I’m lucky-where I work. What time you start or finish work with a client is less important by far than what results come out of that work. The results count and somehow the idea of billing by the hour has been dumped in the trash.
Why is this good? Are we missing a profitable oppurtunity? Could we not gain a little more income by accumulating lots of hourly pound notes?
Of course we could.
If our focus was on squeezing every penny of profit out of a clients own budget. If we wanted to focus on fitting things, cookie cutter style into billable hour templates and making sure jobs fit into those spaces; whether they needed to or not.
However, what if our focus is only on the whole result? What if we said, ok this is the job; therefore this is the cost? In other words, the client already knows upfront both the result AND the price. Where does that leave us?
It leaves us simply spending our time thinking and working on how to make things happen for the client, not worrying about fitting things into billable hours.
In the past you had piece workers, working to the hour, paid by the hour. That is where such structures come from and that is what they are suitable for.
If the people you work with require more creativity, flexibility and problem solving than a piece worker, then you’ll also need more time flexibility. Why should either side be penalised for solving the problem quicker or more slowly?
There is one reason that such billing is attractive-what if the job stretches beyond profitability? Good planning and more importantly a good relationship with your customer is vital. The hour billing gets around needing to talk about these extra hours. You invoice, they pay, job done.
If you don’t bill by the hour, you have the scary job of admitting to your client, “sorry it is taking a lot longer, please can you pay more?”
A good relationship will allow for renegotiation-something you can bring up in the beginning. The “What If” conversation perhaps.
Bottom line? Focus on the results not the hours.
This draft to be reviewed :)