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Fee question

Fee question

Im trying to work out a fee quote and wonder sometimes if I under price my services....

Im based in the Midlands.

My potential client is buying a sandwich shop, turning over £140k pa. It has 2 staff. They are setting up as a Ltd Co

How much would you quote for:

1. Payroll, 2 weekly/hourly staff + 2 directors paid montly (low salary + ) end of year PAYE reporting

2. VAT returns - quarterly

3. Set up book keeping system + follow up visit ( 2hours each time ) + 1 hours travel time each visit

4. Directors tax returns x 2

5. CT600 + full accounts

6. Abbreviated accounts

Im thinking I cant do this for less than £2500+ VAT. They seem like nice clients, nice people to work with who appear organised.

Pa\yroll (£10+52 per week + £100 for directors) = 620

VAT ( 4 x £150) =  600

Directors returns x 2 = 150

tax and accounts = 850 ish? (if Im doing the VAT accounts should be ok)

Set up book keeping = 300

It seems a lot for a small business that is fundamentally doing the book keeping themselves.  Any thoughts? 

Or should I get them to buy moneysoft and do their own payroll and charge them something for setting it up?

What would you charge?


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31st Jul 2012 15:08

You know best

I have looked at my menu system.

Your payroll charges look extremely cheap given a weekly payroll, and if they were prospective clients of mine I would be very heavy on persuading them to do a monthly payroll.

I would charge around £500 for monthly payrolls and payroll year end for this size of company.

For all the other work not including VAT returns it would be £1931. I don't know how much time it would take you to tart up their data and do the VAT returns.

I am already nearly up to your figure. Limited companies take more time for us to administer than the self employed traders and we must start charging accordingly.

However marvellous I am, there is no way I would get this job, as if we add in your £600 for the VAT returns to my figure we are at around £3k.

But then my target market is not shops - it is professionals whose income is considerably higher, so perhaps what I've said is totally irrelevant to your situation.

Thanks (1)
31st Jul 2012 15:29

VAT too high

If they are doing decent bookeeping I would not charge £150 per VAT return.

The other fees look about right to me.

We used to do an identical sounding job for £2800, except we had to do a bit more writing up of the books on a quarterly basis than you describe (client kept weekly cash sheets and we analysed the bank).

Client went bust in the end as business was non-viable!


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By twj4789
31st Jul 2012 15:31

Similar figure

I have calculated it based on our fee structure and come around £2,200 for yearly stuff. We subcontract our payroll and make a small mark-up and come pretty close to your £620.00

I would keep the set-up of bookkeeping seperate from the year end work. It's one of those things that quite easily drags on and is better charged on a time spent basis. I would charge your hourly rate + travelling expenses and provide an estimate based on x number of meetings at x hours etc. Then if it over runs the estimate spells out the charging structure for additional work.


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By euan101
31st Jul 2012 15:40


To me your fees are are slightly on the lowside for the bookkeeping/VAT work. As this is a cash business you will have to spend a bit of time controlling the cash in order to avoid any later issues. I would also consider selling them Fee Protection Insurance as after quoting a low fee you may get dragged in to an enquiry and if they are fee sensitive you will probably lose the client along with your time.

Regarding the payroll. I agree with "Moonbeam" try and push them towords a monthly payroll. If they insist on paying the 2 staff weekly give them a ready reckoner and catch it as an advance once a month. Also make is easier for yourself and put the directors on to an annual salary split over the twelve months. They wont be interest in a monthly payslip - RTI may change this ! 




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31st Jul 2012 15:55

Guess we live up to our name

We are based in Bristol and would quote £2,045 + VAT for such a job.

However we would make it plain that:

a). Our amount for annual 'bookkeeping' £600 is an estimate and the actual time taken will be billed

b). Directors self-assessments will be billed to them personally not to the limited company.

c). Fee protection insurance is extremely desirable for their type of business.

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By Siany
31st Jul 2012 20:56


My charges would be:


Payroll at £60 per month along with £100 for year end P35 etc - total £820.00

I don't charge for vat returns, instead I charge £18 per hour for book keeping which includes the vat returns, so that would be dependent on the number of book keeping hours.

£100 for each Director SA

Tax and accounts £500

No charge for set up of book keeping.  Oh, I'm also not vat registered.


Hmmm, think I may need to revise my pricing....................

