It’s happened to every legal nurse consultant at one time or another—probably more than once. You quote your hourly rates, only to have your potential client respond with, “That sounds great, but I can’t afford it. You charge THAT much? Can you lower your rates for me?”
What do you do?
Should you lower your rates?
For a lot of legal nurse consultants, their first response is to question whether they are charging too much. You ask, “Should I lower my rate? After all”, you reason, “he really does need my help. Plus its good will and he will talk about me with his colleagues, and refer business to me later.”
Just what you need – more attorneys who will try to reduce your rate. Or not hire you.
Maybe, but more likely than not, what you end up with is a client who takes far too much of your time, for less money than you deserve. You wind up resentful, and wondering why you aren’t earning the living you know you’re capable of.
I am going to assume you are charging a competitive hourly rate. I want you to make a promise to yourself right now that you will never again lower your rates to appeal to a client. Doing so devalues your services, makes the client less likely to follow through, and worse, makes you feel terrible later.
The attorney who has gotten you to lower your rate will also look for other ways to negotiate concessions from you. The attorney may take his or her time paying your bills, stringing your payments out so that you are perpetually owed money. (The way to avoid this is to get replenishing retainers, a topic I covered here.)
Having different rates for different attorneys would become a bookkeeping nightmare forcing you to adjust rates when you invoice. Worse, attorneys talk and find out they are paying different rates than their colleagues. “What can’t I get the same deal she got?” they ask you.
Now, I’m not saying you can never offer special deals. But I do want you to change how those offers are made. Here’s how it works.
Your hourly rate is $150, for example. You can agree to this: once you receive the records, you will give the attorney an estimate as to how long you think it will take for you to complete the case. You can agree to not exceed X hours without his approval.
You have not lowered your rates so far that you feel used, but at the same time, you’ve worked with him to create a plan he can afford. It’s a true win-win for both of you.
The next time you’re asked to lower your rates for anything, take a close look at how you can also reduce the work you’ll be doing. That way you’ll never feel as if you’ve been taken advantage of, and your clients will still get great service.
Avoid collection issues and make sure you get paid. Check out the tips in this online training, Negotiating Successfully to Collect Your Cash.