Collective.com Review: An Excellent Solution for Businesses of One
Solopreneurs often struggle with managing everything that goes into running their own businesses. If you’re a “business of one,” you’ve likely found handling your bookkeeping and taxes challenging and time-consuming. After all, you’re probably not a trained CPA with years of education deciphering tax law.
Collective, formerly known as Hyke, offers a back-office solution to help freelancers and solopreneurs manage accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, along with LLC and S-corp business formation. Members get access to a substantial list of features and a team of industry experts who offer their ongoing services and support. Collective aims to provide a trusted platform to help solopreneurs spend less time managing the complexities of accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes to spend more time pursuing growth opportunities for their businesses. If you’re tired of doing mundane tasks like bookkeeping and payroll and want to instead focus your time on growing your business, Collective may offer the perfect solution for you.
What is Collective.com?
Collective provides a back-office finance management solution for people who own their businesses of one. After your initial onboarding call, the Collective team will assist you to form an LLC and S-Corp election to properly set up your business for success. In the long run, structuring your single-member business as an S-Corp will help you save on taxes and protect personal assets from legal disputes.
What Does S Corp Mean?
Many solopreneurs own their businesses as sole proprietors. Unfortunately, sole proprietorship results in paying more Social Security and Medicare taxes on top of self-employment taxes and offers no limited liability protection. Such businesses of one can benefit from restructuring as S corporations.
S Corp is a tax designation for small businesses with a limited number of shareholders. Creating an S Corp for your business of one changes the business structure by making the business owner (you) an employee and shareholder of the company.
Filing an S Corp tax election solves double taxation issues and reduces Social Security and Medicare taxes. You could save big on your taxes by organizing your business of one as an S Corp through Collective.
Let's run through an example:
On an annual basis, Susan brings in $150,000 of income through her consulting business. As an LLC, all $150,000 of income is subject to roughly 15% FICA tax (Social Security & Medicare). After restructuring her LLC to an S-Corp, she can legally alleviate some of her tax liability.
The first step is to pay herself a fair market salary out of the business. Let's call it $50,000/year. This salary amount is still subject to the full FICA tax amount, but the remaining $100,000 that Susan made in business income will be paid to Susan as a Shareholder Distribution, which is not subject to the FICA or self-employment taxes. Susan will be saving roughly $15,000 per year as a result.
To summarize, structuring her LLC as an S Corporation will lower the self-employment taxes that Susan will pay. The taxable business income can be split into two components—salary and distribution. Here, only the salary component attracts the self-employment tax, thus reducing the overall tax liability. While in the case of a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, the self-employment tax applies to the entire net business income.
What Does Collective Do?
Collective provides a comprehensive financial solution for individuals who own one-person businesses. They help self-employed people manage successful businesses from a human-centered platform. Their features and services include the following:
When joining Collective, you’ll get a free consultation with a professional tax advisor and support throughout the entire company formation process. The Collective team helps you:
- Form an LLC in your state
- Create an operating agreement
- Get an EIN (tax ID number)
- File an S Corp election
- Register as an employer in your state
You certainly don’t need to have a new business to join Collective. If you already have a licensed business, Collective can help you reorganize your company into an S Corp. The annual tax savings alone will pay for the monthly membership and some.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Collective assigns a team of finance professionals to each business, offering a long list of accounting and bookkeeping services. If you become a member, Collective will provide the following services:
- QuickBooks subscription ($40/month value)
- Company books setup
- Third-party verification
- Monthly business transaction categorization
- Account reconciliation
- Monthly reports
- Yearly tax preparation
Members enjoy year-round service that takes the stress out of your accounting and bookkeeping. If you’re nervous about joining because your books are in total disorder, don’t worry. Collective can help you get organized and back on track.
As a member, you’ll also receive the following payroll services:
- Payroll setup
- Quarterly Payroll returns
- Free Gusto payroll subscription ($45/mo value)
- Gusto payroll training
- Automated payroll
- Unlimited payroll runs
- State-filed new hire reports
Collective even absorbs the monthly Gusto subscription fee to help members save even more money.
Solopreneurs often find themselves overly stressed and sometimes full-on panicked during tax season, but Collective simplifies taxes by providing the following services:
- Owner paycheck calculator
- Quarterly tax estimates
- Yearly salary recommendations
- Individual income tax returns (state and federal)
- Business income tax returns (state and federal)
Members of Collective don’t have to guess about tax compliance or stress about losses, deductions, and credits. They get help from tax professionals who offer excellent work and advice. The experts at Collective review each member’s company to ensure every member gets the most out of working with them.
Tools and Training
Collective provides members with access to Gusto and QuickBooks for free, offers many great business tools through their online platform, and provides in-depth training to help members succeed. They will train you on how to use each tool to help you manage your business finances successfully.
The platform's website includes helpful guides and blog posts that provide great information, such as tax tips, business setup advice, and hacks for small business owners. Members also enjoy regular newsletters and educational webinars. You'll also find some case studies on S Corps if you want to learn how restructuring has helped fellow self-employed business owners save money.
Member Relations Manager
Don’t you hate it when you call the same number for help but a different person answers every time? With Collective, members communicate their questions to and get support from one designated point of contact, your dedicated member relations manager. This way, members don’t have to worry about explaining the exact situation half a dozen times–they’ll talk to the same person every time.
Why Choose Collective Instead of Doing This Yourself?
