Saturday, March 22, 2008

Charging for Your Time

Do you charge for every minute you spend working on a particular project or case? What about when a past client calls and asks you to look up a detail in an old file? It may take you fifteen or twenty minutes to find that file and then another ten to email or call the client back. Do you charge for it or chalk it up to part of doing business?

What about those five minute phone calls for updates or "I need this document" or "the deadline for this is..."?

These "little" interruptions can quickly add up to billable hours you are missing out on. How do you handle it?


Richard Lopchinsky, MD said...

As a physician I didn't, but when my divorce lawyer started charging me for every breath she took, I learned quickly that there is a different culture in the legal world and now I do

Sudheer said...

There are certain disturbing things that I cannot avoid. An urgent phone call, peer asking for help, an important client's chat request and hundred and one things. They appear to disrupt the normal course of action. But they also lead to business opportunities in the future.

If I work for 40 hours in a week and my financial target is $1200, it translates to $30 per hour. I know I can't work only on projects for the entire 40 hours. The best I can is 30 hours. Hence I increase my hourly rate.

This enables me to happily work on projects as well as other business tasks.


Dr. Nicole said...

I take care of everyone that I know "after hours" out of common courtesy, but the second someone that has been gleaning free care off me for years charges me for a service they provide then that free service I provide comes to a screaching halt. I think there is something to be said for providing quick "professional courtesies" to others. It is nothing to me to give a quick five minute consult to someone to save them a trip to the emergency room, but those minutes do add up and now I think about it are basically hundreds of dollars a day that I don't charge for. If the reciprocation doesn't go both ways, then otherwise people are just using you...

RWS said...

I bill in 15 minute increments and generally don't tally those 5 minute calls. In the long run that time is taken care of in the rounding of billing increments. In some cases, I don't bill the full time I spend researching a subject if it has broad application potential for other clients.