how many hours per client bookkeeping

Earning more than six figures as a professional bookkeeper may feel like a long shot when starting your business. But, if you can map out the number of clients and the work hours you need each week to get there, this goal becomes much more achievable. 

You can expect to work about 3 hours per week per client on their bookkeeping services. However, the total number of hours you work and the number of clients you need to reach different income levels will depend on the size of the client’s business and the monthly retainer you charge them.

Continue reading this guide as we break down how many monthly clients and hours you need weekly to hit $50,000, $100,000, and $150,000 a year.

How Many Clients to Earn $50K/Year

If you’re starting a part-time bookkeeping business, you may have an initial goal of $50,000 in annual earnings. Before we can calculate how many hours you’ll need to work each week to reach this goal, you’ll need to consider the monthly retainers each client will pay. 

Your client’s business size will determine how many hours you put into their bookkeeping services each month. You should price your services accordingly, but for this example, let’s assume the following: 

  • Small clients (~5 hours of work/month): $210 monthly retainer
  • Medium clients (~10 hours of work/month): $420 monthly retainer
  • Large clients (~20 hours of work/month): $840 monthly retainer 

Based on these rates, you can reach the $50,000 a year mark with the following makeup of clients: 

Client Makeup Expected Hours of Work per Week Monthly Income  Yearly Income
5 large clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400
10 medium clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400
20 small clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400
2 large clients + 6 medium clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400
2 medium clients + 16 small clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400
3 large clients + 8 small clients 25 hours $4,200 $50,400

With each of the above client combinations, you’ll be able to reach your yearly revenue goal of $50,000 by working 25 hours a week. As you can see from the chart, working with 5 large clients each month offers you the same income and requires the same hours as working with 2 medium clients and 16 small clients. 

So no matter the size of clients you attract—or prefer working with—you can still find the right balance to meet your desired level of income.

How Many Clients to Earn $100K/Year

More experienced bookkeepers might set their sights higher to something like $100,000 a year in earnings. 

Using the same monthly retainers for your bookkeeping services as above, here are the client combinations that will help you reach this revenue goal: 

Client Makeup Expected Hours of Work per Week Monthly Income  Yearly Income
10 large clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800
20 medium clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800
40 small clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800
4 large clients + 12 medium clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800
4 medium clients + 32 small clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800
6 large clients + 16 small clients 50 hours $8,400 $100,800

To double your income from $50,000 to $100,000, you also double the number of hours you work each week. In other words, at this income level, your bookkeeping work will become more like a full-time job. 

However, you’ll still work the same amount of time each week whether you’re serving 10 large clients, 40 small clients, or any other client combinations in between. 

How Many Clients to Earn $150K/Year

Once you start earning $100,000 per year from your bookkeeping business, the next major milestone is $150,000. At this level, you may notice the workload becomes too much for just one person to handle. 

In this case, you might consider hiring someone to help you with basic bookkeeping tasks, at least part-time. Assuming you pay this bookkeeper an hourly rate of $18 for their assistance, you need additional clients to reach the $150,000 mark. This will make up for the added labor cost you incur. 

Here is the number of clients you’ll need each month to reach this income level, using the same monthly retainers as before: 

Client Makeup Expected Hours of Work per Week Monthly Revenue Total Monthly Wages Paid to Bookkeeper @ 35 Hours/Week Yearly Income
18 large clients 90 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200
36 medium clients 90 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200
72 small clients 90 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200
8 large clients + 20 medium clients 50 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200
8 medium clients + 56 small clients 90 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200
10 large clients + 32 small clients 90 hours $15,120 $2,520 $151,200

Hiring an employee will make your weekly work hours much more feasible, even if it requires taking on additional clients to offset the cost. 

In this case, you would need to work 55 hours per week, with your employee working 35 hours each week, to earn an annual income of $150,000 for yourself. This equation also accounts for the $30,240 you’d pay your employee each year for their work. 

Depending on the assistant bookkeeper’s expertise and years of experience, you may decide to pay them a higher rate. However, this would require taking on more clients (or increasing your pricing) to stay at this income level.

BONUS: Save Hours on Bookkeeping Clients with This Free Resource

As you scale up your bookkeeping business and earn more money, you’ll need to find ways to streamline your workflows to avoid working an excessive number of hours each week. 

One of the most time-consuming tasks for bookkeeping firms is manually building customized templates to organize their operations. Instead, you can download this free collection of 32 customizable accounting workflow templates and checklists

These templates include many forms and documents popular among bookkeepers, including tax return forms, monthly bookkeeping sheets, and much more. 

See Jetpack Worflow In Action

Get under the hood of Jetpack Workflow’s accounting workflow and project management platform. See some of the top features and how it helps your firm standardize, automate, and track client work more efficiently.