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By DawnT
01st Aug 2012 17:44


Hi Siany,

I am very new to practice (6 months) and my fees are similar to yours.............. I would be interested to hear from you whether you are able to make a reasonable profit and living based on these fee levels. Trying to guage the market and pitch my fees at the right level has been the hardest thing about going it alone. I have tried to win clients on increased fees but have not been successful. However, I go green with envy when I read what other practitioners are charging!

I have a limited company that I currently do the bookkeeping for and I have just quoted to take on the year accounts, tax, Directors SA and Companies House return for £625 and I know she thinks the quote is too high. What I don't know is what her current accountant is charging!

Thank you........

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01st Aug 2012 00:10

Payroll is too cheap at £10 per week
I would agree with moonbeam that they really ought to consider doing the payroll monthly. Our fees for a weekly payroll would not be below £25 per week, so that's more than double your figure. You have to consider that it will take at least 30 minutes to do it properly, possibly 45 with letters/filing etc.

I can't comment directly on the VAT returns without knowing what they are capable of in terms of book-keeping quality, but instead I would charge £25 to £30 per hour for book-keeping and preparation of the returns, which would include the provision of quarterly profit and loss and balance sheet so they can monitor performance. For a business like this, say £400 per quarter.

Annual accounts would be around £900 because they are a company. Also annual return would be £36.

Directors at returns billed to them personally at £200 for the pair.

So that's £1,300 for payroll, £1,600 for book-keeping and VAT and £936 for accounts and annual return making a grand total of £3,836 for the business and £200 for them.

That's for us though - we have staff, offices and other things to cover.

Does this sound expensive? We are also based in the midlands.

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01st Aug 2012 07:25

You need to take into account how the work is done

I think the prices are quite low. I would charge £20 per week for payroll, £100 per personal tax return and £500 for year end accounts and tax. The bookkeeping, VAT returns and set up I would charge at £40 per hour. I am based in London but work from home. I would want all the information sent to me and I would want to email everything back.

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01st Aug 2012 11:56

I don't think you are far off most of us.

My quote, or a shorten version of my quote:

£760 - payroll

£520 - completion of q/e vat return (assuming that book keeping system is up to speed)

£200 - Personal tax return

£850 - £1000  - Accounts and CT600

£32 - Annual return


£2362 - £2,562


I would be very cautious on the set up of book keeping system and I would quote on an hourly basis to set up as £40 per hour. Like you I would provide a quote for the service and say I would expect it to take 5 - 7 hours, but it could take more depending on the client. Depending on the client and the want to take it on, I would consider a loss on the book keeping job to get the client. This is expected to be a one off assignment and would be a good marketing cost.

Therefore I would quote:

£2362 - 2562 for the above

£200 - £280 for the book keeping set up.


2562 - 2842 Therefore he amount I would quote the client would be a paramenter based quote. I


Therefore the amount I would quote the client would be a paramenter based quote and guarantee that my charges for the above will not exceed £2562 for work other than the bookkeeping set up. There is a good chance that I would have already discussed book keeping set up with the client and hence one of the two sets of figures above.

Also I have produced a quote based on your criteria, however as pointed out above, I really do not like undertaking weekly payroll and hence I would strongly recommend that the client does monthly payroll. 

Thanks (0)
01st Aug 2012 15:34

I agree weekly payroll is a pain, but for 2 staff on moneysoft, all i need to do is input the hours which client would email to me. I reckon it would take 10 mins inc reading clients email and sending my pdf payslips.....


I will concede that its not the type of work I am seeking.  PITA making sure its done each week esp with holidays etc.

I've sent the quote. Im not expecting to get the job.  I liked the client whcih is why I was keen to ensure my quote wasnt inconsistent with the market. Sometimes its difficult to guage the market.

I work from home, but am a CA so dont want to undercharge for my time.  If I dont value it, noone else will!!




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01st Aug 2012 16:00

Let us know how you get on, please.

I bet the client is expecting you to do all that for £500!

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01st Aug 2012 17:55

Not too high

I would charge about £625 maybe £100 more than that and I am in London.

I would expect the client to have everything how I want it though.

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By sawales
05th Aug 2012 08:43

Like this subject
I have read and reread this threat over and over again as I'm also looking for pointers! I have a potential new client who has two Limited companies and are looking for help.

What I am picking up on so far is that there processes have not grown with the company and accounts seems to be the backburner which is scarey. Im meeting them on Wednesday to check it all out and will then put a package together based on the quotes here. I will keep you posted.

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