Every Little Bit Hurts

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.”

7 thoughts on “Every Little Bit Hurts

  1. Monica McPherrin

    I absolutely agree. Package programs also offer the client more flexibilty of time, access to you and additional services. I always feel under the gun when I’m working against the clock, even with a free offer (like free 20min coaching). Offer people a choice of inclusive packages makes them feel like they are getting a better value..and they are.

  2. Michael Katz

    Thanks Monica. I always find it odd (but nice) how with flat fee pricing, the professional makes more money and yet the client is so much happier. Say “no” to hourly fees!!

  3. Reuben Swartz

    I think you should write a post titled “Say No to Hourly Fees.” (Would love to have it as a guest post on my blog, too.) Great advice that’s ignored by so many small business owners.

  4. Kelly Rutherford

    I like this posting. Great thoughts have been shared.

    I do agree that the more generous a person is, the more I seem to trust them. I had a babysitter once who charged for every snack my son ate. Boy that made me feel uncomfortable. I had never been treated to such a way of doing daycare. I wished she had just put a weekly price tag to snacks instead of taking time each day to collect for the juice and fiber bar he may have eaten. I thought she might be nuts so I stopped using her.



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