I presented a marketing proposal to a company where I formerly interned. We are into our third meeting, and I’ve helped them develop a number of initiatives and ideas to pursue, so far, free of charge. How do I bill consultant fees? And how much should I be compensated if they use any of my ideas?
I’m concerned that you’ve shared information and have yet to solidify a contract for payment. It seems as if you’re offering free services, but expecting remuneration. Compensation, which should always be established up front, can be set as a single price around a plan, ideas, or strategy to reach one or more goals; or it can be set up as a retainer, with the company having face time (or phone time) with you for so many hours per month to get ideas, feedback, etc. According to business consultant DÃ©sirÃ©e H. Young of VentureWalk Business Partners L.L.C. in New Orleans.
Depending on their goals and level of detail, plans can range from $500 to $25,000. “The actual price depends on many factors, including the industry, how implementation-ready the plan is, the consultant’s level of expertise and experience in having his or her strategies bring results, and the geographical location,â€ says Young. At the least, develop an estimate for clients so they can budget accordingly, and always require some payment before any work starts (as a deposit or set-up fee). In the end you need to know your own worth and value in order to place a price on it. To help you with assessing your value, read The Consultant’s Quick Start Guide, by Elaine Biech (Pfeiffer; $35).
This article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.