The rush of tax season is wrapped up, and you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Or can you?
Your tax preparer income hinges on a successful tax season and your ability to continue growing your revenue stream in the off season. Your tax preparer income cannot rely on three months of activity.
That’s why we prepared an off season small business tax preparation checklist to show you what to do and when to do it.
Step 1: Follow up with Tax Preparation Clients All Year
You need a detailed plan to stay in touch, otherwise, time will pass and your best intentions--and clients--may get away from you.
How to stay on tax preparation clients’ radar:
1. Set calendar alerts to follow up with clients.
2. Create a quarterly e-newsletter with valuable information on taxes, deductions, and (depending on your style) a personal update to engender a sense of camaraderie beyond business interactions.
3. Send out a tangible thank you to people who trusted you with their finances: a gift card or personalized card with your signature encourages clients to remember you and refer you to their friends and family.
4. Use social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the top three social media platforms most businesses invest some time and effort into maintaining.
- Use your Facebook business page for clients who may have questions about what counts as a deduction, the tax rules for their IRA and how to best structure their small business
- Post interesting facts and share articles from financial experts to boost your credibility
- Remind clients you are there in case a friend or family member is looking for a tax preparer in the coming year
5. Provide financial services year-round
Some seasonal tax preparers supplement their income in the off-season by working for another business doing payroll or freelancing tax preparation for businesses who need quarterly tax preparation done. It pays your bills, but you rely on others to find business for you.
Instead, you can stay in touch with your clients and double or triple your clients’ lifetime value by providing financial services like credit repair for tax preparation clients. Credit repair is a low-investment business, and 8 of 10 credit reports have errors--which means most of your clients can greatly benefit from credit repair services!
When tax preparation clients know you want to help them and are available after April 15th, they will be more likely to keep you around for years to come. As marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk emphasizes in this article, developing a relationship with clients has its own ROI.
This is step one because you should create this plan, and begin implementing it, in the first month after tax season: April - May.
Step 2: Store Up for the Winter
Though they’re cute (or rats with bushy tails, to each their own), squirrels are hard working animals that keep their focus on what is ahead: the dead season. Animals store up for the off-season, and so should tax preparation specialists.
Your tax preparer income may provide a big helping of revenue, but it won’t last forever. We showed you 7 Ways that Tax Preparers Make Money in the Offseason.
There are some questions you may want to consider before jumping into off-season tax work:
1. What is the market for this industry and how quickly can I scale my business?
2. How quickly can I train and get started making money?
3. Where do I find clients?
4. Can I keep doing this new venture without losing my tax preparation income?
Step two is something you do all year, but we suggest you figure out your alternative source of income by June. This allows you to get started with training and building the business to a sustainable point by January.
Step 3: Reflect, Reinvest, and Prepare for the New Year
When September and October roll around it can seem like an eternity until the new fiscal year begins, but as a tax preparer, you know it’s time to start ramping up for the next tax season. If you want to squirrel away money in the off season, while keeping your tax preparation business afloat, you need to do a bit of planning before the busy holiday season arrives.
- What worked well, and what didn’t work well, in your new venture?
- What are three ways to improve your process?
- How sustainable is your current time commitment to the revenue source in addition to your tax preparation income?
These are great questions to ponder while you get your new business off the ground. Many people find a credit repair business is simple to grow, once you make the upfront investment of getting credit repair training (like the Free Credit Repair Training Class) and that it grows organically once you start helping clients improve their credit.
- Do you have the resources you need to financially re-invest in your business venture?
- What are the time investments that yielded the greatest profit?
- How can you keep this income source steady throughout the tax season and the off season?
Your new credit repair company, for instance, runs itself once you get familiar with your credit repair business software. Happy credit repair clients are usually thrilled to refer you to family and friends, and your credibility in the financial services industry means colleagues are likely to send people looking for credit repair services to you. Some of Credit Repair Cloud’s users make millions in revenue each year from credit repair businesses built solely on referrals.
If you want to grow your side-business and keep your tax preparer income, you must think ahead to the months of overlap.
Prioritize the present: When January rolls around, you will be knee deep in forms and figures. You want to feel confident that your other income source will not suffer.
This is why credit repair is such a great fit for tax professionals: after the initial setup with a credit repair client, most clients take less than five minutes of follow up per month when you use Credit Repair Cloud’s software.
January through April, there is no need to go out in search of new credit repair clients. In fact, most people can use credit repair services, so you are recruiting new clients by helping the community with tax preparation services. If you can help clients create better financial habits, you’ll have a client for life.
You will choose the income source that best fits you and your current and future income needs. When you know your tax preparer income won’t last all year, you need to keep in touch with clients, find the best alternative income source, and be thoughtful in how you proceed.
Learn How to Maximize Your Salary as a Seasonal Tax Preparer doing credit repair!