Why Free is actually Expensive


We regularly cover how going cheap with international tax and consulting services can backfire. In the long run, it can (and often does) cost you money, stress, and sometimes even your freedom.

Some folks go a step further than cheap and depend on free consultations when they need advice. This is a terrible idea. These geniuses scour the internet looking for tax guys offering free consultations in order to get their questions answered believing this to be the cheapest option.

Dead wrong.


Because nothing is actually free.

For starters, so-called free consultations are nothing more than extended sales pitches.

Taxation is very complex and cannot be thoroughly explained in a single meeting or phone call.

It is possible for a tax professional to gain an understanding of what services you might need in an hour or so. However, it’s impossible to explain everything that goes into an initial analysis and how future changes might be handled in this amount of time.

It’s extremely ill-advised to base your tax planning on freely offered, off-the-cuff advice.

Some of these penny pinchers do several “free” consultations from multiple tax professionals asking one about X and another about Y. They cobble the information together to come up with a grand plan. This doesn’t work! The tax code is too complicated and there are too many variables in play for a layman to piece together advice in such a manner.

To put it charitably, it is foolish to rely upon “free” advice. It’ll you into trouble. Getting out of it costs a pretty penny – especially within an international context. That said, we’re happy to clean up a mess made by one of these free-advice peddlers… for a fee of course!

More interesting, however, are the implications of

“free consultation.”

Imagine going to school for years to study tax or accounting and being so desperate for clients as to give away advice for free. Tax professionals sell their time. The fact that someone can give it away freely does not speak well of their abilities.

Moreover, they can be potentially liable for the advice given away during a free consultation. Why create this liability without getting anything in exchange?

Stop to consider this: would you actually want to be a paying customer of somebody that gives free consultations?

Every minute spent on the phone offering free advice is one not spent on paying customers.

How would you feel about paying a firm to handle your tax needs only for them to spend most of their time and effort on free consultations?

Your customer experience is likely to be sub-standard.

Free consultation = run away… quickly.

We don’t offer free consultations at the Esquire Group. We charge for our initial consultations because:

1. We value our clients

Every day we receive communications about various tax matters. If we answered all of these queries, we would have no time left for our paying customers.

That would be highly unfair.

2. We treat potential clients with respect and dignity

We know that you want answers. And we know that you are busy. Free consultations are used to slowly feed prospective clients little nuggets of information to win them over.

Our consultations are scheduled so that we can be fully engaged to make sure that
you get reliable and actionable advice.

We don’t want you to become a client reluctantly. Or to sell you. We want to do business with people who want to do business with us.

Clients join the Esquire Group because they’re excited to work with the best.

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