The experienced business owner on how to stand out in a busy marketplace and learning to share the workload

mybusiness paul

About your business

Founder name: Paul Donohoe 
Company name: Tax Rebate Services
Company age: 13 
Company location: Cumbria
Staff numbers: 9
Date started: 2002

Tell us what your business does:

Tax Rebate Services was launched to meet the increased demand from PAYE taxpayers reclaim overpaid tax. It’s estimated that one in three UK employees pay too much tax. We help them reclaim an average of over £900.

Our qualified accountants have been helping people claim back what they’re owed for over 30 years. Our service is simple to use and free from hassle – and guarantees the maximum tax refund you’re entitled to. We help people fill in their tax return too.

Where did the idea for your business come from? What motivated you to start it?

The business started as a division of Computer Accounting Services, which has been trading for over 30 years as a small business accountancy practice. An increased demand from individual tax payers needing help with their tax affairs resulted in the company being born. The internet allowed us to get global exposure for our services which was never there before the existence of Google.

What did you do before?

I worked for a government department, BT, and for Computer Accounting Services.

What did you have to overcome (if anything) to start it and get it off the ground?

The challenges of internet marketing and making sure what you spend is giving the necessary Return on investment (ROI).

What makes your business stand out from others like it?

We work on a no rebate, no fee basis meaning there’s no risk for customers; plus our average rebate is extremely high at £900. We’re also AAT accredited and we deal with everything for the client. Finally 1% of our website net profits are donated as a corporate donation each year.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Being able to attract customers from the internet allowed our services to be found throughout the world. Many of our clients would never have known about us if it wasn’t for our online exposure.

Your business tips

You’re prime minister for a day. What would you change for small businesses?

I would lower the level of VAT back to 15%.

What’s your best customer service tip?

Do what you say you will and be on time. If for some reason you can’t meet a deadline let the person know and apologise.

What would you do differently? What have you learnt?

I would delegate work when I needed to, you can’t do everything yourself.

What one piece of advice would you give to people who want to start their own business?

Understand exactly where you fit in your market and then try to be the best at what you do.