Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

How to price your hourly fee?

Exploring a solo practice. General focus would be civil lit. billcarson10/29/18
What the f-k? No. If you really want to do it that way dingbat10/29/18
Thanks for this. My plan is to aim for the $100 range, but m billcarson10/29/18
I bill flat fees for that very reason Technology is your f dingbat10/29/18
By the time you’re generating 40 hrs per week, you should dingbat10/29/18
My hope was to do it all through an office share. Only go in billcarson10/29/18
There are lots of ways to cut costs. It really helps the bo dingbat10/29/18
Basically, you’ll be lucky to be billing 1/3rd of your tim dingbat10/29/18
I would count on about 10-20% of what you bill as ending up fettywap10/29/18
Dingbat notes an important issue. You should assume (at leas midlaw10/29/18
That’s why I charge a flat fee. If I billed by time I wou dingbat10/29/18
The market is your friend. Where else can you make $50k bil jeffm10/29/18
Hmm. So $140.00/hour? My hope is to leverage on price and ov billcarson10/29/18
Are you licensed in any other states? dingbat10/29/18
MN, IA, NE... so, three crap states that have population sca billcarson10/29/18
I’ll keep it in mind if I know anyone with a need for shtl dingbat10/30/18
If I was you, I would go out and make friends with other sol jeffm10/30/18
Run a search for recent cases in your area where courts awar blawprof10/30/18
Vohod, you need to study economics and the pricing of “lux bizzybone131310/31/18
there's a market for luxury goods and a market for cheap gen dingbat10/31/18
I am going for $90.00 an hour but diguised as flat rate: billcarson10/31/18
You’re nuts. Time for a basic will should be at least dingbat10/31/18
Your idea would work better if you had a marketing budget an dingbat10/31/18
"Most weeks you’ll be somewhere in between." (10 and 16 wi jeffm10/31/18
I’d be honored to see $70,000 a year at 3 hrs a day times billcarson10/31/18
Give it a try. Just don't count on 10+ wills a day. You ca jeffm10/31/18
I’m happy with a client a week, but I charge thousands of dingbat11/01/18
Precisely! jeffm11/01/18
I’m assuming a successful marketing campaign that gets cli dingbat11/01/18
I was wondering whether you were just posting numbers or whe jeffm11/01/18
I think it’s possible, if he spends enough on marketing. dingbat11/01/18
No less than $200/HR. Law school diploma and bar card mak jmoney11/01/18
eh. there's a whole underserved market who can't afford mor dingbat11/01/18
Wills can be difficult for a solo lawyer because you've got fettywap11/01/18
thats some ghetto shyte right there. If I have a signing dingbat11/02/18
Market rate for what I do HOURLY is $175 in Mpls, $290 in Ch billcarson11/07/18
Did you get any new clients, yet? jeffm11/07/18

billcarson (Oct 29, 2018 - 5:13 pm)

Exploring a solo practice. General focus would be civil lit. My thought is that once my student debt is paid (next summer) I will not need much per hour to survive.

My thought would be to average firm costs over the year and add say $30/hour to that. My takehome would be that $30/hour billed.

Any newbie toyed with being competitive on price to stay afloat?

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 5:55 pm)

What the f-k?

No.

If you really want to do it that way, figure out your annual overhead, then add your annual take home pay (what you’d like to earn) and divide that number by about 700.

Overhead: $30k + takehome $40k = $70k so $100/hr

Now your typical week involves about 15 hours of marketing/networking, about 10 hours of administrative work and non billable stuff, and about 15 hours of billable work.

15 hrs for 46 weeks is 690 hours, allowing you to take off federal holidays, two weeks of vacation per year, and a week and change for catching up on CLE

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billcarson (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:07 pm)

Thanks for this. My plan is to aim for the $100 range, but market services in terms of average cost. I was using 51 weeks in my equation but realistically 46 is closer to what I’d get.

Also good to know there may not be a lot of hours.

