The Top 10 Online Payment & Billing Solutions for Service Businesses – From Hair Salons to Tutors and Beyond

Sean Lund-Brown

When you’re in the business of service, you’re also in the business of getting paid—or trying to. Your hands are busy, and your undivided attention is on your clients, though, as it should be. Unfortunately, if you’re not paying attention to your billing it might not be as effective as it could be. Take the time to explore all of the different solutions that are available and find a better way.

We’ve already started by doing the hard work for you. In the list below, you’ll find 10 of the best billing and payment solutions for service industry businesses, including some that are free and the rest that are impressively cheap for what you’re getting: automated billing, recurring payments, detailed reporting, custom invoicing, mobile access, and more. 

While you’re looking through the solutions below to choose your best payment and billing solution, whether you’re styling hair or helping someone study for the MCATs, consider what other services could help you here. (For one, the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can handle things like overflow calls, payment collection, and even scheduling and intake so that you focus your efforts elsewhere.)

1. Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice is all about making it easy to get paid, following suit with the rest of the products from the brand that offers a simpler solution for those on a budget. When you’re in the business of service, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting paid. With Zoho, you can do that for free if you’re a solo user, or for an impressively low price for additional users and features. 

Zoho Invoice works with dozens of languages and currencies to support service businesses around the world, and it can even be customized to fit your exact needs. You’ll have no trouble tracking your unbilled expenses and billable hours, and you can even set up recurring payments and billing. It is easy for you to track it all in a single place with the simple dashboard and robust reporting, too. 

Popular features include:

  • Free option: Free for individual use
  • Price: $9 per month starting out
  • Online client payment portal
  • Estimate-to-invoice converter
  • Automated reminders and billing
  • Custom branded invoices
  • Multiple currencies
  • Total billing management

2. Wave

Wave Accounting is catered to businesses just like yours—those that have varying needs and still want to get paid and manage billing with the amazing tools available today. With Wave, you’ll get access to free invoice templates, along with some other free features and tools so that you can automate billing, set up recurring payments and bills, and even manage client and customer data all in one place. 

Reporting tools make sure that you always know the status of your accounts and accounting, and you can also count on plenty of pay-per-use features that will upgrade your billing. Then, you’re only paying for what you use, which is one of the best features of this platform. Create a custom dashboard for easy management of all of it, too. 

Consider highlights like: 

  • Free option? Some free features are available
  • Price: Pay-per-use, monthly plans start at $20 per month for payroll
  • Recurring billing
  • Automated reminders
  • Payroll and time tracking
  • Custom invoices
  • Only pay for what you need

3. Stripe

Stripe is one of the more popular options for those who need an integrated payment solution that handles billing, payments, and more. Service businesses especially like the mobile tools and mobile invoicing option so that they can bill and get paid on the spot, and the platform integrates with dozens of different payment processors. It also supports 135 currencies and counting. 

Stripe has prebuilt integrations and an open API so that all of your software will be supported. You'll also find built-in payment options and impressively functional apps for iOS and Android so you can manage things on the go. You’ll also never pay monthly fees with Stripe—even the billing platform is charged as a percentage of your sales. 

The key features include:

  • Free option? No
  • Price: 0.5% per transaction for the starter billing plan
  • Advanced integrations
  • Built-in payment options
  • 135 currencies supported
  • Flat rate and subscription billing
  • Robust reports

4. Invoicely

Invoicely is another solution for payment and billing needs that offers free plans and invoice templates for those who need basic tools. With Invoicely, you can easily create invoices and set up automated reminders, recurring billing, and other automated tasks. There's plenty of AI to take advantage of and the real-time reporting tools make sure that you always know where your billing stands. 

The Invoicely platform is available on iOS and Android with mobile invoicing options and other tools. You can also create custom labels for the dashboard to track what matters most to you. If you want to upgrade to paid features, you’ll love the affordable price, and if you choose to stick with the free plan, you still won’t be disappointed. 

Check out the key features of this platform, including:

  • Free option? Yes
  • Price: Starts at $10 per month
  • Custom invoice branding
  • Workflow automation
  • Free invoice templates
  • Mobile invoicing
  • Hundreds of integrations

5. Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja is an open-source platform that offers free forever billing and payment solutions for those in service and other industries. When you want a better way, this platform is a great place to start. It helps manage everything from client payments to vendor payments, billable hours and project tracking, and even proposal creation and bulk invoicing. Generate expense reports, track payment history, and turn projects into invoices in minutes. 

With Invoice Ninja, you can set up automated and recurring billing. This app also integrates with 40+ payment processors and tons of other software and tools. Real-time reporting and custom invoice creation come standard, and the customizable dashboard makes sure that you can manage everything the way that you need to. There's even a client portal where your customers can make payments from any device. 

The best features include:

  • Free option? Yes
  • Price: Paid plans start at $10 per month
  • Robust reporting
  • Real-time dashboard
  • Time tracking
  • Task-to-invoice creation
  • Payment history 
  • Customer payment portal
  • Open-source platform for easy customization

6. Invoice2Go

Invoice2Go provides plenty of solutions for people who need affordable billing. Starting at just $3 per month for the basic plan, this platform offers online payment acceptance that’s available 24 hours a day, apps for iOS and Android, and tools to track billable and unbilled hours. Plus, even though it’s insanely cheap, it also includes a money-back guarantee. Talk about confidence—it probably costs more for them to refund the price than what you paid, after all. 

