A retired police officer/firefighter after a 30-year career in public service, Kevin Rego is now an accountant who specializes in taxation law. However, Kevin soon realized that he was not being paid for the value of his service. Due to this realization, he enrolled as a student in our Abundant Accountant program and went through the eight-week sales mastery training. With this, Kevin was able to earn more revenue by applying his learnings to his business and life. Tune into this episode as he shares valuable insights on how he boosted his revenue.
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Case Study | How Kevin Got Rid Of Clients, Raised Fees Over 150% & Boosted His Revenue Exponentially With Kevin Rego
We have a special guest. Our special guest is a client of mine. He is also a member of the California State Bar since 1999. He’s a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and holds an LLM Masters of Law in Tax from the University of Alabama. He is the California State Bar specialist in taxation law with more than years of tax experience. For fun, he’s a retired police officer and firefighter after a 30-year career in public service. He loves to travel and read.
Before we welcome our special guest to the show, it is so crazy how many accountants and tax pros think that increasing their fees is going to result in lower revenue and losing their clients. I’m sure discounting fees, getting as many clients as possible and sending out proposals might work. That’s for anyone who wants to increase their firm revenue by working harder, taking on clients and with way more struggle.
The simple fact is, my clients triple their base fees and get paid first and upfront without ever having to chase clients down for payments again. If you want to pull back the curtains in your firm and see where you can improve and what gaps there are, head on over to TheAbundantCall.com and schedule a call with us.
We’ll go through, step by step, the parts that are missing so you can double your firm revenue. You can triple your base fees without ever having to chase down clients for payments and never having AR ever again. Once again, head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to schedule your call if you are a firm owner or you’re in a job with a firm on the side and ready to quit that job. Let’s welcome our special guest, Kevin Rego, to the show.
Welcome, Kevin, to the show.
Thank you so much, Michelle. I’m glad to be here.
I am so happy you’re here. For everyone reading, Kevin is a student of the Abundant Accountant and has gone through our eight-week sales mastery training and it has continued on with our coaching. I’m excited to have you here. Before we dive into your story, the things you’ve learned, where you were before, and where you’re today, can you share a little bit about your background with everyone? I know you do taxes, but you’re also an attorney.
I’ve been an attorney for over twenty years. I have a Masters in Law in Taxation. I’ve got a lot of education on the tax side. I took a strange path in the tax law. My partner and I started a tax preparation business more than twenty years ago. It’s not the normal route for a tax attorney, but we had a small niche practice that grew and grew and we’re still doing it.
I’m so glad that you’re still doing it because I remember that you completely resented all of your clients when we first spoke. That’s changed since August of ’21, at the time when we first met. You were completely feeling like a commodity, Kevin, and having to justify those fees and convince clients of things that you didn’t have the confidence to make things happen the way you are. I’d love it if you could share with everyone what was the biggest challenge before you reached out for support? If you can go back in time, I know it’s probably hard to remember back then because everything’s so much better now.
Let me start with that. I’m so happy I am at this place now. It was exactly what you said. It was frustration, not moving forward with new ideas and not being paid the value of my service. It was somewhat of a crossroads of, “Do I want to continue doing this? Am I ready to retire and be finished with this?” It wasn’t fun at all.
You wanted to throw in the towel. Lying in bed sounded a lot better.
My friends and family would ask me, “Why do you put yourself through this every year,” as I was tearing my hair out and frustrated with clients, the IRS, and how I was managing my practice. I knew I had to reach out and get some help.
You reached out to me. We had a great conversation and I also remember one thing from our conversation. You do tax resolution work as well as the compliance side. There was about $40,000 of missed revenue that kept passing you by. We got in the rut of doing the same old thing over and over again, probably feeling the hamster on the wheel running in circles and having the family ask you, “Why do you keep doing this to yourself?” Kevin, what had you to reach out for support and admit that you couldn’t keep going this way and that you needed some help to change it?If you want to make this all work for you, be coachable. Click To Tweet
Against my previous rant, I still enjoyed the field of tax. I knew that I wanted to go into a different area and you mentioned the resolution. What I did was I got a bunch of knowledge. I got a mentor, took classes, spent a lot of money and a lot of time building up my knowledge on the resolution side. I stayed at par. I didn’t move. I never went in that direction. I was giving away, as you said, tens of thousands of dollars of valuable information by not charging for that information. I was giving away my product.
Also, being stuck. Besides doing all the classes and getting up to par on your technical knowledge, what did you try to fix about the pricing and not leaving $40,000 on the table and other things? What did you try to fix prior to us working together? What are some things that you attempted but didn’t work out for you and what frustrated you the most about it?
