When I was first starting out as Practical Bookkeeping, one of the things I was very unsure about was pricing. Not the amount to charge people but if I should advertise these prices. Partly I was put off as I didn’t want to give a cost out for a package and then have a client expect that price, even if they didn’t quite fit in that category, as everyone’s different. However, sounding this out with my Husband he (unsurprisingly!) disagreed with me, encouraging me to give some guide prices on my website. His argument was that he never used a bookkeeper or accountant when he was self employed as he assumed it would be expensive and that it was better to spend his Christmases holed up in his office at home doing a year’s worth of expenses, but if he’d known the costs he’d have probably used one. He didn’t try too hard to find the costs out, he certainly didn’t talk to anyone but did have a google and didn’t see anything obvious.
Although this was a few years ago and more people do put their prices online now, so he could have found them, it did make me pause and think, as I had done a few quotes where people had been shocked at the price, both for being too much and too little, showing they didn’t really know what to expect. So from a plus side for me, if the people who couldn’t afford or justify the cost had more of an idea they probably wouldn’t have asked for a quote so would have saved me time from quoting a job that didn’t happen. More importantly it means my potential customers are asking for quotes with an idea of what it might cost, so even if they need an extra hour of bookkeeping added to a advertised package to get everything done the cost will still be around the advertised amount, hopefully meaning they’ll go ahead!
So while I won’t say any costs here so they don’t go out of date if I change anything (There’s some package costs here for companies and here for self employed people on the website), I am now happy to say what we charge, especially as we feel our rates are very competitive and it means people are less shocked when they get their quote! We also try to charge a fixed monthly fee wherever possible to help our customers know what they’re going to pay, great for budgeting and cash flow!
Of course, like I said earlier, every customer is different and they don’t all fit into the packages we advertise, they are just guides which we can customise to fit everyone’s requirements. We also review the package and charges after the first regular 3 months (so after any catch up or set up work), then annually from there, ensuring that the package and price reflects the work required as businesses are always changing! For example, the hire of an administrative assistant might mean you need less from us so we can reduce, or you might take on additional contractors and have extra bills to process and CIS returns, we’ll always ensure that our packages are right for your business.
We also understand that some times things will be changing short term, for example if you provide seasonal services so are busier some months than others, while your work load for us will go up and down we are happy to bill you the same each month, knowing it will all average out over the year (obviously unless you don’t want us to!).