Monday, April 2, 2007

Billability Reaches New Heights

Everyone's got an angle to the Anna Nicole Smith story, and I mean everyone. One of the "trashy" blogs I read to keep up instead of buying the National Enquirier during checkout is Here's an article about how much the baby's daddy is being billed for an attorney. The final bill?

In all, the packet of bills Birkhead received today totaled 112 pages. Opri offered Birkhead a bargain: Instead of the $620,492.84 bill, she offered him a discount at $511,365.09, but only if he accepts immediately. Opri wrote, "I'm still willing to accept the discounted billing at this time, but only without further discussion."
Now THAT'S one helluva bill, and a very nice 18% discount for timely payment.

Why do I point this out? Because one of the most methodical professional services providers I know of is the attorney. They bill per copy, and use a copier's built in capability of tracking copies, per client. Many bill in quarter hour or sixth-hour (that'd be every 10 minutes) increments. Check this article out for an explanation of how attorneys bill, and how to handle the initial negotiations with an attorney.

You do have an attorney, don't you? If you don't, you should establish a relationship with one at your earliest convenience. Not to begin a billable relationship and start paying them, but to know one, and know what they can do. Perhaps though, you have a contract you are using (or would like updated). That would be a fine way to begin a relationship. And, for most attorneys, when you sit down with them, to explain what you need, that visit is free. The rest, you pay for.

Your photography should, in a tangential way, compare to a lawyers. Pre-production meetings, pre-production, conference calls, assignment fees, travel fees (often 50% of your per-day assignment fee) and post-production, cell charges, couriers, duplicate CD's, shoot permits, and so on, and so on, and so on. Whenever you are working on behalf of a client, you are either eating the cost of that time, or properly billing for it.
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