One thing I cannot get my head around when working as a consultant is charging by the day. This is at odds with my whole philosophy that work is not something that is measured by the minute. It is difficult, however, to enter into a contract without being able to describe effort in terms of time.
This is particularly difficult with the kind of work that I am doing which is mostly about either talking to people or thinking about things.
I think about the work I am doing when I wake up in the morning. I think about it when I am eating my breakfast, travelling into where I am going and on the way back again. I think about it at every spare opportunity yet I am only supposed to charge between the hours of 9 and 5.
This just does not make sense.
If I am thinking am I working? Of course I am and if not then I would have to be producing some sort of output at all times I am contracted. As much of my output is through documents or presentations this is not possible. I can not be writing or presenting every minute within my allotted hours.
Ideally consultancy should remunerated on the value it offers to both the client and the consultant. Any imbalance is going to lead to dissatisfaction.
This means that the rate should be contracted for a total amount of value. If the customer thinks the work will yield a value of £15k and the consultant expects it to cost £20k then it should settle somewhere between these two. If the customer values the work higher than the amount the consultant believes it to be worth then where it settles will depend upon the scruples of the consultant.
Contracting by the day will push the cost up as it leads a consultant to be present in order to fill the time even if their skills are not required at that point.
I wish there was a better way but other than asking how much a customer wishes to pay, I haven’t found a better one than day rate.