Do your clients balk at your fees? Do you have to chase them down to pay your bills, only to have them argue about the charges?
This is the first in a series of posts and videos about how to talk to your clients about fees. We’re starting with the initial consultation. Watch the video below or scroll down to keep reading.
When lawyers tell me that they have problems with clients over fees, the first place I always look is to the initial consultation. Almost all problems relating to billing or fees originate at the original consultation.
Let’s face it – no one likes to talk about money. But it’s one of the most important topics you need to cover with your clients at the initial consultation if you want a smooth attorney-client relationship. Even clients who aren’t overly price-sensitive will be concerned about the cost of the legal services you are undertaking for them.
You’re the professional – it’s your job to establish billing practices, set an appropriate fee for the client’s matter, and communicate both to the client. Address the topic up front, before the client feels the need to ask about it.
In fact, I recommend discussing fees with the client as early as possible in the initial consultation, even if you can’t quote a specific fee until you have had a more in-depth discussion with the client. Tell them early on that you know that they will be concerned about the cost of the matter and let them know how you determine the price of your services. Then tell them that you will revisit the fees and explain them in more detail once you have a better idea of the client’s specific situation.
If you would like help refining your billing or client intake processes, please contact me. And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see my next video in this series on how to talk to clients about fees.