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Billing Question

Billing Question

Billing Question

I am wondering how to bill a particular project.

I had a client call me up and ask me to help him out with some calculations for an error that was made by the GC in the field. My client is a sub to the GC and was just trying to help out the GC with a demanding EOR. I received the email and phone call, became familiar with the problem and the EOR's request, checked the revised condition built by the GC and ran some numbers. I prepared a detail set of sealed calculations to be sent to the EOR for review including all references.

Now comes the billing, what do I bill for the services? My client is well aware of my rate and said that I would be compensated for my time. I am just wondering if I should be billing for my time beginning with reading the email and becoming familiar with the project through sending with the sealed calculations or if I should bill for calculation preparation only? What do others do?
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RE: Billing Question

I would bill for time spent on this project starting from when you and the client agreed upon the scope of work, until you finished spending time on the project.

RE: Billing Question

A lawyer charges by the minute. So should we. After all, lawyers can't be wrong all the time.

Bill at your hourly rate for the time expended and itemize it. To be the devil's advocate here, all this should have been spelled out in writing BEFORE you started, but that's water over the dam now. If he refuses to pay though, do pull your stamp.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Billing Question

I'm not worried about them not paying yet. I have had a long relationship with this customer going back to when we were employees of the same company before it went under. This is saving the GC some major $$ so I'm sure they will do anything to get out of the problem. A few hundred dollars is nothing compared to the repair.

RE: Billing Question

Bill for everything and justify it. We just bill for our time, yet in many cases, the value to the client is greater than our time. Sounds like this is exactly one of those cases.

RE: Billing Question

I would say it depends on how you arrive at your billable rate. We don’t charge for initial meetings or quotations but cover that cost in our charge out rate.

So I would not see reading the emails as chargeable, becoming familiar with a project is a very grey area and for me that depend on the value of the project, clearly spending ten hours to become familiar with a project that has two hours that can be billed would be somewhat silly, but to lose ten hours on a project that has 100 billable hours would get lost in our “mark up”.

However good business is about both parties being happy with the end result, it is always good to talk.

RE: Billing Question

Reminds me of the story of the retired engineer called in to fix a problem with a turbine making excessive noise yet the current engineers could not find the problem. The retired engineer arrived, listened for 15 minutes to various parts of the equipment, then put an 'X' on a spot and said "Your problem is in this spot". He returned home and sent the company a bill for $50,000. The president sent the bill back asking for itemization. Engineer returned the bill with 2 items: 1) Analysis Equipment and Pinpoint problem area: $50; 2) Knowing where to put the 'X': $49,950. The bill was paid in full.

Don't sell your time short. If you spend time on a project, bill the project. When you go to prepare the bill, if you feel it is too much, then list a discount as Good Customer or some such.

My wife does handmade cards for any occasion and related crafts. Getting her to charge a profitable price for a card has been hard. She says who would pay more than $X for a card. I tell her that you can't get a commercial card at WalMart for twice that price. I would put her webpage here but it might violate posting rules.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Billing Question

Just so that everyone is aware, I ended up charging my client for the full amount of time I was on the project a whopping 4 hours at my billable rate. It's wasn't as if we were talking 100 hours or anything just 1/2 of a days work to become familiar with the project and then prepare details and calculations to be sent to the EOR for review/approval.

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