Tax Preparer: Charge Less When You’re New?

Let’s say you’re a new tax preparer, or you’re new to a certain part of the tax business.

For instance, let’s say you’re just learning how to prepare corporation tax returns, or you’re a brand new trainee from our LLC tax preparer course, and a potential business client asks how much you charge.

It’s a key moment because you don’t want to eliminate yourself from contention by quoting too high of a price, but you also don’t want to create an image in the client’s mind that the most important part of your service is the cheap price.

Let’s add to the mix and say the potential client knows that you’re new.  Well then obviously, especially if it’s a business owner, they’re looking for a “deal.”  How should you handle this?

There’s no one right answer but here are 5 tips for making the most of that fateful question:

Accept Reality

The short answer to the question “Should I charge less when I’m new?” is, generally speaking, OF COURSE you should charge less when you’re new!

How are you going to charge the same as a top notch CPA when you’re wet behind the ears?

You’re not worth as much–not even CLOSE.

Especially if you’re trying to do work for business owners, listen, we are not stupid.  We know you are new and learning on the job.  It’s only natural for us to want a lower price.

I mean if you can get maximum pricing even when you’re a baby in the game God bless you but I personally haven’t ever seen that happen for any consistent period of time.  Most people have to charge a little less when they’re new, in order to acquire that first round of clients.

Make an Offer Rather than Quoting a Price

If you’ve invested in our sales training for tax professionals program, or you already have those skills in your arsenal, you know what it means to make an offer and why it’s so important.

Potential Client: “How much do you charge?”

Tax Preparer: “Are you asking me that because you’re looking for a new tax professional?”


“Great!  I would love to have the chance to help you.  Let me make you an offer and see if we can make it happen.  Let me complete your work by the end of the week for $500, which is half of what most people charge for this kind of work; if you’re not completely satisfied with both the price and the service, don’t use our service and you owe us nothing.  I don’t want you to give me your business, I just want a chance to earn it.  Is it easy for you if I come by your office and pick up the paperwork tomorrow morning at 9am?”

An offer means the person can say yes or no.

Price quoting, by contrast, is just the giving of aimless information.

Making an offer creates the possibility of a sale.  It’s also great for not feeling like you need to “stick to what you said” when the person comes later and quotes your price back to you.  An offer is much more “in the moment” and people understand that offers change and expire…

Question with a Question

My sales coach taught me a game called QWAQ: Question with a Question.

We would go back and forth answering questions with more questions.

Here is some sample back-and-forth of how a game of QWAQ might go:

Potential Client: “How much do you charge?”

Tax Professional: “How much do I charge for what?”

“For tax preparation, how much is it?”

“Can you tell me a little bit more about what you need for your particular situation?”

“Seriously, how much is it?”

“Are you looking for the cheapest place with the rock bottom prices, or do you want a quality service at a very competitive price, provided by someone you can trust over the long term?”

This game can go on ad infinitum.  It gets kind of ridiculous after a while but it’s also instructive: whoever is asking the questions is in control.

Take control by asking questions.

Be A Tax Preparer In Control of Negotiations

Say Something Ridiculous

“How much do you charge?”

“I charge two thousand dollars per hour.”

Ice, broken.

Ice Breakers For New Tax Professionals

Differentiate Your Service

Most people don’t understand what makes one tax professional different from another.  To them, we are all the same.  I won’t pay more for your service until I know what makes your service a great fit for ME.

Spend time crafting your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Spend time creating a “Value Stack” where you can say something along the lines of “and that price includes this, that, this, that, and this, and that.”

Have a personal story on hand about why you love helping people with their tax needs.

One thing no one can do better than you is…you.

If you can find an amusing and compelling way to be be your best self, you’ll attract loads of clients–and you’ll have the pricing power you need to make it in this business.

If you’re a tax professional dedicated to mastering your craft, check out the variety of training programs we offer at Pronto Tax School and let’s be friends!

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