I didn’t know how to communicate with clients on that level of communicating the value of my service and asking for the additional revenue or asking to be paid what I was worth. Everything came down to the client asking, “Isn’t this included in the fee?”
I bet everyone reading loves that question.
It was that part of me that didn’t want to fight and upset the client so I acquiesced and said, “Yeah. Here’s the information. Let me help you.” There was one thing in our initial conversation that was a golden moment for me.
I’d love to hear it and so does everyone else because I don’t remember it.
It still resonates with me. I talked about getting back to the education part. I talked about how I had been a member of this group for a few years that was focused on resolution. I had taken these classes and all these. You said, “That’s great. What have you done with that? Were you doing the resolution?” I hemmed and hawed and I went, “I haven’t done that much.” There was this silence on your poignant question, “I’m curious. Why not? Why haven’t you done anything? Why haven’t you made that jump and gone into that area that has interested you?”
It was this lightning bolt where I went, “She’s right. Why haven’t I?” That gets back to the confidence, understanding that there’s a process and why I reached out to you, to begin with. My first words to you were, “I hate sales. I don’t want to be a salesman. I don’t want to sell.” It is so much different than that. That has been one of the biggest things for me. It’s not a sales technique process. It’s not trying to take somebody and make them do something that you want. It’s not manipulation. It presents your services, sees if you can work with this person, see if you can help this person, and then convince them that you can help.
That’s completely what it is, but it takes a process and it takes a new way. I’m curious to hear from you, Kevin, because I hear this a lot, “Michelle, what do I get? What am I going to do? How do I do this?” These are all platitudes. I heard that. Kevin and I’ve heard this from so many, “You’re talking in platitudes, Michelle. Can you give me the exact thing?” I’m like, “We will be here for the next 400 hours or however many hours it takes to learn the how.”
How did you overcome that and jump in and say, “I am sick of resenting my clients? I don’t want to feel like a commodity and justify my prices. I need a formula and need a procedure.” I know you had that fear of confidence before too, which clearly is gone, but confidence is now what you lead with, taking that courage and taking that leap of faith to get over the fact that you’re diving in and going into a world of the unknown. How did you overcome that?
I embraced everything that you had to say. One of the other famous quotes for me was, “If you want to make this all work for you, be coachable.” What that meant was when I first started the lessons, I’m going, “This doesn’t fit right with me. This doesn’t feel right. This is out of my comfort zone. This is strange.”
All of a sudden, you go, “Go with it. Understand that this is something that you’re not used to. These are not techniques. It’s a way of changing your way of thinking about your relationship with your work and with your clients and embracing it. Be coachable.” It was easy for me. After the first week, I started to get a kick out of it and tried to stay even more animated with it than you were asking. I was picking up enthusiasm as it was going because even at the beginning, I saw that this was a new way of thinking and a new way of doing things.
Also, a new way to communicate with clients for everyone wondering what he’s talking about. It’s how we talk to our clients and what we say. You feared the confidence before, so how do we lead with confidence by having that structure and having that system that you follow. What I’m curious about and maybe you can share a little bit with the readers, going back in time. What are some of the short-term successes and wins that you had?
You went all in and you were coachable. You said, “I’m going to leave this up to someone else.” You weren’t getting there on your own. We can attempt to keep going on our own. At the time, you were trying to do the resolution work for about three years. Can you share with everyone what some of your short-term wins are? What is it that you wanted to create? What were you trying to do on your own, but it wasn’t working? What was that dream and the vision that you had?
I had the dream and vision of leaving behind the tax preparation side of my business. Having more time and free time and having more time to go on vacations and have other interests, whether during tax season or after tax season, and having an area where I felt more challenged, where the resolution side felt more challenging. It was feeling less with the numbers and more with, to an extent, relationships with the IRS, Franchise Tax Board, or the estate tax agency and learning how to work with them within this incredible bureaucracy, so I wanted more time.
I wanted a higher-quality client, a higher value client, and a higher paying client while at the same time feeling challenged within the field. That’s where I couldn’t get there. Before you, I didn’t know how to put the car into drive. I had a great car with a big engine and everything was moving except me. I didn’t have the transmission to put it into drive to get it moving.
How did you get that transmission? Share with some of them. Share some of your short-term wins in the few months that we were together a lot in the beginning when you were going through all the work and figuring out, are you going into neutral? Are you going to drive? Are you going to go into sport-mode? You went into sport mode. What were some of those short-term milestones that got you into sport mode and got you moving on that track?
