"You could buy block fees"

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As most readers will know block fees means far speedier expansion of a practice compared to organic growth. On the basis it is the right investment it would be recovered in a relatively short period of time.

My key point is finding block fees is not easy. I continue to look for block fees. So far without any success. It is not surprising since it is very much a sellers market.

I found two sellers over a period of three years. I did not even get on their short list. I don't know the reason for this. I received a generic feedback - we had a huge amount of interest we went with someone more suited to our clients.

On AW people make it sound so easy when they say "you could buy block fees". Please please please tell me how and where.

What do I need to do find and buy block fees? I am getting old and organic expansion is just too slow.


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27th Dec 2012 08:38

Don't do it!

I have bought on several occasions.I have bought through brokers, bought from families of deceased practicioners and have even bought from an IP.

Each time - with hindsight - I wished I had not bought.

There was always something wrong with the fees... it might even be as simple as many of the clients moaning that "Fred didn't do it like this..."

Invest in marketing. The big three are:

1) Set up your own networking groups

2) Mailshots

3) Telemarketing

Look to spend around 50p in the £1 of what you would like to grow - ie: if you want £100K in the next three years, spend around £17k pa on marketing on the big three. 

This still works. I am on my third practice and in less than three months have gathered £70k of fees doing just this.

As before, I would love someone I could talk to every so often. Lets PM and arrange quarterly meetings off line where we can share experiences and ideas.



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By Locutus
28th Dec 2012 01:05

What are you really buying?
All you are really buying when you purchase a block of fees is the right to communicate with the clients for however long they want that communication to last. You don't buy their trust or loyalty - you have to earn that, which takes time.

Although I've never bought or sold myself, I've been involved in about 5 (working in other practices over the years) both on the buying and selling side.

The straight buying of a block of fees never worked. The problem was that clients would expect the new accountant to be a clone of the old one that they probably didn't want replaced. They would expect the same fees, the same "adjustments" to keep the tax low and the seller (as you would expect) would rarely be entirely honest about the difficulties with the client base, whilst at the same time exaggerating the fee potential.

The only time that it vaguely worked would be when the purchaser and seller worked together (as if in partnership) for a year or two, working from the seller's office and using the seller's staff. Then clients would see a lot of continuity. But of course, that arrangement brings problems of its own.

Although I'm not as experienced at marketing as Steve and others, I much prefer the marketing route to buying a block of fees.

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