What is a Service Bureau? | Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast E1

by | Aug 1, 2023

In this first episode of the Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast! SBA team — comprising Baldeep, Ross, and Tia — define what a service bureau actually is and what it’s not. The team uncovers “fake” service bureau deals, how real service bureaus provide extra value beyond just software or tech support, and the revenue models used by successful businesses.

Other subjects we covered on the show:

  • How to build a loyal customer base through transparency and providing real value.
  • How to grow your business through valuable programs like tax academies and business-in-a-box.
  • Learn the importance of reasonable fees that match the value provided to your customers.
  • What are the different revenue models for service bureaus like selling software, adding fees to bank products, and offering tax academies and business-in-a-box programs.
  • Why transparency and providing real value are key to building customer loyalty.
  • How to determine reasonable fees that match the value provided to your customers.
  • Key strategies for growing your own successful business.

You can check out more episodes at ServiceBureauAccelerator.com/podcast.

You may also follow the Service Bureau Accelerator team on these platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/servicebureauaccelerator/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@servicebureauaccelerator


[00:00:00] This is the Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast. Each week we bring you the best in the tax industry, breaking the standard with revolutionary strategies to help you start, manage, and grow your service bureau. So whether you’re just starting out or have an existing service bureau, tune in to The Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast and boost your business today.

Here’s your host, The Service Bureau Accelerator team.

The Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast. My name is Baldeep. We have Ross, also known as Uncle Ross in the group. Daddy Ross to some we got Tia, the tax Goddess, the service bureau accelerator community liaison here.

Well I’m just gonna let Tia kind of go ahead and kick it off and start with the [00:01:00] topic. What is the service bureau?

What is the service bureau? So can we talk about, what is not?

Let’s start.

Start with what is not a service bureau.

Yes. What is not a service bureau? I will say for a long time when I started in the tax industry, of course I started like, I guess how anyone else does working under someone, you know, doing your commission split until you make your way to the glory land. I had no idea I was working under a service bureau.

Once I did get to the point where I got my in, I was looking to purchase software, I just thought it was just another office that they were, you know, selling me software and I had to pay these fees as pretty much my right of passage into the tax industry.

Basically like becoming, like, you mean like becoming a an ERO, where like, all right, now you’ve got your own office, you’ve got your own software. This is just a part of business.

[00:02:00] Yeah, I thought it was a part of business. I thought that was the top. I thought that where I was as an ERO, that was it. This was as good as it gets. You know, I’m paying my fees, doing whatever. This is my contribution and my expense, you know, to my tax office. I had no idea, honestly, until I met you guys.

Yeah. And then you realized, and then you figured out what is a service bureau.

Oh yeah, I was getting all the way over.

So, yeah. We’ll get in the future episodes, we’ll get into the horror stories that we’ve heard over the past couple of years with the Service Bureau accelerator, all the, always speak to a lot of people. But you know, in simple terms and the way we kind of break it down, you know, Service Bureau simply sells software, right?

There’s a lot of people that like to get fancy about it. But at the end of the day, your product is software. And you know, one thing I will say though, and we’ve seen this time and time again, there’s a lot of people out there who just for lack of better words, slap their logo on a tax software, [00:03:00] mark shit up, and don’t do anything else.

And that’s the quickest way to lose business in this industry. So we kind of do things a bit different, but that those are all topics for another day. But in simple terms, you know, service bureaus just provide tax software to other EROs. Some service bureaus will go the routes of recruiting preparers or recruiting new people and showing them the industry.

So why don’t we just kind of go into some of the different revenue models that people that we see are most common, the ones that we recommend people go down, and some that we recommend people don’t go down. There’s a lot of different revenue models. So let’s talk about some of the different type of revenue models for your service bureau.

I’ll start with the first one simply. Sell your damn software, right? Sell your software. It’s not complicated.


Right? Sell your software. Now what I would say is that people that are successful in that front don’t just provide software. They’re going to have what we [00:04:00] call value ads in their packages.

Ross, you wanna share another revenue model that you see that’s common?

For sure. I’ll share one is which is probably the most popular that we’ve seen, at least in our program, and anyone listening to this episode, I’m sure you’ve seen this on social media. Tax academies I wanna jump into this one because there’s a lot to unpack on this revenue model.

