May 19 Chat Transcript

During the #solopr Twitter chat this week, PR consultants shared their top tips on topics that are key to running an independent PR business successfully. The questions included:

1)  Does anyone have a co-op, biz partner or share office space? How’s that working out?

2)  How do you charge for full-day sessions w/a client? Hourly rate? What if clients asks for a “day rate”?

3) Do you include a termination notice in their contracts? How do you manage if a client won’t?

4) How do you handle clients that don’t pay/honor contract? Are you worried about reputation if you fight?

Download this week’s transcript in PDF for the answers, and be sure to add your tips in the comments!

The #solopr chat – held each Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. Eastern – is a weekly ritual for some of the most savvy Solo PR Pros on Twitter. Anyone with a Twitter account is welcome to participate – see Join Us for the #solopr Chat on Twitter to find out how!

for the answers, and let us know what you’d like to add in the comments!
  • Man, I'm sorry I keep missing these chats. Anyway, the subject this week is close to my heart, so I wanted to respond…

    1. I've only gone co-op for high-expense shared services like Cision. Wouldn't ever want to jointly sign a lease with anyone because I've never wanted office space and don't anticipate a need for any.

    2. We only work on a fixed-fee basis — no hourly charges and no external (that is, client-reviewable) time tracking. So if I client wanted a day for something that's in scope, it's already covered. And if it's out of scope, they'd get a fixed-fee quote for the out-of-scope work. Generally, it's in the neighborhood of $1200-1400 per day, if you wanted to slice and dice it that way.

    3. I don't work without a contract and don't work in conditions that put work at risk. Generally, that means a 30-day termination clause. But for clients who don't want that — and there have been a couple along the way — then pre-paid retainer works just fine. You want to fire me six days into the month? That's fine, because I've got my retainer check and you're not getting a refund. And I've got no more than five days of work at risk because all work *stops* if I don't have that check by the fifth of the month. (Sidebar: We've got some outsourcing clients on a weekly billing cycle and net-10-days payment terms. It only takes one late check — and an accompanying work stoppage — for them to know we're serious about our payment terms.

    * Our contractual work-for-hire clause says that we retain copyright on all the work until final payment is made. So if someone wants to skip out, usually a nastygram from our attorney reminding them that they don't quite own the work yet sets things straight. Now, having said that, I won't go beyond a nastygram for anything under five figures — it's too much hassle when, frankly, I can move on and go do more billable work.

  • Once again, thanks for sharing your terrific additions to the discussion here. Not everyone can attend the live chat, but this “after hours” input is very valuable.