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Prospect won't give me turnover of his business

Prospect won't give me turnover of his business

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I have been asked to quote a prospect for his company accounts, tax return, VAT return, payroll, everything really.

Only thing is he won't disclose his turnover before I quote him, so I don't know if it's £75,000 or £500,000!

I don't know if I should steer clear or keep trying to get it out of him!


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By carnmores
03rd Feb 2011 15:11

change tack

ask him how many transactions per month

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By cymraeg_draig
03rd Feb 2011 15:20


He probably thinks that the higher his turnover, the more you will charge him.

I'd simply say to him that if he's not prepared to be open with you then you cant possibly work for him and show him the door.

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By Jason Dormer
03rd Feb 2011 18:21


Agree with c_d,  you can't work with someone who won't be straight with you it's not a good start, is he always going to refuse to answer a question he doesn't want to answer?

Tell the client that you need an open and honest relationship, that you need to know turnover to assess risk and quote price, and that without these facts you cannot and will not act for him.  If you do so firmly yet politely and he still refuses then say goodbye and you can probably count yourself lucky that he won't engage you!

I would be honest, if he is worried that turnover will affect price then say that it is a consideration, but one of many.

What business is he in? As if he would be prepared to quote without knowing the details of the work he is taking on?


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Red Leader
By Red Leader
04th Feb 2011 10:21

estimate, not quote

Give him an estimate of the fees and say you can give a firm quote when you have the necessary further info (turnover, no of transactions, etc).

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By Lahtac
04th Feb 2011 19:55


Stand back and think about what you are proposing to do. Could you imagine a painter quoting to paint your house without actually inspecting it? Even if the painter knew about the square footage of the house he would need to examine the condition of the walls and assess the timber etc. This prospect is most probably a tyre licker so move. 

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By Spudsy
09th Feb 2011 11:03

Hourly rate to start

Maybe he doesn't know his turnover (I've had a few who didn't have a clue)

Might be worth quoting an hourly rate for an initial visit and then quote a fee when you've had a look. I think asking how many transactions is a good idea - good luck with it!



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By lechiffre
09th Feb 2011 12:05

Rely on your gut instinct!

Any prospective client who will not make full disclosure at the outset is probably giving a good indication of his future behaviour.

As said above, give an indication of fees (if you can with what little information you have) but for a quotation then you need access to the records.

Rely on your gut instinct in these cases and 99% of the time you will be right.


 -- Je ne suis pas un numéro, je suis un homme libre!

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By mtyler
09th Feb 2011 22:47

Range of quotes

Why don't you give him a number of quotes based upon varying t/o levels, eg $nil to $100,000, $100,000 to $250,000, etc

Then he can work out how much the quote is himself without revealing t/o if he thinks it's something he should try and keep quiet.

Can't you just look at prior year accounts from Companies House?

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