My Day Rate Is….Technology Consulting At Its Finest!

Hello there – I am harryb, the author of the SMB Consulting Best Practices book. I like to hold a virtual book reading about technology consulting as often as my schedule allows – and today I am posting up a favorite technology consulting passage on “My Day Rate”

My day rate is…

Maybe I’m getting old and fussy after more than a decade (actually approaching two decades) of being an SMB consultant. I’m increasingly less excited about quarter-hour entries for telephone calls to solve an “I can’t print” problem. Perhaps it’s the early signs of professional burn-out. Given that might be the case, in the early part of the 21st century, I’ve adjusted my SMB consulting business model to take on more of a “senior statesman” role. I’ve not accomplished this professional paradigm shift simply by having satisfied customers ascribe large doses of credibility to me, but rather via pricing. With new clients who call to inquire about my SMB consulting services, I proudly proclaim that I bill by the day. (As of this writing, my day rate is $1,250 per eight-hour day, plus expenses).

This approach has served as a great business development filter and rationing device. Some folks can’t wait to hang up fast enough, fearful that they’ll be charged a full day of work for a short call to me. But others can appreciate the tack I’ve taken and understand that I’m a consultant, not a two-bit help desk technician. Overall, my experience has been that the quality of my new clients has improved compared to a few new clients I accepted before utilizing the day-rate method. My engagements have become more meaningful, interesting, and- shall we say-richer. And this straightforward approach has allowed me to solicit and accept engagements that are multi-day in multi-locations (including international), a strategy that lets me mitigate the negative effects of the current “dot-gone” downturn afflicting my

home town of Seattle (as of this writing in Spring 2003). I’m experiencing renewed enjoyment as an SMB consultant.

BEST PRACTICE: As you mature as an SMB consultant, experi­ment with a few new clients by using a “day rate.”

By the way, the day rate concept is well-known in other professional services environments such as land planning, engineering, and so on. And, let me temper the above tempest with the admission that my long-time clients, dating back over five years of association with my practice, are still on a time and materials basis. Guess I’ll never quite get away from those short “I can’t print” missives!

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cheers….harrybbbb

Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J

PPS – my spring show, SMB Nation Spring 2009, is in the NYC-area on May 1-3, 2009.

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