Independent Consultant: Billing Hours

ouestque
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As an independent consultant, do you charge for hours actually worked, or do you charge based on industry standard to complete job?

Example:
When you get a statement from the mechanic it sometimes shows his rate times the amount of time it takes in the industry to complete a job. (e.g., $100*2hrs - Replace Radiator)

The mechanic above may have spent only 1.5 hrs doing the job, but he would still charge 2 hours as that is the industry standard. In the past, I have always charged for time I actually spent. If a job would normally take 50 hours and I crammed red bulls to complete it in 15 hours, I would charge 15. How do you guys normally do it? If you do it like the mechanic in my example, what industry standard would you use? Is there a standard tine of completion for software developers?
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Commented:
With my contracts, I either allow the client to purchase a set amount of hours at x price and if anything exceeds x hours, then the rate changes to x.

Using Toggl to track my time, I charge for actual time worked and for a project, I give an over estimate on how long it should take.

When/if the hours are close to being used, I contact them and let them know.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Some trades have standard hours that they go by. I have found over time that it cuts both ways.

For technology and accounting consulting, I charge by the hour. That has turned out to be fairest overall for both me and clients.

Flat rate or standards have to be very accurate or one party loses
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
After consulting for many years, I only charge by the hour, in 15 minute minimum.

I let clients know right up front they can make any changes they like... they can talk on the phone with me for hours... they can muck about with the project however they like... and the very air I breath will be billed...

So... best if we agree on a design + stick to it, till completely.

Then revisit any refinements as a next version of the to code.

With clear billing policies explained, most clients either make no changes or make lots of changes + pay with no issue.
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Commented:
So many awesome answers! Thank you so much for the advice!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
You are very welcome.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
You're welcome!

Good luck!

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