If Timing Is So Important, When Do I Describe the Fee?
If you talk with ten sales professionals you’ll get ten opinions about when to mention the fee to your prospective client. The advice will vary depending upon the type of product and service, or the expensiveness. In my opinion, there’s only one time to mention your accounting fees: at the end of the presentation.
Here’s the reason: accounting is a professional service requiring trust on the client’s part, and personal knowledge of the client on the accountant’s part. The success of the interview is dependent on both being present. Therefore, mentioning fees before both have been achieved will likely result in fees becoming an excuse for not signing on.
Additionally, accounting is often times misunderstood by small business owners. It’s perceived by the inexperienced entrepreneur as simply a means to the tax return, and not a tool for greater control of their business and improved profitability. Therefore, we need time to educate the prospective client on how our services can solve their problems and help them make more money. Once the client knows we’re on his/her side and are working to make the fee his/her best investment, the fee is simply a formality.
Occasionally you’ll have potential clients prematurely ask you “How much do you charge?” Whenever possible dodge the question by telling the bargain hunter that it will depend upon a number of factors such as how big their company is and what services they want you to perform. If they push harder tell them, “It could be as low as $75 per month, but I need to know more about your business before I answer further” and leave it at that. Of course, if it’s only going to take 30 minutes to do their accounting, then $75 would be fair. Otherwise, it will cost more.
Don’t forget, that you want to state the fee as a fixed retainer fee for the next six months, not an hourly rate. Those of you that are students of ours have the fee calculation form from the learning materials with which to calculate the retainer fee based on number of transactions. If you’re not a graduate of the Universal course then estimate how much time you think it will take, multiply the hours by $45 (or whatever rate you are charging) and give the client that fee.
With the right preparation, the fee will be the best part of the whole presentation.
Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeping Program teaches how to market yourself and your Accounting and Bookkeeping Business. Learn More About the Marketing Module of the Professional Bookkeeping Program