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Discussion:Work from home

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Work from home


Rapido tax (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2007
I am thinking about taking my business to my home to eliminate the overhead. I only do tax preparation. Does anybody have any input and advice??

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2007
Unless you have a professional setup at home, it will look cheesy. Separate entrance, office look, etc. Like an in-law suite that is purely an office. You will need to amplify the professionalism to counteract the negative image of not having a "real" office.

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2007
I'm sure that if you look at the make up of the people that respond here, you will see that there are a lot of preparers that do taxes from their homes and it looks like it works for them. A lot depends on the type of client you have, where you are located (if you can run a business from a residential home), and how you market it. It will cut down on your overhead, and make some non deductable household expenses deductable, but some clients may preceive this to be unprofessional....

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

February 13, 2007
Just make your clients love you! I have a regular client base, so they do know me and where I work doesn't matter. I also make house calls and have a space 1/2 hr from here where a lot of my clients are from where I can meet and they can drop off paperwork. These days, the office in the home issue is kind of a dead one. But what Kevin says bears paying attention to. When I was young, I was told to buy tailored suits and wear wing tip shoes in order to bring a professional air of maturity. When you're older and have that...appearance is less valuable. So assess your strengths and weaknesses. And if you're a retail op with new clientele all the time, something like Kevin suggests makes sense.

Michaelstar (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2007
Allot of my clients ask me how I do it. I have done this for 17 years out of my home and it has worked very well and it has not been by chance. You need to be very motivated and disciplined or it will not work. In the end, your clients come to you for results.

Jdugancpa (talk|edits) said:

13 February 2007
"When you're older...appearance is less valuable." My mirror confirms that each morning.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 February 2007
I would not do it any other way....I go to a consumer bankruptcy lawyer's office ten days a year and hate every minute of it even though my view shows part of Independence Hall. Until her demise coming in here meant clients met the dog and my funky house, and most loved it. If the next client is early, Pam gives them a tour, coffee etc or they go look at the bay.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

February 15, 2007
I've had a few clients meet me in my home. Many times, however, we meet outside a Starbucks or Jamba Juice. It works just as well, and in the case of Hawaii, it's often much nicer to be outside than in a stuffy air conditioned (or for those of you on the Mainland, heated) office.

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

15 February 2007
I believe many clients enjoy going to the home, it adds a more personal feeling to the relationship. After all, for clients, they will not show their personal financial info to just anyone, and i believe in many cases the client feels more comfortable.

all depends if it u make it work for you. some might view an office as they are just a number, when they go to your home they may feel more important.

just my humble opinion, from some feedback that my clients have given to me as well.

Will

Corptaxhelp (talk|edits) said:

February 15, 2007
Rapido: You know your clients and their expectations better than we do. So, let me turn this around. Will you clients care where you are doing their taxes? If not, you should certainly cut your overhead.

My clients are generally high net worth individuals and small investment funds. They expect me to have a nice office. I'd lose business if they had to step over my two-year-old's toys to get to my home office. So, even though I work from home most days, I keep a small office suite up and running for meetings and mailings. It is less expensive for me to rent a nice office than it would be for me to move to a better neighborhood and into a fancy house.

Maybe you can split the difference? During the tax season, rent an office suite so people have a place to drop off their materials and meet with you. The rest of the year, work from home. I'm not sure where you are located but in my area of Florida, you can rent a 350-square-foot office in a class-A building for $110 a month (three-month minimum and then month-to-month). That gets you a common secretary/operator/greeter, waiting area, plenty of parking, an address in a nice area of town and use of a common conference room ($25 an hour, please book a day in advance). Add in phones, internet and whatnot and you can hold the space for under $200 a month.

