What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
I base my price on the complexity of the tax return. It takes almost as much time to prepare some forms if the income is $100 or $100,000. I try to make my rates competitive with others in the area.
I give discounts to firefighters, police, first responders and military personnel. I really appreciate the sacrifice they make to keep us safe and this is a small way I can pay back.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I like to meet with people personally; however, I have many clients across the country with whom I communicate by telephone, fax, email, etc. I work evenings and week-ends to make it most convenient for my clients.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Iowa and I take a minimum of 40 hours of continuing credit in tax preparation and training each year.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started working in a small firm which started in 1982 and I came to work for them a couple of years out of college in 2003. Eventually, in 2011, I purchased the practice and have been growing it ever since.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I work with anyone who needs to have a tax return prepared. I work with individuals from all walks of life, small businesses usually with less than 50 employees. I also have clients who own farms and cattle ranches.
I enjoy the variety of my client base and I have learned so much from them.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Look for someone with whom you "mesh". A tax preparer knows your intimate financial goals and fears. Many times I have acted as a counselor or confessor to a client and that's ok with me. I am thrilled that people felt comfortable enough to confide in me.
Be wary of preparers who promise you big refunds. That is not always possible. All I can promise you is that I will do my best to get you the most refund to which you are legally entitled.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Does the preparer indicate that they have any experience in your area? Does the preparer come with any recommendations or cautions. Do they have an online presence?