What to charge for hubbys sole trader decorating business

alimvpcalimvpc Just JoinedPosts: 12Registered
Hi all,

I have a question that I am struggling to find the answer to online and I was hoping someone could help me. My husband runs his own painting and decorating business as a sole trader and is not (yet) VAT registered. I do all the bookkeeping and accounts for this and we want to now start paying me as I have gone part time at work. I am AAT qualified and offer the following services for the business; weekly bookkeeping, preparation and submission of annual tax return, checking outstanding payments, checking outstanding quotes, forecasting turnover for VAT purposes, researching HMRC regulations around VAT and running business, designed and review his paperwork and general branding including the logo, purchasing work signs and van signs, reviewing business plans, helping him forecast finances and implications for tax and child maintenance payments. I also help him with general organisation such as scheduling work, costing of jobs and public liability insurance. He does not have any employees but does have someone self-employed on a full time sub-contracted basis who I pay each week on receipt of invoice. I have also been involved in developing business plans and will soon be starting to manage the advertising of the business to try and expand.

I spend on average probably one day a week (8 hours) working for the business in these various different areas, sometimes in the evening and sometimes across one whole day. I'm thinking the bookkeeping services I offer should be charged at around £15 an hour but I'm not sure about the other services which can fall under accountancy, advertising and administration. If I charged £18 an hour for 8 hours a week for 46 weeks a year (we take 6 weeks a year off work) then this would be £6,624 for the year. Does this sound too much? I have seen online that some sole traders are paying their accountants £100 a month, but I don't understand how they can do everything for this amount, but I think I am offering a lot more to the business than simple bookkeeping or just an annual tax return.

I would really appreciate some help with this as I don't want to do anything wrong by HMRC and need to get this sorted quickly.

Many thanks in advance for your time.


  • alimvpcalimvpc Just Joined Posts: 12Registered
    Hi. No I've checked it out. He definitely qualifies as self employed.
  • RyanMIPRyanMIP LincolnshirePosts: 50Registered
    Do you also deal with the CIS deductions relating to the sub-contractor, given that he "definitely qualifies as self employed"?
  • alimvpcalimvpc Just Joined Posts: 12Registered
    Yes we are in the process of getting it sorted out now.
  • RyanMIPRyanMIP LincolnshirePosts: 50Registered
    Wicked. Is your hubby ever likely to have sales in a single month exceeding £85,000?
  • alimvpcalimvpc Just Joined Posts: 12Registered
    Nope never. At the moment he's under the threshold and likely to stay that way unless he starts using another subby, which we're hoping to do next year. I'm thinking of charging a flat rate per month as opposed to an hourly rate but trying to work out what a realistic amount would be given that I do put a lot into running it with him.
  • RyanMIPRyanMIP LincolnshirePosts: 50Registered
    If he's never likely to exceed sales of £85,000 in a single month, why do you have to "forecast turnover for VAT purposes"?
  • alimvpcalimvpc Just Joined Posts: 12Registered
    Because we have to make sure he hasn't exceeded it over the previous 12 months, and look at the work booked in to see if he's likely to go over within a 12 month period and when so that we are ready for the changes, as he is only just under. It's not just whether his sales will exceed that in one month.

    I appreciate your comments but I do not need to keep justifying why I'm doing what I'm doing. I understand the particular needs for our business and I'm not going to bog myself down with work that's unnecessary in an already busy life. The purpose of this post was to see if anyone would be able to help me work out a fair charge. I think I'll look elsewhere!
  • MarieNoelleMarieNoelle Trusted Regular Hampshire/Surrey borderPosts: 1,461Moderator, MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    Hi @alimvpc
    If you reread the last paragraph of your OP it could be interpreted as a more general query as whether the business complies with its obligations with HMRC. I assume that's why other members have made the above comments.
    To answer your specific question the salary you suggest seems fair. You can also check recruitment websites to see the going rate for a bookkeeper/ admin / office manager in your area.
  • NeillawNeillaw New Member RossendalePosts: 242MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    You should charge what you think your work is worth.

    £18.00ph is not unrealistic in the market place for your book-keeping but you need to charge more for the accounts, business plan and forecasting. You will also need to have a cut off point for book-keeping and accounts prep, even though it is your husband do not sell yourself short. (Accounts prep - min/around 40.00ph)

    To get a better idea I would suggest that you look at the two price surveys which will be out this month from both Burg and Ryan to get some kind of idea to what other people charge.

    Advertising - will you be doing his social media advertising, creating a blog etc as this is not a cheap service to bring into a business and you would really need to get some kind of quote for this type of work to find out what charge you should be making.
  • alimvpcalimvpc Just Joined Posts: 12Registered
    That's really helpful, thank you. As of January I will be doing Facebook advertising as well as looking at other online advertising areas, and also other advertising which is not online. I think I've been hesitant to charge too much as I haven't been too sure if I should be getting paid for everything I do for the business (maybe HMRC assume some input as a spouse?!) and it's also been tricky historically to track the amount of time I spend on the business, as I have been fitting this around full time work in the evenings and weekends when I am multi-tasking at home! Although I'm keeping clearer track of this now. I've just wanted to make sure that what I charge is justifiable for the work I do so that if ever HMRC were to ask for any evidence then I can back this all up and prove I am charging a realistic rate for the amount and type of work I provide so that everything is accountable.

    Thanks again.
  • gwenbgwenb Posts: 42MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    It would be helpful if you had a price chart in place so that your clients know how much you charge for each service you provide. Hubby being another client, you simply charge him what's stated on your price list.
    Personally, I do not do that for my partner. I think it goes against professional ethic principles.
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