However, we quickly learned that all these conversations go the same way. What they really mean is ‘We’d love for you to refer us all your R&D leads and opportunities. We’ll take the lion’s share of the fees and give you a small percentage of the claim for referring it to us.’

Erm, no thanks.

No, we’re not in the business of preparing claims ourselves, and yes, we do love working with partners – but not like this.

Besides the fact that these consultants cold call us out of the blue, and we have no idea about the quality of their work, there are three fundamental reasons we don’t give leads to specialists who’re not in The R&D Community.

Reason #1 – We want our members to learn (and do) as much as they can

Our goal in The R&D Community is to support our members to become self-sufficient.

That’s why all our training, webinars, support and Helpline are designed to give members the knowledge and confidence they need to tackle their own clients.

If we were to refer them to an external specialist, who’d take over the claim, we’d be depriving our members of the chance to learn, develop their own skills, and earn more by directly supporting their own clients.

Reason #2 – Sometimes only a little help is needed

Occasionally our customers do need a little extra help to make a claim happen. For example, they might have a borderline client that they think might qualify, but they’re not entirely sure. Or the claim might hang on a technicality, the answer to which can’t easily be Googled.

Rather than say to them ‘You can’t do this yourself, you should use a specialist’, we help them with their queries. Our R&D Helpline is there for customers to ask questions about the scheme or clients. And our support service helps them with small tasks at an hourly rate, such as interviewing a client about their projects and giving an opinion on their eligibility.

Our goal with these services is to provide the minimum amount of support needed to help our members on their way. In contrast, an external specialist will usually want to take responsibility for preparing the whole claim so they can justify charging a contingent rate.

Reason #3 – Where referrals do make sense, we keep them for our members

Our third reason not to pass leads to consultants outside The R&D Community is that many of our members are also consultants themselves. If one member, often an accountant, needs more extensive support than we can provide, we’ll connect them to another member, usually a consultant, that we feel would be a good fit.

When members join The R&D Community, it’s usually because they value high standards and share our philosophy. We get to know them better as they take our training and attend our webinars, to the point where we’re comfortable in passing them opportunities. On the other hand, we’re not interested in passing leads to consultants outside the Community, because we can’t be confident in the quality of their work.

Have you considered our membership instead?

So, if you’ve been thinking you might reach out and ask us to pass you leads, we’d rather you didn’t.

Instead, you might want to think about whether your values align with ours – and have a read of Everything you need to know about The R&D Community before you join. Once you’re a member, you’ll not only have our full support, you’ll be part of a like-minded group of R&D professionals who want to see and achieve higher standards in the R&D tax relief market. And what’s not to like about that?