a consulting dilemma
one of the hardest parts of being a consultant is the estimate/bill collection aspect of the work, but obviously as a consultant, getting paid is rather important… fixing the problems and helping people understanding technology is something i’m rather good at and really enjoy.
fortunately, i have not ever been “stiffed”, but i have created “sticker shock” for some… what i have learned (and really need to remember and apply) is a bit of uncomfortableness initially saying to someone my rate is “X” is better and easier than handing an invoice and having them blink and then ending up adjusting rates further to make the customer “happy”.
while working in NYC about 4 years ago i had a breakthrough. i had a prospective client call, explain a computer problem he was having, and then asked my rates (which i had been charging a number of happy customers for months). his response was “what, are you kidding me?” my response was he was more than welcome to speak with others in the area and see if he got a better rate (and more importantly, good service – and fix the issue). i did not hear back from him, but continued to retain clients and get new ones.
confidence in yourself is paramount, your worth and skills/talents are obviously also needed to do a good job. belief that your experience (in my case close to 14 years IT professional experience along with 5 years running my own computer consulting/training business) is worth the money you are charging (along with what the market will bear).
more to think about…