I had an email enquiry from someone who was concerned about possible tax liabilities should he sell a property he used to live in, but had let to tenants recently. There was one particular point he had got completely wrong. I wrote a reply as follows:
“Hi Fred (his name is not Fred)
Thank you for your enquiry. I think you are under several misapprehensions…
I should be pleased to advise you and give you estimates of any tax payable after renting out for 24 or 36 months and my fee would be £XXX (a fair professional fee) plus VAT.
I received the following reply:
I appreciate you getting back to me. However, that charge is way above the figure I am looking to pay for what I understood to be 1-2 hours work.
“Thank you for your email, Fred. Although it was brief, it caused a sharp intake of breath this end.
From an employee’s point of view, they may think their hourly rate in a service industry reflects the value of the work provided, but the reality is that their employer has overheads and the cost to provide the service may be two or three times that hourly rate. Then there is the profit element since we all have to live.
I provide a service based on my expertise, the cost of my continuing professional development (CPD) which is obligatory for members of my professional bodies in practice, my office overheads, insurance, the services I buy in from others, and with a view to profit and tax which has to be paid. The CPD is pretty important in practical terms and there have been several changes to the taxation of let property announced even in the past year or so.
You would have had the benefit of a road map in order to plan the possible sale of your property (or to keep it), you would know the possible tax payable at various stages, be aware of all the tax reliefs which could be available and have reasonable certainty based on different outcomes. You would have had the benefit of all my long experience and learning. All this is of substantial value. One should always look at and understand the value rather than the cost of a service.
Oh, and to provide the answers to several “what ifs?”, outline the reliefs available and to put you right on your misapprehensions would have taken considerably more than one or two hours.
If you can get professional advice upon which you feel you can rely a lot more cheaply from someone else, that is fine, but you know the saying “if you pay peanuts…”
We all know there is no point in doing unprofitable work and it does nothing for our self-respect if we provide a service which is simply not valued by our customer or client. It is much better to do less but more valuable work, and far more profitable too.
If we do not value ourselves, how are we to sell our value to others? We can certainly do without being insulted by those enquiring about our services.
Have you had this sort of comment in response to your quote for business?