If we’re talking dollars, up to this point, in a few months, there has been an increase in revenue of about $15,000. That’s probably on the low side.Open your eyes and take a look at a process that works for you. Click To Tweet
That’s only the gain, so the revenue is higher, but that’s how much extra you charged.
When you talked about what’s getting you forward, you stared at us and said, “Don’t ever give this away for free. You are giving your services away. You deserve to be paid for what you do and the value of what you do.” You had us do exercises that were mind-blowing to me that when I first started them, I was like, “This is dumb.” Shortly after that, as we continued with the class, I learned exactly why you had us do these exercises. It was eye-opening. This is not a technique. This is teaching you to rethink how you handle your business, your clients, your life, and what you want out of it.
How do you feel now? If you look at where you were with all these problems, and you’re literally stuck, you weren’t even stuck in neutral. You were stuck in park. You might have been going in reverse, but we were at a slow pace going in reverse for almost a few years. You had this conversation with me. You took the leap of faith, jumped into feet, and were open in being coachable.
I love that you brought that up because you have to sometimes put aside, “This is dumb. Why do I have to do it,” to trust the process. How are things now because you had a tax season and in tax season? I’d love to know the increase on your fees of where they were last tax season and other things that you have put into place that someone reading might be like, “I’m sick and tired. I want that too, Kevin. I’m ready to make a change and I’m going to book a call with Michelle and Denise and get this figured out. I am done.”
This is going to sound weird. We’re in tax season now whenever anyone is reading this, but as we’re talking now, I haven’t had a better tax season as far back as I can remember.
How many years is that in an estimate?
I’ve been doing them for over twenty years, so probably a good that I can remember is over ten years since I’ve been this excited. With your help, I flat out raised my fees by 50%. I fired my PETA clients.
50% or 200%. You doubled it.
Under double. 150% when all is said and done.
If you did it by 50%, that means you decreased it by half.
I got rid of my PETA clients and I got many of my clients under control to say, “I’d like to work with you and this is the process that I need you to work with.” Be it Google Docs, worksheets, or whatever things that we discussed many times in class, it has been a smooth season to the point that my friends and family are looking at me going, “You aren’t falling apart like you usually are about this time. Is everything okay? Are you okay?”
Now you get to spend quality real-time with them.
Setting time limits for me saying, “I’m done at a certain time. Tomorrow, I’m only going to work a half-day. On Saturday and Sunday, I’m going to enjoy my time off. I’m going to watch a game. I’m going to go for a walk. I’m going to enjoy the outside. I’m going to get away from my desk for a while.” It has made an incredible difference.
To summarize, you raised your fees by a little over 150%. You cut yourself off every night, so you have time with the family. You have your weekends back, so you’re not overworking yourself and working on the weekends. You get to enjoy the outdoors. In addition to that, the time with the family and the quality time and them seeing that you’re present with them versus passive with them has made a huge change. Also, getting rid of your PETA clients. Can you share the percentage of clients that you got rid of? How much less volume did you shed?
It still remains to be seen what the price increase effect will be. Looking at revenue versus revenue, I’m doing better than last year with less clients. My EDA clients were probably only in the neighborhood of about 3% to 4% of clients. When I look at my client list, I say, “Is this a person I want to continue working with? Is this a person I want to have spent time with, whether it be email, phone, office appointment, or whatever it’d be? Is this a person that I want to continue this business relationship with?” That comes from the confidence that I had from you and the classwork because I had to have this client prior to that. “This person came to my door or called me or emailed me. I can’t turn away a client. I got to take this client.” I realized that could not be further from the truth.
That’s one other win that we haven’t talked about yet. You had accounts receivable before and now you don’t. That’s another big shift and change for you? Do you want to share how that went for you?
It came back to some of the more valuable things that I picked up from my eight-week class with you. It wasn’t just the process, which was incredible, but the discussions that we had as a class in talking with each other, sharing ideas, and getting things out.
Your AR was about $8,000 when we first met. It’s now at $0. You collected every single dollar. I know you have made a commitment that you’re always going to get paid upfront for your services and you’re never going to chase the client down for payment. How has that shift been for you as the firm owner? I know it has contributed to the confidence that you have. Collecting that money and having to call them, what was that experience like?To be successful, you have to know what you're doing, love what you're doing, and believe in what you're doing. Click To Tweet
It was major. Getting back to our discussions in class, it was you that said, “For all the time that you are spending chasing your clients, you’re not getting compensated for that time to collect the money that they already owe you. It is frustrating and demoralizing that you’re having to beg for money for services that you’ve already provided that they’ve already been able to take advantage of, and you feel taken advantage of.” What resonated with me was, “The time it takes for you to continue to call or send emails or send the letters and then keep tracking your AR, so it doesn’t fall through the cracks is a terrible waste of time.”
