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Accounting for Service Fees


As you know I am laser focused on building my virtual assistant consulting business. Today I am here with a question for the BAD community about the service fees I incur.

Little Background

When I began twelve years ago, I was able to build my business using to primary methods.

First, I advertised in local business focused magazines and newspapers. My first client found me through a newspaper that came to his wife’s law office. He ended up hiring me as customer service for one company and tech support for another.

Second, I applied for project based jobs on Guru.com. This is how my longest running client found me. I started as a part time marketing assistant and moved up to customer service and product manager over 10 years with them.

guru logo

Now Today

I thought as I began to focus on rebuilding my consulting business that I could go about things in a similar manner. But time has changed things a bit. Virtual Assistant is now a common term. And I am competing with a worldwide workforce.

Tim Ferris’ book Four Hour Work Week brought using an international workforce to the forefront. Highlighting the opportunity to hire a quality, low cost support staff. It made competition in the virtual assistant world fierce.

My Question: Service Fees

As a result of all of this, I am changing direction. Or at least the platform and proposals I am using.

I am now focusing on Upwork.com and taking advantage of their detailed filter options for finding work. I specifically like the option to limit your search results to projects seeking US Based Workers only. This is huge for my particular industry.

upwork logo
In addition to the standard price, time frame and keywords, you can limit search results by skill level sought and number of proposals already submitted and more.

Here’s my question: each of these platforms charges a service fee to the contractor.

The service fee comes out of the contractors pay depending on what level of membership the contractor has. I am charged 8.95% of any pay on Guru and 20% for the first $500 earned per client and 10% up to $10,000 with a client on Upwork.

How do you account for the service fee when it comes to tax time?


Tax Day 2018


Just a friendly reminder that it’s Tax Day!

Are your taxes complete or are you filing an extension?

We met with our CPA a couple of weeks ago (which is late for us). I got a call yesterday to answer a couple additional questions as they wrap everything up. The issue of taxes has come up a few times here because of two reasons: 1) We owe a ton still from 2016 (we’re in a payment plan, paying $285/month for the foreseeable future), and 2) my paycheck withholdings are likely a little high. This was an intentional move because I didn’t want to get surprised by another huge tax bill for 2017. It was an odd year since hubs shut down his business and went back to school full-time. I wanted to try to create a buffer by paying extra from each of my paychecks to help off-set whatever we might owe from hubs (which should be small, but I’m cautious). I also figured that if we ended up with any type of “refund”, it would just be taken to help offset our 2016 deficit so no biggie. BUT – we (hubs and I both) are giving our CPA copies of recent paychecks for 2018 so we can get a better estimate of our 2018 tax liability and more accurately adjust my withholdings. The CPA was working on 2017 before doing the 2018 projections, so it may still be a couple weeks until I know for sure….

At any rate, I wanted to pop in with that fun reminder and also remind everyone about all the Tax Day Deals and Discounts that are out there on the interwebs! Lots of businesses hook it up on tax day to help offer relief to those of us writing hefty checks to Uncle Sam. 😉

Here are a couple places to check out:

  • CBSnews.com – lots of food options
  • Time.com – even a gym gets in on the Tax Day discount bandwagon
  • Fortune.com – office supply stores are also up in the mix!


We’re still on a strict food budget diet so I won’t be taking advantage of any of big food deals/discounts this year. But it’s good to know about in case it can help someone else save a few bucks! Many of the deals are available all day, but some require downloading a coupon. Happy Tax Day! 😉

Are your taxes finished? Will you be receiving a refund, making a payment, or just about coming out even?