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NECPA in NEBRASKA

More questions for those with offices in their homes

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It's official, I am moving my office home in a couple of months. It is really gong to be different, but there will some definite advantages. I won't have to run to the office really late at night again, because their power went out and knocked my VPN offline. We built a separate shed for storage and supplies and will wall off part of the downstairs for security and some privacy. It will be tough to convince my clients that they have to make appointments if they want to see me, but hopefully, they will adapt. Do you have a PO Box or do you have everything mailed to the house? I am getting a locking dropbox, but I'm not sure how I will do pickups, if I am not home. They may have to wait until someone is there. Thanks for all of the great advice.

Bonnie

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You will love your commute!

I use my mailing address. I have a mail slot in my front door for drop offs without an appointment. I've gotten most clients to realize they have to make an appointment to pick-up, sign, pay, etc. I can take credit card information over the telephone, and clients can pay via the PayPal button on my website. Sometimes my husband will handle a pickup. And because he's retired now, I have sent him out to make deliveries. I put lots of post-its on everything with directions re signing and what he's to bring home to me! Not sure about next season, but I've had inexpensive very part-time help who've done pickups and deliveries for me as well as some filing, sorting, running adding machine tapes, clerical duties, etc.

Some clients want me to email, fax, or upload via FileShare on my website their signature pages and return for review; then they return the signed pages, usually via the same method. I can always mail them their tax folder later; hubby does post office runs for me too, and bank runs.

Clients mail, FedEx, email, fax, upload to my website, bring me documents at church,etc. I have two drop-off points in neighboring towns, my chiropractor and the Curves where I work out. Surprisingly, clients like to drop off at Curves. The owner lets me put a sign on her door.

I have a card swiper for my iPhone, but haven't sent hubby with that yet.

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Thanks! I stopped taking credit cards last season, because it was costing me a fortune to only have two or three people a year use them. I don't have a website yet and need to look into an affordable one, since my husband was turned down for disability again so we have to wait over a year for a hearing. The attorney says that there is no way that he doesn't qualify, but it was a pretty big setback for us. It may help our son get financial aid for college though. That is great that you have drop off points for clients. Thanks for the help.

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I'm in the QB ProAdvisor program, so get a good deal on accepting credit cards. Look for a program that takes fees only when you process a payment, without monthly fees. Then it's worth it to get paid promptly, be able to take credit card info over the telephone, not drive to the bank with $4/gallon gas, etc. How about PayPal? I think clients can pay via PayPal using their credit card without having an account; if they have an account they can pay by check or card. I've heard that it's pricey to get the fees into your bank account. But, I don't have many that pay via PayPal, so I leave it in PayPal as that's what I need to use to pay for my NY/CT-ATP dinner meetings with CEUs six times per year.

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Also, for drop-off points I was looking for lawyers, insurance offices, realtors, companies that suggested confidentiality and that might want my clients to know where they're located. Then my chiropractor offered. Figured a doctor's office would work. Used Curves due to the town it was in, but thought my clients might feel it's too open and too female. But, it's the favored drop off point by my clients, women and men! I think it really is location, location, location.

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OMG. It's their first anniversary! I need a card. I need a gift. I'll be late! What kind of mother am I? Maybe an e-card. And flowers? Are flowers a cop out? They can use money, but a check seems unimaginative for a mother to give on a first anniversary. If I'm out of ideas already...

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@Lion -- paper is traditional for first anniversary. Money is paper! Gift cards are close to paper. If you really wanted to give them a physical gift (although it will be a bit late), American Stationery (www dot americanstationery dot com) has lovely gift sets of reasonably priced, high-quality personalized paper sets.

@NECPA -- PayPal is indeed the way to go for taking credit cards (but it is easier if _you_ have a web site - and CPA site builder has a standard format site with no contracts for $50/month with file transfer and multiple email accounts etc.). You link your PayPal (business) account to the website - clients click on the "Pay My Bill" link and can pay by any method and they don't need a PayPal account themselves. Transferring the $$ to your business account is a matter of a couple clicks. It generally takes a couple days to transfer. Yes, there is a fee -- roughly 4%, if memory serves -- but for the few who want to use credit cards every year to pay my bill, in an entire year I don't spend on PayPal fees anywhere near what ONE month of credit card merchant service processing would cost.

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Update: I ended up sending an e-card from my American Greetings account with an Amazon.com gift card attached to arrive on their anniversary. I also sent my husband out, armed with address labels, stamps, and return address labels, to buy and mail a card that will be only slightly late but so they have a physical card to display. They are out in the boonies and shop online alot, so hopefully the Amazon.com card will seem more thoughtful on my part than forgetful. Thank you, everyone, for your good thoughts.

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I set up a website through AFSB. Very easy to get started, secure file transfer, a monthly newsletter, mulitple emails and more. I mostly wanted it for the secure file transfer, but I've been working on it a bit at a time throughout the summer, and just got a new client because of it. And google.

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It's in the Tenenz catalog. I liked what I saw when I tested it out, and also saw it recommended on a few other messageboards. I'm no kind of programmer or designer, and it is very easy to work with to get the look you want, and to update. It has a paypal feature too, which I'd like to get set up, as well as the ability to link to my facebook page. I hate having to pay fees for things like paypal, but it will help with remote clients.

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