What about the interest you didn’t collect on that money either?
It’s the classic, you did all the work upfront. That goes back to proposals. I know you hate that word.
It’s a bad four-letter word in my world, even though it’s not four letters.
It goes back to that. You’re into this weird phase where you feel bad asking to be paid. You feel almost like you owe it to this person, like, “They’re going through some rough time,” or, “They’ll pay me when they get their refund.” No. Never again.
What is that place called where you can take your check-in and they give it the money in advance before the money is even there?
The rapid refund. Even those guys are getting astronomical fees upfront.
They are getting paid a lot and they are getting a piece of that check in advance. Kevin, thank you so much for sharing that. I’d love to know, what advice would you have for someone reading and has been thinking about making a change? They’ve been sitting in the top nosebleed zone at an NFL game watching the people on the field saying, “I want to be there. I want to make a shift. I want to have that confidence. I don’t want to keep my car parked in the park any longer and going reverse. I’ve been doing that for three years. I don’t want to leave any more money on the table,” and everything we spoke about today. What advice, from your point of view, what you’ve learned, and the changes you’ve made, with the effort and the work you put in, would you want to share with someone who might want to throw in the towel like you were before?
Quite simply, call you.
Besides call me. Thank you.
It’s because that was my solution. Understand that there is a process. We, as accountants, as tax attorneys, as CPAs, have a view where we’re logical, looking at numbers, crunching numbers, and making adjustments here and there. Realize that there’s a whole different area within the practice management and client management that you can explore that is going to make your practice better.
I say call you. If you think you can do it on your own, maybe there are books you can read. Understand that there’s a whole side of the practice that involves confidence and you making positive changes within yourself and within the practice that get you to a happier life. That gets you to places that you want to go rather than just behind your computer screen. I encourage people to open their eyes and take a look at a process that works for you.
Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your process with all of the readers and how you got out of your comfort zone. You invested in what I call transformation. The books, one-off courses, and other things, I call that information, but in order to have transformation, you have to invest in human support and change. That’s where you can make a real huge difference. This is definitely transformation because you’ve transformed. You’re like a transformer, Kevin. You’re in sport mode in your car, getting sideline tickets, almost on the field at a football or baseball game. I know you love baseball.
As we close, can I leave you with one quote that came across that encompasses the entire thing? It is by Will Rogers that says, “If you want to be successful, it’s just as simple. Know what you’re doing, love what you’re doing, and believe in what you’re doing.” That takes it to that level. Make that process change and you’re going to be a lot happier.
Keep up the great work. I cannot wait to see what happens to your happiness and soon maybe Kevin will come back and tell us how he’s working part-time, attending every baseball game, enjoying the family, and doubling revenue and fees next year. Thank you, Kevin, for taking this time to share with others who own a firm, maybe a tax attorney or bookkeeping firm, because this applies to you. Thank you for taking out half an hour to share your story with others.
Thank you so much, Michelle.
Thank you all so much for joining Kevin and I on the show for him to share his experience and story with each of you. Perhaps someone is reading and you are terrified to increase your fees because you’re going to lose clients resulting in lower revenue. Maybe you are sick and tired of giving discounts, doing free work, giving away friends and family discounts, sending out a proposal or a quote and hoping that you hear back from clients. If you are completely unaware of how you can triple your base fees and get paid first and upfront without ever having to chase clients down again, then I do recommend you book a call with us. We’d have a 45-minute call so we can access and figure out what is stopping you.
We’re going to go through where you’re at in your firm and what is keeping you stuck, where you want to be in your firm and in your life to ensure you’re paid first and upfront, avoiding all the pitfalls along the way and saving you a ton of money in the process. On our call, we’re going to go through the exact next steps you can take to double your firm revenue in the next twelve months, how you can increase your base fees like Kevin did by 150% all the way up to 300%. You can have that time and freedom with your family, not be distracted, and never have a dreadful tax season again. If that’s you, go to TheAbundantCall.com and book a call with us. We look forward to talking to you. I’ll see you in the next episode.
About Kevin Rego
Kevin has been a member of the CA State Bar since 1999. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and holds an LLM, Master of Law in Tax from the University of Alabama. He is also a CA state bar-certified specialist in Taxation Law with 20 years of tax experience. And he is also a retired police officer/firefighter after a 30-year career in public service. Kevin loves to travel and read!