A sustainable business for better service

Changes are afoot in Penhire. On the advice of our business mentor (who has been examining our cash flow and the time we spend on invoicing matters), we are making two changes:

1. increasing fees
2. tightening credit terms, & conditions generally

(If you now find Penhire slightly more awkward to deal with, somewhat frustrating in terms of administration, don't blame us: it's the less-than-ideal clients who have taken so long to pay that have caused us to take these actions.)

The thinking is that businesses, especially regular clients, want us to continue to exist, and be sustainable, so that they can avail of our services and so that we can do good work for them (and not be distracted by other issues, such as the bank balance and the interest and charges we're getting hit with). To exist sustainably we need to get out of overdraft a lot more (we're not a bank for clients that won't pay on time) and to do that we need to charge more and tighten up on how long it is taking clients to pay us.

Something like this (but with our own terms)

So, we need to insist on prompt payment of invoices, such that the date in the Due by field is respected and enforced. We already seek 50% of fee estimates up front in many jobs, but we need to start doing that more regularly, with all jobs. We are also considering putting more clients on a retainer basis, such that instead of billing them per job, we get paid a monthly flat fee based on the cost of everything we usually do for them ad hoc.

In terms of a fee increase, we've noticed now on quite a few jobs that we have come in well under other copywriting proposals in terms of the budget. We are also being told that we have a lot of expertise accumulated in various areas from our many years trading, and need to factor that into our rates.

However, rather than increasing our rates we're just going to adjust the time keeping so that ALL time spent on a job is billed rather than always cutting the client slack in relation to things like initial meetings, travelling, phone calls, chasing up information from stakeholders etc., and especially creative time - the time we spend dwelling on, chewing over and turning around in our minds the products/services we're writing about.

So far so good. Now we just have start telling the clients!

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