First of all, there’s no way I can say that any specific structure of consultant fees are better than others. There’s only what’s best for your situation.
So in today’s post I’m going to tell you about what’s been best for me. After nearly a decade I’ve found one fee structure to work better than all others.
Make Your Life Simple
One thing that makes working a 9-5 job easier than being an independent consultant is the predictable pay. Every two week or each month you get the loot and all is good.
What scares the new entrant in the consulting arena is not getting that steady pay check.
It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way
Guess what? You can get payment from your clients pretty much like clockwork too.
Set your consulting fees as a monthly retainer. This means billing them each month on an agreed to price. And I recommend billing them at the beginning of each month for that month’s work. Yes, it’s pre-payment and it’s good!
How To Make This Happen
There are a few keys to making this happen:
- You need to find the right client and create a long-term project that you can help them with. Since you’re going after long-term work you need to make sure there are lots of things you can help your client with – and be sure that you can really add value to the mix.
- You must deliver. The fastest way to fail when it comes to retainer fees is not to deliver. If you don’t keep your clients happy, don’t get the results you’ve agreed on, or lack the communication skills necessary to keep this going, you’ll fail.
- Tell them the price. Consultants often seem to whine, “my clients only pay hourly”, “I can only do project work”. If that’s what works for you, great. But if you want to move to a monthly retainer for your consulting fees, you need to tell your clients that’s how you bill.
Getting the Go Ahead
If you’ve followed steps one and two above, then it all comes down to asking for the sale. If you put together a nice project plan, and clearly demonstrate to your prospective client how you will help them on a regular long-term basis, everything should come together.
Whether you’re asking for $500/mo, $3,000 or $10,000/mo as your retainer fee, it doesn’t really matter. The principles and approach are all the same. The monthly fee you ask for will depend on the amount of value and hours you’ll be spending with this client each week and month.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. This approach has worked for me for many years and is the backbone of my client projects. Setting my consultant fees this way has led to most of my client projects lasting not weeks or months, but years.
If you have questions, ask in the comments below and I’ll be glad to share more.
*UPDATE: If you enjoyed this article and want to learn many more proven strategies for consulting fees that will allow you to increase your income and be more confident setting your fees be sure to check out our Consulting Fees Guide.