It varies. Our chap was free for the consultation and then you can choose to go with products where he gets commission (and not pay a bean) of pay an agreed rate. Our chap was fab and we went commission based and so he was free for us too. We weren't in a position to pay at the time but knew our stuff was on the wrong place. I recommend it, but be wise too.
Depends what sort of financial advice you are looking for - we used a IFA and they received their fee from the financial companies in whose products we invested (If that makes sense)... though the advice was independent and they didn't particularly push one product...
Our FA doesn't charge us for mortgage advice but if we were to go to him for estate planning we would have to pay a fee ..
we use an independent financial advisor, he costs us nothing, and shows us the commission he will get from each product that he is advising us on... have never paid him a penny! and he comes to our house so we can see him at our convenience.
I found one off the Guardian website - he now works for a firm called Positive Solutions and has been great - comes out to the house in the evening (London) and fills in all the paperwork for us.
He was upfront about the fact that 95% of products on the market (mortgages and insurance) gave him commission; if one of the other 5% was right for us then we could pay him instead. However I think now they've moved to charging for advice rather than so much commission, but I think most IFAs will do an initial free consultation, so worth phoning a few and asking.
If you go to www.unbiased.co.uk one of the search terms is for 'fees and commission' or 'fees only', so you can find IFAs near you who work on commssion.
There's a big debate in the industry about the appropriateness of ommission v fees (ie some providers pay massive commission), but any adviser should be willing to tell you what he is getting in commission from recommending any product.