Have you ever have one of those days when you feel like giving up? Well I’ve been having one of those weeks. It’s just been one thing after another. So many things in fact that I have been unable to find a silver lining in this cloud at all. What had me so discouraged was that I believed everything was way beyond my control. Trip cancellations and postponements are at the root of all my woes since we last talked. I was so discouraged at one point I asked my dad/partner if he thought we should throw in the towel. The silence was deafening.
That large group I told you about stalled.. It is not on hold because of anything I did or even a change in heart for the group itself; it has been put on hold because the group leader has been unable to sell her house and has nothing else on her mind. I am very sympathetic and I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. Her stress must be amazing; but her inability to move forward is adding to my stress as well. I don’t generally believe in counting chickens before they hatch but I must admit that in my mind I had counted and fried a few of those chickens already.
A destination wedding for 20 eager travelers suffered a similar fate when the bride received upsetting news from the groom and the wedding was called off altogether. When I got the call telling me to stop everything and cancel any arrangements being made, all I could do was stare at the file folder on my desk in disbelief. As much as I wanted to probe and pry and protest, it just didn’t seem like the right time to lament to the distraught and angry former bride about my hard work, my time and resources. And it wouldn’t have been the right time to ask for a consultation fee either.
In another case, my client discovered that she was able to make her reservation for South Beach by making a deposit by going direct to the resort; whereas with me, the resort was requiring payment in full. I was dubious, but I verified it and the client was correct. I letthe resort know in no uncertain terms that they were no longer on my list of quality properties in South Beach.
In all cases, I explained my consultation fee up front and charged it. While I still don’t charge them in all instances, I am now convinced I should. Consultation fees are a relatively new addition to my business model and it hasn’t always been comfortable discussing them with my clients but I know it was a lot easier discussing them at the beginning than it would be to discuss them at the end.
Nia Frieson is the owner of LK Cruises and Tours, LLC based in Washington, DC. For more information, you can contact Nia at email@example.com.
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