Clickbait headline out of the way, let’s get right to it shall we?

The worst business decision, amongst a series of bad ones, has to be charging a consultation fee upfront. Right up front. Court side if you will.

Why is this a terrible decision? The reasons are fairly obvious – one, this acts as an instant barrier to client acquisition. Especially for leads who have taken the time out to fill up a fairly detailed form as well as share their plans.

Two, it shuts down the “discovery” aspect of a sale. Most people like having a “touch and feel” so to speak before making a purchase. This upfront fee simply cuts off the chances of that happening. In other words, if there is no way to assuage the effectiveness of the consultation, then why should one pay? As a counter, I point to the list of successful admissions, but I suppose this can only serve to be persuasive.

Three, and apologies for the language here, it pisses people off. Which, if you are in the services industry, is a terribly foolhardy thing to do. More so in a world when so, so much useful information is freely accessible.

And yet, I don’t plan on changing this practice anytime soon. Or rather, I don’t think I ever will.


A large part of the reason is pure ego. My time is important, it is valuable. It is time that needs to be paid for. A significantly smaller part is the belief that you should not work for free. If you work, you ought to be paid for it. As simple as that.

Of course, in the end, it matters little as to what I think.

It is the market that will eventually decide whether such a format works. As things stand, I feel the market is a tad uncertain. There are weeks where consultation calendars are full up, and weeks (oh those painful weeks), when they are not.  Which, as things go, suits me fine. Suits me just fine.