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05/07/2010
IconPaying Sales Taxes When You Buy A Business By Cliff Ennico www.creators.com "I recently bought a small business. During a routine sales tax audit, the auditor mentioned that when I bought this business I should have paid sales tax on the entire amount of the purchase price. This came as a huge shock to me, as the attorney who represented me said nothing about it. I had to pay several thousand dollars in taxes, plus interest because I paid it late. Is this correct, and is there anything people can do to avoid such a rude surprise?" The problem here comes about because nowadays when people buy businesses, they don't purchase the stock of the seller's business - they buy the assets instead. Many states require you to pay sales tax upon a "bulk purchase" of assets, and the tax bill can come as a huge surprise if you don't plan for it. Whenever you buy the assets of a business, you are required to "allocate" the purchase price to different assets - so much for equipment, so much for inventory, so much for goodwill, and so forth. This is done primarily for income tax purposes - because different assets classes are treated differently for tax purposes (some, such as equipment, are fully deductible, whereas goodwill must be written off over 15 years, for example), the IRS and your state tax authority want to know how much of the purchase price was used to buy specific assets. If you bought this business during 2009, you will have to file IRS Form 8594 (available as a free download at www.irs.gov ) on your tax return next year spelling out how you did this. But the allocation of your purchase price for income tax purposes also determines how much sales tax you pay to your state and local tax authorities. Generally, there is no sales tax on "goodwill" or other intangibles. When you buy the assets of a business, only that portion of the purchase price that is allocated to "tangible assets" such as equipment is subject to sales tax. So, when allocating the purchase price in your contract of sale, if you want to minimize sales taxes you should allocate as little as possible to equipment and other tangible assets. But that decision will come at a price: the less you allocate to equipment, the less you will be able to deduct on this year's tax return under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code, which currently allows you to write off up to $250,000 worth of equipment in the year you buy it. When allocating your purchase price, you may have to pay some sales tax in order to get the benefit of a hefty income tax deduction - your accountant should work through the numbers and figure out what will give you the biggest "bang" for your tax dollar. Which leads me to the big problem here: it sounds like you didn't have an accountant working with you. Many attorneys who represent small businesses are not familiar with the tax consequences of the transactions they put together for their clients - they rely on your accountant to handle this, and the better ones will not agree to work with you unless you have an accountant they can work with to make sure you experience no tax "surprises" after the closing takes place. Unfortunately, quite a few attorneys won't even tell you to get an accountant - if that's what happened here, then I don't think your attorney acted properly. If an attorney is not willing to get involved in tax issues, then he or she has an obligation to insist you work with a good small business accountant. If your attorney doesn't want to work with an accountant, or if you refuse to work with one because of the cost, then he or she has an obligation to help you deal with the tax issues of your transaction or (if he or she is not comfortable doing so) withdraw from representing you. Period. Here's a tip: when a seller of assets wants to allocate a large amount of your purchase price to tangible assets (which will result in a big sales tax bill for you as the purchaser), ask him to break the figure down into two categories: "equipment" and "leasehold improvements" (or "capital improvements" if you are buying the building where the business is located). While "equipment" will always be considered "tangible assets" for sales tax purposes, in many states "leasehold improvements" are considered intangible assets that are not subject to tax. Or they may be considered the property of your landlord, not you individually, and will be exempt from tax for that reason. You will still end up paying some sales tax, but the amount will be greatly reduced. When buying any sort of business, you need both a good lawyer and a good accountant - using only one type of professional ensures that some things will "fall through the cracks," as they did here. Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com )is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at www.creators.com or visit succeedinginyourbusiness.com .COPYRIGHT 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconBulletproof Your Identity By John Sileo www.Sileo.com Think about it. Slowly, over time, we have given away our privacy. Many times we don't even realize we are giving it away. We commonly trade our personal information for access to website content (free songs, email), the chance to win a contest (iPods, vacations) or a one-time 10% discount at a clothing retailer. I call this slow and unnecessary leakage of our personal information identity creep. Our information is requested in a subtle way, and because the immediate benefits seem substantial and often feel harmless, we overlook the downside-that we are gradually broadcasting our identity to those who shouldn't have it. One source at a time, we must reverse our bad habits and guard information rather than give it out. Understandably, we cannot entirely give up sharing our information. But we must determine what to share and with whom. We must begin to accumulate our privacy over time. This incremental approach keeps prevention from being an overwhelming task and reminds you to consider the risk anytime identity is involved. Here are steps to start the process: 1. Opt Out of Financial Junk Mail Problem: Your private data is bought and sold by junk-mailers without your knowledge. Solution: Opt out by calling 1-888-567-8688 or visiting www.OptOutPreScreen.com . There are complete industries built around collecting, massaging and selling your data - your name, phone number, address, spending patterns, net worth, the age of your children, the magazines you buy, etc. Companies buy bits of your privacy so that they can knowledgeably market products to you that you are likely to purchase. To minimize the amount of your personal information bought and sold on the data market, begin "opting out." Opting out is the process of notifying organizations that collect your personal information to stop sharing it with other organizations. "Pre-Approved" credit card offers (i.e., financial junk mail) are a major source of identity theft. Those mailers give thieves an easy way to set up credit card accounts in your name without your consent. They spend money on the card and default on the balance, leaving you with the mess of proving that you didn't make the purchases. The solution is to opt out of receiving pre-approved credit, home loan and insurance offers. Pre-approved credit offers (also called pre-screened or pre-qualified credit offers) are possible because credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union - companies that collect and sell financial data on nearly every American) make a great deal of money selling your identity (i.e., name, address, phone number, age, credit score) to credit card, loan and insurance companies. But it is your right to stop the sale of your information. To opt out of pre-approved credit offers with the three main credit reporting bureaus, call 1-888-567-8688 or visit www.OptOutPreScreen.com . There is no cost to you for opting out. Once you've completed this step, begin opting out of ALL information sharing on every account you have (bank, brokerage, mortgage, utilities, phone, etc.) as well as with the Direct Marketing Association. 