Should I stop charging my clients?

Will work for freeWow could this really work. I am not sure if I have the guts to try this but it really sound like a great way to do business. It would be freeing to eliminate the RFP lowest bid pressure and just do your highest quality work based on the needs of your client. Many times I have thought that the bidding process and contract gets in the way of good responsive deign. Before you truly engage with stakeholders and subject matter experts you are asked to define a scope of work. So you outline what you think is needed and propose a design and a price. This becomes the project. Then when you dig in you discover additional needs or changes in the scope of work. This is where it can get awkward for both sides. This ridged structure often gets in the way of getting to what is needed. If you could remove all this and just collaboratively and responsively create exactly what your clients needs then you will always have a happy client. I think the tough part would be that most organizations are dealing with layers of bureaucracy, budgetary processes that would make this difficult if not impossible for them to do business in this way. So I guess this potentially better way of working will have its challenges and may not work for every client. That said there is always the fact that it is important to choose clients that are the best fit for how you work. I really appreciate the concept and am going to try and bring some of the ideas into how I approach my work.

Here is the article that inspired these thoughts. This Guy Stopped Charging Clients And He Has Zero Regrets

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2 thoughts on “Should I stop charging my clients?

  1. Jeff, how’s everything?
    Like many great ideas, it may be tough to actually implement, for many of the reasons you discuss. You are spot on though, the scope nearly always changes. Making this understood from the outset would deliver better results, for probably fewer resources, ironically. Most in charge of organizational purse strings are loathe to write what they perceive as blank check however. That probably dooms this business model, despite its advantages for both sides. It’s going to be a tough sell.

    Steve Faber

    • Agreed! I am glad the guy in the related article can make it work for him. At least for the short term. The idea in general is not scalable up to most of the corporate world. It may work ok for some independent types. I think the takeaway here is we need to find better ways to define scope. Perhaps this is why would prefer my clients to hire me to come in and assess the project and scope what is needed. Then we can proceed to the next phase with a better defined project.

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