best coaching software

How To Take Payment Online For Coaches: We Review The Top 7 Tools

If you’re a coach, you should be getting paid in full and on-time.

Revolutionary, right?

But consider that collecting payments as a coach often isn’t so easy.

From endless email chains to tracking down “lost”  invoices, the seemingly simple process of getting paid can spiral into chaos.

The end result? Wasted time, tons of stress and double-takes at your bank account as you wonder when the heck you’re getting paid.

Listen: coaches should spend their valuable time growing their business and spending time with clients versus trying to figure out how to take payment online.

That’s exactly why we put together this list of exactly how to take payment online for coaches. The top 7 tools!

“Do I Really Need Payment Software, Though?”

Hey, fair question!

If you’re new to coaching, you’re probably trying to keep your budget lean. 

Totally understandable, but consider that billing software is an investment into your business that pays for itself.

Food for thought: the average small business owner wastes hours upon hours per week on tedious tasks. 

That includes email follow-ups and putting together invoices by-hand. Think about how this mismanaged time translates into lost earnings, taking away opportunities to prospect or actually work with clients.

As a coach, you’re basically responsible for being your own billing department. Given that  two-thirds of small business owners rely on accounting tools, third-party software is more common than you might think.

And if nothing else, billing software for coaches can be a serious stress reliever.

Not only do you essentially take control of your finances, but also empower yourself to focus on what you’re good at.

(You know. Coaching.)

What Online Payment Software for Coaches is Right For Me?

Now, onto the good stuff!

Below we’ve broken down seven billing tools for coaches looking to streamline how they get paid. By the end of this list, you’ll have a better idea of which tools make sense for your business.

how to take payment online for coaches

1. Paperbell

Hey, you can’t blame us for putting ourselves on top of our list.

Seriously, though. There’s no shortage of accounting and invoices tools out there. 

That said, Paperbell represents billing software for coaching that’s quite literally tailor-made based on the specific needs of coaches.

How so?

Think of Paperbell as a sort of shop for your online coaching business. Rather than worry about putting together individual proposals and invoices, you’re able to sell your services directly to clients. 

Our platform allows you to put together your own custom coaching packages that you can price as you see fit. For example, you can create one-time coaching sessions or recurring packages for clients you meet with every month.

The biggest benefit of billing this way? No more invoices! No more chasing or losing sleep over them, either. 

Paperbell encourages clients to pay for services upfront. This is par for the course for coaches and ensures that you’re paid prior to a session. 

However, you can also clients to pay via payment plans for the sake of flexibility This ultimately makes life easier on you and your clients: they get to pay on their own terms and you always get paid on time. Nice!

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The payment process via Paperbell’s portal is quick and painless on the client-side, too.

Paperbell keeps track of all of your payments so you can see clearly what you’re earning month-to-month. By having all of your client payments integrated with scheduling, you never have to second-guess where your money’s coming from or whether or not your business is fully booked based on your revenue goals.

And, Paperbell integrates billing with the rest of your coaching business. With billing and scheduling tied together in one place, your clients won’t be able to schedule with you until they’ve paid. No more chasing down payments after you’ve already provided the service, or figuring out who has paid and who hasn’t. Paperbell keeps a clean list of every client with all of their relevant information including payments, appointments, and your private notes.

2. Freshbooks

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Freshbooks is designed for both small businesses and solo entrepreneurs alike. The company’s name recognition and 240 million users speak for themselves.

But what do they have to offer coaches specifically? The platform offers a full suite of accounting and bookkeeping tools, many of which might be overkill for a smaller coaching business.

Freshbooks lets you create custom estimates, proposals and invoices. The platform tracks all the above so you know who’s paid or who hasn’t. These features don’t eliminate the back-and-forth involved by invoicing by-hand but they’re definitely time-savers.

The ability to store and reproduce invoices for repeat services is useful, as is customizable discounts for certain clients. Another notable feature is instant exporting of your expenses to avoid headaches during tax season.

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Freshbooks’ cloud-based solution is tried-and-tested but likely bloated for the average coach. Additionally, add-ons such as the ability for clients to pay upfront require an additional $20/mo (hint: upfront payments are built directly into Paperbell).

3. Stripe


Stripe is a payment processor with roots in the software world that can be used by anyone. We actually integrate with Stripe at Paperbell as our preferring billing partner.

The Stripe platform provides you a clear view of any and all outstanding payments at a glance. You can also set up recurring, automated payments with Stripe if you’re looking to bill long-term clients consistently. 

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An added bonus of Stripe is its ability to integrate with tons of third-party tools and it’s awesome for developers.

What are the downsides of Stripe, then? Stripe’s setup isn’t as simple or straightforward as that of PayPal. If you’re looking to add a quick-and-easy payment button to your website in a single click, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

The platform’s customisation features might be perfect for tech-savvy developers, sure. But for the average small business owner? Probably not. Most coaches find that Stripe is very useful as a payment PROCESSOR that they connect to another tool. But it isn’t very user friendly as a stand-alone platform for collecting from clients.

Since we’re talking about Stripe, keep in mind that you can accept Stripe (and PayPal) payments in Paperbell simply by connecting your account.

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4. PayPal

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PayPal is yet another household name in the billing and payment space. 

