What do you do if a client questions your bill?
Nobody likes it when a client questions their bill. It doesn’t feel good. It’s easy to get defensive and to feel as if the client is questioning your integrity. Don’t fall into that trap. Watch the video below, or scroll down to read on and learn what you should do instead.
First listen to the client’s concerns. Offer to schedule a meeting with them to go over the bill, and let them tell you exactly what they are concerned about. Is there one particular entry they don’t understand? Are they questioning time you spent on certain tasks? Or do they just not like the total amount of the bill? Let them ask any questions that they have.
While you’re listening to the client, try to listen also for what is behind their objection to the bill, even if they don’t articulate it out loud. Ask questions. The client may be questioning the bill, but it may not be your fee they are having a problem with. Maybe the client is questioning the bill because they are frustrated that their case is taking longer than they expected. Or they may be questioning the bill because they don’t feel that they are being kept in the loop about what is happening in their matter.
If that’s the case, when you respond, you’ll want to make sure that you respond not just to the questions they are asking, but also to their underlying objections.
Hopefully, you’ve done a good job of explaining your fees and how they work during the initial consultation, and gone over any variables that might affect the fee, as well as helping the client to understand the stages their matter will go through, and the work that was anticipated. Return to that conversation and remind the client what you discussed.
Want more on billing and fees? Check these out:
- 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?
- Billing Tips for Solos and Small Firms
- Dealing with Difficult Clients
- Value Billing: Too Nebulous to be Effective?
- The Dilemma Over Legal Fees
- Value Based Billing For Lawyers – Will it Work?