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Minimum Fee

Minimum Fee

Minimum Fee

(OP)
Does anyone have a minimum fee they'd use for a small job, say one hour?  

RE: Minimum Fee

In the UK Plumbers and Electricians have a minimum call-out-charge of £40-£60. Additional time needed to complete the task is then added at an hourly rate to this minimum charge. Indeed the plumber who came to change my kitchen tap recently, a task which took him 30 minutes, charged me £80!

For consulting work I am not sure if such a "minimum charge" rule exists? The reality is that the Regular Client would get the one-hour job done for free whilst a New Client would also get it done for free in the hope that he will return with a bigger project in the future.

RE: Minimum Fee

(OP)
Reminds me of a joke:

The plumber had just finished fixing the drain and presented the homeowner with his bill.

"What!" exclaimed the homeowner, "I'm a professional engineer and I don't even make that kind of money!"

"I know" said the plumber "I didn't make a lot money either when I was an engineer."

RE: Minimum Fee

I use a minimum billing of $CDN 100.

For a really small job I don’t charge for it and  consider it good will.

This is often the case for a homeowner or a potential client who are only asking for some verbal advice or a telephone call.

If I have to write a report or give written opinion, I’ll usually charge a minimum of CDN$200 to CDN$400 for 2 to 4 hours.

Its in the small jobs like this that I have the most trouble getting paid.  Big jobs for corporate clients always pay, sometimes late. Its simply not worth spending several hours getting paid for one hours work so why spend additional time making out a bill etc.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Minimum Fee

Sometimes the best solution is to have a minimum charge equal to a normal charge for a half-day. This will allow you to prevent excessive freebies, and to cover the freebies you do decide to give away.

RE: Minimum Fee

(OP)
Thanks for the replies.

There seems to be a few different ideas regarding a minimum fee.

1.  There is a real cost to opening a job file, covering your one-hour job with insurance, paying the phone bill and typing an invoice.  

2.  There can be some real benefits to "helping" someone for free.  It's good advertising.  You'd have to pay for regular advertising.  Giving someone a free hour costs you nothing except for the lost income.

I guess it's each case according to its merits.

RDK, I think your suggestion of $100.00 minimum is fair and even.

RE: Minimum Fee

That's $100 CDN or $US 65   

Mostly the free ones are either to potential customers or homeowners who cannot really afford full profession services. I will quite often point the homeowner to Part 9 of the National Building Code which deals with small buildings and does not require engineering if the conditions in the code are met.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

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