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What can I charge for?

I got an email today from Sophie who asked:

What can I charge for?

Here’s my answer.

What you charge for depends on your contract with the client.

I subscribe to the theory that I should charge clients enough so that I can be generous with my time and effort, and forget about the little things. I usually give clients a flat rate for a job (e.g. a training program, a review with a report at the end, a coaching program, a package of all of the above). Then I don’t charge them for the little meetings, the phone calls, the emails, the extra hand outs or the occasional “explain this to someone else in the organisation because they’re asking a question” things.

I have friends who run successful consultancies who do it the other way: they charge a day or half day rate, and if the client asks for more work to be done, then they add another day on. This avoids the inevitable and scary scope creep. The less experienced you are, the more this is a good model.
It’s all about your pricing model.

If you’re selling time then it can be a dead end (look at Alan Weiss’ book Million Dollar Consulting Proposals  for more on this idea).

If you’re selling a diagnostic tool, or an outcome then you can charge what it’s “worth”.

I’ve written a book which you can buy separately about how much to charge, what you can afford to charge and etc. Click here to buy it.

Here are some things you probably may not be charging for but could be:

  • advice to friends
  • advice to clients who never actually engage you
  • some of the brilliant stuff on your web page.

Here are the things I wish I could charge for but don’t:

  • writing a proposal when the client has is just getting 3 quotes, but never intends to use me
  • meetings where no decisions are made, nothing useful comes of it and it’s boring.

If you have other models for charging, then let me know!
And if you have a more specific question (can I charge for THIS?), then please let me know.

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