go ahead and give you (as Paul Harvey would say) “the rest of the story.”
Coinhop isn’t all I use.
In the olden days when I was taking check payments only, I used an Excel spreadsheet like a check register and simply recorded all the payments.
Not only did I keep a master check register page, but each family had an individual spreadsheet tab in that same file and I would record their fees.
I’ve always been dead set on presenting my business in as professional of a way as I can. One day it just suddenly felt like it was time to step up the professionalism of my tuition payments.
It pushed me over the edge when a couple of families asked for receipts and I had to figure out how to make one manually in a professional-looking way.
Enter My Music Staff.
My Music Staff
This program had been on my radar for a couple of years so when it was time to make the move, I knew where I wanted to take my business.
In my studio, families can choose to pay their tuition either:
- By the year (one payment for school year term)
- By the semester (two payments for school year term)
- By the month (10 payments from August-May for school year term fee)
(Summer lessons are optional so the fee for June/July is separate and made in one payment.)
While My Music Staff allows you to connect to online payment systems like Stripe and PayPal, I was still not excited about paying those kinds of rates.
I pay the $12.95 per month (plus a small international fee because they’re from Canada) for My Music Staff simply to manage my studio including student and family details, creating professional invoices and receipts, and taking new student leads using their waiting list form widget on my website. (I’ll write about that another time, but for now, read about it from Nicola Canton here.)
If they pay by the year or semester, they can pay by check (I don’t mind this because it happens all at once and only twice a year.) and they get a professional receipt emailed to them.
If they pay by the month then they are required to set-up via Coinhop.
Make the move.
You can do it!