Project Managing Micromanaging Clients:
One of the hardest things to do when starting/running/growing your own business is to figure out the value of your time on a project. Coding and designing are pretty easy to figure out. How long it takes to get to the end result, is how many hours you’d bill your client. But project management is a whole different ball game. Each client is different; therefore the amount of time you spend with your client will vary.
The typical rule of thumb is project management accounts for 20% of the total design and development hours. So if you’re project is 100 hours, your time handling the client should be billed 20 hours. But how do you calculate the time if you’re responding to a simple email…20 emails later…they are no longer simple emails. A “quick question” here and there adds up. But you only really billed for the design and development… now you’re just giving your time away. Giving your time away hurts.
We know you can never bill a client AFTER the fact. If you’re client becomes too cumbersome with their constant hands on approach, you can’t suddenly bill them extra for it. I mean, you can, but good luck keeping any clients.
All of this needs to be handled up front and in your contract. In the pricing section, you call out: “20 hours for project management: $XXX.XX”
Then in your after sales service section you include time and price blocks: “10 hours project management = $XXX.XX”
Or you may decide to simply charge them hourly for anything over the 20 hour mark. You then let your client know when they have used up 60% of their project management time. So at 12 hours of used time, you send them an email letting them know. Dear God, I sound like ATT&T. I have become that which I despise. I digress.
Anyway, It’s a way to make the client pause before they send you an email like, “I don’t know what I want, but I know when I see it…”
By telling a client up front that you’re going to charge an “excessive request” charge for hours that go beyond what’s in the contract, you’re helping mitigate a possible barrage of emails and phone calls. Relationships always start out great, and you can make sure to keep it great by simply adding a few extra points to your contract. If a client doesn’t appreciate your time, they don’t appreciate you. And why put yourself through that.