With more and more people needing top-notch bookkeepers, knowing how the hourly rates work is super important.
If you’re a new bookkeeper looking to start your own gig, you’ve got to figure out the right rates that show how skilled you are.
The best freelancing jobs pay well, but many things affect your hourly rate for bookkeeping
Rates can change depending on how much experience a bookkeeper has, what fancy certificates they have, and even where they work.
So let’s talk about what bookkeepers earn and how you should charge for your services.
- Bookkeepers’ average hourly rates – $17 – $26 per hour
- Bookkeepers’ average salary – $43,237 per year
- Rates are influenced by work complexity, transaction volume, company size, specialized knowledge requirements, and the level of financial responsibility.
- Bookkeepers with more experience command higher rates due to their expertise in various accounting software, tax regulations, and industry practices.
Average Hourly Rate For Bookkeeping Services
The hourly rate changes in different cities but most bookkeepers typically range between $17 – $26 per hour.
Hourly rate is also influenced by experience, service complexity, and if you’re an independent contractor or a W2 employee.
Knowing how bookkeepers charge is important when considering starting your bookkeeping business.
Pick A Pricing Structure
Let’s start with some information on services:
You could be a bookkeeper if you’re skilled at generating monthly financial reports, managing bank accounts, providing online bookkeeping services, and preparing profit and loss statements.
But some skills justify a higher rate, which is why what you offer will affect your pay rates.
Now, how bookkeepers charge clients is either by the hour or per project (fixed rate pricing):
Hourly rates for freelance bookkeepers typically range between $17 – $26 per hour, influenced by location, experience, and service complexity.
Setting the right hourly rate is super important when starting your bookkeeping business. It’s all about finding a fair price for your skills that also helps your business grow.
Occasionally, bookkeepers charge for a specific project instead of using an average hourly rate.
This method is ideal when the tasks have clear boundaries, like what work is covered under the fixed price for the project.
Important factors influencing the bookkeeper cost per-project rates based on the client’s income include:
- Project’s size and intricacy
- Completion time or client’s due date
- Quality of financial documents needed
Some bookkeepers charge based on a certain percentage of the client’s revenue.
For example, bookkeeping project pricing would differ for a large company earning $1.5 million annually compared to a small business owner with $200,000 in yearly revenue.
Some people could also put you on retainer to do work for them when needed, and that fee would basically make their work a priority.
The formula used is usually a flat fee of your hourly rate X hours you expect to work.
So if a client may need you for 5 hours a month, you could charge $23 X 5 to get $115.
And even if you work 3 or 4 hours or none, you still get that money, and they need to pay a new retainer to keep you available for the next week.
You can also charge for an initial consult, a flat fee to see what services they’d need before getting into the project.
Not everyone charges for initial consults when freelancing, but your time is worth money, so I’d at least charge an hourly rate if they want to meet and talk first before hiring you.
Factors That Affect How Much You Charge
Pricing your bookkeeping services can be a tricky task- some of the things you do will be close to accounting tasks, and you’ll want to get paid fairly.
What key factors must you consider when pricing your services?
Here are the most important factors for charging the right rate for your work:
The location where you conduct your bookkeeper business significantly impacts the average hourly rate you can get.
For example, bookkeepers in metropolitan areas tend to charge higher rates than those in rural areas.
The average hourly rate in Massachusetts and California cities is $32, which is almost $10 over the national average hourly rate!
It’s primarily because the cost of living and operating expenses are higher in urban areas, and jobs need to pay a living wage.
Additionally, bookkeepers in small towns may have less competition for jobs, which means they can still charge a fair rate while bringing in customers.
Another factor that affects how much you can charge as a bookkeeper is your level of experience.
If you’re an entry-level bookkeeper, you’ll likely need to charge lower rates until you’ve built up a portfolio of clients and established a reputation for yourself.
Some of that starts with not having the experience to back up your work and ensure you’re efficient and effective.
However, as you gain more experience and skills, you can charge higher rates.
Education is also a factor that bookkeeping clients consider when determining how much they’re willing to pay for bookkeeping services.
Clients are often willing to pay more for bookkeepers who have degrees related to your projects.
Certificates from the best bookkeeping courses can demonstrate you’ve learned the best practices, which can be another selling point for clients to hire you.
Certification is optional to be a bookkeeper, but it can affect how much you charge per hour as a bookkeeper.
