You feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. You’re working harder than ever but not getting ahead. The idea of taking a vacation is laughable. You haven’t increased your income in a year or more. You are bumping up against an invisible income ceiling and you have no idea how to break through it.
Imagine getting off the hamster wheel. Imagine working fewer hours for more money. Imagine dramatically increasing your profits. Imagine gaining a sense of control over your cash flow. Imagine having clients booked out months in advance. Imagine being able to take a month off without a care. Imagine removing the lock that is holding your business back.
If you’re like most people I work with, you bill your clients by the hour for your time. Hourly billing for professional services is a horrible practice for everyone involved. It devalues the expertise of the consultant and encourages mistrust in the client because the financial incentives of the two parties are misaligned.
Hourly billing is an approach rooted in scientific management of industrial age factories, and cost accounting practices in the legal profession. It was never meant as a method of setting prices for professional services and yet virtually no one questions it. Technically, it’s not even a pricing method - it’s a billing method, as the name indicates.
Sure, hourly billing is the norm with your colleagues and it’s what your clients expect. But just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s sane. Billing by the hour is just as nonsensical as billing by the pixel, or by the line, or by the color. They are arbitrary units of measure that have nothing whatsoever to do with the outcome of the work.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Er... no... hours are different because that’s my TIME... and pixels or lines or colors, those aren’t my time... and time is money... and something, something...”
I get it. This is hard to wrap your head around. But there is a better way...
The first step in increasing your profits is to shatter the illusion of hourly billing. I realize that “everyone” bills by the hour. I also realize that with enough discipline, it can be made to work reasonably well.
As long as you bill yourself out by the hour, your clients will treat you as labor. Hired help. A pair of hands to be directed. You’re better than that. You’re the expert at what you do, your clients are not.
Stop letting clients tell you how to do your job. Take back control. Be the trusted partner that your clients long for. But you can’t do so without changing your thinking. This book will help you see the light.
You need to sell your head, not your hands. Your expertise, not your labor. Outcomes, not activities. Benefits, not deliverables.
Jonathan, I landed a $25,000.00 monthly contract on account of the advice in your book. Thank you a thousand times over!!
— Sam Selikoff
You will not meaningfully increase your profits until you break free of hourly billing.
Hourly Billing Is Nuts will give you the confidence you need to begin the transition away from a commodity position to premium pricing. You’ll find dozens of essays that will convince you once and for all that trading time for money is absurd. You’ll also learn about an alternative to hourly billing that will free you from the constraints of the time-based model. If you keep an open mind, internalize the stories, and implement my advice, the benefits will be life-changing.
OMG I loved Jonathan’s advice about not tying final payment to the delivery! Worth the cover price just for that.
—Wes Garrison, Rails consultant and founder of databasically
Immediately after your payment is approved, you’ll receive download links for DRM-free copies of Hourly Billing Is Nuts in mobi, ePub, and PDF formats. This will allow you to read on an unlimited number and variety of devices, in your favorite e-readers, with no annoying hoops to jump through.
A screenshot of the entire book... just look at all those value packed pages!
And since Hourly Billing Is Nuts is digital, you’ll receive updates, corrections, expansions, and so on delivered directly to your inbox for FREE automatically. Pretty sweet, right?
If you’re still billing by the hour then you must read Hourly Billing Is Nuts!
If you opt for the Complete Bundle, you’ll also instantly receive:
What to Say When Clients Put You on the Spot
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In this 90 minute video, you’ll learn:
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Video Description: Do you spend too many hours writing proposals, only to have them fall through after endless negotiations? You’re not alone – and you can do something about it. In this talk, Jonathan will explain step-by-step how to significantly increase your odds of having your proposals accepted without question - and without lowering your prices.
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Video Description: If you’re like most software developers, you have worked on projects that have suffered from severe scope creep. Scope creep is terrible for everyone, so why is it so common? And more importantly, what can you do to stop it? In this talk, Jonathan will explain why scope creep happens, how to prevent it, and why hourly billing, change orders, and massive spec docs are not the answer.
