Custom Residential Architects Network

Community HTML

Michigan Loft

Quick Links

Who we are

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN®) Knowledge Community develops knowledge and information to benefit architects who are engaged in, or who are interested in learning more about, custom residential practice. CRAN® presents information and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and expertise to promote the professional development of its members via discussion forums, national symposia and conventions, publications, and local activities.

CRAN Symposium

The next CRAN Symposium is scheduled for September 8-11, 2022 in Chicago, IL. Registration will open early July 2022.

Expand all | Collapse all

Alternative methods of payment

  • 1.  Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-13-2018 12:23 PM
    Clients are increasingly requesting to pay by methods other than check.  While we've accommodated the occasional paypal payment, we have not set up a formal alternative.
    Is anyone explicitly accepting credit cards, paypal, bank transfers, (bitcoin!) etc.?
    How are you handling the fees associated with these forms of payment?

    Scott Rappe AIA, LEED AP
    Kuklinski + Rappe Architects
    Chicago IL

  • 2.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 05:55 PM
    I use ACH. Costs a mere $0.50 per transaction. Easy peasy.

    Danny Cerezo
    c|s design
    Los Angeles CA

  • 3.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-15-2018 11:49 AM
    Re: ACH
    I'm familiar with ACH as a way of allowing utility companies to automatically withdraw monthly payment.  In authorize once and they deduct whatever I owe without any further action on my part.

    But what does this look like on the client's end?  How does a client make an ACH transfer for my invoice?


    Scott Rappe AIA, LEED AP
    Kuklinski + Rappe Architects
    Chicago IL

  • 4.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 05:57 PM
    I offer PayPal as an option in my standard agreement with the 3% service fee passed on to the client should they choose that option.  I would estimate about 25% of my clients in the past year have paid using that method.

    Michael Dolce AIA
    Owner / Architect
    Michael P. Dolce, AIA Architect
    Forest Hill MD

  • 5.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 06:03 PM
    Some states do not allow you to charge a service fee for taking a credit card.
    Please note our new address:

    David Del Vecchio, AIA, NCARB, LEEDap, RCS
    2010 AIA New Jersey Architect of the Year

    david del vecchio, architect, llc
    architecture - interior design - sustainable design
    expert witness - building code consultations
    design-build - construction management

    4 Alden Street
    Cranford, NJ 07016

    t. 908-272-6000
    c. 908-670-8162

    NJ Registered Architect No. 11758
    NY Registered Architect No. 24330
    NJ Certified Interior Designer No. 74
    RCS Building Inspector No. 7256

  • 6.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 05:59 PM
    I use Square for those clients that want to pay by credit card. I can swipe the card in person, or the client can give me their card information via a telephone call. Square has a transaction fee, basically 2.75% when you swipe the card, and 3.5% if you enter the card information without swiping it. The fee does not vary depending on the card type. Also there is no monthly fee, so if I do not have any credit card payments for several months there is no continuing monthly charge. If you accept credit cards through your bank, the fee structure is quite different, and typically more costly.​ When I signed on with Square they had a very modest transaction dollar limit, but it was easy to get them to not set a transaction limit for my business. I have accepted payments of several thousand dollars via Square. The money is in my account the next morning! I have had no issues using Square.

    Neil Johnson AIA
    Neil K. Johnson, Architect
    Moorestown NJ

  • 7.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 06:24 PM
    We've set up Square for credit card payments, have accommodated PayPal payments, etc. If we are to incur a fee for these payments, we make sure to be very clear to client that there will be a convenience fee for online payment. Our state does not allow processing fees to be passed on to consumers, so we use the term convenience fee.
    If we have a 3% processing fee (Square), I've found we have to markup our invoice about 4% to net our earned fee.
    That's been my experience. Have not had a client offer to pay with bitcoin yet, but did notice a fellow designer here in town had a bitcoin button on their website...

    Felix Ziga AIA
    Principal Architect / Owner
    Ziga Architecture Studio, PLLC
    San Antonio TX

  • 8.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-14-2018 08:04 PM
    We have a Paypal account and accept credit card payments via that. We have a note at the bottom of each invoice that says they're welcome to pay by credit card for a 3% processing fee. That covers the fees for us (and motivates people to pay in cash).

    sara martin | open door architecture
    1121 Eleanor Street Knoxville, TN 37917 | 865-603-4756

  • 9.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-15-2018 09:10 AM

    My payments are almost exclusively made via ACH bank transfer. No more "check is in the mail"!


    The process and recording is mostly automated and nearly instantaneous. Credit cards are too expensive to process, and to me seem to be cost prohibitive. If someone needs to use a credit card, it is likely that there is no project funding, so I don't have any plans to ever accept credit.


    For the clients that insist on a paper check, mobile deposit works for most of the checks. We also add a small convenience fee for the extra effort to process the transaction, and to incentivize the ACH payment method.


    Daniel L Edgell AIA, NCARB




    1162 Rolling Oaks Ave

    Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

    727 308 1773


  • 10.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-18-2018 05:50 PM

    I'm also curious about how you manage direct ACH transfers.  Is there some vendor you work with to set this up?  I've not heard of it before as something that a small firm can do themselves.


    Michael F. Malinowski FAIA

  • 11.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-19-2018 06:30 PM
    Edited by Frederick C. Blome 02-20-2018 09:33 PM
    Hi everyone,
    Over the last several years I have tested and developed several different systems for our clients to make online payments for my small firm.
    I've learned enough to write a book but a summary is this:
    • If you stay within the ecosystem of Quickbooks or Freshbooks or similar, you can toggle on a payment system for invoice payments. This will be your simplest solution. If you want to keep your invoicing system separate from your accounting system for whatever reason, it gets much more complicated.
    • Just about everything else out there requires quite a bit of technical knowledge to execute and integrate into your website. I have never been able to find a payment plug-in designed for service providers as they are more oriented for shopping cart transactions. 
    • These payment systems are very multi-playered with several behind the scenes partners that handle the transactions. They will require setting up what's called merchant accounts which provides underwriting, credit checks, and risk evaluation on you. 
    • There are several issues related to taking credit cards vs ACH (sort of bank to bank) which effect timing, holds, errors, disputes that you have to understand before making decisions. For example, I've had clients make errors entering their bank account info for ACH transactions. The ACH processing takes at least several days for the money to hit our bank account but this is in reality an advance from the merchant account provider while the transaction is still clearing the ACH process. Once the error hits a couple of days later, the money is taken directly back out of my bank account w/o warning so hopefully the funds are still there. Not fun. 
    We've currently dropped the ACH system due to the processing slowness and error risk, and have developed a simple credit card payment plug-in that my clients are using for credit cards.

    We are working on making this system a bit more robust but still easy to use and execute, including adding back an ACH system. We intend to make it available for other architectural firms. If you're interesting, please sign up HERE for our mailing list to stay informed of our progress.

    Fred Blome
    Blome Architecture
    Menlo Park CA

  • 12.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-20-2018 06:21 PM

    Hi Fred,

    Your link doesn't seem to work. Could you try posting it again?

    Thank you!

    Dawn Zuber, FAIA
    Studio Z Architecture
    Plymouth MI

  • 13.  RE: Alternative methods of payment

    Posted 02-20-2018 09:35 PM
    Thanks for pointing that out.
    Link fixed and posted HERE again.

    Fred Blome
    Blome Architecture
    Menlo Park CA