From the BiggerPockets Blog

 BiggerPockets Blog »

Jump to Forum View All

Click a category below to view different forum categories.


General Info

BiggerPockets Q&A, Site Questions, & Announcements

1522 topics, 14441 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:10PM

BiggerPockets Exclusive PRO Area

117 topics, 841 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:28AM

New Member Introductions

10994 topics, 86660 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:13PM

Real Estate Success Stories

400 topics, 6219 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:12PM

General Real Estate

General Real Estate

Buying & Selling Real Estate

5998 topics, 47269 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:13PM


651 topics, 5873 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:20PM

Get Foreclosure Help - Help Stop Foreclosure Forum

317 topics, 2561 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:28PM

Home Owner Association (HOA) Issues & Problems Forum

238 topics, 1611 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:02AM

Do it Yourself

660 topics, 6333 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:46PM

Reviews & Feedback

Real Estate Deal Analysis and Advice

3716 topics, 29808 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:17PM

Real Estate Guru, Book & Course Reviews and Discussions

1140 topics, 11614 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:27PM

Ask About A Real Estate Company

743 topics, 7348 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:12PM

Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Strategies


5643 topics, 43993 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:06PM

Rehabbing and House Flipping

3354 topics, 31111 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:45PM

Real Estate Development & New Home Construction

554 topics, 4695 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 06:22AM

Innovative Strategies

705 topics, 6044 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 04:06PM

Tax Liens, Notes, Paper, & Cash Flows Discussion

869 topics, 6700 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:46PM

Rent to Own a.k.a. Lease Purchase, Lease Options

700 topics, 4961 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 11:26AM

1031 Exchanges

143 topics, 1063 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 11:10AM

Foreclosure Investing

General Foreclosure & Pre-Foreclosure Forums

1692 topics, 11317 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 09:26PM

HUD, VA, and Tax Sales

416 topics, 3103 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:29PM


1217 topics, 10604 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 07:13AM

Short Sales

1539 topics, 13154 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:25PM

Landlord & Tenant Forums

Landlord & Rental Property Questions

7258 topics, 71267 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:18PM

Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Park Investing

639 topics, 5146 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 05:13AM

Investor Basics

Starting Out

7737 topics, 60715 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:04PM

Investor Psychology

434 topics, 6119 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:14PM

General Real Estate Investing

4731 topics, 37332 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:34PM

Real Estate Investor Marketing

1740 topics, 14164 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:46PM

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Investing Forum

1414 topics, 9022 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:12PM

Multi-Family and Apartment Investing

1123 topics, 9405 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:21PM

The Business of Real Estate

Real Estate Technology and the Internet

Real Estate Technology, Social Media & Blogging

645 topics, 4913 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 12:21PM

Business Basics

Goals, Business Plans & Entities

835 topics, 7594 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 12:52PM

Real Estate Finance & Legal

Financial, Tax, and Legal

Tax, Legal Issues, Contracts, Self-Directed IRA

2803 topics, 20140 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:50PM

Property Insurance

312 topics, 2059 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 10:22AM

Personal Finance Discussion

330 topics, 2754 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 12:06PM

Loans, Mortgages, Credit Lines

Private & Conventional Lending Discussion

2853 topics, 19854 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:15PM

Creative Real Estate Financing

1221 topics, 8870 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:19PM

Crowdfunding Real Estate

35 topics, 463 posts — Last Post 04/19/14, 06:24PM

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Agents

1218 topics, 8051 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:43PM

Bankers, Lenders, and Mortgage Brokers

442 topics, 1931 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 09:04PM


268 topics, 1689 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:14PM

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate Networking & Recommendations

2020 topics, 11766 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:33PM

Americans & International Real Estate

162 topics, 572 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:31AM

Foreigners Buying in the USA

62 topics, 409 posts — Last Post 04/10/14, 06:27AM

Canadian Real Estate

66 topics, 440 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 05:54AM


Real Estate Marketplace

Real Estate Marketplace

15096 topics, 54161 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:10PM

Real Estate Events and Happenings

168 topics, 2617 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:26PM


Off Topic


2908 topics, 32448 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:32PM

Housing News & Real Estate Market

922 topics, 8397 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:57PM

BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Summit

97 topics, 1752 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:51AM

BiggerPockets Resources

Forums » Contractors » What does a good bookkeeper cost?

