Nick Hancock set up his business Harpenden Handyman providing carpentry, plumbing, electrics, gardening and other household services in 2018.
After his previous accountant sold their business, he recently started working with TaxAssist Accountants in his town.
How did you start your business?
“I used to work for large manufacturers in the printing industry like Xerox, Kodak and Konica Minolta, but I got to a stage in my life where I decided I did not want to work for anyone else.
“I set up a company called Aldwickbury Flooring, but I soon had customers asking if I could also do some decorating, hang some pictures etc. I decided to change the business from just flooring to Harpenham Handyman and a jack of all trades.
“From a very young age, I picked up life skills. My father taught me how to do things like mending my bike and painting my bedroom.
“I got to an age where I thought I wanted to be local and I wanted to help people. My clients include the older generation who do not have the confidence to climb up a ladder or repair something, young single people who need things done, and estate agents looking after properties.
“One funny customer story I can share is that a woman got in touch and asked if I could hang several pictures in her hallway. She said she had caught her husband trying to hit a screw into the wall with her £600 Jimmy Choo shoes!”
How do you market your business?
“Word of mouth recommendations mainly. That is the best way you can get business. You do a good job for someone and they let other people know.
“I do not do any formal advertising although I do send customers a Christmas card every year thanking them for their business. That helps them to remember me if they need my services again.”
Why did you decide to start working with TaxAssist?
“I previously had an accountant based in St Albans, but they sold their business and moved to London.
“I wanted someone local and a TaxAssist shop is just down the road from where I live. I read the advertising in the TaxAssist window and decided I needed their help to make my business more organised.
“An accountant being local and having a physical presence is important. If I had not seen their shopfront, I do not think I would have asked them to help me out.”
How has TaxAssist helped?
“I went to see them and said I am looking for someone local who I can speak to for advice. They have surpassed all that. They have been very helpful.
“I walked in with a bag full of receipts and said I need you to advise me on the right way to go. I was embarrassed when I first went in, but they soon reassured me.
“If you were to ask me what I earned last year, I would have no idea. That is where TaxAssist fits. They are there to do the things I do not understand myself.
“It provides peace of mind. They are doing the difficult tax stuff, while I go out to make sales and do the work.
“They’ve also provided me with lots of advice on processes I need to put in place including setting me up with QuickBooks accounting software.
“I have started to use it for capturing and recording receipts. I am finding it really useful because I used to have receipts all over the place.
“I am organising myself and I dedicate time each week to sit down and focus on paperwork.
“I needed someone to tell me ‘These are the issues and this is what you need to do to make it easier when your tax return has to be done’.”
What is your advice for maintaining a good relationship with your accountant?
“I think it is important to have regular face-to-face meetings with your accountant. Zoom meetings are great but in person catch-ups are very beneficial. I like that I can go and visit TaxAssist face-to-face.
“It is also important to have one contact to deal with. A problem I had with my last accountant was that I had to deal with too many people. If you have just got one person who looks after you and knows your business, it helps to build the relationship. They almost become a friend rather than just a business contact.”
Date published 15 Sep 2023 | Last updated 19 Sep 2023
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