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How Do You Establish Equitable Client Fees?

Posted on June 07, 2006

By Bonnie Wallsh

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”  Michelangelo Buonarroti, Renaissance Artist and Sculptor

Pricing our services as consultants is one of those most challenging dilemmas that we face. It is illegal for me to recommend specific fees that you should charge, however, I want to share guidelines for you to use as you establish your fee structure. Note that you can use a wide variety of charging for your services depending upon the needs of particular clients and the importance of the piece of business for you. My firm has entered into partnerships, charged a daily fee, project fee, and per head basis. I never accepted commissions for my fees. Rather, I apply any commissions received against my fee structure or towards the master account. Other meeting management consultants, particularly those who perform site selection services, opt for payment by commission.

In the book, “Independent Consulting”, David Kintler recommends that the prices you charge should depend on 3 factors – Your perceived ability to deliver results, the lifestyle you want, and what the market will bear. “These 3 factors determine what you’re going to earn from your consulting practice. How you set your prices is the foundation for your financial success. You level-set the expectations of your clients and potential clients. As you grow the number of assignments you are handling, your income benefits in proportion. If you begin working for peanuts and don’t put the value on your work that it deserves, you’ll have a hard time significantly increasing your prices in the future.”

The perception of your ability to deliver results is based on your industry reputation, reputation for work that you have performed, and testimonials and referrals. The lifestyle that you want is determined by the salary and income that you want to earn, your operating expenses, and gaps between assignments. The market is determined by the industry that you are working in, the perceived value of your services, competition, and geographical location.

Types of fees include hourly, daily, weekly, per head, project fees, percentage, commission, partnership, and retainer. There is no one right way but you must revert back to your business plan to guide you in fee setting. There are times that I turned down business when it was not financially feasible and on other occasions, I accepted work because there was additional business potential. Only you can decide what is best for you.


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Mandlakayise Bassie

Is it possible to provide me the email address of David Kintler or Bob Adams?

I tried searching for their addresses, but couldn't find them.

This is after I enjoyed reading their book "Streetwise, Independent Consulting"

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