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How to set boundaries where none existed before

How o set boundaries

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Would be interested to know other users experiences on this. Many clients have developed certain bad habits which I have enabled over the years. Most of it relates to emailing general questions and that are outside the scope of what the client is paying for e.g. what is the most tax effecive way to do x, or what if I employed my wife in the business and paid her x. These are general questions that could be answered but it's now at a stage where I cannot be all things to all people, all the time.

Does anyone have any suggestions for putting boundaries where none existed before. I have just finished a new faq section of the wesbite that I can point people to, but how to you deal with redirecting people to the faq without risking damaging the relationship in terms of wording the repsonse i.e. client handling element.

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By exceljockey
27th Feb 2019 11:27

In my experience clients tend to ask less and less over time simply because as they ask and you answer, they learn so eventually for your current bad habit clients, the problem should resolve itself.

But what I do is I have email templates that answer most of the more common questions. I very seldom get questions that I haven't answered previously and so it doesn't take long to fire an answer off and maintain good relationships. At the end of the email, you can include a line 'if you need any further help please give me a call or check out our FAQ section....etc'

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By andy.partridge
27th Feb 2019 11:28

If your client always gets stuff for free no wonder they love you. From your perspective, though, there is no relationship to risk.

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01st Mar 2019 15:26

The way I deal with this is I answer their questions for 'free' but I note the time spent on it. That way I can factor it into the fixed fees I quote that client in future years. Clients who ask questions such as these will tend to do it every year, and the time necessary can be predicted.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
27th Feb 2019 13:33

I generally call this stuff "my job" and budget time for this type of question in our fees, and if it gets too involved then I quote a fee. Normally the second you quote, they don't ask any more!

If you just ping off standard emails or refer to websites then you risk being a bit standoffish. I guess it depends if you are a rock bottom fee outfit and need to charge for everything, or you charge a healthy "and we will look after you" type fee with some padding.

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