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Initail IT Consultation Fee?

By Skol2u ·
I wanted to know if anyone out there has charged any fees for an Initial Consultation for their IT expertise.

I feel I am getting duped because businesses have asked me to come look at their office, check things out and then offer my solutions on how to fix things/install new equipment/make better changes and THEN give them and estimate on the hardware and or labor involved.

Just got totally burned this am as I went onsite, spent 1 hour there looking around new office (after 1/2 hour drive) , coming home spending 1 1/2 hours putting together estimates for equipment and then a seperate one for labor. Also created a visio diagram showing how the server room should be set up with telco - only to get an email this am saying they are using someone else.

I put at least a good 5 hours work into this plus gave them the name of a phone contractor to use (which they are).

I get nothing out of this but a "Thanks we wanted to use you but HE signs the checks".

Should I send them a bill for my time and a consultation fee? I did put that on my initial estimate for labor but "discounted it" - removed the charge as they were to be a 1st time new customer.

Anyone with an idea? I just don't want to keep spending time seeing businesses and then give them the solution they need on paper and NOT get the work.

Thanks for any suggestions.

(BTW - I have been in the IT business over 15 years, MCSE and plenty of certs and experience. These customers are only via referrals from curent clients).
Not sure if that matters, but there it is.

Thanks!

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Many electricians charge a fee for an estimate

by robo_dev In reply to Initail IT Consultation F ...

Something nominal like $40-50. That fee is deducted from the bill when work is done.

I think it's important to get some sort of commitment from the customer that if you develop a proposal, you will get the business, or else stop right there and do not do the proposal.

The way landscape architects sell their services is they charge a low amount for an initial design consultation ($400-500) but do the selling of the customer even before doing that. By asking if there is budget for the project, if the customer is just shopping around, who the decision maker is, etc, you can avoid those quotes that earn you no money.

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