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RedHeron/EcoDesign or others?

HHassist's picture

I'm just curious if you charge for an initial consultation. I've received a request from someone - they'd "like to meet with me for further inquiries, consult about what they want and then see my quotation". My pricing is listed on my website, and they did mention that they'd seen that, so I'm guessing what they want is not falling into one of those categories.

From her email, it sounds like she just wants the finishing touches, such as colours & furniture selection, which I do have detailed on my price list, so I'm not sure why she wants a quote.

Would you go out and see her for free to determine what to charge her, or would you charge for that meeting as well.

Thanks for all advice!

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Anonymous's picture

DBD, I tend to agree with you. Here's what I have learned/experienced, and now do:

Client calls/emails.
I return the call and during the telephone conversation, I ask them straight out "are you familiar with the services we provide"? They usually say yes as they've read the website, or no, that they found me in the yellow pages (or wherever). I offer a complimentary consultation but during this consult, I offer no free advice. I gather information, find out what they want, and then lay out what is available to them, along with my rate sheet, and different design options - i.e. how the work can be done, how payment works (net 30), etc. (I tell them all this on the phone). Then, they'll ask me outright, what the charge is for ... such and such...

Recently, I had a couple who just wanted a second opinion on colours their friends helped them choose. I asked them if they were familiar with the rate for colour consults. THey said yes, based on my website. I said a colour consul would run about 2 hours. THey said great. I visited them, and when I got there, I gave them a rate sheet, that provided all my rates and the services, and then carried on with the consult. THey paid me that night. I've since gotten more work from them.

Paula, I have learned and because I'm so new at this, it's still a learning curve, that they anticipate having to pay, so if you provide the consult that night and give advice, you charge. If you only gather information and find out what they want, I'd offer that free. But I would be clear before you start any conversation that they are familiar with your rates, and how you charge. I usually start my consult by providing them with the rate sheet and suggest that it's easier to get that out of the way first so they know what they are buying into before you even go anywhere else. This way, if you do a 2 hour consult and then tell them it's $150, they're not sugesting that they thought it was free.

Let them pay for advice, that's what your product is! :-)

Anonymous's picture

Thanks to everyone for all comments.

Red - I never thought of it the way you said. It makes perfect sense that I, not the pricing should entice them.

Of all aspects of my business, I have to say that setting my pricing has got to be the biggest pain in the you know what! I find it so frustrating!

Anyhow - thanks again all! :)

Anonymous's picture

So you're all thinking I should remove my price list! Interesting...the reason I put it on is so people can see that I really am reasonably priced & they don't have to guess what they might have to pay. My idea is that the prices they see will entice them. But perhaps I should reconsider...

As far as the initial consult, I guess it really depends...For example, I know there are lots of business that will come and give you a free estimate/quote (such as window coverings, painters, etc.), and I guess I was thinking I could work it like this. I thought I could go give a quote for what I would charge for what she wants, but be very careful at that meeting to not give any actual advice or tips.

All she's looking for at this time, as far as I can tell, is just a quote. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes...I don't think I'd want to pay for just a quote.

So many things to sort out when you're just starting in the biz!

Anonymous's picture

So if all the client wants is just a quotation, you will charge them to give them that, correct?

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