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I hear this question often: What should I bill for and what shouldn’t I bill for?  I believe there is no ‘one shoe fits all’ solution. Every client relationship is different. Each client has different needs.

Agnes required me to learn a program for her business. As it was unique and customized to her business needs, we agreed that she pay for my time and other training-related expenses.

Mary, on the other hand, wanted me to learn a well-known software that would greatly add to my skill set. Our arrangement was very different; we agreed to split the cost and both of us were happy.

The client pays for what he/she needs me to do.

Scenarios like these are the ‘easy’ ones. In cases where extra skills are needed to perform a task, or something unexpected comes into the mix, it’s often a judgment call. If it is a significant increase in billable time, I suggest sending an email, or calling the client directly. Doing so helps avoid any problems with the next invoice, and both parties are crystal clear on what is being charged.

Have you had situations where you were charged for time you didn’t think you should have been billed for? How did you solve the issue?