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How Do You Respond to 'You Cost Too Much'?

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on August 25, 2016 1:57 PM

Something that many solo attorneys hear perhaps all too often is the interjection: "You cost too much!" We're sure you've heard this one before.

Even with the advancement in technology making a fair number of attorney services quickly obsolete, there are still a great many tasks that should only be handled by a competent attorney. Here are a few tips for handling sticker-shocked clients.

"You Cost Too Much!"

It's to be expected. Everyone wants the best quality at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately for consumers, seeking services from an attorney will at a minimum cost several hundreds of dollars.

Stephen Fairley of The Rainmaker Institute has a great way to handle this. In a nutshell, make it plainly clear to the client that the cost of not hiring you could far outweigh the initial cost of an attorney. For example, it may cost $25,000 to hire a lawyer for a divorce case, "but the price of not paying that amount is potentially losing custody of your child, having to pay more in alimony than you should, and having to suffer through endless court battles for months in order to reach a resolution."

Clients who want a dissolution are in no emotional state to properly handle their own divorces. And things can get especially bad for the client when he or she tries to do things on the cheap.

Fairley has a particularly great line you should try on your clients after you've made your pitch: "I'm not the cheapest attorney out there and if that is what you are looking for, I have an attorney I can refer you to."

It's Not Worth It

If the client balks at your statement, it could be a signal of things to come, and you may want to simply avoid offering your services to the client. Unless you're really hurting for money, why bother taking on a client you know will be a major headache?

Irony of Raising Your Rates

One irony is that when you work up the food chain, fewer and fewer people come back with "You cost too much" when when your rates are higher. Raising your hourly rates can have the counterintuitive effect of filtering out a certain percentage of bargain hunters.

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