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:12 pm)

I bill flat fees for that very reason
Technology is your friend there - any repetitive work gets automated to reduce your workload. Doing a lot of similar work also helps as you can pre-write everything and just fill in the blanks

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:14 pm)

By the time you’re generating 40 hrs per week, you should be hiring an associate to do the work for you

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billcarson (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:17 pm)

My hope was to do it all through an office share. Only go in for face time stuff. I hate my “office” jobs so far.

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:21 pm)

There are lots of ways to cut costs. It really helps the bottom line but the main focus should be on generating income.

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 6:07 pm)

Basically, you’ll be lucky to be billing 1/3rd of your time, so you got to factor that in to your pricing.

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fettywap (Oct 29, 2018 - 7:29 pm)

I would count on about 10-20% of what you bill as ending up uncollectible. I think anything below $200 an hour is unreasonable.

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midlaw (Oct 29, 2018 - 7:31 pm)

Dingbat notes an important issue. You should assume (at least) an hour of marketing/networking to get an hour of billable work. 700 billed and collected hours for a solo is pretty good and why the lowest rate you find among sensible solos is 200-250/hour.

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 8:07 pm)

That’s why I charge a flat fee. If I billed by time I wouldn’t make nearly as much. Clients don’t need to know how much time I put into their file. If I break it down I make anywhere from $250 to $1500 per hour, depending on the client

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jeffm (Oct 29, 2018 - 7:36 pm)

The market is your friend. Where else can you make $50k billing and collecting for 1 hour a day? I wouldn't set a target to work 5 times harder for the same pay.

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billcarson (Oct 29, 2018 - 8:09 pm)

Hmm. So $140.00/hour? My hope is to leverage on price and over sell my court experience (hundreds of appearances in 61/80some counties in the state). But my experience is worse than garbage, so I am not a real lawyer.

Thus the discount prices

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dingbat (Oct 29, 2018 - 10:18 pm)

Are you licensed in any other states?

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billcarson (Oct 29, 2018 - 10:39 pm)

MN, IA, NE... so, three crap states that have population scattered across thousands of miles with bad winters.

D. Minn, 8th Circuit too. So PHV is possible to other courts for one-off defenses

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dingbat (Oct 30, 2018 - 9:26 am)

I’ll keep it in mind if I know anyone with a need for shtlaw in those states

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jeffm (Oct 30, 2018 - 10:48 am)

If I was you, I would go out and make friends with other solos. Tag along, listen, talk and learn.

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blawprof (Oct 30, 2018 - 3:22 pm)

Run a search for recent cases in your area where courts awarded attorney fees. This can also give you an idea on market rates.

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bizzybone1313 (Oct 31, 2018 - 1:44 pm)

Vohod, you need to study economics and the pricing of “luxury goods” a bit.

By pricing your hourly rate so low, a lot of people will associate your work as being low quality in nature and I’m sure it will backfire and not have the result you will believe it will have (ultra high volume due to the lower prices).

The overpricing of “luxury goods” works due to people being psychologically tricked into believing said goods are of greater worth due to the much higher cost attached to them.

I use these Econ. 101 principles in the pricing of my eBay items for sale all of the time.

I have sold some CD’s as high as $40-$45 dollars before when I only paid $2/$4 for them. Why? Because I overpriced them on purpose, so people would be tricked into believing that they were actually worth that much.

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dingbat (Oct 31, 2018 - 4:50 pm)

there's a market for luxury goods and a market for cheap generics.
Some people want a rolex, others are content with a timex.

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billcarson (Oct 31, 2018 - 7:04 pm)

I am going for $90.00 an hour but diguised as flat rate:

“Basic Will; $45.00” etc. beat legalzoom by saying an actual lawyer is reviewing instead of the discomfort in filling a form.

Im WORTH $18.87/hr at my $51,000 salary over 51 weeks of work at 55 hours.

At 4 years experience I can make MORE at $90.00 pro rated.

I agree w/dingbat WRT to get paying work. I’d do appearances and defend local collections agencies I know well in fed court to float it until my mill got going.

