Lately I have noticed a perplexing double-standard, when it comes to scheduling meetings. My clients include attorneys, doctors, tax accountants, estheticians, marketing consultants, artists, and so on. And when their clients want to meet with them, the client always travels to the service provider’s location. That certainly makes sense to me – and I would expect to always meet the expert at their office or place of business, when I am paying for their services.
So why is it that these same people assume that I should come to their office for all of our meetings? Sometimes that makes sense, especially for a first meeting where I may need to see the business location so that I can get a better feel for what the website should look like, in terms of matching style or personality. Or perhaps there are numerous files or items we need to review together, and it’s not practical to transport them. Or maybe the meeting is with several people, so it’s more efficient if only one person travels.
But many times, it’s just a one-on-one meeting to discuss a future project, or perhaps to brainstorm about new features or long-term plans. In that case, why is it impractical to think that the client would travel to my office? Or more accurately, to one of the coffee shops in my neighborhood, where I like to meet with clients to avoid having them come to my house?
Sometimes I suggest a compromise, such as meeting somewhere in the middle. Strangely, many clients seem to think that’s an inappropriate request on my part.
I don’t generally bill for meeting time, but for clients who repeatedly insist that I’m the one doing all of the traveling, I do start billing for it. And it’s happened several times where I finally dropped a client that was demanding repeated in-person meetings at their office, because the lost time (travel + meeting) was costing me more than what I was earning to do their work!