Getting started on Foursquare is easy, but it requires a bit of a wait, which delays you from reaching its user base. This week, the company has introduced a new process for claiming venues that will significantly cut down the wait time.

Previously, you had to submit your Foursquare ID, the URL of your venue, and a link to your venue’s online contact page. Foursquare then reviewed the information while you waited 7-10 days for verification.

Now the company has introduced a new self-serve option that requires no waiting. All you have to do is pay a one-time $10 verification fee and you can instantly claim your venue and open your digital doors for check-ins.

Once verified, you can update your listing and begin using Foursquare’s tools right away, such as creating Specials for Mayors. Additionally you’ll have access to analytics about your visitors.

Local businesses can still verify venues at no charge by mail, but it’s a significantly slower process that will take three to four weeks. The updated feature is already rolling out across the U.S.; international businesses will follow soon after.

With more than 20 million people using Foursquare, the check-in service has become an incredibly powerful tool for small businesses. By claiming your venue, you’re able to edit your listing, which can help you attract more foot traffic.

[Image credit: Sean Salmon]