Like you, I buy a wide range of services from other professionals: legal, accounting, coaching, financial planning, insurance, design, IT, etc. I’ve got a team of people who fill different, important roles in helping me keep my business going.
The interesting thing is that each has a different approach to billing. I don’t mean the rate or frequency with which they charge, I mean how generous they are with their time.
For some, it’s “every minute has a price.” If I ask a quick question or need a fax sent or, frankly, want anything, it shows up on the invoice.
For others, they only seem to bill me for the “big chunks.”
Who’s right? I don’t know, but I can tell you this. While the former group certainly has the right to bill me for every interaction, they get a lot less of my business. I’m so concerned about the clock — they’ve trained me to be — that our relationship remains at arm’s length and they never learn enough about me or my business to offer me more. I tend to think of them as vendors.
The other group, on the other hand, gets the big checks. They don’t get paid for every interaction, but over the (just slightly) longer term, I send them a ton more business. These folks are my partners, my advisors.
It’s easy to see which approach makes for a better business model. As a wise professional once said, “The slower you are to take someone’s money, the more of it they’ll eventually give you.”