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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Website clients always ask me for Ebay advice, should I charge?

    Im way past spending time with a client for nothing... I used to because it was fun and new, but now I just see the clock ticking...
    Many of my Ecommerce site clients venture onto Ebay, some have no idea and I give them some pointers. But it all takes time. I said to one guy, if he starts talking about Ebay on the phone or when Im visiting, Ill charge him in 15minute blocks, minimum 15 minutes. You think this is fair, what do others do?

  2. #2
    .* draziW tnioPetiS *. bronze trophy
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    I think it is.

    Add it up at end of month and send them bill.

    Just make sure you let them know ahead of time and/or lay it out in contract.

    Here is what I have heard other folks say:

    I use a time tracker and minimum time I charge is 15 minutes. They would be billed for all of those changes. I prefer to not be taken advantage of and the tracking helps prevent that.
    You might consider a monthly/6-monthly/yearly maintenance agreement to
    cover these. Sell in 8 hour blocks or so.
    ... and unless there are special circumstances where they make it worth your while either through referrals, a decent recurring maintenance fee, or you just keep a running tally of all of these things and bill them regularly (rounding up to the nearest hour or half hour for each little thing), then it will eat into valuable time when you should be generating billable hours.
    ... but i track things by nearest 5 minutes with simple one-liners in a log file ... when i reach a couple hours of work, i invoice
    it's nice to have a few line items with " - " indicating a quickie that you aren't charging for, or a " n/c " item that obviously took your time or effort but you are not billing for that either
    ... Everything outside of a project bills hourly and the minimum charge is for a quarter of an hour. No exceptions.
    Don't send a bill for every quarter-hour of work. I would recommend keeping the customer apprised of how much time you have logged and bill whenever you reach a certain point. That point may vary from client to client.
    It will depend on how valuable this client is to you: despite the small freebies, do they provide you with actual proper well-paid jobs, or give you a lot of good referrals? Simply telling him out of the blue that you're now going to charge him may not be the best strategy (obviously dependent on the above). A tactful method may be to start keeping track of the time you put in monthly, and send him a full invoice, showing exactly how much you'd normally charge, but mark the total as waived. This will make the client start to realise the actual value of the free work you're doing, and they may (in certain cases only) start getting the point.
    I charge a monthly maintenance fee for websites that I continually update or I keep a timer. I charge in 15 minute increments and if I have to I bill by the quarter. ... Usually I go for 3 hours a month for a cheaper than my usual hourly rate. If they go over it goes to my hourly rate. If it is under I still get paid.
    ... if I work for 15 minutes, I only charge for 15 minutes, but I usually wait till it adds up to an hour before I draw up an invoice.
    I try not to nickel-and-dime people to death. Some of my clients are so good, I will do small things for nothing for them just because they're great to work with and I value the relationship.
    if you know that a client's going to turn around later in the year and give you a project worth several thousand dollars, or refer you to a new account that's similarly valuable, then it's probably wise to cut slack. Otherwise, assume a minimum of 15 minutes per request and bill quarterly on 30 day terms. ... Do not forget to reserve the right to do this in your initial
    spec/memo/contract.
    Charge them, and let them know up front that you will. When or if they complain then explain that it takes time to find their files, open the applications required, do the work etc. ...

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by chargin8
    Im way past spending time with a client for nothing... I used to because it was fun and new, but now I just see the clock ticking...
    There's no question you need to be paid for your time - especially when the little casual talks rack up to hours of specialty advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by chargin8
    Many of my Ecommerce site clients venture onto Ebay, some have no idea and I give them some pointers.
    I assume eBay is something you know about? (Otherwise why would your client keep coming back to you for advice.) If so, here's how I would handle it:

    The client asks me a question, I respond by giving him a few "tips" and close by letting him know that if he would like to explore this more he would be a good candidate for my "Ebay Consulting Services", which I offer at $rate/hour.

    -Costas
    In order to understand recursion
    one must first understand recursion

  4. #4
    .* draziW tnioPetiS *. bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by firehous
    The client asks me a question, I respond by giving him a few "tips" and close by letting him know that if he would like to explore this more he would be a good candidate for my "Ebay Consulting Services", which I offer at $rate/hour.
    Ahhh, nice!

    Good tip. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,
    Micky

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by firehous
    There's no question you need to be paid for your time - especially when the little casual talks rack up to hours of specialty advice.

    I assume eBay is something you know about? (Otherwise why would your client keep coming back to you for advice.) If so, here's how I would handle it:

    The client asks me a question, I respond by giving him a few "tips" and close by letting him know that if he would like to explore this more he would be a good candidate for my "Ebay Consulting Services", which I offer at $rate/hour.

    -Costas
    Yeah good one. I like that.


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