With Invoice2Go, you’ll have access to real-time reporting and a custom dashboard that keeps you in the loop. You can accept online payments, create mobile invoices on the go, and even set up recurring bills and payments. Automated reminders come standard, along with tons of customizable invoice templates.

The highlights of this platform include:

  • Free option? No
  • Price: Starts at $3 per month
  • Real-time reports
  • Mobile apps and invoicing
  • Unbilled hours tracking
  • Custom invoicing 
  • Online payment processing 
  • Automated reminders

7. FreshBooks

FreshBooks offers a simple interface for payment processing, billing, and all other accounting needs. The cloud-based billing tool has an impressive list of features, even on the basic plan, including things like retainer/deposit options, estimate-to-invoice conversion, and fee-based payment processing so you’re never paying for things you don’t use. Plus, mobile invoicing is available on iOS and Android, and the real-time reports keep you updated on the status of your billing. 

With FreshBooks, you can scale the platform to fit the growing needs of your business. You’ll also be able to generate detailed custom reports as you desire and track it all on a user-friendly dashboard. Plus, it integrates with several of the tools that you’re already using, and the iPhone app even includes mileage tracking, which is helpful for the service business on the go. 

Check out the highlights:

  • Free option? No
  • Price: $15 per month to start
  • Estimate-to-invoice conversion
  • Retainer/deposit feature
  • Real-time reporting
  • Custom-branded invoices
  • A huge database of invoice templates
  • Mobile apps and billing

8. OneUp

OneUp is a modern billing and payment solution for the modern service business on the go. For easy digital accounting, there’s a receipt capture that allows you to grab a picture of a bill or invoice and turn it into a digital entry in seconds. You can also enjoy 360-degree customer views, time tracking tools, and a dedicated business assistant that can suggest solutions for taxes, payroll, and other accounting needs. 

OneUp integrates with plenty of the tools that you’re already using, giving you an open API to work with and so much more. You'll also find mobile access on both iOS and Android so that you can get paid anywhere, on any device. AI and automation will take much of the work off your plate and premium security features give you peace of mind. 

Consider the key features, including:

  • Free option? No
  • Price: $9 per month to start
  • Customer 360 views
  • Digital accounting
  • Payment processing
  • Open API
  • Mobile apps and invoicing
  • Automated workflows and AI
  • Time tracking and payroll tools available

9. Square Invoices

Square Invoices is one of the most common tools used by solopreneurs and small businesses, and especially in the service industry. Not only does the platform make invoicing and getting paid easy, but it offers simple hardware like mobile card readers and other tools to help you accept all kinds of payments and grow your business in a way that works for you. 

The invoicing and billing tools are plentiful, from custom-branded invoice templates to real-time billing reports that will tell you who’s paid, who hasn’t, and what needs your attention. You’ll be able to integrate it with other tools that you use outside of the Square family, too. According to Square, more than 75% of all their invoices are paid within just one business day. 

You’ll enjoy the highlights, including:

  • Free option: Yes
  • Price: No monthly fees, 1% for ACH processing, 2.9% + $0.30 for credit cards
  • 24/7 online payment portal
  • IOS and Android billing and payments
  • Email and text receipts
  • Estimates
  • Batch payments
  • Automated reminders
  • Recurring payments

10. HoneyBook

A full-service CRM and merchant services platform, HoneyBook is a great solution that was created specifically for service brands. With HoneyBook, you can manage bookings and scheduling, billing and invoicing, customer service, marketing, and more. Plus, you can do it all from a customizable dashboard that’s accessible on mobile and that offers real-time insights and reporting. 

HoneyBook is easy to integrate with your existing tech stack and it will make your life, and your work, so much easier. Spend more time with your clients and less time on late-night billing marathons when you choose this platform. It has custom-branded invoices, automated reminders, recurring payment options, and everything else you need to get paid faster and streamline the logistics and administrative details of your service business. 

Check out highlights like:

  • Free option? No, but a trial is offered
  • Price: Starts at $9 per month
  • All-in-one service business management solution
  • Scalable and customizable
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Invoicing with payment scheduling and recurring payments
  • Integrated proposal and invoice tools
  • Contracts 

Keep leveling up your service with mission critical support from Smith.ai

Any one of these tools is going to make it effortless for you to get paid, pay your bills, and manage your service business’s accounting and financials. You’ll even be able to cherry-pick the exact tools you need with so many different options and pay-as-you-go solutions like Wave give you even more to love about customization and getting a bespoke solution for payments and billing. Of course, don’t forget the free tools that are out there because there are plenty of those that are worth their salt, too. 

And speaking of bespoke solutions, schedule a consultation with the dedicated receptionists at Smith.ai to see how we can help your service business with things like appointment scheduling, payment collection, 24/7 answering services, live website chat, and more. You'll also find us at hello@smith.ai or by calling (650)727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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