consultants: how do you charge your customers?

atomiser

Gawd
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
619
hi guys,

so, how do you go about charging your customers?

do you charge an hourly rate? with the option to say pre-buy in blocks? do you have 'standard' charges for set tasks such as installation of software or a peripheral? or maybe even (not incl hardware, obviously!) a network incl server, clients, printers etc?

do you look after customers with maintenance contracts? monthly, quarterly, annually? what do your contracts comprise of? do you charge a 'retainer' and then additional charges per router/switch/server/client/printers? so as the environment grows so do support charges? what sort of service level agreements do you have in place?

do you place a markup on hardware? even if it is just a cursory 5% to cover ordering, taking delivery, ensuring non-doa, burn-in testing, delivery to site?

do you offer any of this no-callout fee, no fix no fee, free initial consultation type incentives?

many thanks.
 

YeOldeStonecat

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
11,330
Generally 100-125 dollars an hour...based on the client..all news are 125..moving older clients up to that rate bit by bit.

On the clock for 1x way of the travel

Yes markup on hardware..quite a bit more than 5%. You have to consider time spend taking the PC out of the box..unbuckling it...installing software, it's using your electricity all that time, carry it out to your vehicle...deliver it onsite to the client (that's your gas), etc. IMO I don't want to volunteer my time. The 15% markup I shoot for covers my line of credit with the wholesaler, lax paying clients, time spent ordering the hardware, taking the time to unbox the hardware, dispose of the shipping boxes and retail boxes, etc.

Quite a few clients we have on fixed monthlies....a "set" monthly amount each month. Non-profits love this. It covers occasional onsites, I remote in regularly and check the server, backups, windows updates (WSUS), reboot server occasionaly, etc. Some months they don't need me onsite as much, others I'm there more often...but overall....once you have the experience to figure out how much to charge certain clients monthly...you come out fine. Anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks a month for small clients, to a thousand or more per month for larger clients.

Initial consultation for potential new clients...free.
 

blackedge

Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
536
Seems to depend on the area.. And what is being done.. Generally speaking, I think the standard where I work is over $200 an hour. But, then again, there's a reason that most of the guys I work with make six figures..

For the local stuff, and mostly the small stuff, it's generally around what YeOldStonecat says.. I think we were at $150 an hour depending on the "level" of support. Or, there's the block hours, which gets dirt cheap.

Right now I'm contracted to a client that gets me at a steal rate.. A little under $65 an hour. If I were to go out into the field now as a consultant, for me it'd probably be around $150 an hour.

At the end of the day, it does vary.
 

TechieSooner

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
7,601
I'm not a consultant for someone else, but the consultants I use are all hourly...
 

goodcooper

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
9,771
just starting my consulting business, its been a part time thing for a couple years, but now i'm gearing up for full time... and i'm only billing myself at 50...

very low overhead and i have all the work i can handle... i know i should raise my prices, but i like being able to hand pick my clients, and i'm not a greedy person...

when i get to the point where i can put 40 a week into it, i'll start a little expanding, right now i don't even have a formal office, and my clients don't mind it, but i'm sure it'd help...

i feel like the aldi's of network consulting... keep overhead low and u get the best value...

works so far
 

berky

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
2,233
slightly off topic, but what exactly do you consultants do? i've never had the need for one, nor do i see the need for one in what i do, so i'm really just kind of curious.

thanks.
 

TechieSooner

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
7,601
slightly off topic, but what exactly do you consultants do? i've never had the need for one, nor do i see the need for one in what i do, so i'm really just kind of curious.

thanks.

Again- I'm not the consultant. However, I can tell you why I hire them...

IT Directors/Managers don't know everything. Period.

The IT field is highly specialized as well... IT Managers just touch a bit on everything, can manage the daily tasks, and may have a specialty area or two they know really well.

Consultants bring that together. They are, at least in the cases I use them, highly specialized in their areas (propriety softwares, OSes, etc).
I can't come close to competing with what the consultants know in their area. However on the flip side of that, they don't have any idea how to do 90% of what I do, either ;)
 

atomiser

Gawd
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
619
Generally 100-125 dollars an hour...based on the client..all news are 125..moving older clients up to that rate bit by bit.

On the clock for 1x way of the travel

Yes markup on hardware..quite a bit more than 5%. You have to consider time spend taking the PC out of the box..unbuckling it...installing software, it's using your electricity all that time, carry it out to your vehicle...deliver it onsite to the client (that's your gas), etc. IMO I don't want to volunteer my time. The 15% markup I shoot for covers my line of credit with the wholesaler, lax paying clients, time spent ordering the hardware, taking the time to unbox the hardware, dispose of the shipping boxes and retail boxes, etc.

Quite a few clients we have on fixed monthlies....a "set" monthly amount each month. Non-profits love this. It covers occasional onsites, I remote in regularly and check the server, backups, windows updates (WSUS), reboot server occasionaly, etc. Some months they don't need me onsite as much, others I'm there more often...but overall....once you have the experience to figure out how much to charge certain clients monthly...you come out fine. Anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks a month for small clients, to a thousand or more per month for larger clients.

Initial consultation for potential new clients...free.

you really seem to have your setup together! would it be rude of me to ask how many of you there are working in your consultancy?
 

YeOldeStonecat

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
11,330
slightly off topic, but what exactly do you consultants do? i've never had the need for one, nor do i see the need for one in what i do, so i'm really just kind of curious.

thanks.

We target small to medium sized businesses as network consultants. Businesses from 10-75 PCs is the sweet spot..big enough to need a server or several...but not so big as to have their own internal IT staff. I try to specifically work with Small Business Server.
 

Duster

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 4, 2002
Messages
5,838
I do about 100-200 an hour depending on the job. I am on the clock for travel too. Most of my work is 30 min drive time.

I also do pay for service kind of stuff. They pay me a flat rate and I give them something in return. I deal mostly in dry-cleaning software and do one off reporting systems and cost per piece and cost per hour analysis for a flat rate. That cost anywhere from 5k-15k depending on how/what they want.

It was a very odd/hard field to get into. But I have finally started to get known nationally and recommended, so things are looking up.
 

blackedge

Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
536
Again- I'm not the consultant. However, I can tell you why I hire them...

IT Directors/Managers don't know everything. Period.

The IT field is highly specialized as well... IT Managers just touch a bit on everything, can manage the daily tasks, and may have a specialty area or two they know really well.

Consultants bring that together. They are, at least in the cases I use them, highly specialized in their areas (propriety softwares, OSes, etc).
I can't come close to competing with what the consultants know in their area. However on the flip side of that, they don't have any idea how to do 90% of what I do, either ;)

TechieSooner is right on. The company I work for generally specializes in a variety of products from specific vendors. For example, Symantec is big in the corporate world for their AV. Therefore, we actually have several guys who are very specific with their knowledge of Symantec AV products, most recently SEP. (We won't discuss my opinion of Symantec, I'm just using them as an example.)

Really, it depends on the need though. Sometimes, it's network assessments. Sometimes, it's security assessments. Sometimes it's software implementation. Sometimes it's this or that. The need for consultants is wide and varied in a lot of cases.
 
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