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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #122: October, 2013

Ten important tips about fees for solo consultants and boutique firms:
  1. When the fee is paid in advance it means that the client's project can't be cancelled due to internal shifts in priority (because you won't return the money).

  2. Negotiate terms if you must, but never fees.

  3. Never accept any portion of your fee on completion of the project or you invite scope creep.

  4. When dealing with clients outside of your country, wired transfers are almost always the best route, avoiding translation fees and excessive credit card fees.

  5. When a fee is one day overdue, follow up with your buyer (never purchasing, procurement, or accounts payable).

  6. Do not bill "net 30" or anything other than "due on presentation" or "due on September 1 per agreement."

  7. Stipulate that fees are non-cancelable or delayable, even if the project itself is delayed or rescheduled.

  8. Never barter services. If you do, understand that such services are fully taxable under U.S. law and IRS regulations.

  9. Fees on wire transfers and interest charges on credit card acceptances are a cost of doing business and must be absorbed.

  10. Never cite a fee during a preliminary meeting with a buyer, not matter how hard you're pressed. Use this: "It would be unfair to you to quote a fee off the top of my head, but if you'll answer a few questions I can have a formal proposal with options, fees, and ROI to you by tomorrow."
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