Author Topic: How to respond to this email???  (Read 5381 times)

COlady

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 382
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2018, 11:06:23 AM »
My apologies on not being clear. I guess I was thinking out loud or venting more than anything. Sorry to those of you whose time I wasted with my thoughts that weren't actually sent to the client. I think this is a done deal now, thank you all for the feedback.

DS

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 678
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2018, 11:09:12 AM »
From https://www.quora.com/Is-it-common-for-law-associates-to-inflate-their-billable-hours:

Congrats. You've found someone on the internet who admits to committing fraud. Unsurprisingly, the fact some people commit fraud does not make it right.

Fraud:
1 a : deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right

The scenario described, working 2 hours and billing for 3.5, meets the very definition of fraud.

I'll file this under "some people cheat" and consider the discussion closed.

The proposed email response includes what the hours were specifically for. Nothing fraudulent about that.

The client may feel it is unfair and want to negotiate. There's also no obligation to pay for the hours without any type of agreement.

Feeling that the charges are unfair doesn't equal fraud. Take a chill pill.

wanderin1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2018, 11:21:35 AM »
My apologies on not being clear. I guess I was thinking out loud or venting more than anything. Sorry to those of you whose time I wasted with my thoughts that weren't actually sent to the client. I think this is a done deal now, thank you all for the feedback.

Don't worry--you'll be getting my bill tomorrow. That will take care of everything ; )

Pennycounter

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2018, 11:27:36 AM »
I don't think you can ask her to pay for the first 1.5 hours.  I certainly wouldn't tell her you are doing that.

You may need to accept that you will have to do some "unpaid" work while you build up a client base.

Except that I'm not willing to accept any unpaid work. Why would you?  I have $2.2M in investments and this is my part-time gig. My time is precious and I'm not giving it away. I don't "need" clients....I only want to work with good clients that appreciate what I do for them and don't bitch about my bills. Clearly this is not one of them so I will probably need to send her packing.

Haven't read down the full thread yet but this pre-work is typically called business development and should be factored into your hourly rate. You do need to keep tabs on it but its a cost of doing business.    **Hang on just caught up, def not fraud but you were just working through the response. You still need to consider this type of effort in your rate and profit margins.

jwright

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2018, 11:35:57 AM »
This BS is why so many firms want to move to value-billing. 

Clients and potential clients take advantage of the business development process.  I can't tell you how many people called or met with me to "pick my brain" and expected not to be charged.  I'm selling my time to you; gathering background information is part of the tax preparation process.

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2493
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2018, 11:39:52 AM »
I was going to suggest that you be sure to bill her the time you spent posting here and reading the responses . . . because her email was pretty condescending and rude. Probably she didn't mean for it to be, but it was.

Pretty much my entire family is self employed. Anyone who is self employed knows that a small percentage of potential clients are just not worth the hassle whether you need the money or not. Emails can be tricky, though, as your lose the nonverbal clues to whether someone is being snarky or just clueless. Most of my family just advises to state your estimates or fees, then stick to those no matter what BS response you get. Sometimes people come around and are awesome in the end, and other times not so much, but you never want to give someone a discounted rate when they show any signs of being a PITA.

Sounds like you handled it fine. Good luck with everything!

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2018, 11:40:13 AM »
I find it hilarious that after a whole bunch of forum people accused the OP of being unethical and potentially committing fraud, the client explicitly asked her to commit fraud, and she declined for ethical reasons.

Ease up there, ye sanctimonious ones.

Right??

Bayou Dweller

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Spend less. Live more. SWAMI.
    • Just Stop Spending
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2018, 11:58:23 AM »
I don't think you can ask her to pay for the first 1.5 hours.  I certainly wouldn't tell her you are doing that.

You may need to accept that you will have to do some "unpaid" work while you build up a client base.

Except that I'm not willing to accept any unpaid work. Why would you? I have $2.2M in investments and this is my part-time gig. My time is precious and I'm not giving it away. I don't "need" clients....I only want to work with good clients that appreciate what I do for them and don't bitch about my bills. Clearly this is not one of them so I will probably need to send her packing.

Well then... I wouldn't even reply!

gerardc

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Age: 35
  • Location: SF bay area
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2018, 12:15:40 PM »
This BS is why so many firms want to move to value-billing. 

Clients and potential clients take advantage of the business development process.  I can't tell you how many people called or met with me to "pick my brain" and expected not to be charged.  I'm selling my time to you; gathering background information is part of the tax preparation process.

What I've noticed people do to avoid that exploitation is to set up a (free) consultation where you ONLY discuss if your services are a good fit, but you're careful of not offering something valuable.

You can gather some background info in 10 minutes but you don't give them all the answers. It's a little annoying because you'll need to deliberately withhold value from the clients, but that's what capitalism does after all.

https://goo.gl/images/qq42Jt


COlady

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 382
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2018, 12:25:45 PM »
This BS is why so many firms want to move to value-billing. 

Clients and potential clients take advantage of the business development process.  I can't tell you how many people called or met with me to "pick my brain" and expected not to be charged.  I'm selling my time to you; gathering background information is part of the tax preparation process.

Yup. Exactly.

