Billing procedure addresses three tasks in the billing process, which involve collecting the information needed to construct an invoice, creating invoices, and issuing them to clients. There are several types of billing arrangements that can be made between you and your clients. Below are billing arrangements commonly used in the virtual paralegal business.
Types of Billing Arrangements
- Hourly Fee – Charges are based on the amount of time it takes to work on your client’s project.
- Flat Fee – Depending on the project, you may charge a one-time fee known as a flat fee to complete the work on your client’s project from beginning to end.
- Retainer Fee - You could have your client pay you a fee to be available should they have a need in the future for administrative and paralegal services.
- Expenses - Costs incurred by the client because of payments the paralegal has had to make on the client’s behalf. These may include court filing fees, express or postage fees, court reporters, or other clear-cut costs. Expenses may also include charges for travel, mileage, or other indirect and out-of-the-ordinary expenses.
Regardless of the method used to arrive at the fee, you should ensure that you understand and agree with the scope of the assignment, the method chosen for establishing the fee, and the calculations that will be used to arrive at the final amount due.
In addition to your billing arrangements you should have in place billing policies and procedures to avoid any payment misunderstanding with your clients.
Clients should not be billed for quick questions or emails. Clients should be told when they are being billed outside their original contract or agreement. A copy of your billing policies must be included in your clients’ welcome package.