And this is a lot of stuff that we’ve seen as well in the industry being, you know, doing this for multiple years now and working with people, trying to help them grow their tax academies versus a business in a box. So a tax academy is by nature. It’s typically where you’re introducing brand new people in the industry, showing them how to get into the tax industry.

Teaching them how to do tax returns, showing them how to go out on their own, get their pittance, like A to Z, all the steps involved. You know, think about yourself and anyone listening to this episode. Your journey that you went through probably started working under a, you know, for another tax shop, started as a preparer, hourly, maybe commission.

Then eventually you started realizing like, okay, there’s levels to this. Now I gotta get my Ethan. Well, a Tax Academy program is basically kind of breaking [00:05:00] down those steps. One after the other, helping someone go from brand new to the industry. All the way, hopefully, to becoming like a successful tax professional where they maybe even have their own office and they get their own Ethan, whether they have a brick and mortar or they’re virtual.

Now the reason why I wanted to dive into this is because there’s also very clear well, I mean to be fair actually, it is very similar between an academy versus a business and a box. There’s also a lot of other people who run like business to box programs where they’re providing more structure strategies and support and mentorship and guidance for existing prepares.

And potentially some eras who are just looking to grow their business, providing them more strategies and resources to help them really scale up their business. And at the end of the day, it’s you’re virtually offering the same thing. You’re kind of providing the same thing. Strategies to create better, like infrastructure in your business actually incorporating.

There’s a lot of preparers out there who are just working hourly rates at a tax shop and want to go out on their own, but they need that guidance business into Box is a great fit for that because [00:06:00] you’re gonna be able to provide them strategies on and walk them through how to go out and get their, Ethan, how to go out and acquire more customers for their business, how to get better systems and processes set up, and most importantly, provide them with the tax software for them to be able to actually go out on their own.

And do the tax returns in their own business. Now, the reason why these two are closely paired together is because again, what you’re teaching them at the end of the day is a lot of the same stuff. But what we’ve seen and what we suggest a lot of people in our group to do is to focus on the business in a box.

Because you are gonna be working with existing prepares and existing people in the industry. There is gonna be a lot less work and a lot less handholding involved in order to bring someone to be successful because they most likely already have customers that they’re bringing into their business, right?

So you’re, really kind of trimming down the amount of work that you have to put in while still at the end of the day, you’re doing a lot of the same stuff with just a lot less handholding, a lot less work involved. I’ve, told people before on a call, I was like, look, let those, other tax stores, [00:07:00] like, let all the franchises, let them train up the prepares and then you can bring them in and, help them go out on their own when they’re ready to do that.

But that’s another revenue model. At the end of the day though, the great thing is about being a service bureau is however you wanna grow your service bureau, there’s no real wrong choice, right? If you wanna work with brand new people and train them and really be that, like that teacher and that mentor, that’s fantastic.

A lot of people though, they don’t wanna have to deal with some of, with a lot of more of like that handholding in the business in a box is maybe a better option for them to go out and grow because they can just work with people existing in the industry who need that extra mentorship and guidance to help them grow their business.

So that’s another very, very popular revenue model up. But I always like to break down the little distinction between academy versus business in a box.

Ross, just to kind of piggyback off of something you said, and I’m pretty sure we’ll touch on it later, the business in the box model being a lot easier to, launch than a franchise. You know, just. Some people who have come to us wanting to turn their, [00:08:00] model into a franchise, and actually reverting over to just the business in the box has been a lot more palatable.

I’ve seen.

Yeah. it’s also like a lot of people, you know, there’s a lot of people in the industry. We’ve seen this. There’s like someone, somewhere started talking about franchising your tax office, and now everyone, it’s like kind of like a buzzword that’s, going around a lot.

Talking about franchising, the tax office. When, at the end of the day you are, the best way to do that is through a service bureau, because now you, can create your own branded software. You can create like a branded program that people jump in, but it’s not a, legit franchise where you have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to actually set up the franchising and, do that whole structure.

And there’s a lot less liability as well, versus, being a franchise, owner and Baldeep with, your experience as a franchisee. You could, maybe touch on that a little bit as well. But yeah, that franchise kind of misnomer goes around quite a lot where you’re best suited to be a service bureau if you want to do that and have people kind of, you know, following your systems and programs.

Start a service bureau, [00:09:00] create like a business in a box program, obviously, name it whatever you want, but then that’s, the best way to go out and launch something as, close to a franchise as possible.