Clients may be willing to pay a higher average hourly rate for a certified bookkeeper because they feel more confident and can trust them.
I recommend taking Bookkeeper Launch to get certified as a bookkeeper and start your career on the right foot.
The type of bookkeeping services you offer can also affect how much you charge for an average hourly rate.
For instance, if you provide a wide range of services, you can charge higher rates than someone who offers only one or two services.
Some bookkeepers also specialize in particular niches, such as:
- Tax preparation
- Accounts receivable/payable
- Financial analysis
How To Become a Bookkeeper
1. Take A Course & Get Certified
Many reputable websites offer bookkeeping courses online with flexible schedules and affordable fees.
The course should cover bookkeeping basics, accounting principles, software applications, and other skills required to be a successful professional bookkeeper.
The course I recommend taking is Bookkeeper Launch! It’s a great course offering professional certification you can use on your resume.
You can also take their 3 free lessons to help you decide if bookkeeping is what you want to do to earn money.
2. Pick Your Services & Pricing
The next step is to decide on your pricing strategies and then set your average hourly rate.
Here are some steps to figure out the average hourly rate you want to charge bookkeeping clients for your online bookkeeping service:
- Know The Services You’ll Provide: Start by deciding what bookkeeping services you offer. If you’re good at these services, you can charge more.
- Check What Others Charge: Do local research to discover the average hourly wage charged by fellow bookkeepers in your area.
- Count Your Costs: Determine how much money you spend on accounting software, office supplies, and advertising.
- Start Reasonable: As a new bookkeeper, you might want to start with a lower rate to get clients interested. Then, as you get better and busier, you can raise your rate.
Make sure if you’re freelancing that you also pick your payment method. Some clients may be cool with old-school checks or direct deposits to your bank account.
But most freelancers use third-party sites like PayPal, Venmo, and more to send invoices and guarantee payments.
3. Get On Freelancing Platforms
These platforms enable you to build a professional profile where you can display your skills and experiences.
You’ll have the opportunity to bid on bookkeeping jobs offered by clients worldwide. Your profile is your chance to connect with more clients than you could find on your own.
Remember that many bookkeepers use these platforms, so making your profile stand out with your unique qualifications is key to attracting clients and launching your career.
To make your profile shine, emphasize your certifications, relevant experience, and testimonials from satisfied clients.
4. Land Clients & Get Paid
Once you start bidding on and applying for jobs, it’s important to be professional, responsive, and communicative with your clients.
Payment platforms such as PayPal can make sending and receiving payments easy and offer reliable protection against fraud or disputes.
What should I charge per hour for bookkeeping?
Deciding on your hourly rate for your services is important as a bookkeeper.
Consider your experience level, the complexity of the bookkeeping tasks, and what bookkeepers charge in your area and with your experience level.
A common guideline is to charge between $20 per hour for bookkeeping as a starting point.
Some freelance bookkeepers charge a larger average hourly rate for one-time clients rather than ongoing services to repeat monthly clients, who may get a ‘bulk deal.’
Remember to consider what an in-house bookkeeper typically earns in terms of average salaries if you’re not considering freelance work but are going to work for a single company.
Should I take an online course?
While a bachelor’s degree isn’t always necessary, a course can help you understand various accounting software for a small business and boost your hourly earning potential.
If you’re new to the bookkeeping field, enrolling in an online course like Bookkeeper Launch can be highly beneficial.
A course can enhance your skills and knowledge in bookkeeping, giving you a competitive advantage in the industry.
Do I need certification?
While certification isn’t strictly required to become a bookkeeper, it can be highly advantageous.
It demonstrates to potential clients that you’ve met a certain standard of knowledge and skills, boosting their confidence in your capabilities.
Entry-level bookkeepers can benefit from certification since they may not have any background in financial documents or have a degree to add to their resumes.
Becoming a bookkeeper can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path, with opportunities for growth and success in your small business.
Bookkeepers can earn $17 – $25 per hour, and getting your business started with the right services and background can affect how much you earn.
By taking courses and getting certified, you can land clients as a self-employed bookkeeper and build a successful bookkeeping business from scratch.
Remember, like any career, it will require dedication and hard work, but with the right mindset and skills, you can definitely make a mark in the world of bookkeeping.
I suggest taking the FREE lessons by Bookkeeper Launch to get certified and earn more as a freelance bookkeeper.