Client education - finding a way to charge for it
I constantly find myself in a position of having to educate my clients. I often spend a great deal of time letting them know what they *can* do in order to identify what they *want* me to provide a cost proposal for. I usually pad those hours back into the estimate on the first job so it's not a big deal. However, as they remain my client and call back asking for small adjustments/add ons, this happens again and again. I have to spend time educating them. Then, the modification they want done is small and it's tough to pad into the 2 hours quoted for the small job. At the same time, I don't want to lose the client. Has anyone else been here? Any suggestions?
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My dad is in the appliance repair business (San Francisco Area), he charges 40 bucks to come out and talk to them, and check out their appliance.
the artist formerly known as prince
Neo, sadly, this is a common problem for consultants, especially if you deal with lots of small firms. There are a couple of solutions.
Neo, does Queen Bee do this to you?
"The only defence a man has against overwork is the size of his fee". A lawyer said that. Lawyers seem to get rich.
One company I worked for was billing $5,000 per day for UI changes based on one software engineer's day. A thing of beauty.
Obviously this is the first rude awakening from Neo's Queen Bee love affair.
I knew this was gonna happen
Oh, yeah, I forgot about that!
These are some really great ideas. I'm not sure some of my small clients would go for a retainer. However, that's certainly worth suggesting to those who call just about every month with questions. I like the idea of the written report which makes the answer seem more formal. That's great. Thank you all very much.
Beyond the very first meeting I charge $50 per hour for any and every reason I have to go to the client site. I'll answer some basic stuff for free over the phone, but if the client wants my time they are going to pay for it. You need to be strict about this else some clients will suck all your time for nothing. The bright side is that all my clients understand this and are happy with it.
Oh, and when the client calls you for free advice give them a 5 minute time limit then tell them you are too busy to talk right now and suggest you to come and talk to them on site. Then charge your hourly rate for that.
Matt, a lot of my clients are in different states so I can't go see them. Have you ever tried the same principle but setting up a phone appt to talk to them at a specified time?
Try doing what lawyers do. They get their customers to sign an agreement that says they agree to pay for work conducted for the customer. Whenever the customer rings up, the lawyer adds it to the bill. Five minutes is $50, and so on. Each month they send out the bill. Seems to work.
Has anyone done this successfully? (I'm referring to the last suggestion about what lawyers do.)
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