It’s really ok to charge for the time you spend thinking about and for your client, It took me a while to figure that out – until I realized that the time I spent studying the clients present material and position, letting the myriad of ideas that came to mind expand my vision for them, and then giving a lot of thought to the best direction for them to take was the most valuable aspect of my services.
And at one point I wasn’t charging for that!
I expect to include 15 minutes before and after a coaching call with the price of the call. I use the first 15 minutes to study their Coaching Call Prep Form to see what they have accomplished and what they want to talk about. That form also lists their homework for the past week so it is easy for both of us to keep moving forward. The 15 minutes after the call is spent in condensing my notes into the Coaching Call Prep Form for the next session.
Humm, let me think. Knowing that I spend an hour and a half per coaching call makes me wonder – am I charging enough? Perhaps not.
But it was when I started tracking the other times I spent planning for a client that I began to build a Planning Time & Review Charge into my proposals.
For instance, when it comes to web design I partner with Judy Stewart of www.jstewartdesigns.com. She’s the artist. I’m the content developer. But we may spend 30 minutes on the phone working out details of a design or copy placement for a client. Why should either one of us give that important time away for free.
Another client had a very complex site that he wanted to redo and I spent about an hour and a half studying his site, and figuring out the best site map navigation and plotting our strategy. I need to be certain I charge for that. It is after all, the core decision making process that will fuel our mutual success.
Don’t sell your brain power short
I’m selling my brain power – my creativity, my intelligence, my vast spectrum of knowledge and experience. I’m selling my ability to see the client’s vision and help her bring it into a tangible and profitable internet business. That’s worth something. In fact that’s worth a lot!
In your proposal build in special pricing for planning – your planning time. It takes time to read through a new client’s web site and get a picture of who they are and what they want. It takes time to update and track the decisions and planned actions. I have a very strong Client Intake form that I ask my clients to fill out before we begin. It takes time for me to read that and pull out the strategy we should pursue.
Put a price on your thinking
I have two types of pricing. One is for a coaching session. The other is for the time I spend writing copy, strengthening copy, doing research and designing their marketing strategy. I charge by the quarter hour and I list on the invoice exactly what I was doing – created site map, wrote copy for home page, etc.
Don’t give your ideas away for free
I also don’t give a free consultation. I have too many great ideas that will make money for my clients to give them away. I do have a free initial exploratory conversation to discover their needs and how I might best serve them. Then I write a proposal – a Scope of Action. This gives me time to look at the notes I took while I talked to them and personalize my proposal and plan exactly how I’d like to proceed and what the client can expect to accomplish and by when. I also send them my Magnetic Marketing Method Client Intake Form which gives me powerful information upon which to build our sessions.
It’s hard to predict how long we will work and I’m still working up the nerve to say “You need to work with me for six month.” I know I have to have ten sessions minimum to bring the content for a complete web site into readiness. I probably ought to make it 12. People usually want boundaries – an end in sight – an estimate for their budget.
I have several packages of varying lengths for coaching but I always add a price for my thinking time in my proposal. No one has every objected. My intelligence and creativity is the most valuable thing I offer and it’s worth every penny – or should I say every dollar!