Meeting With Clients

soni2surv Registered Posts: 13 New contributor 🐸
Hello everyone,

I have just started working from home and i would like to know where is the best place to meet with customers when you don't have an office.
Mainly for customers that work from home as well. Someone said coffe shops or restaurants, do you think is ethical ?

Any help will be appreciated.



    BIG WAL Registered Posts: 133 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    I'm in exactly the same position, and always try to meet at the clienst' premises. (Or home if they work from home).

    The main reason is because access to the clients' records will invariably be at their premise. If it's a new client I'm seeing for the first time I need to look at their record keeping procedure anyway, and that's much easier at their place.

    Also I feel people prefer you going to them, as they are busy and it's more convenient from their view. Re meeting in coffee shops, I feel that's unprofessional, unless the client specifically requests it.

    Sounds like you have just started on your own, so good luck with that.
  • soni2surv
    soni2surv Registered Posts: 13 New contributor 🐸
    Thanks Big Wal.
    Your help is very much appreciated.
    You're right. i have just started and i have a query about a ltd company return. It is a one man company with no other employees and with a turnover of £1,500 per month. They do their own bookkeeping. They would like to know how much i would charge for:

    1) PAYE scheme
    2) Annual acountancy (submitting documents to companies house, etc.)
    3) Tax returns for him and his limitted company

    Can you please give me an idea of charges to apply ?

    He is a freelancer establishing a ltd company. Wouldn't it be better for him to be sole trader with the low turnover he has.
    Is it right for me to advice him at this stage ?

    Every help will be appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.
  • sheelagh
    sheelagh Registered Posts: 133 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    meetings with clients

    I used to work from home and had a number of options for meeting clients, depending on the purpose of the meeting.
    I was never really keen, from a personal safety point of view, to go to the client's home for an initial meeting. I never had any problem meeting these people in the lounge of the local Holiday Inn for an initial chat. A quick visit to familiarise yourself with the surroundings would help, and if you buy a coffee the staff will probably be happy to tell you when they are usually quiet (or busy).
    I have worked in offices which are in the client's home. Everyone's home is different so you might be comfortable in some, but not in others. If you've ever viewed houses when you've been looking for somewhere to live you might know what I mean! - pets, children, office facilities ( or not!!).
    A further alternative is to rent a meeting room on an hourly basis from somewhere like Regus, or you might be able to make an arrangement with someone you know (maybe one of your clients) to borrow their spare office or meeting room for a couple of hours.
    BIG WAL Registered Posts: 133 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Sheelagh does have a point, although most of the time when I go to a client's home the spouse is there as well. I didn't think of that, because for a man meeting at the client's home doesn't come with the same problem. So I guess if you do have go to his house make sure it's day time.

    It's difficult to advise on how much to charge your 1 man Ltd Co. I guess it's a matter of what others charge locally. Also perhaps try to work out how many hours you will need to do the work, and apply an hourly rate. (I seem to have heard mention of £20 an hour on this forum). It will also vary with the locality. In the North East it seems the sort of average charge from small accountants for uncomplicated accounts and tax affairs is around £500 pa, although that can vary considerably. I'd be very interested to hear what others think.

    I'm not that well up on Companies as I stick to Sole Traders and Partnerships, but at a quick calculation would think that at that turnover there's little difference in tax at this stage between a Sole Trader or Company, assuming he takes £453 a month in salary with the rest in dividends. One would hope he will increase turnover and profit rapidly, which would mean less tax as a Company v Sole Trader as profit increases. However, it all depends on the exact circumstances. If the Company has not yet been formed, perhaps he could trade as a Sole Trader and incorporate later. Unless there are good reasons for wanting Ltd Liability, that may be the better option at this stage - specially if the business doesn't take off and he has to close down.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️

    "Is it right for me to advice him at this stage ? "
    If you don't know, then you possibly shouldn't be advising. However, what you say does sound like good advice! :tongue_smilie: :thumbup1:

    Ltd Co is typically twice what a sole trader is in accountancy fees (broadly speaking), and carries with it greater responsibility, reporting requirements etc. however it also has Ltd Liability which may be desirable.
    Ballpark figures would be £300 for sole trader (to include tax return ,accounts and general advice) and £600 for a Ltd Co. All depends on the quality of the bookkeeping - the above prices assume a decent TB will be available with banks reconciled etc. Price goes up if bookkeeping not up to scratch.

    I have no idea where £20 ph for accountancy comes from. For bookkeeping, sure, but accountancy is much more valuable.
    I'd always advise pricing fixed fees for annual accountancy work though (based on a notional hourly rate, mine is £50).

    Be aware that Ltd Co accounts/ TR are a whole new ball game from sole traders. First time I did one I was up til midnight on 2 nights as it took forever. Gets much easier with practise though! That said, only take it on if you are confident.

    Good luck :)
  • Sevren
    Sevren Registered Posts: 101 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Can someone explain to me where book keeping ends and accountancy starts ?

    Is it at the reconciled TB ?

    At the moment I charge £15 per hour regardless of what I am doing as part of a 'fixed' pricing regime - ie I make a loss on producing accounts but a gain on basic book keeping (or so I thought)

    Reading the above I am too low, but how do you get customers to understand the difference between book keeping and accountancy ?
  • soni2surv
    soni2surv Registered Posts: 13 New contributor 🐸
    From my experience from the practice, bookkeeper started from entering the receipts (pdb, sdb), preparing cashbook, bank and cash reconciliation, debtors and creditors reconciliation, trial balance and VAT returns.
    Accounts where the production of p&L, balance sheet, cashflow forecast, and tax calculation.

    Hope that help.
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