There are many benefits members enjoy when they choose Collective. These include:
- Less time and money spent trying to manage bookkeeping and finances alone
- More time spent building and growing the business
- Ease of mind knowing that your business will stay compliant, both at the State and Federal levels.
- Annual individual and business tax filings
- Incredible tax savings of $9,000 on average
How Much Does Collective Cost?
If you choose to pay monthly, Collective costs $269/month to become a member. They are currently offering a 15% discount for their annual subscription which comes out to roughly $2,748/year or $229/month. This is much cheaper than many CPA's charge for fewer included services. If this number seems high to you, consider that the average tax savings amount for members in 2019 was $16,845.
Collective membership fees are also tax-deductible.
The team at collective has also agreed to offer our readers 1-month Free when using the referral code FITNESSTRAINER.
Try 1 Month For Free! Join Collective
How Do I Get Started?
Collective is an invite-only platform because they believe in only accepting members they can help save money. Once you’re a member, Collective will take you through six simple steps:
1. Determine Possible Tax Savings
Collective will ask you some questions about your business to determine how much you could save on your taxes by becoming an S Corp and using the Collective back-office platform.
2. Talk to a Business Advisor
You will discuss potential money savings with a business advisor. They will help you determine if Collective is the best option for you before proceeding further.
3. Organize the S Corp
With the support of Collective advisors, you will open a business bank account, organize your S Corp, and get an EIN. Organizing your S Corp is easy with Collective’s online wizard.
4. Set Up Back Office and Meet the Team
Next, your accounting and tax team will help you set up your back office with all your needed tools. They'll help you with payroll, QuickBooks bookkeeping, business filings, and tax returns. Collective will also assign you a Member Relationship Manager, who serves as your main point of contact.
5. Monthly Bookkeeping
Once set up as a member, your bookkeeping team will send you monthly reports that categorize your expenses and transactions. Collective verifies this information through bank statements, so you always get accurate info.
6. Get Great Advice
Your Member Relationship Manager is available any time to answer your questions. You can also request to speak with a CPA at any time. Collective really does seem interested in their members’ success.
Frequently Asked Questions About Collective
1. Is Collective available nationwide?
By the end of 2022, Collective plans on being available in all US states nationwide. As of this writing, Collective is available in the following states:
|Florida||Utah||Delaware||New Jersey||North Carolina||Indiana|
|Georgia||Virginia||Idaho||New York||South Carolina||Mississippi|
If you don't see your state on this list, reach out to Collective to find out if they've added it since this writing or plan to add it soon.
2. What is a business of one?
This Collective review often refers to businesses of one. By this, they mean a business made up of one person who likely founded and owns the business. Businesses of one represent a large portion of entrepreneurs, with the number promising to rise over the next decade. Collective aims to help these individuals find business success with valuable and affordable tools and human-centered services.
3. Is my business right for Collective?
Collective targets a large but specific audience whose businesses of one represent their primary sources of income. If you have a full-time day job and run your business as a side hustle, Collective may not be suitable for you. However, if you were to leave your day job to tackle your small business passions full time, you may decide to try Collective.
Collective finds that full-time freelancers and solopreneurs who make more than $80,000 annually benefit most from working with them. If that describes you, what are you waiting for? We recommend giving Collective a try.
5. What Type of Businesses Does Collective Support?
Collective supports self-employed individuals from all kinds of industries, including marketing, engineering, entrepreneurship, coaching, consulting, design, software development, and more.
They do not currently support e-commerce businesses (people who sell items via an online marketplace or website). So, if you have an online store on Etsy, this service might not be suitable for you.
6. Is my business right for an S Corp?
Very small side hustles may find little benefit from the S Corp tax election, especially if you work a full-time day job. However, if you pay yourself a full-time salary from your business's profits and have a steady cash flow, an S Corp can help you save a lot of money on taxes and offer many other benefits.
7. What are third-party fees?
Collective’s subscription price includes many tools and services, including subscriptions for QuickBooks and Gusto. Third-party fees, however, are not included. These include city taxes and fees, state taxes and fees, federal taxes and fees, license fees, and filing fees.
8. Can Collective help me save more in taxes?
Collective helps members experience significant tax savings. You’ll save on your taxes by restructuring your business as an S Corp, making you an employee of the corporation. You’ll also benefit from tax savings through expert CPA recommendations. Your Collective team will provide regular reports and suggestions based on real numbers.
Unlike some CPAs and other tax professionals, Collective isn’t about cutting corners and finding loopholes. Instead, they focus on simple, intuitive tax services that provide consistent savings.
9. Does my spouse get any benefits from my Collective subscription?
Spouses of Collective members also receive tax services. If you’re a member and your spouse is an employee of a company (not self-employed), Collective will file their taxes for free. If your spouse also has their own business, you can take advantage of discounted rates for adding another subscription.
I hope this Collective Review offers some insight into this fantastic service. We highly recommend Collective for all freelancers and solopreneurs looking to save money on their taxes and finance management. When you work with Collective, you’ll find a supportive team that displays genuine investment in empowering the self-employed. The only drawback we could find over the past few years is that their team went from instant Slack channel support to email support. That has slowed communication down slightly, but they still deliver timely service via email as well.
If you are a business of one, why not give Collective a try? If you’re tired of trying to manage your bookkeeping, accounting, and taxes solo, experience the time and savings you’ll get when you trust these responsibilities to Collective.