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Video Description: Why do we pretend that our software is going to be perfect on some arbitrary future date? It’s like setting a wedding date before you’ve asked anyone out! Any non-trivial software project is a collaboration between the consultant, a bunch of client employees, and sometimes even folks from third-party partners. To imagine that you personally have any meaningful control over the responsiveness of the participants is absurd. Sure, clients will continue to ask you to commit to project deadlines. But that doesn’t mean that you have to agree to them. You just need to know how to handle the request.
Absolutely loving the book. Really helps to understand value based fees! Highly recommended!
Folks who want maximum acceleration for their business growth can select the top-tier Complete Bundle + Coaching which includes the following in addition to all of the bonuses from the Complete Bundle:
We have a 60 minute Skype call. You start by sharing your biggest business challenge with me. Then, I give you no-nonsense advice that you can put into action immediately.
These are not generic “hand wavy” principles; this is practical “do this next” instruction gained from 1000+ hours of coaching folks just like you.
Typical areas of interest include:
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Join me, several successful colleagues, and a select group of students in my private coaching community. It’s the perfect place to get quick feedback from knowledgeable individuals about positioning statements, outreach campaigns, marketing tactics, product ideas, sales copy, preferred vendors, and so on. Get unstuck, encouraged, and inspired by our tight-knit group of like-minded business owners.
“Billing by the hour rewards inefficiency at every level and encourages potentially wasteful, premature and unrelated work.”
Here’s what other folks have said about my advice on hourly billing, value pricing, and growing a consulting business:
Every freelancer that bills hourly should be FORCED to read this book. Hourly billing destroys your ability to grow your business while hurting your clients at the same time. Jonathan’s book spells this out with crystal clarity along with the how to implement the alternative.
—Matt Inglot, Agency owner and host of Freelance Transformation
Jonathan is an absolute legend when it comes to ditching hourly billing. He has personal experience in value pricing as well as experience with helping others implement it. I have purchased other books on this subject and never recommended those books as they were dry, overly technical and made the whole topic too complicated. Hourly Billing Is Nuts is the opposite of those books. 2 thumbs up.
—Casey Stevens, Boss lady at Kiss Automation
There isn’t another person in this world more qualified to write a book like this than Jonathan Stark. He’s THE guru of value-based consulting. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to escape the hourly treadmill (where you actually get punished for being more effective).
—Jane Portman, UI/UX consultant and founder of UI Breakfast
Great book on changing your mindset of how to bill clients.
Jonathan, you finally convinced me to drop the hourly rate. I’m done. I’ve now sent out two quotes without hourly rates. Just wanted to say thank you.
–Greg Colker, founder & owner of In Media Res
I had a potential client haggling with me about a quote. I took Jonathan’s advice and within 48 hours the client had agreed to my original price and was ready to get started immediately.
–Philip Morgan, author of The Positioning Manual
Damnit, I wish I had the Stark mojo two months ago!
–Chris Ferdinandi, Go Make Things
Jonathan goes out of his way to help you and will ask and say the things that–though you might not always want to hear them–are crucial to being successful.
–Don Levan, Vanguard CS
I wish I could turn back the clock and I would have hired Jonathan when I first started my business - it would have saved me years of struggling.
–Geneve Hoffman, 16 Hoops
Hi! I’m Jonathan Stark and I’ve been a software consultant for the better part of fifteen years. I’ve given sold out talks on three continents, I am the author of five books, and I have helped brands like Staples, Time, T-Mobile, and others with their software strategy, tactics, and training. (You can check out the press page on my main website for more info.)
In my first year as a solo consultant, I doubled my income by ditching hourly billing for value pricing. I have over a decade of real-world experience successfully applying value-based theories to my own consulting work and that of 100+ developers I have counseled. These days I routinely command an effective hourly rate of $2000+ per hour.
The unconscious acceptance of hourly billing as the best and only option for selling services literally keeps me up at night. In fact, I consider it my mission in life to rid the earth of hourly billing.
Toward that end, I am publishing this book of my essays on the subject. It is my sincere hope that it will help you convince your colleagues, your clients, and maybe even yourself that hourly billing is nuts.
You’re running out of web page! Don’t waste another day trapped by a decision that you never consciously made.
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