| ||Ask HN: How do you handle billing by the day?|
5 points by rquantz on Dec 22, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments |
|Several prominent members of the HN community advocate billing at least by the day for freelancers/consultants. This is extremely appealing to me, and I've begun discussing changing to this billing structure with some of my existing clients.|
That being said, I'm still not totally sure how this works. I believe I recall tpacek saying that any client who has any problems or bats an eye at this type of arrangement is pathological and should be avoided. I will acknowledge this is the case, but some of my apparently pathological clients have questions that I don't have really good answers for yet:
It seems that when a client pays by the day they have a reasonable expectation that you can guarantee that they have your complete attention for the entire day. Earlier this week I actually had my first "by the day" billing engagement on a new project for an existing client. They were scheduled for Monday, and on Monday morning I sat down at my desk to start work for them, only to find a frantic email from a client whose webserver had apparently been hacked. I spent the morning cleaning up that mess, and it was close to noon by the time I got to start working on my supposedly only task for the day. Should I have charged my emergency client for a day's work (assuming I had negotiated that with them, which I hadn't yet) and then charge the client I had scheduled that day for a day's work as well? Or should I have called it a day when I had finished the cleanup, and told the originally scheduled client I would work on their stuff when I had another day free -- in this case, probably not until the new year?
Will you charge me for a day if I have a ten minute phone call/question for you?
What about 1 hour?
How will you handle emergencies if you're scheduled to work for someone else that day?
Billing by the day sounds great, but there are a lot of edge cases that I'm not sure how to handle yet. Most of my clients at this point are pretty reasonable to work with, but they are small businesses with non-unlimited budgets.
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