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Old 08-14-2012
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Question To charge or not to charge????
Hello everyone,

I have been crazy about this situation. How many of you charge a consultation fee? Up to now, my consultations have been free of charge and don't know wether I should charge for the time spent with clients or not. I rented out an office space and will open in two weeks, and will see more people. I will not only offer office support and basic bookkeeping services, but also income tax, notary, translations and other typing services for individuals. So, having said all these, should I charge a consultation fee for new clients? Please help!!!!
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Old 08-14-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
I offer a brief first consultation (between 15 and 20 minutes) for free. During that consultation when questions are asked regarding items that require lengthier answers or the sharing of information that I charge for (technology & WordPress consulting) I explain that we would need to schedule another session in order to give them a comprehensive answer. It's a fine line offering the free consults because if you're not careful you can end up giving away information that you should be charging for.
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Old 08-14-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
Originally Posted by Clerical Advantage View Post
I offer a brief first consultation (between 15 and 20 minutes) for free. During that consultation when questions are asked regarding items that require lengthier answers or the sharing of information that I charge for (technology & WordPress consulting) I explain that we would need to schedule another session in order to give them a comprehensive answer. It's a fine line offering the free consults because if you're not careful you can end up giving away information that you should be charging for.
Hi Tina,

Yes, I think is a bit different when you deal with a company, rather than an individual and that's why I'm a bit concerned. I have done notary letters and tax returns for people I know and never charged a consultation fee, but now that I will see other people, I'm not sure if I should. My accountant charges a first consultation fee and so does my attorney. Why shouldn't I right?
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Old 08-14-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
I'm actually glad this came up. I'm in the midst of writing a fee section on my website and I came up with the idea to charge a very low fee for my consultations..... let's say $15 which will be applied to their bill as a credit or towards services if we do business together. I also put the reason for the fee was to avoid no calls, unexplained cancellations etc. Is this tacky??
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Old 08-14-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
I guess this could go both ways.

I have commented on a similar thread to say some of what Tina said in terms of being careful to not give away too much during a consultation (you would be surprised at what some PC try to get out of you!)...you just have to get savvy at answering those far reaching questions...I even go so far as to say (always jokingly) "Now if I told you that why would you need me?"...again, always making it a laughing matter.

Honestly charging for a consult will most likely cut down on them because too many VA's (and similar service providers) offer free ones.

I bet your Accountant and Attorney actually give some value in their consults and so if you are going to charge, have in mind already what value you are going to give other than just information about your services. Maybe you can add that you will do an "Account Review" for possible acctg clients and just look at their Accounting System to make sure they have the right accounts set-up and still call it a consult and charge even more...or for possible Office Support clients a "Systems Review" to see if they have the right systems in place...maybe an hour of your time. I don't know...just a thought!
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Old 08-14-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
I was thinking the same thing. Some may think "why should I pay for something and I may not even use their services".

Don't know about this one.
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Old 08-15-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
Sharon I agree and disagree. :S

I actually asked my attorney why he charges a fee for first time clients and this is what he said: "Some people only come to ask how much I charge for a certain service and how I'm going to be of help to them. I spend a good half hour to even an hour with them trying to explain how I can solve their problems. I think that if they don't hire me as their attorney, at least I was compensated for my time."

Now I'm more confused!
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Old 08-15-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
LOL @ Karla. I'm so up in the air about it all. I think I may just go ahead and scratch the low fee consultation and just hope they decide to use my services. I'm so in an I just don't know phase.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
I'll start off by not charging a consultation for those clients who only come in for Income Tax or Notary services. Of course if they come in every other week for consultations regarding their taxes and such, I will charge a fee. What do you think?
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Old 02-07-2014
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Default Re: To charge or not to charge????
Originally Posted by karlaamaya View Post
Hello everyone,

I have been crazy about this situation. How many of you charge a consultation fee? Up to now, my consultations have been free of charge and don't know wether I should charge for the time spent with clients or not. I rented out an office space and will open in two weeks, and will see more people. I will not only offer office support and basic bookkeeping services, but also income tax, notary, translations and other typing services for individuals. So, having said all these, should I charge a consultation fee for new clients? Please help!!!!
In my companies we offer a free short consultation usually 10-20 minutes, anything after that this paid based on our standard hourly rate for the services discussed. We use an online appointment book that allows us to take payments at the time the appointment is scheduled. Our clients can book their own appointments and fill our short intakes on line. The appointment book can be found here: https://acuityscheduling.com/appointments.php

I pay for the appointment book, but I know that they also offer a free version. However, I can not tell you all differences are between the two accounts because like the text messages reminders and etc. that are only available with the paying version. I have gone to this approach because I have offices in two different states and meet with so, so, many people. It has helped manage time zones, and keep track of what we do for free.
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