How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – Selecting Your Rate

If you are thinking about starting a bookkeeping business, at some stage you will ponder what to charge your clients. You might look at a fixed fee for your services or an hourly fee for services. Either way you will need to be sure that it is the right rate for your business.

I have been very fortunate as I have been in the position to talk to hundreds of bookkeepers across the country as part of my one day seminar. Some of those bookkeepers are already in their own business and some are thinking about starting. This has been a very interesting experience and a great opportunity to find out from many bookkeepers how they not only choose their rate but what they are charging per hour, or per hour equivalent.

What I have found fascinating is the difference in rate between established bookkeepers and those new to the industry and the perception of those new to industry to the rate charged. On average, people new to the bookkeeping industry select their hourly rate $15 per hour lower than those in business.

I found this very interested and decided to discuss and analyse this further as it was at every location that this occurred, not just an anomaly. People starting out were consistently charging a much lower rate than those in business, and often it was one third lower than established bookkeepers.

Through discussions, I found out that there were a few common reasons for this difference;

o Some people new to industry were not aware of the rates others were charging and did not know what a reasonable figure to select was;
o Some were lacking in confidence and felt they were not worthy of a higher rate;
o Some felt they did not have the skill set to charge a higher rate

What I found interesting was the common theme of either lacking in skills, experience or confidence and lack of knowledge of rates in general.

If you are setting up a bookkeeping business, when you do start thinking of rates, remember you are running a business and you need to be profitable. As a business owner there will be a number of expenses you need to cover which might have been paid as an employee. Additionally, you are providing a skill set which others do not necessarily have and there is a value on those services.

With a bit of research and thought into your specific expertise and skill set you will be well on your way to selecting a fair rate for service which will assist you in the growth and development of your own bookkeeping business.