What does a good bookkeeper cost?

20 posts by 15 users


Real Estate Investor · Austin, Texas

So I've got a problem and thought the great minds on this site could help me out with my bookkeeping issue.

Our business is starting to grow to the point that keeping the books is taking more time than I want to spend on it. This year we'll be doing more than double the number of projects we did last year which is going to break me with the bookkeeping. So I went out and started looking into hiring one.

My accountant and other builders in the area all had recommendations for bookkeepers, but they all charge $100/ hour. I even found one that charges only $60/ hour. I don't like to think of myself as excessively cheap. I am willing to pay people what their skills are worth. The level of bookkeeping I'm looking for includes making an accurate QuickBooks entry and scanning a receipt to put in a dropbox folder. I'm not looking for a CPA who is going to structure my entities and give me tax advice.

What is a reasonable amount to pay a good bookkeeper? $100/hour is $200,000 a year, more than most executive incomes. I find that rather disturbing as it doesn't strike me as a skill that requires specialized education like a CPA, Lawyer, or engineer. Is bookkeeping so traumatic that no one will do it and you just have to pay that much?

Does anyone have a bookkeeper that charges by the transaction instead of the hour?

John Blackman, Bullseye Capital Fund
Join Our Fundrise Network To See Our Deals:

This post has been hidden.

Rehabber · Santa Clarita, California

Originally posted by Steven Hamilton II:
John Blackman,
Shoot me a message and I'll give your some tips for finding a decent bookkeeper.
Why not post in this thread and share with us all?

I hire my CPA's assistant who comes in once (soon to be more) a month and does this stuff for me. I handle some of it in between like cutting checks when needed and making some quickbook entries. It usually costs me $200 a month for the one visit and she spends about 4 hours in my office. That amounts to $50 an hour and I am fine with that.

Small_be_logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
E-Mail: [email protected]

Accountant · Lake Villa, Illinois

@Will Barnard,

I didn't want to publicly broadcast what my firm charges.

That said: You can try finding one from craigslist that has reliable references. Ask your Accountant if he has a recommendation. Find a family member who knows basic bookkeeping or who can learn.

Ask around at some small businesses.


Small_hta_logoSteven Hamilton II, Hamilton Tax and Accounting
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: (224) 381-2660
Website: http://www.HamiltonTax.Net
-Steven the Tax Guy Hamilton Tax and Accounting LLC (224) 381-2660

Landlord · San Diego, California

There's a big difference in pay between a front office data entry employee and a freelance bookkeeper. Most businesses only need a freelance bookkeeper a few hours a week so even if you're paying $100 an hour, it's nowhere near the $200k annual salary you mentioned.

Don't underestimate the value of skilled, diligent bookkeeper. Bookkeeping may seem easy, but wait until you have one make a mess of your books. It can cause troubles for years.

Real Estate Investor · Austin, Texas

Thanks everyone for the quick responses.

@Will Barnard, how many transactions do you have in your books after a month? This seems like the perfect metric to use to determine the value of your bookkeeper. Our projects are usually 16-20 weeks in duration and have on average of 200 to 300 transactions for the whole project that need to be categorized.

According to the BLS, it's $16.36/hr on average.

John Blackman, Bullseye Capital Fund
Join Our Fundrise Network To See Our Deals:

Commercial Landlord · Oshkosh, Wisconsin

One of my property managers does book work for me once per month has helped me out a lot I just pay her what her hourly rate is with over time. She is salary at less then 40k per year with a free vehicle.
Of course you have to have income property to be able to do this and she is not a cpa. How ever most "good" property managers understand how taxes work in regards to real estate. The documents and receipts she puts together for the cpa firm that send out k-1's to partners have never been problematic.
Can you pay a part time employee to organize documents then have cpa firm handle it from there? Just a thought to reduce the 50 to 200 dollar per hour labor we are speaking of.
If you can find someone for 17 to 20 per hour that is good, thats worth it in my opinion.