CScpa (talk|edits) said:

15 February 2007
I've been doing this from home now for two years. I do love it. Sure it keeps my overhead down but there are other perks that really keep me here at home. I love being here when my son gets off the school bus, etc. etc. But what I hear a lot from clients is that after meeting several different CPAs in town, they were glad they finally found me. They weren't comfortable talking with the others and were especially not comfortable enough to ask questions. I don't know if the other CPAs just didn't value them (mostly small businesses) or what, but I know I surely do appreciate them and they know it.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

16 February 2007
I like the working from home aspect but am going to raise a couple of different thoughts. 1) Does your local zoning allow this? 2) Do you want strangers knowing where you live? I have gotten rid of most of my weirdo's. Finally fired the last one and am happy that he doesn't even know where my office is (I went to his business) much less my house.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 16, 2007
When I moved to this house (a bi-level that's perfect for a home office) in the town I grew up in on Halloween 1985, I never thought to go to City Hall and ask about zoning laws. It was about January 25th, and someone knocked on the door. It was a guy who worked at City Hall. He told me I couldn't have a tax and accounting business in my home without a permit. So, I had to quickly get a permit that cost about $25. Also, my neighbors had a chance to protest during a city meeting soon after that. Nobody protested, so it turned out okay. And I'm still doing that guy's taxes every year (the one who scared the heck out of me when he showed up at my door that day).

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

February 16, 2007
Good point about the zoning. It probably is something that everyone should check into. I think in many cases, however, it's not really a problem. It only becomes an issue for those businesses that are not nice to their neighbors, e.g., they have clients take up all of the street parking, people coming and going all hours of the day and night, etc. Oh, Deb, I don't mean to imply that you weren't nice to your neighbors. I also think that sometimes there are those people out there who want to have everyone follow the letter of the law, or else they make a big stink about it.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

16 February 2007
We have a lot of deed restricted communities in FL. The local nothing-better-to-do-with-their-time's would blow a gasket because of the traffic (more than two cars a day going to a house would constitute "traffic").

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

February 16, 2007
Well, it sounds like FL is quite a bit different than the area I live in.

And for $200 per month, one might be able to get a 10' x 10' self-storage unit out here. A complete 350 sq. ft. office in a class-A building would probably run at least $875 ($2.50/sq ft), then add about $250 for one parking stall.

Taxea (talk|edits) said:

16 February 2007
Natalie I have worked from home from the beginning. I go to the clients at their convenience. We meet at there home or Zippy's or other restaurant.

The only time they come to my home is a quick drop off of their docs..never even come inside as I meet them on the driveway. Over the years I have trained the majority of them to contact me by email so I am not constantly interrupted by phone calls. The majority either, email, fax or mail their documents to me. They love not being inconvenienced by having to drive and sit in an office. Out of almost 300 clients I probably only go to about 5 elderly couples homes to pickup their documents. When the returns are done they are priority mailed to the clients with detailed instructions. I provide a sase which they use to send payment and the F8879. Once I get that I efile the returns. Works well both ways. taxea

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

16 February 2007
I started out working from home and went to clients offices as part of my service. Also a way to separate myself from the competition. Now I'm in the process of retraining clients to come to me because all I was doing was driving around. You also need to look at your home situation to determine if it is best for you. If it was just me, I'd consider working from home. For me, it wouldn't work. My husband comes home from his 24 hour shift and wants to play just about the time I'm really getting into a work mode.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

February 16, 2007
That's great Taxea! Nice idea about the SASE. I'll be e-filing for the first time this year, so I may decide to do that as well.


You know, when I saw your name on the discussion list, I thought perhaps you were going to correct something I had stated about the costs here. The prices I used were just based on what I've read and heard, so just for the heck of it, I called Self Storage in Hawaii Kai. A 10 x 10 storage locker is $349!!! Good thing I don't have too much stuff that I need to rent storage space!!!

Taxea (talk|edits) said:

17 February 2007
Natalie..is that the reputation I have gotten here...just correcting everyone...oops....anyhow you don't need to rent space to keep your files. You can keep them on CD or DVD...I have about 300 clients. I keep the last three years of their docs, hardcopy, in one file cabinet. Once the three year mark has passed I scan their docs to pdf files and keep them on disk. I also pdf the file copy and complete preparer copy to disk when the authorization for efile comes in.

You will love efiling. It makes everything so much easier. Also sign up for e-services with the IRS. With a POA you get the information you need almost instantly once you get the hang of the program. I have started to use their on line problem assistance...they are great. So much quicker than waiting on the phone professional number. You ask for whatever you need and they email you when the information for your client is available. I'm sold on it. taxea

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