Yeah, without the liability of the franchise. Once you go to the franchise model, you’re looking at, you know, you’re looking at a lot of legal in getting registered. Yeah. There’s a couple, there’s like a. Bunch of states that you just register once and you’re in a bunch of states, but then there’s a lot more compliance and you have to protect your trademarks, you gotta protect a lot of different things.

Service Bureau is kind of just a lot easier, right? You can set up similarly. And obviously you ask attorneys about this, you can set up similarly, there’s just a couple of components that you don’t do, which is fine. Cause it’s not really that I mean the main, the biggest one I think is, you know, you don’t require everyone to use your brain, which is essentially probably better because if somebody goes out and messes up your brain, right.

You know, then. You’re dealing with all those headaches, whereas hey, you’re providing, you’re basically licensing a system to them. And they can go do with it what they please. [00:10:00] A lot of people like to have their own names. You know, we see a lot of people, they want their own brand, they own name, so why not give them that option and just give them all the tools and support that a typical franchise would. But yeah I think that’s a good comparison. There, Tia.

Yeah. And so this is what I wanted to kind of, ask you guys and just backtrack a little bit and talking about what is the service bureau? How did service bureaus even come to exist?

Okay yeah, and so it’s, funny, I kind of touched on it a little bit earlier. So I guess an example I’ll give is, you know, the value-added reseller concept in the corporate world, right? So if you’re familiar with companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and you know, those big companies historically, what these guys will do is they’ll get a company some other company, XYZ for the lack of better words.

We’ll say, Hey, Salesforce, I want to be [00:11:00] part of your value-added reseller program. So what they’ll do is these other companies will go and sell. Their Salesforce licenses, but this other company may provide extra value. Like one thing that a lot of companies do in that specific example is Salesforce is very complicated to set up.

Like the average business owner, the average medium, even large businesses aren’t gonna have certain people to set this up. They need consultants to help them, right? So this company says, Hey, I’ll provide you with 50 Salesforce user licenses, and part of our package includes those licenses and all the setup and customization to make it yours, right? To make it work for your business. Right?

Unboarding the training, the setup.

So, you know, with the tax softwares, I’m gonna talk a little shit. Most tax softwares aren’t the best at marketing, right? So they’re not good at acquisition like they have developers. That can develop software, right? I’m sure they have some marketing, but, and they may have some internal sales teams, but [00:12:00] how did that, how does this company, whose core business isn’t sales and marketing go out and get more customers?

Well, they have a service bureau program, right? So the service bureaus are incentivized and we’ll talk about service bureau incentives and all that stuff in future episodes of a service bureaus the job of the service bureaus, Hey, I’m gonna sell. XYZ companies licenses under my brand, right? That’s how they typically do it, some don’t, but I would recommend do it on your own brand. I’m gonna sell these companies licenses and here’s the extra value I provide. Right? So historically, the biggest service bureaus in the industry. Would provide, the main thing they provide is tech support, right? Because once you become a service bureau, most of the time you have to provide tech support for your customers, right?

Because now the tax software’s like, well, we’re giving you this discount on licenses. You can do all this extra stuff, so you need to support your customers. Otherwise, why should we do it? Right? But not everyone wants to go and create whole tech support. We’ll get into all this stuff, a future episodes, so I’m not [00:13:00] gonna dive into all that stuff.

But essentially the bigger service bureaus in the industry over the years, that’s all they provide was tech support and the software. What has happened since then, and what I’ve seen before we started SBA, and one of the reasons why we started it is like I said earlier, a lot of people just go in and getting their software branded, marking everything up, and all they’re providing is chart, is tech support and software. So what really separates you? Right? What really separates you? So it’s kind of gotten to that point. That’s that we all saw that’s what we saw. So when we launched Service Brook Accelerator, it was like, well, no, you don’t be like everyone else. Here’s how you actually put together value.

And we’ll get into all those types of things in other episodes. And I’m saying that a lot, but this is one.

But they’ve gotten away with it because of the lack of knowledge, and I won’t say got in away, let me not try to criminalize.

No, no, no. They got away with it. That’s fine.

It was lack of knowledge that I mean, if you don’t know that the quote unquote value add aspect is there, you’re thinking [00:14:00] that that’s all you’re getting and you really think that that’s enough. And so,

Yeah well, like your story to you, right? You’re like, you, when you got it, when you became the ERO, you bought your software and you’re like, all right.

