In my business I speak to a lot of consultants – some new and some that have been around more than a few years. One of the questions we get asked a lot though is how much should my consultancy fees be and how should I charge? There are a number of ways to look at this and here are a few pointers, ideally you need to understand:
· Your Billable Minimum
· The Type Of Consultancy Engagement
· The 5 Different Methods For Calculating Fees
YOUR BILLABLE MINIMUM
Step 1. What are your costs?
Your consultancy fees have to cover your operating costs (in this instance I’m talking about the general business expenses excluding your salary) plus an income for you. All Consultancy businesses should know how much and what types of costs are likely to be incurred within a year. For a consultant, office and non expense related travel costs are usually the highest and can easily be 10-30% of income.
Step 2. What revenue do you need to generate?
This cost together with your earning expectations make up your forecast revenue. Say for example this is £120,000, £20,000 costs and £100,000 income.
Step 3. How much time do you have spare after admin? change management
It may be that you are spending 16 hours a week on non-billable or administrative work. This will give you 3-4 days per week to earn depending on how many hours you work. This translates to 144 to 192 billable days per annum (assuming 48 weeks worked a year). If we assume 192 days this means that on average you need to earn £625 per day to hit your target. If you only work 144 days then this rises to £833 per day on average to hit your revenue and earning target. Having an understanding of this figure will help you determine what fee structure you need. In this example you need to earn a minimum of £625 a day.
THE TYPE OF ENGAGEMENT
Peter Block has one of the best definitions of the three different types of consultancy engagements (see below). What we have found though is that the different types of engagements often drive different types of consultancy fees.
The “Expert” Consultant
· The Consultant is more autonomous and control sits firmly with the consultant. In effect the client has handed over control of the project to the consultant.
· There is a problem and the consultant provides the solution. My suggestion is that payment here should be on a fixed fee plus performance based basis however often this defaults back to day rate due to competition. The more specialised the area and the higher the value added, the more you can charge.