Don’t sugarcoat your fees to attract a client. You are just planting a land mine in the middle of your relationship, and sooner or later it will explode. Spend enough time at the beginning of the relationship to find out if the client is able and willing to pay a reasonable fee for the legal work they want done. If they aren’t, don’t accept the retainer. Effectively screen your client at the initial interview.
Evaluate your Client’s Ability and Willingness to Pay
Discuss fees and evaluate the creditworthiness of every client at the initial interview. Apply sound, objective business judgment to the question of client’s willingness and ability to pay. Obtain credit information such as name and address of employer and bank, and amount and status of other debt. Obtain consent to perform a credit check. Establish a billing schedule with your client and reference these in your retainer agreement. Clearly set out to the client and in your retainer the consequences of non-payment of fees. Manage your accounts so as to avoid suing for fees.
Make a Statement about Your Services
Make your bills clear and informative, with a format and layout that is easy to read. If you charge interest, have this clearly stated on your bill. Understand what work was performed? Can they understand how the amount of the bill was calculated? If so, you probably have a winning format that your clients will respect and pay. Conduct your billing immediately following significant milestones.
Accept Payment by Credit Card
Your accounts receivables will be reduced significantly and your cash flow will be improved. Plus sometimes the client will get points or rewards associated with a credit card.