Do you like surprises?
Everyone likes surprises – unless the surprise is a bill you weren’t expecting.
The one thing clients hate more than anything is a surprise bill. If a client is surprised by a bill, it usually means you didn’t do a good job of communicating with your client about your fees, either at the initial consultation, during the course of the engagement, or in the bill itself.
Let’s start with the initial consultation. During your initial consultation, you should take the time to explain to clients:
- How you calculate your fees – fixed fee, flat fee, contingency, hourly
- An estimate or range of the total fee the client can expect to pay
- Variables that will affect the fee
- The value that the client will receive in exchange for the fee
- What expenses the client might anticipate during the course of the matter, and how and when expenses will be paid
But you should also take the time to explain:
- What the bill will look like
- How the client will receive your bill
- When the client will receive your bill
- What forms of payment you accept
- When the client should pay the bill
The more transparent you are about your billing at the initial consultation, the less likely the client will be surprised by your bill.
Want to learn more about better billing habits? See the posts and videos below:
- How Much Should Lawyers Charge?
- Are Your Invoices Hurting Your Law Practice?
- Get Paid Faster: Proactively Communicate with Clients [video]
- Tools to Communicate with Clients About Fees [video]
- How to Avoid Surprise Bills [video]
- How to Talk to Clients About Fees [video]
- What To Do If A Client Questions Your Bill [video]
- 5 Ways to Improve Cash Flow
- Are Free Consultations a Waste of Time?
- What Should Your Engagement Agreement Include?