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I was lost underground and wondered whether I would ever be found.
That’s the way it seemed as I made my way beneath London on the Tube.
Thankfully, I had an unlimited seven-day pass, so I knew I wasn’t going to have to pay anything extra for the miscalculations that kept me trapped beneath the earth.
The transit authority in London gives you choices for payment. You can pay by the trip (think billable hour), or you can pay for the week (think flat fee).
Buying the seven-day pass instead of paying by the ride was an easy decision for me. I like the security I feel when I know I’m all set, good to go, and paid in full, and I don’t have to think about paying for tickets during my stay.
Truth be told, however, if I went back and did the math comparing the cost of per-ride tickets to the weekly pass, I spent more on the weekly pass than I would have spent on the per-ride tickets. Do I regret having paid a little extra for a flat fee ticket? Nope.
The Benefits of a Flat Fee
The flat fee is better for me. It relieves me of having to decide whether it’s worth it to take the Tube or whether I should just walk. If I’m tired and want to ride a bus for a few blocks, I can hop in and go without thinking about the pound-fifty it would cost. I can think about the things I’m seeing rather than the price I’m paying to get from place to place.
I appreciate the flat fee.
There’s a psychic benefit for me of paying a set amount and taking one worry off my list. I’m putting the risk on the transit system and taking it off me. It frees up some mental space, diminishes stress, and allows me to focus on what matters to me.
There were days when I rode the transit system multiple times. There were also days when I decided to walk. I never once hopped on a bus or train. Just knowing that I had the option was worth the money. It’s about security, certainty, and control. It’s about knowing that I’m all set, good to go, and ready for anything.
The benefits of the fixed fee transcend the dollars (or pounds) involved. It’s worth something extra to me to close that open financial loop in my life. That’s true whether it’s transit tickets, airline flight, or root canals.
I don’t want to have to worry about whether the weather might slow us down and I might have to pay more for my flight. I don’t want to worry about whether the dentist has to give me extra shots of painkiller before the procedure (which actually happened), which might cost me more. I want to know that the experts evaluated the process, determined the fee, informed me of the cost, and took the risk. I don’t want the uncertainty, and neither do most of your clients.
What Your Clients Think About Flat Fees
Your willingness to assume the risk has value. It’s worth something substantial to your client when you shift the risk over from her to you. Knowing in advance what she’s going to have to pay gives her the comfort of knowing she considered all the factors before moving forward. It gives her the security of knowing the fee issue is resolved.
Will she pay more than she might have paid otherwise? Yep. She’ll pay it and be happy about it (as happy as anyone gets about paying a lawyer).
- She’ll be immeasurably happier about paying the flat fee than she would have been paying a lesser amount that involved a half dozen conversations with your bookkeeper about replenishing her trust account.
- She’ll be immeasurably happier about paying the flat fee than she would have been paying a lesser amount with you hitting her credit card every two weeks for “just a little more.” That’s agonizing, painful, and horrible.
- She’ll be immeasurably happier about paying the flat fee than she would have been having another talk with you about her bill during which she starts to hate you a bit more while she’s desperately trying to trust you and do what you say.
Flat fees offer security. They offer comfort to a person in unfamiliar territory. They help us maintain a friendly relationship of client and trusted adviser. They help us avoid the hostile relationship of debtor and bill collector.
You’ll find a bunch of flat fee information and advice on this flat fee resource page.
After zipping this way and that underground on the Tube, I finally found my way out and made it back to the surface of the earth. Incredibly, I walked out of the Tube station and ended up right where I was supposed to be. That’s where you’ll end up too if you make the switch to flat fees. Learn more here.