Real Estate Investor · Austin, Texas

@William Bannister that is my plan. I don't need a full time bookkeeper and need an intermediary solution that doesn't cost $100/hour. Your experience will certainly give me some context so I don't pay too much. Thanks.

John Blackman, Bullseye Capital Fund
Join Our Fundrise Network To See Our Deals:

Real Estate Investor · Sacramento, California

In Northern CA you can find good freelance bookkeepers for $25-30 per hour. You need to look around a bit more.

· San Francisco, California

There are several virtual bookkeeping services out there. We're using one for two condo development projects and the active partner involved there is happy with them. First I was a bit skeptical, but the accountant looks over transactions periodically and the company is reputable. You can search online for one with your particular type of investing expertise, or maybe another colleague is using one.


Private Money Lender · Denver, Colorado

I think you want someone local to you that can work from your location. I posted to Craigslist a year ago and recieved around 25 resumes within a week in Denver. I may have gotten lucky but have a good one at $20.00/hr. I did not post an hourly rate, but at that time I had several willing to work in the $15-25/hr. range. My cashflows for fundings are not simple bookkeeping, and I did go through two before settling with this one. For real estate or funding businesses I think you want an above average bookkeeper; so depending on your local market may want to pay above these prices, but $60-100/hour is not necessary.

Real Estate Investor · Garland, Texas

John, check out bookkeeper zoo.

I haven't used them, but the model looks intriguing.

Jon Klaus, SellPropertyFast
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 214-929-6545

Real Estate Investor · ..., Michigan

you are next to one of the biggest universities in the US (even the world). why dont you go to UT and post some fliers for students to apply? talk to some professors to see what they;d recommend?

having said that, paying more than $20/hr for this stuff is ridiculous. he is not looking for tax advice. he is looking for an organized person that can do the same task for a few hrs a week/month.

how much would a firm pay that kind of person? more than 25-30k/year? i dont think so.

Real Estate Investor · New York

WOW $$$$$

Our 'new guy' does my wife's S-Corp payroll etc for $21 a month, big reduction from Paychex. We had always done our own books but we are going to get the new guy to do it as it's getting to be too time consuming. The cost initially quoted was no more than$75 a month.

The tax returns etc he did for all corps & family members were so reasonable I can't remember the costs. But combined the cost didn't exceed the 'previous accountants' cost of doing one S-Corp return that was 5 months late, with the extension charged to us.

The amazing thing is the 'previous accountant' charges seminar fees for idiots to listen to her tax advice, but she couldn't get her staff of 9 data entry people to get it right ever !!! & in a face to face meeting kept denying our 179 write-offs that were absolutely valid.
She lasted that one year but had come highly recommended by other RE Investors & was NOT taking on more clients as she was too busy????.
Needless to say in 30 years we have been through a lot of accountants, bank managers & attorney's.

Retired from 9-5 at an early age I always did my own books & did the tax returns for all LLC's etc.
However, after THAT 3 day IRS audit, I somewhat survived, the wife insists I go to her accountant from now on to relieve her stress.

Doing your books monthly gives you a wake up call to financial issues that many let slide & I personally want to stay in tune with the intricacies of RE investment tax issues. The offshore ones are even more challenging !!!

Real Estate Investor · Bakersfield, California

Remember the saying. " You get what you pay for".

I learned a long time ago that a great bookkeeper / tax account who manages both my ledger and my stradegy is worth every cent. There's too much at risk to cheap out on bookkeeping.

