Do you charge for meetings?

Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
If you have a client who requests to meet face to face to discuss a project, do you charge them your normal hourly rate for your time?

I know that the obvious answer should be yes as a meeting = time = money, but I find that meeting face to face is also a huge benefit to me as it helps me to get a better understanding of the client's needs and prevents me having to email them asking for them to clarify X, Y and Z. This obviously benefits the client too, so they should therefore be happy to pay for my time.

I'm considering offering the first meeting free as a consultation and charging for additional requests, but still have to cover my travel costs and the time I'm losing travelling to, and being in, a meeting even if it does help me too.

What does everyone else normally do?
Depends on the project. If its a little job (ie; just a leaflet or business card design) I find it had to charge. If it's a bigger job such as a branding project, I try to factor in X hours of meetings into the price.
I do what Dave does. If I know there's a good chance I will at some point have to travel to meet a client, I'll add a few hours on-top of the quote for the actual work. If by the end of the project it turns out I havn't had to travel, I'll take those hours off again when I send the final invoice over.
Similarly, we try to integrate this into the price. We have an office to which people pop in off the street and it's difficult to charge people to discuss what they want on their business card. Free first consultation and thereafter it's integrated into the time spent on the project. That's the theory anyway, but somehow it doesn't really work too well.
Generally the opportunity to meet a client is worthwhile and I don't charge for the initial meeting. It is right and correct to meet a client face to face as 'chemistry' is part of a good working relationship. But having said that it's worth talking through the project on the phone before deciding to meet.
Costs for attending subsequent meetings are then included in the proposal document. This helps to keep needless meetings to a minumum and keep time away from your desk to an absolute minimum. However there are always exceptions depending upon the time and location, weighed up against the value of the job.
Many designers don't charge for the first meeting... most printers/designers don't charge because people 'drop' in. But it is going to depend on the project and the client. Heck... just what everyone else has said!
Cheers everyone.

I didn't charge for the initial meeting since it was a sort of ice-breaker where the client could discuss their needs and give me a project and see if we can work toegther. It went well since they've passed more work onto me.

They seem to actually appreciate my time and knowledge, and so far haven't questioned my invoices (which means I'm either too cheap, or my fees are a drop in the ocean for their projects) so shouldn't imagine that they'd take offense to me charging for time in their office.