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Q&A: Using Square as a Freelancer or Service-Based Professional

Hi Sellers,


On Friday, January 26th from 10am-11am PST, we hosted a Live Q&A on payment best practices for freelancers and service-based professionals. We had the Square Invoices Product Manager, Rohini Pandhi, here to help you make the most out of our invoicing product. Check out all her answers below! 


@rohini leads the product team for Square Invoices. Previous to Square, she worked as a consultant, started her own company, and has experience invoicing her own clients. She understands how important getting paid on time and having a healthy cash flow is for many small businesses.

 

Customize your Square Invoices to have your professional branding.Customize your Square Invoices to have your professional branding.A couple example questions:

  • How can I protect my business from future disputes and non-payments?
  • How can I automatically charge my customers for their monthly service fees? 

Thanks for all your questions and cheers!

Message 1 of 102
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1 Best Answer
Square

Best Answer

Thank you all for the great questions and participation! I really enjoyed talking to you about your businesses and invoicing needs. To wrap up, I thought I’d leave you with a summary of the tips we discussed today:

 

1. Stay organized and manage your payments

 

We know that you didn’t get into business because you love the invoicing process. But getting paid on time is important to your cash flow, so use tools (like Square Invoices) that will help you stay on top of your outstanding payments and get money into your bank account as quickly as possible.

 

If you have regular customers that you need to invoice on a set schedule, you can also use Square Invoices to manage your recurring payments. Your customers can securely save their cards on file with Square and your business can automatically charge those cards when an invoice is due.

 

For more information on how to use Square Invoices, check out our YouTube videos on How to Create an Invoice with Square and Advanced Invoicing.

 

2. Send contracts with your payment requests

 

When invoicing for your goods or services, it’s important for your invoices to be clear and professional. Having a detailed contract attached to your invoice allows you to set expectations with your customers, avoid future disputes, and get paid faster! We’ve put together a few contract templates for you to adapt for your own needs here: https://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/6302. You can customize these documents and attach the resulting PDF to your Square Invoices when requesting payment.

 

3. Take your invoicing on-the-go

 

You may not always be in front of your computer when you need to send an invoice. Our free Square POS app (for Android and iOS) lets you view and manage your invoices from your phone or tablet wherever you are. For more information on how to use our mobile app, check out this handy guide on our blog: https://squareup.com/townsquare/free-invoice-app.

 

No matter the platform, with Square Invoices you can send an unlimited amount of invoices free. You just pay the processing fee for any invoice that gets paid online with a credit or debit card.

 

Thank you again for your questions and comments. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them on Seller Community and we’ll answer!

 

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Message 101 of 102
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Can you provide any real/hard/meaningful update regarding the implementation of a partial payment function re: timeline for roll out?

 

For so many freelancers and service folks, “deposits/partial payments” are how we protect ourselves and how we ensure good faith with our clients. It is so important that we are able to process transactions in this manner and right now squares options are not professional or convenient. 

 

Thanks in advance for your time! 

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Beta Member

Yes! yes! 

 

Please update us! This would be amazing and super helpful. 

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Partial invoice payments and the ability to offer store credits are the two most basic feature requests that go back years. If Square has no intention of implementing them, can you let us know? For many professional businesses, these features are extremely important.

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Yes to this!

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I agree with you and request the same information.

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Thank you for asking this question.  I was actually going to inquire about the same thing, it's the one feature I wish Square had. 

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We sell plants and install them. We also would love a feature that would allow us to take a deposit of a partial payment and get the remainder at the install. There is no good way to do this and still track inventory and sales accurately.

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My number one question as well. Deposits, providing remaining balance due or estimate total capabilities.

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Reiterating the need for partial payments, aka deposits and final payment.

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Partial payments would make this so much better.  As a professional Woodworker, clients pay a deposit.  I have to make 2 invoices for every client.  The deposit for materials and 50% of the time, I then have to create a second invoice at the completion of the project for the remaining time.  It would be sweet to have a toggle (like sales tax) for a deposit line item (in $ or %) required.  The client can pay the invoice deposit and the outstanding balance can be paid at a later date.  If the invoice has a deposit, the client should have the option to pay the deposit, the full invoice, or remaining balance (when applicable). Is there a release schedule for a deposit feature?

Thanks so much.

Message 11 of 102
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Square

Thanks for this question, @Mingo, and I see that it’s popular since we had a number of people chime in below! Thank you to @Hillside, @paravelmedia, @HeatherSweetD, @Uniqe_Evnt_Dsgs, @tjonesmedia, @bamboo, @FCG, @smallakin, @GoodWood for your comments as well.

