[consulting] General consultant's vent

Christian Pearce christian at pearcec.com
Thu Aug 6 19:38:47 UTC 2009

The lawyer analogy is good as a practice, but let us not forget if you want
to be a lawyer you have to pass the bar (at least in the US).  So already
there is a market differentiation.  Just about anyone can advertise I can do
Drupal work.  Does it mean they are qualified no.

Lawyers also have a lot of code of conduct when it comes to setting prices
and people can file a grievance with the state if they are unsatisfied.

I sort of like what I saw in this post recently, perhaps as a consulting
group we should take the categories listed below and work up some
descriptions of how we in the "Consulting Shop Rate" differentiate ourselves
from one another.  Let's turn this into something constructive. What to
help? ( Edit: http://groups.drupal.org/node/25054 )

What is the market price for drupal work?

The answer to this question is that it depends:

Off-shore rate: $15-$20/hr

Freelancer Rate in North America: $30-$60

Consulting Shop Rate: $70-$100

High-end Consulting Shop Rate: $150-$250

P.S: I also know shops that charge $300/hr, and they are one of the most
experienced Drupal shops around and have built some of the biggest Drupal

Each of these categories come with its own advantages and disadvantages.

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM, Dave Terry <dave.terry at mediacurrent.com>wrote:

>  + 1 on enjoying the discussion thus far.  I think Domenic hit the nail on
> his head with his legal analogy.  The legal industry, while mostly despised
> J,  has really figured it out – if you go to visit a lawyer there is an
> expectation that the first 15 minutes to an hour is free while the details
> of the case are discussed, discovery, etc. but anything beyond that is
> billable time.  In the tech sector, the buyer usually does not understand
> the value or benefits of the services that are being provided.  However, if
> you walk into a law firm there is an understanding that there are varying
> levels of expertise (i.e. a senior partner bills more than a newly minted
> law school grad), and more importantly the client gets “it.”.  Conversely,
> Drupal/tech customers can’t comprehend the subjective nature of our rates
> and why 3 developers may charge 3 different  prices – its partially their
> fault, but we need to do a better job of how we position and market
> ourselves to avoid these constant fee fights.   There is a reason why the
> Lullabots or Acquias of the Drupalsphere charge on the high side – not only
> have they earned the street cred, but really done a wonderful job at
> positioning themselves in the public market.  In Acquia’s case it certainly
> helps that Dries is the co-founder.  Understandably though, they are viewed
> as the “senior partners” in the firm.  There will always be a sliding scale
> of economics at work, but don’t lose sight of the fact that marketing is a
> big part of your consultancy.
> Dave
> Mediacurrent
>  *From:* consulting-bounces at drupal.org [mailto:
> consulting-bounces at drupal.org] *On Behalf Of *Domenic Santangelo
> *Sent:* Thursday, August 06, 2009 12:48 PM
> *To:* A list for Drupal consultants and Drupal service/hosting providers
> *Subject:* Re: [consulting] General consultant's vent
> On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 6:34 AM, Brian Vuyk <brian at brianvuyk.com> wrote:
> I agree with you in principal. If the client doesn't approach us with fully
> drawn up specification and design documents, they should expect to pay
> consulting time to get their project refined and firmed up. Historically,
> probably 10-15% or more of my hours were tied up in this aspect of business.
> However, as long as so many developers are willing to do this for free, it
> can't easily be stopped. Small shops, like mine, can't give up a competitive
> edge like that, and charging a client several days labour that another shop
> would give for free just doesn't work.
> I recently needed a legal document drawn up, so I called an attorney that
> came highly recommended from friends in this area. He drew up the (one page)
> document, sent it over, I looked through it and said, "great, let's do it"
> and he asked for a large retainer. I can't use this doc unless I pay it.
> That too got me to thinking about Drupal work -- okay, fine, let's estimate
> and wireframe for free, and build that cost into contracts we DO land.
> I don't really have an answer here, but I think examples from other more
> established industries might show good patterns that we can follow. I dunno.
> -Dom
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Christian Pearce
xforty technologies
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