From a service bureau.

Doing business. Yeah.

Yeah, I really did, and I was, but I was happy because I was un-inform.


You know.

You’re blissfully ignorant and until you talk to us and you’re like, what the. Yeah. And that’s happened so many times cause like bald you’ve said. That’s what a lot of people have just been doing. They get as far as service bureaus, they get their own software, they slap their logo on it, and then they just crank up the fees left, right, and center.

Now, don’t get me wrong, depending on how you’re growing your service bureau, there’s certain people you probably do wanna have some high fees on. But when you’re working with an office who’s doing, you know, 4 or 500 returns, you know, as soon as if you’re gouging them and as soon as they find out they’re gone.

Like you are gonna lose them as fast as po like immediately. And that’s the horror stories that we’ve had cause we’ve talked to, I mean in the years doing our marketing program and everything, we’ve talked to thousands and thousands of [00:15:00] eras in the space. And 95, if not 98% of eras have no clue when they’re doing those bank products in the software.

All those extra little line item fees, they don’t know where that money’s going.

No idea.

No one knows where that money’s going and a lot of it’s going to the service bureau without people even realizing it.

So now I wanna get messy. So when Service Bar Accelerator was launched and you all looked, knowing what was out there in the market and which you could provide. What did you think about in regards to like the risk and the reward?

Because I’m pretty sure you knew this would ruffle a lot of feathers out there. Cause you guys know these big hitters.


You guys eat at the same table.

Yeah, so I mean, look, the bigger, I mean I’ve spoke to, you know, we work with some other bigger people on the tech support side, so I definitely spoke to them about, Hey, this is what I’m doing. And they’re like, one of them was like, well that’s great cause we don’t provide any of that stuff.

Right? Like the similar [00:16:00] scenario like, we provide support. That’s it. Okay. And then in the conversations with, I’m like, look, I see a lot of, for lack of a better word, shitty service bureaus out there. And yeah, we knew we were gonna ruffle the feathers. We knew a lot of people were gonna hate us.

And look, and I tell people this all the time. Look there, there’s service bureaus out there with like 10,000 products, for example. They’re not our customer. They’re, we’re gonna be, they’re not our customer. Their ego won’t let them work with us, even though we can provide them better value, probably a better deal and better service. But number two they’re not our customer.

Their customers are our customer. So we brought in a lot of people from other service bureaus that know, realistically when you see all the stuff we provide, you can’t compare. Right? Even in like your cases, Tia, in a lot of people’s cases. Look, you’re gonna get the software that you’re getting from your service bureau, but all these fees, they go into your pocket now because we don’t charge that shit.

Right? What are they giving you for that? Nothing. Tech support. Yeah. Cool. Everyone’s got that, [00:17:00] right? Software licenses. Cool. Everyone’s got that. So yeah, I mean, we definitely ruffled feathers and we continue to do it. And I’m not sorry about it.


More than you would like, or have you expected this amount of heat?

Look, I mean, we don’t pay attention to that.

I think. Yeah, yeah. We, it’s, yeah, it comes up, but it’s like whatever, we brush it off. It’s like we’re focused on our business. If they want to,

Other people want, we’ll have other episodes talking specifically about some stuff, but if other people wanna try and copy us or talk shit about us, yeah. More power to you. Right? We’re focused, we have our system of acquisition, we have sales processes. We don’t get involved in all this little backroom talk that people think they know, but they have no idea.

Go have fun. We’re just gonna keep moving. Right? And that’s the thing you know, is we’re doing like a little mastermind here the other day and then some stuff like this came up. You know, if you focus too much on what everyone else thinks or what went wrong or, you know, focus too much on unlike little things, [00:18:00] and you’re not focused on the actual growth of your business, you’re never gonna succeed.

Right? So our metrics that we look at isn’t, oh, what the fuck are they saying about us over there? I don’t give a shit. Our metrics are, well, how many applications are we getting? How many sales calls are booked? How many people are attending our webinars? Right? What’s the conversion rate of that?

What’s the appropriate conversion rate of our sales reps speaking to people to join our program? Those are the metrics that matter to us. And the on the sales end. And then guess what’s next once you sign up, we have a whole series of metrics of customer success especially this year, kind of completely revamped, right?