 

As a company, we don’t release product ship dates. As we build products, unexpected issues come up (which we’ve run into many times with partial payments) and we don’t want to commit to a specific date, only to have to push it back later. I know this is not the answer you’re looking for, but I want to be as honest and transparent as possible about our process. My team is currently working on solutions for you, but I don’t have a timeline to share.  

 

I know this is a huge request and important to a lot of our customers, and as you said, @Mingo, makes our product less convenient/professional for you. As I mentioned earlier, our team is currently working on solutions to satisfy the deposits/partial payments use cases.

 

While we’re working on it, I’d like to invite you those of you who are interested to join a beta to “kick the tires” when partial payments is available for early access. If you’d like to be on the list for early access, please sign up here.

 

Thank you again for all your thoughtful comments. I read each of your responses on threads here in the Community and you’re helping inform how this product is built to suit your needs.

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Thank you for your response @rohini and for being brave enough to put yourself up for the task of this AMA. 

 

I know I asked for a date for a roll out and I understand Square doesn’t want to put itself in the position of making promises it can’t fulfill, that’s fair and understandable. 

 

But, this feature has been asked for repeatedly for over 2 years and the response is the same every single time. 

 

The lack of a substantial update regarding this request leads me to believe it’s not actually “being worked on”. 

 

Message 13 of 102
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Square

@Mingo, thanks for the reply - sounds like you understand where we’re coming from. Even though it’s been a couple years, I can assure you that we’re actively working on this. It’s a complicated process that requires foundational changes to our system, which means a lot of work. If you need a solution while we’re working on it, you can check our our Square app marketplace for more invoicing solutions that might fit your need for partial payments.

 

In fact, here’s me with the whole team - we’re getting back to work now that this Q&A is wrapping up!

 

Image uploaded from iOS (2).jpg

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I will check out the Square App marketplace but, in all honesty, if it is going to cost me something to go with an added feature that seems so incredibly obvious I'll probably just continue to use PayPal inovicing. 

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     I'm a freelancer and invoice customers via Square.  I have a few that are delinquent, which I will have to send to collections.   Does Square offer a feature to place these types of invoices in a separate location so the totals won't show up in the dashboard as currently outstanding or offer the ability to void/move these invoices without the customer getting notified of such, thereby thinking they don't owe for the invoice any longer?  An option to place these invoices in "collections" or "bad debt" would be great. 

     Also, it would be great if Square would edit the invoice so the customer would have to actually click on it to see the total and we would know that it's actually been viewed.  Unless they click the link to pay it, there's no way to know this.     

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I agree with you and request it too!

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We are a service based company and send invoices after we complete the service. We would love if customers were able to leave positive or negative feedback on an invoice they've recieved just like they can from the Square Register. 

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Square

@FCJ313 - That’s an interesting idea to mark Invoices with new statuses like “collections” or “bad debt.” Invoices can’t currently be marked as outstanding or in the ways you suggest, but I’ll take your suggestion back to the team.

 

For your second point, are you referring to something similar to an “event timeline” or “number of times viewed” for invoices? Currently, you can see a timeline of events associated with each Square Invoice. This timeline provides data on when your customer has viewed the pay page of their invoice, but it doesn’t surface when the email has been viewed (for privacy reasons). Let us know if you want to hear more about the event timeline that currently is in place.

 

Banners_and_Alerts_and_Square_Dashboard.pngAn example of an invoice timeline with a ‘viewed’ status

 

@jc123 - Awesome that you’re service-based too. We know that a lot of our sellers are in this category, which is why our team has made the decision to include tipping options in our invoices. However, taking tips doesn’t apply to every category of invoicer, so we’re currently thinking of new options to enable some sort of global settings for all your personalized invoicing needs. I’ll make sure to note your request to add Square’s positive/negative feedback module as part of that work!

Message 19 of 102
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Yes, I'm aware of the ability to show it as "viewed" as in your example and I love the history that is provided; however, "viewed" will only appear if a customer actually clicks on their e-mail and is routed to Square's website.  There are other invoicing companies, which are linked to Square (Wix and Invoice ASAP) that will actually notify you that the message has been opened by the customer without them having to actually visit the website.  It's a nice feature as there's no issues with a customer claiming they didn't receive an invoice when, in fact, they have.    

 

Message 20 of 102
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Not questions, just feedback / suggestions. 1. A PO (purchase order) number field on invoices. 2. The ability to generate quotes or estimates along with invoices. 3. A way to inform customers that invoices can be paid by check other than the message field. 4. A way to have my business name and my personal name or the employee name on receipts and invoices.  

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