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Questions for those who charge by the hour for professional services

(13 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 24-Aug-08 01:34:56

Would be interested in hearing about how you determine client charges for your time. For example:

- Do you charge time for the introductory chitchat at the beginning/end of client meetings/phonecalls?
- Do you 'round up' time charges - i.e. if a call lasts 10 minutes, do you 'round up' to a quarter or half hour?
- How do you charge clients for 'thinking', preparation, and/or research time, or time spent discussing relevant issues with colleagues?
- How do you resolve matters if a client questions/disputes the amount of time they've been charged?

Any other thoughts would be appreciated - and I do realise that this hour on a Saturday night/Sunday morning is perhaps not the best time to ask questions of this nature!

1dilemma Sun 24-Aug-08 01:37:19

Yeah I didn't notice the topic and thought this was about something completely different grin

AvenaLife Sun 24-Aug-08 01:40:24

You charge from the minute they pick up the phone and say hello, to the end of the call when they put it down. I was always told to round up (I didn't if I knew they couldn't afford it though). You don't charge them for discussing it. If they dispute, it should be on file how much you have charged them for work, ie, the time and duration of each phone call, letter etc. It should all be documented, you just send them a copy.

Does this make sense?

Earlybird Sun 24-Aug-08 01:40:54

Yes, I pondered how to word the thread title so it was clear what I meant! grin

AvenaLife Sun 24-Aug-08 01:43:06

Lol!

You should have said fee earner!

Earlybird Sun 24-Aug-08 01:43:48

AvenaLife - yes, makes sense. So conversational niceties are 'on the clock'? Maybe more time efficient to communicate mainly by email then.....

When you 'round up' - what increments of time did you work with (quarter hours etc)?

AvenaLife Sun 24-Aug-08 01:48:59

My firm used to charge £80 for every unit (6 minutes). If I went 30 seconds over, this was another unit.

They send out statements every month saying what work has been done, how long it took and what the charge was unless they were getting a fixed fee (remortgages and mobile phone licences).

All nice chats were on the clock. If a client phoned me it was from the moment I said hello and realised who they were, if I had to make a call on their behalf it was the moment the other end said hello until I put the phone down.

nappyaddict Sun 24-Aug-08 02:46:43

glad the title didn't just make me think of something else

AvenaLife Sun 24-Aug-08 02:49:15

The people on her have such dirty minds grin

twentypence Sun 24-Aug-08 03:23:02

I believe the usual is 6 minute blocks rounded up and with the client paying for the nice bits of chit chat.

LadyMuck Sun 24-Aug-08 08:05:53

In terms of all the thinking time etc, this would all get recorded ready for billing, but whoever was responsible for billing would take a view at the end of the month as to how much would be recoverable, so billing isn't automatic. But phonecalls/letters/email would all get billed as these were effectively "proof" that time had been spent. The downside of email therefore is that thinking time may get added onto this.

Gobbledigook Sun 24-Aug-08 08:22:17

I don't really charge by the hour but by the day - however I make a note of all the time I spend to work that out, obviously. A 15 min phone call I probably don't bother including but I do count time I spend reading/researching, sorting out the background, setting up documents on the computer etc.

Eek, never had a dispute about time I've invoiced for.

SqueakyPop Sun 24-Aug-08 08:25:25

When I did consulting work, I had a time sheet for each client, and all my time had to charged somewhere.

If you are working for a client, you have to charge your time, even if it is thinking time. If you discuss your client's job with colleagues, they should charge their time to your client also.

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