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dingbat (Oct 31, 2018 - 9:28 pm)

You’re nuts.

Time for a basic will should be at least an hour:
30 minutes consultation to get the basic information*
15 minutes to generate the document
15 minutes to sign & notarize - but you also need two witnesses, so you need to pay two employees

*not even worth bringing upnwhat you don’t know you don’t know, as you’re aiming for a very different market.

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dingbat (Oct 31, 2018 - 9:43 pm)

Your idea would work better if you had a marketing budget and could bring in volume.

Attorney consultation of 30 minutes
(You do consultations back to back, 10-16 per day)
Office monkeys fill in the blanks and print, then witness and notarize.

Clients walk out in an hour.

Your monkeys make $600 per week each. Two thousand for overhead and supplies (rent, bills, paper, ink, etc), so you already need to make $3800 before paying marketing costs and profit.

Let’s say $1000 for marketing to get the clients. That brings cost up to $4800. At $100 per will, 10 per day earns you $200 for the week, but 16 per day nets you $3200.

Most weeks you’ll be somewhere in between.

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jeffm (Oct 31, 2018 - 10:27 pm)

"Most weeks you’ll be somewhere in between." (10 and 16 wills per day).

I'd congratulate OP if he/she could gin up 3 a day. It's a horrible plan, but good luck!

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billcarson (Oct 31, 2018 - 10:40 pm)

I’d be honored to see $70,000 a year at 3 hrs a day times $90.00.

Hard working Americans could afford me. I’d increase my income 50% too.

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jeffm (Oct 31, 2018 - 10:50 pm)

Give it a try. Just don't count on 10+ wills a day. You can find clients at $90 an hour. Heck, we're finding them at 3 times that. For those of us who are able to get by at 3 times the rate, we think you're nuts to charge 1/3 as much - i.e., work 3 times harder for the same reward. But maybe you'll be the one laughing all the way to the bank. Good luck!

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dingbat (Nov 1, 2018 - 9:03 am)

I’m happy with a client a week, but I charge thousands of dollars per client

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jeffm (Nov 1, 2018 - 9:45 am)

Precisely!

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dingbat (Nov 1, 2018 - 9:02 am)

I’m assuming a successful marketing campaign that gets clients rolling in.

I doubt it’ll happen

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jeffm (Nov 1, 2018 - 9:46 am)

I was wondering whether you were just posting numbers or whether you actually thought it could be done.

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dingbat (Nov 1, 2018 - 5:23 pm)

I think it’s possible, if he spends enough on marketing. Facebook advertising is surprisingly cheap.

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jmoney (Nov 1, 2018 - 6:47 pm)

No less than $200/HR.

Law school diploma and bar card make you worth at least that much.

When you're busy you can hike up prices.

Another tidbit, the cheaper you are the shadier your clients are.

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dingbat (Nov 1, 2018 - 7:07 pm)

eh. there's a whole underserved market who can't afford more.
They got the same concerns as people with a larger purse, and are just as happy to pay, just, not as much.

There's definitely a market for low-cost wills. And when the volume increases (and it will), hire some failed law school grad who also needs a way out of doc review.

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fettywap (Nov 1, 2018 - 11:51 pm)

Wills can be difficult for a solo lawyer because you've got to find two witnesses to sign the will or trust while the client's there. My mother had to wait for her lawyer's hairdresser to finish up with a client before she could walk over to witness her trust. : /

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dingbat (Nov 2, 2018 - 12:50 am)

thats some ghetto shyte right there.

If I have a signing at an odd time, I call some college kid to come over. $20 to study in my office instead of their dorm, with free snacks and a five minute interruption to witness a signature

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billcarson (Nov 7, 2018 - 7:18 am)

Market rate for what I do HOURLY is $175 in Mpls, $290 in Chiraq.

$90.00 is the way to beat them.

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jeffm (Nov 7, 2018 - 9:00 am)

Did you get any new clients, yet?

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