Nicholas Carter

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2018, 12:40:26 PM »
I only care about fraud in the legal sense. You seem to have overzealous morals. The people I know who are like this tend to be poor. I don't consider this practice morally wrong if the client is satisfied with the work/cost ratio in an ongoing relationship.
You heard it here folks. The rich earned their money immorally, and don't deserve any of it. (/s)

wanderin1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2018, 12:44:55 PM »
I find it hilarious that after a whole bunch of forum people accused the OP of being unethical and potentially committing fraud, the client explicitly asked her to commit fraud, and she declined for ethical reasons.

Ease up there, ye sanctimonious ones.

I know—it’s almost as hilarious as the OP posting a rant about how her time and ideas are not valued—to an online forum where she is asking for free advice! And then saying outright that she only “quickly read” the many great replies.

On MMM, the hilarity never end!

snapperdude

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2018, 07:05:22 PM »
Imminent retirement seems to have made you even more feisty.

I've always been a little mouthy, but I've been trying to tone it down for the past decade to fit in better at work.

I look forward to the musings of a fully liberated Sol.

Joel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 775
  • Location: California
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2018, 09:36:59 PM »
I find it hilarious that after a whole bunch of forum people accused the OP of being unethical and potentially committing fraud, the client explicitly asked her to commit fraud, and she declined for ethical reasons.

Ease up there, ye sanctimonious ones.

I know—it’s almost as hilarious as the OP posting a rant about how her time and ideas are not valued—to an online forum where she is asking for free advice! And then saying outright that she only “quickly read” the many great replies.

On MMM, the hilarity never end!


Hahahahahaha

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2018, 12:21:24 AM »
I am a CPA with 10 years of experience that recently decided to go solo....

A financial planner I know well referred a client to me that is a pediatrician with three rental properties. She requested a 2018 tax estimate for the sale of 2 of the properties and is wondering if she should sell the third.  She wants me to run a few different scenarios. She asked for an estimate of the time necessary to give her an estimate. I told her 3.5 hours.  Her response:

My husband commented to me that he was surprised that an experienced accountant would take that long to come up with ball park estimates of taxes. So that we are on the same page about expectations, realizing that you are embarking on a new business, I want to be clear about what I need. Here goes: One paragraph or less, in separate documents, for each of the properties/sale scenarios. 

Considering this response:  "As I'm sure you're aware tax returns are never as straight forward as we think they should be.  I have already spent 1.5 hours conversing with you via phone and email regarding your rental properties and overall tax situation.  I estimate it will take an additional 2 hours to put together an estimate covering the three sale scenarios we discussed.  Let me know if you would like me to proceed with the estimate."

Too harsh? I'm annoyed. I want to write back and tell her "I am always surprised when I get a bill from my pediatrician for $125 for one office visit but I always pay it without b*itching or questioning because I respect my pediatrician and value the service she provides".

I know that this is just the beginning of PIA clients. Wondering if I should just go back to being a contractor for a firm where I do the work but don't have to deal with this crap.

It would take me longer than 3,5 hours to answer her frickin email. Does she imagine she's your only client??

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2018, 07:20:53 AM »
This BS is why so many firms want to move to value-billing. 

Clients and potential clients take advantage of the business development process.  I can't tell you how many people called or met with me to "pick my brain" and expected not to be charged.  I'm selling my time to you; gathering background information is part of the tax preparation process.

In my field, I find that two people doing the same job will often take vastly different amounts of time to complete it, yet we're all "billing hourly" for most jobs. So employee "A" may take, and bill, 40 hours to do the job while employee "B" takes 15 hours to accomplish the same task. I'm a fan of value billing because the client got the same value worth of work from both employees, even though only one of the employees spent that much time getting the job done.  In fact, it can be bad for business to have employee "B" only bill 15 hours as next time that client wants a similar job done, but only employee "A" is available to do it, they're going to balk at the 40 hour billing when they were only billed for 15 hours for that kind of work last time. For that reason, I know lots of people who are very comfortable billing what it "should" take to get the job done, even if a non-negligible amount of that time was spent posting on internet forums....

Is that "right"? Not really. Is it normal for many jobs in many industries? I think so.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11428
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: How to respond to this email???
« Reply #66 on: August 16, 2018, 08:27:11 AM »
This BS is why so many firms want to move to value-billing. 

Clients and potential clients take advantage of the business development process.  I can't tell you how many people called or met with me to "pick my brain" and expected not to be charged.  I'm selling my time to you; gathering background information is part of the tax preparation process.

In my field, I find that two people doing the same job will often take vastly different amounts of time to complete it, yet we're all "billing hourly" for most jobs. So employee "A" may take, and bill, 40 hours to do the job while employee "B" takes 15 hours to accomplish the same task. I'm a fan of value billing because the client got the same value worth of work from both employees, even though only one of the employees spent that much time getting the job done.  In fact, it can be bad for business to have employee "B" only bill 15 hours as next time that client wants a similar job done, but only employee "A" is available to do it, they're going to balk at the 40 hour billing when they were only billed for 15 hours for that kind of work last time. For that reason, I know lots of people who are very comfortable billing what it "should" take to get the job done, even if a non-negligible amount of that time was spent posting on internet forums....

Is that "right"? Not really. Is it normal for many jobs in many industries? I think so.

Garages do this for standard work.  Hourly rate for oil changes, tire rotation, etc .  Some mechanics may be faster, some slower, your car may be easier or harder, but the hourly rate for a job takes all that into consideration.