It’s said that the top 20% of your clients will generate more than 80% of your revenue. Conversely, the bottom 20% of your clients will cause more than 80% of your headaches and take up more than their share of your time.
I saw this demonstrated, live and in action several times within the last week. Here’s an example. One client received four hours of attorney work. We asked the client for information to do our work, the client provided the information. When the governing body we represented the client with asked for additional items, we complied. We invoiced the client our ordinary hourly rate for this work. The client logged on to our client management system and paid the invoice on the same business day as receiving it.
Another client wanted to discuss an outstanding invoice. For this client, we completed more than ten hours of attorney work. We had also worked with a governing body on this one – and had asked the client for additional items. When we invoiced the client in December, we only invoiced the client for about half of the time it took us to complete the work – in part because the work had taken much longer than originally anticipated. We were told the client was out of town and would handle it when the client returned. Finally, almost three months after the original invoice, we met to discuss the fact that the client felt the client was overcharged. We ended up agreeing to reduce the amount of the invoice.
When all was said and done, the second client paid our firm, after actual expenses paid, an average of $10 / hour. Honestly, I would challenge any one of you to find an attorney that will complete any legal project for $10 / hour. We couldn’t keep our doors open if we only charged $10 / hour. At $10/hour we couldn’t pay for our licenses, our insurance, the paper that goes in the printer, the toner, the rent or the postage. We couldn’t pay for the gas that goes in our cars that allows us to drive to the governing bodies to argue for our clients.
Why do I bring this up? Because in this same week I had a new client tell me I am “all about the money,” when I refused to give a legal opinion over the phone regarding a document that I had never read.
The answer. Yes. We are about the money. We are operating a business. A business is supposed to make profit. This business was built for multiple purposes – to allow us to utilize our legal education, to allow us to serve our fellow entrepreneurs, to allow us to give back some of what we know. We also built this business to support ourselves and our families. We do not live in mansions. We do not eat at St. Elmo’s every day.
If it offends you that we expect to receive payment for services rendered, we are not your lawyers. But if you are a business owner that provides value for quality outcomes and products to your own customers and clients, and expects the same from the vendors you hire to assist you, then you have come to the right place. We are here to counsel and explain. To answer questions and give advice. To solve problems and create outcomes that benefit you, your business and your family.