PDA

View Full Version : Consulting Fees


tadpole
10-18-2010, 12:15 PM
I have been asked to consult on a out-of-town project by Email and telephone. I realize that I should charge my usual hourly rate. My problem is....exactly how should I compute the time involved. I can see problems with quoting a flat fee for this.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

I am sure that this will include plans and diagrams, etc.

NarNar
10-18-2010, 08:01 PM
Are you a regestered landscape architect?

I would suggest provide your rate, quote a timeline for job completion, and insert a "do not exceed amount". In your proposal be clear on what work you are doing and what your employer can expect from you.

AGLA
10-18-2010, 08:23 PM
It is easier to sell consulting if you can put a flat number on it, but you can also get screwed with endless work. The trick is to make a detailed quantifiable explanation of what you will do and then have an hourly rate for time spent outside of the contract. That gets you an ability to declare that you met the obligations of the contract if someone tries to not finish paying you. But, more importantly, the client almost always is more prepared when he calls you and does not waste your time because they don't want to get into those hourly rates (keep the rate high). I do this with landscape design and it works very well. I often go a little over and do not charge extra because I get more out of the good will. The best thing is that the people who know they want to screw you will not sign the contract.

tadpole
10-18-2010, 09:45 PM
As I stated in the original post, this will be remote consulting. The Project site is about 450 Miles from my location. All consulting will be done by Email or phone. It will involve the construction of a fairly specialized Water Feature. I don't feel that a standard contract is practical in this case, but more of a weekly or maybe bi-weekly payment schedule based on time expended. I feel that this will protect me and also the client. Am I thinking correctly on this?

NarNar
10-18-2010, 10:40 PM
As I stated in the original post, this will be remote consulting. The Project site is about 450 Miles from my location. All consulting will be done by Email or phone. It will involve the construction of a fairly specialized Water Feature. I don't feel that a standard contract is practical in this case, but more of a weekly or maybe bi-weekly payment schedule based on time expended. I feel that this will protect me and also the client. Am I thinking correctly on this?

Regardless of compensation pattern you should still have a contract. You can outline your terms, rates, and compensation method. And like AGLA said, if they don't want to sign an agreement, chances are you will get screwed. Most professional companies that contract out consultant work, like the one mentioned, has probably done so before and most consultants out line everything and get it in writing. However you proceed good luck. We are here to support you. I just don't want to see you get screwed. Especially with the economic state today, a lot of people is putting the blame on the economy so they don't pay you. It has happened and will continue to do so.

andyslawncare
10-19-2010, 02:24 AM
It depends.... are you going to be doing full scale drawings of a full install, or are you simply bidding a patio or one landscaped bed?

I think that if I will spend more than 2 hours doing a design, pricing out, and presenting; I should have a charge for any work rendered.

A flat rate could work, but don't make it ridiculous, and state in a contract that it only includes x-amount of changes, before x$/hr will be charged. If they agree to something like this, they will probably have you work with them until the plan is perfect for them, then they'll probably hire you for install, since someone else threw something together in 15 mins...

andyslawncare
10-19-2010, 02:30 AM
Also, I would not charge for a design or consult if it is a service that I don't have much experience in; for example, I'm trying to get into water falls, and ponds, etc... I first off market a discounted price on my website; second, since I don't have much completed work to show them, I do design and pricing out for no charge....I'm working on a project like this for one of my clients right now. I've changed design plans 3 times, and I'm working on my final design and cost. I can't complain though, because I don't have as much experience as someone who may have the design perfect on the first try, and has several photos and recommendations for that kind of work...

There are several important factors to think of before charging for a design or consult. If I'm bidding sod, a patio, mulching, plant install to a small area, and etc, I already know what I'm going to use, and how much I need to charge to make money...Its easy to design, and I can literally spit a number in a few minutes.

Also, customers might pride you for helping them along the way of design changes, etc, that you could maybe include what you would charge them for the design/consult in the install...

tadpole
10-19-2010, 11:30 AM
Thanks guys for all of the response and valuable insight. Because of the fact that this is a project located at such great distance completely eliminates any 'Eyes-on' or 'Hands-on' as regards site inspection and/or survey and personal inspection of Project progress, I don't feel that a contract is practical in this case. It is going to be a DIY with some possible subbing involved. There is evidently no-one in the client's area that has the skill set to attempt this project. That is why they contacted me for assistance
I am going to require a (Good Faith) down payment.Then I will bill based on time.

NarNar
10-19-2010, 05:32 PM
Contractors can't build without a design plan... Though you are far away, your really not, with our advanced technology.

AGLA
10-19-2010, 05:35 PM
You should at least outline how you are going to bill them and sendthem an email on it, so you have a record of them getting it.

Good faith is all well and good, but lack of an outline is a recipe for misunderstandings. The more communication in writing, the less the chances of someone misunderstanding their own or the others obligations and responsibilities.

NarNar
10-19-2010, 05:49 PM
Good faith is all well and good, but lack of an outline is a recipe for misunderstandings. The more communication in writing, the less the chances of someone misunderstanding their own or the others obligations and responsibilities.

I agree, especially with interstate commerce. Funny how misunderstandings never come up, until it's time to pay the bills. I would keep faith seperate from money and business.

This is why... faith does not pay the bills (no matter how hard I pray... I have tried) and I work to pay the bills =0).

tadpole
10-19-2010, 06:03 PM
All good thoughts. Thanks guys. I have not yet agreed to take on this consult. Am waiting for pic and info to determine if project is feasible and practical. If it is, then we will discuss terms.

oldclawn
10-23-2010, 09:57 PM
Surely if yoy are this qualified you have enough business at home to keep you busy with a lot less headache!
I'd pass unless its serious guaranteed profitable depositable money
Posted via Mobile Device

andyslawncare
10-29-2010, 02:18 AM
If you can make a decent profit, it may be worth the drive to formally bid. This time of year and through the Winter, I'll take what I can get sometimes; even if its an hour from home. If you've got enough cash to sit on and be happy with for the winter, then let it flow past.

Try google earth. At least then you can get a feel for the size of the work that needs to be done. I would print off a google earth picture even if they sent me a picture. You can use it as an unscaled proposal if possible.