Selectively charge clients for services they want that are less valuable than other services

Have you ever tried this question with your clients who ask you to do work that drains your time from more pressing tasks or tasks that they or others should do: “If we charged you $200 an hour for our time, would you ask us to do it?” It could be that the rates vary according to the likelihood of legal risk (See my post of Oct. 22, 2006 on inside lawyers with multiple rates.).

This approach means you charge internal time only for particular, pre-defined services. Inside lawyers, for example, might charge for time spent on quasi-legal services (See my posts of Sept. 10, 2005 and its discussion of such tasks; July 21, 2005 with definitions; and Feb. 23, 2006 on how to identify them.).

Commodity work, such as reviews of ordinary advertisements, might deserve an hourly chargeback. If there is so much of it, clients should have an incentive to handle the easy stuff or standardize much of what is needed.

Services you have repeatedly shown clients how to handle might also justify a charge (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005 for more on this idea about charging for help if the answers are on the company intranet.). Ordinary non-disclosure agreements could fall into this category.

The message to clients is, “Don’t use us for lower-value drudgery!”

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