How many people started went through foundations, how many did their kickoff call with Tia? How many of them even opened up their software and have software adoption steps? So there’s a lot of other metrics we track once somebody becomes a customer, but. Those are things that matter to us. Not really so much the person crying because we took all their clients cause they prevented no fucking value and suck.

Like, go have fun right?

And I think that is cause I will tell you, when we first started the [00:19:00] kickoff calls with the service bureau, the biggest question I’ve always gotten is, this seems too good to be true. You are teaching me how to do something that you’re also doing, so you are giving me that

Who better to teach it? Who better to teach it?

Well, and you know what, we’ll I’ll address that and then we’ll do a quick recap of the revenue models and we’ll end this episode and we’ll bring that topic backup in other episode.

Yes, let’s bring it out.

But yeah. And look, realistically, like before we launched Service Bureau Accelerator, most people didn’t know what a service bureau was like.

You, I’ve seen it over the past three years in the industry. More people talking about it, more people offering it, more people bringing it up than ever before. And I guarantee you, there’s no one that can say different. Cause once we launched it, the questions started popping up. That’s when people got mad because they’re like, what? These people are giving away all our secrets.

Why are they telling them all this stuff? There’s so many people. [00:20:00] So many people that have said, I’ve gotten more information from your webinar than anywhere else what? Than anywhere else in the industry. And the reason why is most people aren’t gonna tell you this is how you make your money.

Oh, this is where I make my money, right? This is how there, no one’s gonna tell you that stuff unless you already are under them or signed up with them. But we do all that stuff before, so you guys have in can make an informed decision. Right? There’s some people that I make poor decisions after, not our business. Right?

But, no. So like that, when we were setting up to launch Service Bureau Accelerator that was one of the things we looked at, and we’ll probably go a bit deeper on this, on another episode. One of the things we looked at is, Hey, if we’re gonna go, no, we were doing our thing.

We have, I’ve had my service bureau for years. We’ve had multiple branded service bureaus out there. Selling a lot of clients. But one of the things that I looked at as well, if we’re gonna go show people how to be a service bureau, we need to make sure they have a real service bureau deal, and understand where all the money’s going, how it’s made, how to get more of it.[00:21:00]

Which is one of the things that no one else fucking did. No one would give them the incentives that we give people unless they knew to ask. And the problem is most people don’t know to ask. So there’s people that out of the box after they signed up and you know when the money starts coming, you know, for the end of season drop, they’re like, wait, what’s this extra money?

I’m like, yeah, you have that in your agreement because you hit these things. They’re like, oh boy, I didn’t know about, they didn’t know it existed before, but we just make sure they get it because it’s not fair to somebody who, if they don’t know what question to ask, they shouldn’t get fucked over because they don’t know.

Right? We wanna make sure you get the best deal possible. I was looking at it and when we launched it, I was telling the team like, I wanna make sure that people get the deal that I wish I got when I started.

So let me ask you this then, because we’ve had this happen too. I’m down on the ground of community. Community, thank me. We’ve talked about what is a service bureau? What is a fake service bureau? I’ve heard people come into [00:22:00] the, kickoff call and said, I had a fake deal. I had a fake service bureau.

What does that mean?

I don’t know. I mean, to everyone it could mean a different thing. I don’t necessarily.

I, think usually it’s someone who’s just basically set up as a reseller. They’re, being told that they’re a service bureau because they have like a branded software that, their service bureau created a branded software for them to go out and sell, but they never actually gave them full control.

The service bureau is still putting fees on the bank products. They are maybe sharing that with the person who’s now going out and selling their own software, but they don’t actually have full control of it. Like an actual service bureau where you’re in the backend, you can issue licenses, you can do everything if you have someone to go to.

This is like, one of our members, Medi, right? Like this was his story where he thought he had a real service bureau, but he was just reselling his own software and he had to always go to someone to set up a license. He had to go to someone to actually set up an office in the software. He couldn’t do all of that himself.

Excuse me. So if you don’t [00:23:00] have full control of your software where you can issue licenses as you want and as you like, have people buying, then you’re not a real service bureau. And I think that’s where most people fall under, where they’re kind of just set up as like a fake service bureau where they don’t have.

Full control to the backend. They don’t have control of all their fees. They’re still getting hit up with fees from their existing service bureau. You know, maybe they’re getting some of that kick back to them now at this point, but they still don’t have full control. And that’s typically what I’ve, seen and heard before we start that.

