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Top 5 Billing Features for the Solar and Energy Industry

November 21, 2017 by Kenzie Earle

Being very familiar with operational hurdles that plague the industry, we want to address a major concern in the Solar and Energy industry. With green initiatives sweeping the nation and solar companies popping up all over the map, the Solar industry in inundated with business and home owners looking to save on their energy bills. But because the industry is still fairly new, there are gaps in the operational flow and software innovation specific to the industry is severely lacking. Many Solar and Energy companies are still using systems that are built for other types of field services, leaving their day-to-day ops with a need to be streamlined. With payments sitting at the heart of any business and cash flow being crucial for financial health, this is one of the main solutions that many CFOs, controllers and finance reps are vying for. Below are top solutions for stagnant cash flow and poor collections on Accounts Receivable in the Solar and Energy Industry. Stop being bogged down by antiquated methods of payment like the use of the paper check; there are cost reducing, speedy ways to get paid. We are here point you in the direction of automation, efficiency, security and an optimal ROI.

Billing payment portal 

A Billing payment portal is one of the most effective ways of quick and efficient payment remittance. It is key to be armed with convenient options for you and your customer, such as the ability to send your customer a custom link with the exact amount due pre-populated. As long as your payment portal is hosted online, your payment portal is easily accessible on any device, phone, tablet or desktop, giving you the option to offer payment even when your company rep is in the field It’s important to have all payment rails are made available (eCheck, ACH and Credit/Debit Card), making it the ultimate expediency for your customer. However, in efforts to protect your ROI, it is suggested that you find a payment portal where you have total control over the payment rails that are available based on the amount owed, potentially saving you significant amounts in transaction costs. Example: If your customer or vendor owes over 1K, you can remove the option to pay via credit/debit card so that you will only be paying the fixed fee of eCheck or ACH (both options can be found at a fixed cost of under a dollar). For example, our customers that utilize the PayStand billing portal feature have seen payment remittance drastically improve; on average, it took 2-3 weeks to receive payment. With the payment portal activated in their AR processes, they are receiving payment on average of 1-2 days. Owning the prerogative to white label this feature is cruxial, making your customer feel secure by concealing whatever third-party processor you are using to accept payment. Enhancing your efficiency and improving cash flow by speeding up payment remittance, the billing payment portal is a vital piece of the AR pie.

Finding the Best CC Rates with Fixed Cost Options

We understand that paying via debit or credit is a preferred method for some of your customers. If you want to elect this rail as an option regardless of the amount due, you will need to find a processor that offers low rates in efforts to maintain and protect your ROI. Alternately, it’s highly suggested that you make sure you have the ability to enable ‘Payer-pays-fees’ and pass the transaction amount onto your customer labeling it as a ‘service charge’. By saving a significant amount in basis points (depending on what rate you are able to lock in) and by passing on the fees associated, you are not only cutting costs, you are also acquiring a new revenue stream, leveraging your ROI to more profitable heights!

Additionally, versatile payment options are vital to high payment remittance and keeping cost low. (Example: PayStand offers a 0% payment network). If you want to eliminate transaction costs entirely, that undertaking is at your fingertips. With eCheck and ACH, you can usually receive funds quickly and for under $1 regardless of the amount owed (contingent on the payment processor selected). If you go with PayStand for your AR solution, and your customer pays via eCheck, the transaction is accompanied by instant fund verification, ensuring the amount due is available, preventing costly and time consuming chargebacks.

Virtual terminal

The more options you have for payment, the timelier you will receive your payment. Now with a Virtual terminal, you can have your customer call and pay on any payment rail from anywhere. The information gathered should be stored and encrypted securely so that with a few clicks, you can even re-engage future payments. Finding a payment processor that integrated with your internal systems will be an efficiency that you won’t want to live without after it’s implemented. That way, you can add your business data to any payment; whether it be an Invoice Number or customer ID, you can attach your business' data to any schedule or payment, and it's a part of it throughout its life cycle. That data will also appear in every webhook or download of that schedule or payment. 

Fund on file

With progress payments being a common set up established with solar customers, your customers will be returning to remit payment a few times and of course your vendors will be paying on an established schedule as well. Regardless of what payment feature they use, virtual terminal, payment portal etc. their information should be tokenized and encrypted so that it can then be re-engaged for future charges. Make sure this feature is safe and secure; for example, using ‘Fund on File tokens’, PayStand solves many challenges by eliminating manual processing, human error and allowing for automation in a large portion of your AR processes. 

Integrations

There are plenty of plugin options at your disposal these days, however, you will want to ensure you are garnered with options to implement “Pay Now” buttons in your invoices, apps or website, this can eliminate large portions of manual processing and can auto reconcile your customers outstanding balance and be immediately closed out in your books, saving you time and money and the option to have your AR teams time be allocated to other tasks. 

PayStand offers all of the listed features and more. We are also specialists in the field of Solar and Energy/Renewable and Environment, making it so that we can offer customized solutions to your customized hurdles. Contact Us today if you have a need for AR solutions similar to the ones listed or if you are interested in gaining a more optimal ROI. We look forward to hearing from you!