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I am getting more and more emails asking for quotes. Are they serious?

I don't think I've ever had a serious potential client who has asked for a quote via email.

I got this email last week. They actually wanted a quote before taking it further.

"Quote required

Hello,
 
I have had my company for over 3 years, my year end was Oct 31st 2010.
 
Below are the services that my current accountant offers.

·         Year end accounts and Corporation Tax Return
·         Payroll bureau
·         Shareholder and Dividend advice
·         Dealing with Inland Revenue and Companies House
·         Completion of VAT returns
·         Completion of Annual Return
·         Personal Taxation – including P11D, Tax Return
·         IR35 compliance and solutions
·         Unlimited direct access to your accountant for all help and advice
·         Free bookkeeping software
·         Registered Office service
·         IR35 contract review
·         Company closure
·         Dormancy

Could you please let me know if you are offering the same services? Also how quickly could I swap to you?"

I pointed out that the email gave no clue of regularity of payroll or number of employees. Why do they want dormant company/close company/corporation tax return all in one. They want me to quote for "unlimited direct access"?

Another potential client's email gave some information:

"Want help with the following works.

1. Bookkeeping (max 100 vouchers), taxes, VAT, monthly report and annual accounts.

2. Address of the company in London

3. Event person- writing in England

4. Instructions for opening bank account

Operations started on January 1, 2011. Got a comment from HM Revenue & Customs . Measure? Maybe for late…

Await Your offer as soon as possible."

I offered to meet with both of them but all they seem to want is a quote. They appear to be clowns. I get plenty of sensible clients so it doesn't worry me but it's amazing what dross is out there.

 

Replies

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Face to face

I prefer to see prospects face to face before doing a quote, I never enter into blind quotations.

It's only by meeting people that you can assess people and find out how much they really need from you in terms of services, and how work work will be involved. Also, you may find out that they don't need as much as they think but you find out they really want other services.

All of these factors will substantially alter a quote............and can only be ascertained by meeting the prospect. Of course you can also get an idea of integrity, honesty, willingness to pay, ability to pay etc too.

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09th Apr 2011 09:54

Con

The terminology suggests some accountancy knowledge - my guess, this is a franchise trying to find out what the competition is charging in your area.  I wouldnt be surprised if other acountants in your area havent received the same.

Personally Id be tempted to either quote ridicuously low - £5 for a set of accounts, or, ridiculously high £50k per hour.   Then Id decide these clowns are not worth wasting my time and delete their email.

 

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09th Apr 2011 10:23

Me too.
I've probably had more emails requesting quotes in the last month than I've had in the previous 10 years.

I just reply by saying it's impossible to quote based on the information they have supplied, inviting them to a free initial meeting at our office (or a telephone appointment if this is more convenient) so that we can discuss their requirements.

I don't think I've heard from any of them.

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09th Apr 2011 10:24

E Mails

If you haven't already done so take the body of the e-mail address, attach www. in front of it and paste it into Google. This may give a clue as to the bona fides of the sender

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By SteveOH
09th Apr 2011 10:24

I agree with CD

This seems like a newly established practice trying to find out what the local oposition is charging. You seem to have it sussed.

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09th Apr 2011 10:46

Got the same email

I received the first email that you received. Arranged a call. When I called it went to voice email. Then received another email asking for written quotation. This was late yesterday evening.

I have taken on some good clients from emails. Though this was always after the meeting following an email.

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13th Apr 2011 11:20

thank you

for your email, we offer a free no cost first meeting where we can identify the areas we can best help your business develop an grow.If you woudl like to take advantage of this so that we can accurately quote for the services you need please call me back on....

 

So far one client via email quote, the rest fishing expeditions....

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By bduncan
13th Apr 2011 11:41

I have given quotes and won and lost clients

I generally e-mail back offering a free consultation and give a band of quotes. I am not cheap and would rather not waste the hour for someone to come in anyway if they are not prepared to pay for my fees.

I have won some clients by e-mail some good payers who I have never met.

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13th Apr 2011 11:53

mine said recommended by a friend

but they never replied, when I asked which friend so I could thank them.

How unprofessional if these emails originate from accountancy practices.

again either don't quote, (bit difficult really) or try and find out where email originated and then let us all know !

example above is clearly market research carried out by a half wit.

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13th Apr 2011 16:35

Urghhh - hate these

Unlimited direct access to your accountant for all help and advice

This from the first mail you quoted says it all. They have used a template and are too stupid to change it. If they cannot disguise their original e-mail they do not desrve any reply, unless of course you want to quote high and hope to get super profits on your work.

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13th Apr 2011 19:15

Franchise

example above is clearly market research carried out by a half wit.

 

Posted by kalden on Wed, 13/04/2011 - 11:53

 

 

In the 2 examples of this I have seen, for "half wit" substitute "local franchise".

 

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