Distinguishing the difference between client & custom

shadeofblue Registered Posts: 64 Regular contributor ⭐
How many times have we been asked ; 'How many clients do you have?'
Does anyone else find it long winded to answer the question when asked?

In my mind I think a client is someone you carry on work on a regular occurance or with a letter of engagement of services in place.
Then theirs the other I view as custom - someone who just pays a one-off fee for a technical VAT query for instance.
I've had custom who pay a one-off fee for a technical query, no reqular services are requested, so no engagement letter is issued if they come back a second time I would consider them a client....

How about u ?? whats your thoughts and how do you differentiate them???

Would be nice to hear some response more than views on this thread.

Thanks !


  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    I've never really thought about it like that. 95% of our customers are regular clients, we rarely get one off work, we get maybe 5 a year.
  • burg
    burg Registered, Moderator Posts: 1,441 mod
    Same as Jenni here.

    I don't really do any one off work so never really thought about it.

  • T.C.
    T.C. Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    I do occasional one-off jobs, such as one recently for a partnership which only lasted 3 months and then they gave up and went back to employed jobs. I still classed them as clients, albeit short-lived ones.
  • shadeofblue
    shadeofblue Registered Posts: 64 Regular contributor ⭐
    One of my first clients I met at a business conference. She had not long started in property. She was confident to try doing her Self Assesment herself .
    When talking about my services she told me she didnt want to contract into accountancy services at the moment, but would be happy to pay for technical Tax advice
    She emailed me confirming her query, I quoted a fee, she accepted, answers emailed along with invoice submitted , and fee paid!! a result!!
    Obviously not all jobs would run so smoothly...

    She was very happy with my service and even added me to her business profile as doing business with me !

    Taking on this small task could potentially be reqarding to me in the future - when other accountants might have dismissed this small job.

    I believe there are alot of first time business starters out there, that would like general business advice without being scared off with a contract of services letter. Obviously I would encourage one of these to be issued if it involved continued work.

    I was once told an encouring story from one of AAT own council members. Doing a small one off job that wasnt worth invoicing, but a couple years later that business grew and contacted him now they are one of his biggest clients.

    What turned into a brief chat with an AAT council member turned into my business mentor and friend! I feel truly blessed.

    Thanks for reading
  • shadeofblue
    shadeofblue Registered Posts: 64 Regular contributor ⭐
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