Yeah, I agree with that I think that’s something that people, we’ve seen that we’ve even brought over people this year that, quick story. Somebody’s like, oh, like I’ve had to go look at their brand cause they said they already had a brand bill. So they’re logging in and I’m like, oh no, you need to log into the other thing.

And they’re like, okay. And they went and logged in with another username. I’m like, no, that’s just a different office. You need to log into this other thing. Here’s the URL. Cause I could tell, I know that the URL should be, they’re like, I’m like, log into this. They’re like, oh, I don’t have access to that.

I’m like, okay, so you don’t really have access to your brand like, okay, yeah. Okay so we’ll just go ahead and go ahead and get you set [00:24:00] up. Right? And then you don’t, you have full control. You can mark up whatever you want, do whatever you want. All of that goes to you. But yeah, a good question Tia and then what?

Yeah, because, you know, Service Bureau, I mean, and I know you guys are like really, really techy, but just from my own experience and the, from the experiences of this within the community, yes, there is this business side of it, but then it’s also like a really big emotional side of it. And I think on the emotional side, for me the service bar accelerator means transparency.

Like understanding, knowing really just. Straight shooters. Okay, this is what it is, this is how it is, this is what, what can work and what can’t work. And I think like that respect not only just builds a loyalty to, you know the brand, but it’s also like a commitment to the program.

Like, okay, I wanna do better because I’m being informed and I see that they’re pushing me to be better and grow more and do more. They’re providing me all these resources [00:25:00] and tools. So I just kind of wanna add that out there for you guys. Like, it’s definitely like a. You know,

One of the, yeah. One of the things that, regardless of what people read in Facebook groups, one of the things that we’re very, very upfront about is where the money’s made, how we make our money. If somebody asks, yeah, this is where it is. Right? And this is, go ahead, Ross.

I was gonna say, I actually wanted to touch on that a little bit too because we did talk about what is a service bureau. We talked about revenue models, but I also wanted to quickly talk about how do service bureaus actually make money? Because we’ve been talking about fees and everything like that, but I don’t think we actually have really clearly.

Well, let’s do that. Let’s break down how service bureaus make money, and then we’ll wrap up this episode and then we’ll go onto other topics and future ones.

Yeah, so off the bat, right, like we talked about this as far as like the first revenue models you’re selling your software, right? So now depending on your deal, and this is another topic for later, but depending on your deal you know, if you are not with us, you might not have the best deal, but you do you. You might have to pay for every [00:26:00] software license that you sell.

With ours you don’t. But basically, when you go out and sell your software to an ERO you would then, you know, sell, say a software package for a thousand bucks, right? We’re just gonna throw that number out there. So you as the service bureau, you collect that fee. You’re the one charging the customer a thousand dollars.

They’re paying you directly. Now if you have to pay a portion outta that for your license fee, you got a bad deal. But that’s fine.

Most people with us. Don’t have to. I’m just gonna tell them how they really felt. Yeah.

Uncle Ross.

With us, you don’t have to pay any fees. So that’s all your money. You keep it. So that’s the first way you can generate revenue, right?

It’s just selling your software or selling your software packages for that upfront cost, like that thousand dollars license fee, plus any renewals, right? So that’s your first revenue bucket. Now, the second revenue bucket, and this is where. You really make the most revenue as a service bureau, and this is where most people are. A lot of people are getting pissed off because they would sell their software for free or whatever.

And then they’d hit people up on the backend is on every bank product that gets funded through the software. So if you are working with, you know, early season tax offices who are working with a lot of bank product [00:27:00] customers. You as a service bureau can set additional fees whenever those bank products get used to the software.

So you can. Now there’s a couple buckets within there. Won’t go into too many details, but that is where you have other areas that you can put on additional fees on the transmission fees technology transmission fees. You can add a service bureau fee. A lot of you guys might see like SVB fee or service bureau fee in those bank product like fee sheets.

That is where there’s a lot of extra dollars that the service bureau can add onto those bank products that the tax customer, your customers, for you guys who are growing your tax business, your tax customers are paying these fees outta the refund and that money is bypassing you and it’s going up to the service bureau.

