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Starting new bookkeeping business

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by youngtrepreneur, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    Currently work for a large accountancy and business advisory firm.
    Now breaking away to forge my own path as an independent bookkeeper, with the intention of eventually building a professional services business offering accounting, law, etc, all under one roof and fully integrated.

    Back to the present day...
    I know what I need to do:
    Register the company,
    Register with HMRC for money laundering,
    Set up my own QBO profile so I can access client's files remotely and have my own profile also,
    Work!

    I have clients and I'm setting the business up due to demand, but my question is about marketing.

    The other reason I'm setting up the business is because I'm very customer focused.
    For example I typically have VAT returns prepared within a week after the close of a VAT period, however I have seen others rushing to submit on time!
    Accounting (and law...) are stagnant businesses that have so far not been subject to much change.
    I'm basically seeking to do my bit to change this.

    My marketing question: I'm thinking about doing a limited time offer whereby I look after people's bookkeeping (including VAT returns if applicable) for a relatively cheap rate (which would not just be an introductory rate - I'm not a fisherman either...), provided they are on QuickBooks.
    This would have advantages financially for me and the business owner in that they will save money and receive excellent service, while it will help me get established with my current clients.

    Any ideas?
    Marketing isn't my forte.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,128 1,063
    OK, so when the introductory offer runs out what happens to the customer?
    May well find your competitors are also willing to reduce prices for a time, what then?

    Competing on price can work but works for your competitors too.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    Sorry, I don't follow.
    What do you mean what happens to them?

    I said it would not just be an introductory offer, stated differently:

    From the perspective of clients:
    The clients who take me up on the offer will pay a relatively cheap fixed fee for the duration of our relationship, however long that may be, and will benefit financially from this compared with being elsewhere.

    From my perspective:
    I get a group of ''originals" (excluding my current clients) for whom I have provided a lower fee forever, essentially as a 'gift' for helping me get stable to begin with.

    :)
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #3
  4. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,128 1,063
    You get a bunch of people willing to go for a low price.
    Your competitors when they lose customers to you what will they do to price?

    Don't get me wrong, price can work as a method of attracting clients once they become aware of you. However low price can be used by anyone and from your lower price you'll also be paying to market your business.

    You set a price of £x. You get a client after spending some money on marketing. Client decides to use you.
    Then client gets a call from his existing provider and they offer to match the price or even undercut you.
    What then?

    How much will you spend chasing the lowest price point?


    Lots of new businesses think that setting a low price is all that's needed. Go beyond that.

    What added value can you offer? What solutions to problems can you provide? Be more than the business unable to spend money on marketing as you cannot get sufficient income.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #4
  5. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    While you offer sound advice, I think you've misunderstood the gist of my question.

    I'm not discussing broader marketing strategies, or general 'price vs quality' arguments.
    I'm just asking how to go about finding people who might wish to take me up on an initial one time offer.

    What competitors decide to do is up to them and for the most part, particularly as I'm just finding my feet, it's a little academic.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #5
  6. Mitch3473

    Mitch3473 UKBF Regular Free Member

    961 214
    Why offer an introductory price. Every client will know more or less what you do and what's involved. Going cheap only means the customer wins. Usually.
    Pitch your prices at the top end if you're good and confidant enough, you're providing a quality service. You don't really want the type of clients who query them.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Mitch3473 Member since: Aug 25, 2011
    #6
  7. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    This is a limited time offer for my first clients as I start up.

    See above...
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #7
  8. Mitch3473

    Mitch3473 UKBF Regular Free Member

    961 214
    Well look at it this way. You attract a client based solely on price and a special introductory offer. You then, at some time have to tell and explain to your client your price rise. Most clients who have taken you up on your cheap offer will then jump ship to the next cheapest. Don't get sucked into a price war, you're selling a service not a tin of beans You will get clients, the right clients but it may take a bit longer, it will be more far profitable in the long run. The replies so far reflect this.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Mitch3473 Member since: Aug 25, 2011
    #8
  9. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    *Sigh*

    Please read this post, from above:

    I'm not being rude, but you haven't read what has been said so far.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #9
  10. Mitch3473

    Mitch3473 UKBF Regular Free Member

    961 214
    Sorry about that, my mistake I was on the understanding that you were offering a cheap price to attract customers.
    All the best for the future
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Mitch3473 Member since: Aug 25, 2011
    #10
  11. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,291 8,629
    You asked how to find new clients. The answer is simple: advertise. That way you won’t have to offer an introductory price.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #11
  12. KAC

    KAC UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    954 213
    Professional Indemnity Insurance?
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: KAC Member since: May 7, 2017
    #12
  13. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    Does nobody on this website read before replying?

    It is NOT an introductory price.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #13
  14. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    9,694 1,953
    You cannot hold prices for your chosen starters, I was with my last accountant 15 years and would have loved staying on the old rate but imagine after 15 years you would prefer a pay rise

    Most accountants I have had produce nice year end reports but this can take many months maybe the speed is something you can take advantage of, thou as a one man band you may be limited in manhours
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #14
  15. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    2,227 605
    I can’t understand if you are starting the business due to demand, why are you looking at discounting?

    Limited time / limited scope offers do have their place if quantified however being cheap forever puts a rope around your neck. Set yourself up as the £10 per hour bookkeeper then your value to your clients is £10 per hour. Set yourself up as the £100 per hour professional, who is offering £10 per hour for three months, your value is £100 per hour

    Personally I would work on your key differentiator (getting VAT returns done on time isn’t a positive differentiator, it’s a minimum expectation) and Work around that rather than focusing on price
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
    #15
  16. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,291 8,629
    Semantics. It is an introductory price. The limitation is the number of clients.

    Still doesn’t change the fact that advertising is going to be your best marketing strategy.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #16
  17. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    I give up.

    Can somebody else explain this to these people, it really isn't hard.

    An introductory price implies it will change.
    This price will not change for these clients.

    Somebody....please.....

    Yes, advertising.
    But any methods you would suggest ad being particularly cost effective and sector specific?
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #17
  18. Toby Willows

    Toby Willows UKBF Regular Free Member

    759 164
    Forget a cheaper price for first clients, you’ll end up resenting doing the “cheap” clients work when you could be the full price clients work. Also smacks of desperation and amateurism. Go in at the highest price possible for whatever you particular skill set is with a few USP’s that make you better value than your cheaper competitors.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: Toby Willows Member since: Jun 20, 2016
    #18
  19. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,128 1,063
    When a bunch of business owners tell you something is a bad idea then maybe rethink the idea.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #19
  20. youngtrepreneur

    youngtrepreneur UKBF Regular Free Member

    178 15
    I know exactly what I'm doing, the issue seems to be that people aren't reading what I've said, and are instead giving me general marketing advice about low cost vs quality.

    Now go ahead and tell me I've ignored everybody's 'advice' and am therefore doomed to fail...

    OK guys, this thread is obviously going nowhere.
    I've had a couple of e-mails advising me so achieved what I needed.

    Thanks again to those people :)
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: youngtrepreneur Member since: Mar 17, 2013
    #20