So you have decided to provide a service, great! You have figured out how to charge – the next big thing outside of actually performing the job is knowing how to collect your money. The general rule for consulting in terms of payment is you charge a 50% to 75% mobilization fee and get the balance upon completion of the work. Now given the special circumstances in Nigeria – some people are dishonest, others are gifted at posting you when you ask for your payment, this is how I go about it.
Based on my going rate I always make sure that 50% of what I charge is the absolute minimum I can accept for a job. I do this because I do not like to chase folks around for money. Unless it is a repeat client, I hold true to this rule of mine. Your mobilization fee should cover the materials needed for the job – if you are providing something such as catering it might be beneficial to separate raw material costs and service provider cost – bill in advance for the raw materials and half of your labour costs as your mobilization fee. This way you are not left in the dark when the customer decides to change their number on you or disappear for no good reason after you have provided a service.
Something that is important to note – no matter how desperate you are for a job, don’t cut corners that will impact on your quality of work. If the job is xyz cost, and the client cannot afford to commit to that, either you don’t do the job or you offer a smaller product. I for instance will not accept jobs for business plans below a certain amount; why? Because the same amount of effort is required to produce the said document either way and I would prefer not to be negligent in my work by producing a product of lower standards as it affects my reputation in the long run.
Ask that the deposit aka mobilization fee is paid into your company account and properly documented as such and if you don’t have a company account your personal account will suffice. It allows you and the customer have proper records on the transaction. I never begin work for new clients without a deposit being paid as some people are professional time wasters and I would rather spend my time enriching my life than addressing someones frivolous demands.
Thats the end of the consulting mini series, please feel free to add on as we are all learning from each other.