And so that’s an area where service bureaus also generate revenue, is through the bank product fees. And that’s where really at the end of the day, that’s where a lot of the bread and butter is. That’s where most of the revenue comes from.

And there was all a lot of conflict too. That’s where a lot of the conflict in.

That’s where a lot of the conflict comes up as well, because Tia, how much were you paying [00:28:00] for a bank product on your software?

It was like 179. No, 200 and something when you add all the fees together that my client was paying. And I, will say this, after being a service bureau for, you know, two years now. You get your emotions out of it and you kind of, you know, at first you’re like, oh, okay, they’re, I don’t know if they can me, you know?

But then you realize, well, it’s not, I wasn’t upset about the fee that was being charged. I was really upset that I wasn’t getting any of it when I kind of sat and thought about it, like, okay, they’re gonna have to pay something regardless. But I would rather get something of it. So if I was getting something that would be different, but I wasn’t getting anything.

And I think that’s how most of us who start off as EROs going to service bureaus feel that’s like, at least for me, like a social impact point. Like okay, I want to be transparent and when, you know, my EROs ask, okay, what is this SB charge?

Okay, that is my service bureau fee for the first year. You know, I collect it and [00:29:00] this is what it covers. Staff calls, emails, trainings. I let them know where that money is going once it come in.

Not just software and tech support. You’re like, well, I thought that was the license fee that I already paid.

Right. And then all of them are. Okay like, because they’re fine with it. Like, okay, if that means I get to email you or call you, I’m cool with that.

Yeah. And that’s a huge part of like, what we also talk about in our program is like, look it’s fine to charge fees. Like we’re not saying like, don’t charge anyone fees. Like obviously put fees on your offices cause that’s where we’re gonna make revenue. But make sure that it’s like, it actually makes sense, right?

Because here you can explain the fees like, well, this is what it covers. And they’re like, oh, okay, yeah, that makes sense. Cause they know they’re actually getting more service. That’s what we also teach about like, hey, like sell with more value, have more value that you’re bringing to the table so you’re not just software and tech support, your software tech support and email support, you know, staff members that are supporting people.

Everything that you talked about before, Tia. That is what sets it up. And I mean with certain scenarios, like we talked about this with like an academy, if you’re working with someone brand new, guess what? Yeah, [00:30:00] there’s gonna be a lot of hold handholding, you’re gonna have a lot higher fees probably on someone who’s brand new to the industry that you are working with.

That is maybe they don’t even have an EFIN, they’re filing under yours. There’s a lot more liability if you want to do that kind of approach. So yeah, I mean obviously as a service bureau you’re probably gonna increase those fees and that’s fine, but at a certain point in time. Don’t get creedy because that’s where customers are gonna leave you.

As soon as they get savvy and as soon as they figure it out, they’re gonna leave. They’re gonna jump ship as soon as possible. So make sure it’s reasonable and what you’re actually charging makes sense based on what you’re actually delivering.

I wish we can do like another episode on like service bureau etiquette.

We actually, yeah. So let’s wrap up this episode. But that’s funny. Cause we actually put together we names still in the works, but like the 10 service Bureau commandments, right? We actually made a list and it’s not, we’re not quite at 10 yet. We just gotta, you know, brainstorm a bit more.

But it’s gonna be something along the line. There’s gonna be some type of list. That we put together. That’ll be a whole episode in itself of that. but yeah, I think [00:31:00] this was a interesting first episode wasn’t quite what I expected. I was like, Hey, let’s keep it simple. What is the service bureau?

But it’s a little bit more deeper stuff than I anticipated. But that’s fine. That is fine.

Keep it spity.

What we’re all about. And one other thing too, I also wanna mention to you when you’re talking about like honesty and like transparency, that’s actually, so in the new year, we actually went through some internal like company stuff, training and just kind of getting more infrastructure.

That’s actually one of our company core values is transparency. Because we do that in the web, in like our webinars and like with our clients, it’s like there’s no reason not to be. And that’s, I think like you mentioned, that’s been a huge part of where people, that emotional thing, they’re like, holy shit, I’m finally somewhere where I’m not getting the wool pulled over my eyes.

Like I’m actually, I can get the information that I need and they’re not gonna bullshit me on anything. So that was a big part of what we’re trying to do over.

Awesome. Oh, that being said, hope everyone enjoyed episode one of The Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast and we will see you on the next episode. Thanks, Tia. Thanks, Ross.