Everyone bills hourly, and as it turns out just about everyone hates it. This process makes clients feel cheated, and agencies exasperated.
At the end of the day there's usually at least a hint of disappointment in both how long it takes to get paid, and/or how much it all came to.
You come to expect that you are going to be disappointed 99% of the time. So most of us just cross our fingers and hope the project doesn't become hell for everyone at the end of the month.
But this makes zero sense. There is so much more we can do to change the way that we run our consultancies, and so this summer I began experimenting. (Note: Blocks for September are starting to book, so if you think this is for you at all, get in touch.)
I've considered block billing for years, but thought transitioning would be some dramatic ordeal. You know tell ALL the clients, change ALL the forms, and it was some work...but the start...the start was so so simple...
A little column in a table of rate options. I'd heard that competing against yourself was a good thing. So, I decided to list three price options for some new potential clients. Block billing just happened to be one of them. I even did this for a well established client, and guess what it worked there too!
The client ALWAYS chooses block billing. It's been kind of awesome. Because it turns out client's like to have a general idea of what they're getting too.
Would this work if I only offered block billing? Probably, but even then I would give options, control is such a fleeting thing on a web-project for clients give it anywhere you can.
Would this scale? If you scale the size of the block, say a week, this works well for even larger agencies. In fact I learned it from watching @brenandunn who's advice is aimed at consultants, but scales quite nicely to agencies as well.
The goal of block billing is to make the focus on the features of the project not on the time spent. This way the website, the users, you, AND the client all win. If the focus is only on the time spent, it's very easy to lose perspective quickly.
So here's how it works, and the awesome results.