When she started Bookkeeper by Trade, she made certain to locate a niche — real estate and trade-based companies — and take things slowly, focusing on exactly what her clients needed to be profitable.
As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, she also trains business owners to manage and comprehend their finances so that she could”watch my customers earn money.”
Sarah spoke to us about how to begin a home-based bookkeeping business and grow a good client base.
What inspired you to begin your company?
I had five years of direct accounting expertise and over a decade of expertise in finance in general. I have been working with independent customers for a couple of years now but I only technically launched Bookkeeper by Trade in June 2017. Doing things slowly actually helped to hone in on what my customers want and how I will improve their procedures.
I want to be sure all my current clients are totally cared for before taking on any extra work.
“Sure, accounting isn’t a thrilling job, but I love the property, building and watching small companies grow, which makes it so much more interesting and rewarding for me.”
How can you come up with your packages and pricing model?
I went with bundles rather than charging hourly for 2 chief reasons. First, a great deal of time with bookkeeping, things could be confusing or difficult. Things do not download properly, trades don’t match, all sorts of computer and bank errors can happen — although those things occur for apparently no reason, it does take extra time.
I want all of my client’s financial information to be perfectly appropriate; no demand to allow them to cover extra hours because I simply could not let that $0.10 mistake go.
The other reason has to do with software that my clients might want. I include the cost of QuickBooks Online in all of my services because I need my clients to get the best possible version of a program for their business, and I want them to have it without fretting about the price of any of it.
What were your startup costs and factors?
Lucky for me bookkeeping has some of the lowest startup costs of any small business. I had your average business license, cards, office supplies.
My main expense was my website. This had been the best business decision I made by far — I never could have made anything near what I have on my own.
How can you get your first customers?
I received my initial clients from browsing Craigslist advertising. A lot of times people think they will need to employ a worker for accounting when they could employ an independent contractor/business, spend less money, and have much fewer mistakes in their method.
For me, every client is different, and every service package is different.
Since I customize my packages for every customer, I begin every one with a free consultation where I examine their present bookkeeping systems so that I will give them the most comprehensive proposal for both fixing preceding errors and moving forward.
Some business owners have more time than others and might wish to do their own accounting, or perhaps they’ve got an admin at the office that could look after it.
If that’s the case, I provide training for QuickBooks Online and Desktop versions, so that they know how to do things the right way (and that I will always review quarterly or yearly to make certain things are looking good).