Archive for November 2012

At what point do you decide that you should charge someone for your time and expertise? It’s a tricky one for many. Often it’s clear: you have quoted for a piece of work and you get the “Yes” phone call. This time the client will be expecting your invoice.

So, what do you do if they call you back a few months later with some questions and need a bit of help over the ‘phone? Or they email you asking if you could run your eyes over a document that they need to send out later that week to one of their clients? Is your first thought “How much do I invoice them for this?” or “They are a good client and who knows, this might lead to more work?”

The downside of doing something for free is the client may see little value in what you have provided. You are also teaching them that it is OK to ask you for help, without payment, just because you have been paid for something in the past.

The upside of helping out is that it can build good will, a stronger relationship and introduce you to opportunities that otherwise may have passed you by.

It’s a tough decision, I know.

So how about this as a suggestion: First time around do the work (as long as it is not too much) as a gesture of good will. But let the client know that. An email along the lines of “You caught me at a good moment, so I had a spare hour that I could put aside to work on this for you. Happy to help again in the future, but next time I might have to have the meter running.

What do you think?