With over $700 billion in transactions last year, accepting PayPal is obviously a must-do. The platform’s staying power is well-documented and it’s still as popular as ever with millennials and Gen Z.

But despite PayPal’s popularity and ease of use, there are some major downsides.

While automated and repeat invoices are possible through PayPal, there are plenty of concerns for businesses using it as a primary place to handle billing. Beyond transactional fees, some key disadvantages of PayPal for small businesses include:

  • Lack of seller protection
  • Steep fees for chargebacks
  • Potentially lengthy payment disputes

Using PayPal as a solo business can also be daunting as you juggle endless email notifications (and safety concerns if your PayPal is tied to your personal banking information). 

Paperbell integrates with PayPal as one of our payment processors.

5. Quickbooks

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Quickbooks is an all-in-one accounting solution.

In terms of billing, the platform accepts credit, debit and digital wallet payments. Like most other billing software for coaches, you can see what’s paid, outstanding and overdue based on your invoicing settings. 

In Quickbooks, you can set up recurring invoices and automated follow-ups for anyone to anyone who hasn’t paid up after a certain amount of time. While this doesn’t eliminate the back-and-forth of chasing invoices altogether, it does remove legwork from the process.

The ability to customize invoices is also a nice touch for coaches who want to highlight their sense of style and professionalism.

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Built-in features such as batch invoicing and tax categorization signal that the platform is tailored toward companies rather than individual coaches. The upside of Quickbooks is that it’s friendly to navigate for beginners.

The downside? Quickbooks was primarily built as an accounting tool, not a billing tool. So billing is an “add on” rather than a core service. And you’ll still have to pay for separate tools to take care of your scheduling and client management.

6. Xero

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Xero’s is not unlike Freshbooks or Quickbooks, offering a billing and invoicing solution with a simple interface. The platform’s dashboards give a pulse on what’s paid out and what’s not, while features such as recurring payments through credit cards and digital wallets make it easy for clients to get money in your hands.

A notable feature of Xero’s billing is the fact that you can see who’s opened your invoices and which ones are still pending. There’s also a one-click “pay now” option which allows clients to pay directly within an invoice without leaving it.

Perhaps the biggest point in Xero’s favor is its modest price tag, sitting at only $9/mo for its starter plan.

But like Quickbooks, Xero is meant to be an accounting tool with a lot of extra features you may not need like payroll management. You will be modifying it to work for your coaching business, instead of it being designed for coaches in the first place.

7. Sage

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Sage’s solution is small accounting software first and a billing tool second. 

While the platform isn’t really robust in terms of features, it can get the job done if you’re primarily concerned about invoices and only invoices. 

Sage might be a good fit if you’re offering in-person coaching services or your business isn’t primarily run online.  

4 Considerations for Coaches Choosing Their Online Checkout Software

To wrap things up, let’s talk about some points to consider when choosing between the various types of billing software for coaches.

1. Ease of Use

This might sound like a no-brainer, but your payment processing should be quick, painless and easy.

But note that ease of use is a two-way street.

For starters, billing software should have a low learning curve. Rather than worry about learning a whole new platform or digging through tutorials, you should ideally be able to get started with your payment tools from the word “go.”

Paperbell has you covered in that department. You can set up packages and accept client payments in a matter of minutes. The platform is simple, minimalist and guides you through the setup process step-by-step.

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We get it: dealing with payments can be intimidating. In fact, 60% of small business owners don’t feel confident about dealing with accounting or finance on their own. Paperbell simplifies the process.

As noted earlier, your payment tools should obviously make life easier on your clients as well. 

This means accepting payment via card instantly without tedious invoices. Recent online payment statistics highlight how much payment preferences are changing. People want to pay by card.

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The takeaway? Your clients shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to pay you. Likewise, you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to master your billing platform.

2. Features That You’ll Actually Use

Although there’s plenty of billing software for coaches per se, there are few tools that are specifically made for coaching businesses.

For example, most coaches are primarily focused on setting up consistent, recurring payments versus in-depth reporting. If you feel that a tool does way too much based on your needs, you’re probably right.

This means that coaches wind up paying for clunky tools or needless features. Those features usually come at a premium, too.

3. Upfront Payments

This is a big one.

There’s a reason why upfront payments are so common among coaches. 

By accepting payments prior to a session, you essentially eliminate the need to chase invoices. You likewise have a constant pulse on how much money is in your account versus worrying about payments after-the-fact.

Upfront payments are crucial for coaches, plain and simple.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

4. Works For a Coaching Business

Coaches have unique needs in billing. We need to be able to offer payment plans and ongoing sessions-per-month packages. We need to be able to make sure that clients have paid us before they’re able to start scheduling their sessions. And as a small business, we need a solution that will hit our bank account quickly.

What software are you using to take payments online?

Anything you can do to get paid quickly and consistently is a plus.

Doing so not only helps you keep your business organized, but also makes it easier to scale your client base.

By investing in dedicated software, coaches can do exactly that. 

Just remember that Paperbell’s billing software is made specifically for coaches looking to manage client payments more efficiently. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for a free account today!

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By Brent Barnhart
April 30, 2021
Brent Barnhart is a professional writer specializing in B2B SaaS content. When he's not tackling the latest business buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar.

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