Small_new_logo_bgMichael Q., Yellow Letters
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: (888) 968-7624
Yellow Letters - Zip Letters - Post Cards - Lists - Door Hangers - Business Cards -

Real Estate Investor · Austin, Texas

Thanks for all of your recommendations everyone. I think we'll end up using a hybrid of providers. I'm convinced now that what I need for our bookkeeping is not anything that complicated. We still have our CPAs to do the heavy lifting, but right now we just need someone to scan receipts and make QB entries with the right price codes.

John Blackman, Bullseye Capital Fund
Join Our Fundrise Network To See Our Deals:

· Atlanta, Georgia

John (and others),
While not a regular poster to this site, I came across this discussion and thought I'd weigh in on John's question about the costs of bookkeeping, since this is an area I have experience in. That said, I have to disclaim that I run a firm that provides entrepreneurs access to flexible accounting resources....including bookkeeping services.

So, in response to John's comments:
1. $100/hr for bookkeeping is far too high. So is $60/hr. I'm hoping that your accountant and other builders may have thought you needed something more than just bookkeeping and maybe more like a Controller. A Controller is performing a more sophisticated role that often requires a strong understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principals, uses high-level financial reporting and analytical skills, and often complex accounting systems.
2. You're correct that bookkeeping is not a highly technical nor specialized function. In fact, it's more akin to data entry. So you should not pay equivalent rates like you would to a CPA, attorney, or another professional with deep technical experience.

A few of additional thoughts and opinions (for what it's worth):
1. There is huge volatility in the quality level of bookkeepers. Because most bookkeepers are self-employed or contractors there are hidden gems and then there are some real stinkers. Make sure you perform solid due-diligence on these individuals as they'll often have access to all of your business assets (bank accounts, credit cards, etc) and the instances of fraud in small businesses occur far more frequently than the large company scandals that we read about on the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
2. Because the question about costs was framed up in a rate per hour context, I'll initially respond that I'd seek to be paying around $20 - $40/hour for bookkeeping. That said, when you're paying for a largely transactional/data entry role, I believe an hourly rate model has misaligned incentives. That bookkeeper will not be incented to work efficiently or use automation tools if they can make more income by being slower and more manual. I think bookkeeping can be done on a fixed price basis.
3. This view will likely make me unpopular with some people posting here, but I do not think your tax preparer should also be your bookkeeper. Tax preparation, planning, and strategy is a specialized skill that requires technical expertise and, therefore, you should be prepared to pay more than you would for bookkeeping. Not only that, your books should be accounted for with an eye toward producing financial information for you as the owner, your investors, or your lenders...and not just to make filing tax returns easiest for your CPA.

Thanks for letting me post here and I hope that my comments may prove helpful to some of you. Also, thanks for being patient with my long post....I'm passionate about helping entrepreneurs with their accounting function so I can get a bit carried away! :)

Accountant · Lake Villa, Illinois

Do not be cheap on bookkeeping that determines the information to your accountant to prepare your tax return. Bad bookkeeping can be a nightmare to deal with later on.

Small_hta_logoSteven Hamilton II, Hamilton Tax and Accounting
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: (224) 381-2660
Website: http://www.HamiltonTax.Net
-Steven the Tax Guy Hamilton Tax and Accounting LLC (224) 381-2660

BiggerPockets Founder · Denver, Colorado

Folks - I've had to remove and edit several posts in this thread. Please note -- you may NOT recommend your own services in ANY discussion thread here on the site. The only place appropriate to do that here is in our Marketplace.

It is wholly inappropriate to take a thread asking for advice and trying to sell your services in it -- that's called hijacking and is prohibited here. Don't do it.

Back to the OP's post now . . .

Small_bp-squareJoshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 877-831-4704
Check us out on Twitter: @BiggerPockets

Virtual Assistant · Anaheim, California

I am in expensive southern california and you CAN find a GOOD bookkeeper for $25/hour. Put an ad out. Check references. Also require experience bookkeeping in same industry to avoid having to spend hours explaining how your business works.

Take the number of hours you have been spending on bookkeeping and divide that by 2. This should give you the number of hours a skilled bookkeeper will take to do your books. If they take longer then that- Kick them to the curb and move on!!!!

Sign up