How to Sell Payroll-As-a-Service and Create an Additional Revenue Stream for Your Bookkeeping / Accounting Practice

If you’re a business owner who is already providing financial services to your clients or maybe you’re considering offering financial services such as accounting or bookkeeping then payroll might be a perfect add-on service that can help you to create an additional revenue stream for your business.

Here’s what you can expect to take away from this blog post (feel free to click the subheadings below so you can jump right into the stuff that matters the most to you):

Table of Content

If you’re on the go or would rather watch a video compared to reading a blog post, we’ve also covered this topic on our Podcast “The PayEvo Podcast” and Youtube channel.

Links to them are below:

Why Should I Offer Payroll As-a-Service?

So, you’re considering offering payroll as a service but maybe you’re not sure if it’s worth it?

Well, here are three reasons why a business would want to outsource their payroll to someone like you:

It’s hard

Business owners are busy being, well, business owners.

They’re too busy trying to grow their business and making sure their head stays afloat.

They don’t have time to comb through layers of spread sheets doing tedious math calculations like T4’s, looking up revised formulas on the CRA website, and finding definitions for certain provincial tax laws on Google.

1 small mistake can cost a ton

1 simple payroll calculation mistake or even a late filing can cost business owners anywhere from $1000 to $7500 in penalties.

I don’t know about you but that seems like a huge weight to place on someone’s shoulders.

In fact, we’d argue that, by you offering payroll-as-a-service to your clients, you’d not only be taking payroll off their hands, but you’ll also be giving them peace of mind.

It’s time consuming

When you’re running payroll, it can take anywhere from just a couple of hours to an entire day to complete.

Factors that contribute to the length of time includes:

  • Chasing employees for certain documents
  • Processing direct deposit
  • Manually entering in calculations
  • Calculating tax tables
  • Double checking everything

… and the list goes on

When you start offering payroll as a service to small businesses, what you’re really offering them is time back in their day so they can focus on revenue generating activities.

Is Selling Payroll As-a-Service Right For Me?

From our experience, we’ve found that the type of people who often offer payroll as a service to other businesses fall in either one of two categories:

  • Accounting professionals
  • Bookkeepers

If you’re offering financial services to clients currently or are in the financial space then offering payroll is the perfect add-on service for your business.

Very much like how accounting professionals will use softwares such as Quickbooks and Freshbooks to manage their client’s accounting, payroll can be thought of in the same way.

For example, you can use our software Evolv to manage multiple client’s payroll all from one minimal and easy to use interface.

What’s great about offering payroll as a service is that, you as an accountant / bookkeeper, can integrate your accounting software with Evolve, that way, you don’t need to be jumping between tabs all the time.

Who Needs Payroll Services?

If you pay yourself or your employees – you need payroll services – it’s that simple.

It’s commonly believed that companies need at least five employees to justify payroll services, but annual revenues, earnings and the number of employees have nothing to do with the need for payroll services.

Here are a list of people whom you can offer payroll-as-a-service to:

Solopreneurs

You might think that, being a solopreneur, if you want to pay yourself it’s as simple as hitting the “withdraw” button on an ATM – but it’s not.

The truth is, when you want to pay yourself as a solo business owner, you still have to abide by tax regulations and make sure all your documents are in check.

Which can involve:

  • Calculating complicated and tedious payroll taxes all by yourself, finding time to go to the bank to make withdraws, making sure everything is right so you’re not chased by the CRA and end up with a $1000+ fine

For that reason, offering payroll-as-a-service to solopreneurs will be a god send for them.

Anyone who runs a business and needs to pay their employees

This goes without saying, but if a business consists of employees that need to get paid.

You’d better believe you can offer them payroll services!

Something to keep in mind

Even though you can offer payroll as a service to pretty much anyone who has a business and needs to pay people, we recommend that – when you’re starting off – you work with specific industries you’re comfortable with.

Meaning, the way that a construction manager might process payroll for their 15-person staff business is going to be very different than a solopreneur who owns a wedding cake decoration business.

With every industry, there’s going to be different payroll taxes and regulations you’re going to have to follow.

So, if you’re just starting off with providing payroll as a service, you might first want to only target industries that you have previous experience with. That way, you’ll have an understanding of how the business is run, any payroll regulations you should be aware of and also, your clients will appreciate you more.

When Is The Best Time to Sell Payroll?

The general consensus is that the best time to sell payroll is either the end of Q4 when companies are wrapping things up or right when Q1 restarts.

The reason being, if a company had a problem with, let’s say a software of theirs, the most optimal time to change the software probably won’t be when they’re in the middle of a busy Q2 or Q3.

However, we’d like to make the following argument:

You shouldn’t wait for the BEST time to sell payroll.

The truth is, if someone needs something bad enough, they’ll take it.

When was the last time you made an impulse purchase decision?

You probably could’ve waited before you bought that item or service, right?

But you didn’t, why?

Because you just had to have it.

Same thinking goes here as well.

If you wait for the best time to start selling payroll then you’re probably going to miss out on a ton of potential opportunities.

The best time to start selling – is now.

In fact, we currently have bookkeepers and accountants offering payroll as a service using our Evolv platform who are booking clients every month of the year.

How Much Should I Charge For Offering Payroll As-a-Service?

This is going to sound like a let down but, there is no such thing as the perfect price.

There’s no hard rule that says you must charge XYZ amount.

But what we can give you are some prompts that you can reflect on to help you figure out a pricing rate that you’re happy with.

