I tell them that generally I charge 50.00 per hour but since I'll
require more guidance I don't feel right charging them that price at
first and state that when I require less guidance the fee will
increase. Since my efficiency goes up and I get more work done per
Never had a problem and usually the customer is happy with the idea.
I've been doing work like this for 5 years on the side and still have
the same customers.
I guess that's one way to look at it. You could also look at it from
the perspective that your increased efficiency working with a repeat
client is the discount.
Frankly, I don't understand why you'd feel a need to discount your
services in the first place. Why wouldn't you just set one fair price?
In a way, by giving a new guy a discount you're giving a discount to
someone who may or may not use your services again. The repeat
customer is the known quantity and is the one that deserves the
Another way of looking at it, instead of you feeling that it's your
fault that you don't know the new customer's way of working, is to see
it as the new customer is coming to you because whatever they were
doing before was not working. The new customer is the one that is
making you less efficient and taking up more of your time - and you're
rewarding that with a discount.
It just seems entirely backwards to me.
I concur with Rico's thoughts on the matter. The customer who deserves
the discount is the repeat customer, not the new one. You are not trying
to attract new customers with a discount as in a retail operation, but you
are trying to keep old customers. The best way to do that is with
excellent service at a fair price.
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
Yes, after discussing the practice with the client first. Its part of
I'm not losing any sleep myself. I don't understand exactly what has
you folks up in arms though. The fee structure I have has worked for a
long time and this is the only place I've ever had it questioned.
Rereading this, I'm wondering if you are misunderstanding something.
Increasing my fee from 35 to 50 per hour isn't a 50percent increase
and its not a surprise increase ether. The client is made aware of
The 100 per hour rate applies only to site work where I have to visit
a site, take readings and make adjustments to control systems and or
instruct contractors of what repairs need done and how. The 100 per
hour fee is a bargain after all is said and done.
If you wish to continue calling me stupid by all means continue. God
bless you all the same.
Here we go again, I've been doing it this way for the past 10 years.
I've done the increasing hourly fee with 20 customers who where made
aware of the practice at the initial consultation. If you've not heard
of anyone doing the practice I'm afraid that its you who have little
experience at all with this stuff.
Don's been doing this stuff far longer than you have. He also does it
full time. He's a known quantity.
Your earlier post about learning a few things is encouraging. I don't
think anyone is demanding that you change anything about how you do
business. Rather, pointing out that there isn't really an upside to
the way you do it and that you might consider looking at ways to
improve the business end.
Take this scenario and tell me how the customer would react.
New customer, charge them the flat hourly fee - no discount. When the
first bill rolls around, then you adjust the bill to reflect your
learning curve and the customer PIA factor. You then give the customer
a "rebate" of an hour (or whatever amount seems appropriate) that can
be applied at the time of the next bill.
Do you think the customer, not expecting any break at all, would be
disappointed? No way. Getting something when you don't expect it is
better than getting the same thing when you expect it. It also removes
the mandatory discount - it is now at your discretion.
If you're stuck in the middle manager mode (well, this has always
worked for me and that's how I do it), then you're obviously not
looking to improve your business or feel that it can't be improved.
Does that sum up your view on the matter?
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