The best thing about value billing, hands down, is not what you might expect. Sure, not having to keep a timesheet is pretty awesome. The fact that you can talk to your clients on the phone without that uneasy feeling that they sense they’re somehow being billed for the conversation really helps build relationships. Value billing does allow you to be paid really well for your expertise and grand slam moments. The fact that you are never capped at some maximum rate makes anything feel possible. No question, there are lots of good things. Walking away from all that pent-up hourly billing anxiety that follows you around even on the weekend and evenings is pretty high up the list. Being measured by your worth as opposed to how long you can sit at your desk is really refreshing. The sense that both you and your client are on the exact same team and that all of your incentives are aligned with this business goals makes things seem like all is right in the world.
But the best thing about value billing – the one thing that trumps all the rest – is that value billing makes you think about delivering value to your client. It really is that simple.
When I get to work in the morning, I’m not thinking about timesheets. I’m thinking about the predefined and documented deliverables I promised to my clients. These tangible benefits my client has approved consume me as coffee starts running through my veins. What tasks are going to make the biggest difference in my client’s life? Would I be more likely to move the ball if I picked up the phone and made a call or sent an email? How can I achieve my client’s goals in the most efficient and productive way possible for both mine and my client’s benefit.
As many of you know, I’m a big capitalist. I believe in an incentive-based system which drives humankind towards things that will really make a difference. The best thing about value billing is that it creates the right incentives which has absolutely nothing to do with how much time it will take me or what my billing sheet looks like at the end of the day.
When a surgeon opens up a patient’s chest in order to do heart surgery, they aren’t getting paid by the hour. The value they provide the patient is indeed measurable. Unfortunately, the doctor is not getting paid for results. Value billing drives lawyers towards results. Does hourly billing feel like it does the same for you?