In order settle on a price, ask yourself the following:

  • Will you be charging based on each pay run or a monthly fee?
  • What other expenses do you need to consider? Filing fee? Penalties? Documents handed to you late?
  • How much is offering the service alone costing you?
  • What’s the lowest you can charge before you start feeling resentful of the work?
  • How much money does your payroll service save your client?
  • What are your competitor’s rates?
  • What are some geographical factors you’ll need to consider?
    • Cost of living, rental space, amenities, etc
  • How much of a profit do you want to make?
  • How much work actually goes into offering payroll as a service?
  • Do you want to charge hourly or a la cart?

Who Are the Easiest Clients I Can Start Selling to Right Away?

In short, the easiest clients you’ll be able to sell to will be your current clients.

Your current clients already like, know, and trust you so to pitch them payroll services will be much easier than trying to pitch cold prospects who aren’t familiar with what you have to offer.

According to OutboundEngine, the success rate is 60 to 70% when selling to an existing customer compared to 5 to 20% to a new prospect.

If you’re curious about how to bring up payroll as a service to your clients, Dustin, our Head of Sales, recommends the following:

  • Once every month or so, call up your current clients
  • Tell them that you usually connect with your best customers to see how they’re doing during this time of the year
  • Ask them about what they’re struggling with the most in their business
  • If they mention anything along the lines of “I’d like more time back in my day” – that’ll be your opportunity to bring up payroll-as-a-service

So, How Do You Actually Sell Payroll?

Great, now is the fun part – the sales call.

Here are some quick tips Dustin, our Head of Sales had when it comes to selling:

“It’s all in the approach – you’re checking in to help out not pitch a service – you’ll find that changes the tone of the conversation because you’re empathizing not pushing your own agenda.”

“Listen more than you talk (90 % vs 10%) and make a point of tailoring your replies to what the customer just said so they don’t tune out.”

How to Structure Your Sales Call

When it comes to your sales call, there are tons of ways that you can go about it.

Dustin, recommend you use the following 4-part formula:

  1. Build rapport
  2. Ask questions
  3. Tell them the offer
  4. Close

Let’s break each part down into a little more detail.

1. Build Rapport

When you’re meeting a potential client whether it’s over Zoom or in person, it’s important you take the time to build rapport and establish a relationship with them.

Remember, people do business with people they like.

Small things such as smiling, a firm handshake, or starting off with some small talk goes a long way here.

So, make sure you smile, greet them, give them a compliment, and engage in a bit of small talk.

This part should take no longer than a couple of minutes or so.

2. Ask Questions

This is probably the most important part of the entire sales call.

During this part, you want to ask them questions to uncover some of their pain points.

We’d recommend you start this off with a simple question like:

“Thanks a ton for meeting me Mr. Customer. I know your time is precious so, to make sure we use the next 30 minutes in the most productive way possible, would you be comfortable if I asked you some questions about your current payroll solution to see if we might be a good fit to work together?”

Next, you want to ask them questions about their payroll.

The goal of the questions is to make them realize that doing payroll is actually hard and very costly for them.

Here are some example questions you can ask:

  • How do you currently do your payroll?
  • How has that been working out for you?
  • What are some problems you’ve been experience with your current payroll solution?
  • How much money has that cost you so far?
  • How much time are you loosing because of it?
  • How much longer are you willing to put up with this?

3. Tell Them The Offer

Now that you understand what some of their pain points are, it’s now time to tell them a bit about how you can help them.

There are a couple of ways you can transition into this part:

  • Bring up a previous client of yours who had a similar problem and tell them how you were able to solve their problems
  • Recap their main issues and add at the end: “it seems like your current problems are XYZ, Mr Customer, would you be ok if I showed you how our solution can help you solve these problems?”

Remember, when you’re talking about your solution, you’ll want to double down on the features that matter the most for your customer.

4. The Close

Great, the potential client likes what you have to offer …

Now it’s time for the ask.

A lot of people get nervous around this part but here are a couple of lines that you can use to close the sale:

  • “It seems to me, Mr Customer, that this seems to be a good fit, would you like to move forward?”
  • From what it seems, if I can (insert result you’ll help them attain) then you’ll be comfortable with moving forward?

Of course, there are a ton of different closing techniques online but these are just a couple you can use to get going.

Software You Can Use Right Now to Start Offering Payroll-As-A-Service

Great, you now have an understanding of how you can start selling payroll, the only thing that might be missing is the software you’ll be running payroll on.

For this, we have a specific payroll platform a lot of our current customers use to provide payroll services to their clients, we call it Evolv.

When you deliver payroll services using our Evolv platform, you’re increasing your top and bottom line every month, year after year.

Here’s how one of our Evolv clients describe the platform:

“Our payroll-as-a-service depends on an automated, payroll platform that really boosts our efficiency and subsequently, our profitability, to support our long-term success.”

When you offer payroll as a service to your clients using Evolv, you’re helping them by:

  • Employees that handle payroll can now do billable tasks
  • Avoid needing to hire payroll specialist – saving them time and money
  • Eliminates CRA penalties  which can cost business owners $1000 to $7500
  • Owners’, managers’ and bookkeepers’ valuable, billable time is freed up

If you’re interested in seeing if our Evolv platform is a good fit for you, you can book a time with Dustin, or one of his team members below for a demo.

Start offering Payroll-As-A-Service today!
Start offering Payroll-As-A-Service today!

See if our Evolv platform is right for you.