2. Shred Your Paper Trash Problem: We throw away private information every day. This is where dumpster divers begin. Solution: Buy a heavy-duty or a lighter-duty confetti shredder and shred everything that contains private information. Assume that any document you throw out will end up in the hands of an identity thief. Get in the habit of either chopping or locking documents and disks that contain identity (name, phone number, address, social security number, account numbers, passwords, PIN numbers, phone numbers, client information, childrens' information, etc.). When buying a paper shredder, I recommend the following features: Cross-cut confetti shredding 10+ pages of simultaneous feeding capacity Allows shredding of stapled documents, credit cards and CDs Convenience is key! Make sure you place a confetti shredder next to ALL of the places that you handle identity (where you open your mail, your home office, your desk at work) and shred everything possible. Don't skimp here - if you don't make it convenient for yourself and your employees, it won't get done. If a document has identity of any sort on it, shred it, even if it isn't your information. Don't forget to destroy digital files as well, like those that live on a hard disk when you donate your computer. If you can't shred it, lock it up in a fire-safe. 3. Freeze Your Credit File Problem: If a thief gains access to your credit file, they can spend everything you're worth. Solution: Freeze your credit with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Every time you establish new credit (e.g., open up a new credit card, store account or bank account, finance a car or home loan, etc.), an entry is created in your credit file which is maintained by companies like Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. The trouble is, with your name, address and social security number, an identity thief can pretend to be you and can establish credit (i.e., spend your net worth) in your name. A credit freeze is simply an agreement you make with the three main credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) that they won't allow new accounts (credit card, banking, brokerage, loans, rental agreements, etc.) to be attached to your name/social security number unless you contact the credit bureau, give them a password and allow them to unfreeze or thaw your account for a short period of time. Yes, freezing your credit takes a bit of time (maybe an hour of work), can be a little inconvenient when you want to set up a new account) and it can cost a few dollars (generally about $10 to unfreeze, a small price compared to the recovery costs of identity theft). And it is worth it! It's like putting locks on your doors. Don't let anyone talk you out of freezing your credit. It is the number one thing you can do to prevent credit fraud. 4. Use Surveillance to Monitor Your Online Identity Problem: Your private information is floating around on the internet and exposing you to risk. Solution: Monitor your online identity conveniently with sophisticated identity surveillance. When my audiences learn that only about 25% of identity theft can be caught by monitoring their credit report, they often ask me to evaluate the more sophisticated identity theft monitoring and protection services in the market place. Not all identity monitoring services are created equal. I recommend an identity surveillance service that monitors the following aspects of your identity: 24/7 monitoring of your credit file (most services provide only this - nothing more) Non-credit loans (pay-day loans, etc) Government records Public records disclosure (court cases, real estate transactions, etc.) Nation-wide criminal databases Cyber-trafficking of your private information over the internet The better services will also offer recovery services and identity theft insurance Here's how it works. Rather than waste hours monitoring all of the potential sources of identity theft myself, the product does it for me, automatically. Every month, a report shows up in my email inbox letting me know if there are any areas that I should be concerned about. That way, I only have to think about it when necessary. Again, convenience is crucial - if we make it easy to be safe, we will be safe! You should expect to spend approximately $120 per year for a good service (far less than you probably spend to insure your car and home, which are worth far less than your identity). 5. Lock Up Identity Documents Problem: Identity documents that are left unlocked in our homes and offices open up profitable opportunities for identity thieves. Solution: Purchase a fire-resistant document safe to securely store all of your identity documents. A majority of our most valuable identity documents (passports, birth and death certificates, wills, trusts, deeds, brokerage information, passwords, health records, customer data, employee records, etc.) are exposed to identity theft (and natural disasters, such as fire and floods) as they sit in unlocked filing cabinets, bankers boxes, office drawers or out in the open, on our desks. To complicate matters, the problem of data theft goes beyond paper documents to digital media. More than ever we need to be concerned with the physical protection of hard drives, cell phones, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs with sensitive personal or business data on them. To store them securely, purchase a fire-resistant safe. Think of it this way. Your identity is probably worth something close to $300,000 (even if your credit is poor), not to mention the value of any business data for which you are responsible (customer records, employee information, intellectual capital). Spending a few hundred dollars to lock up the keys to your identity is simple. Look for a fire safe that meets these requirements: Able to withstand 1500deg; F for 30 minutes Lockable by key or combination Able to be secured to the foundation of your home (to prevent safe theft) Preferably waterproof (where there's fire, there's water) One important note: increasingly, thieves are breaking into homes and businesses in order to steal identity documents. By placing them all in a central location (such as a fire safe), you are making it easier for them to steal everything at once. I suggest that you have your fire safe bolted into the foundation of your home or business. This small expense could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's no more expensive than putting dead-bolt locks on your doors. 6. Protect Your PC Problem: The information stored on your computer can be compromised if left unprotected. Solution: Follow the 7 Steps to a System Lock-down listed below. In order to protect all of the identity documents stored on our home and work computers, it is important to close all of the potential data leaks. The following suggestions will get you started, but please hire a computer security professionally to help you protect this very valuable asset in the fight against identity theft. Create strong, alphanumeric passwords. Employ a highly-rated security software suite on every computer you own. It should include: anti-virus and anti-spyware scanners; password protection, phishing and pharming filters and a firewall. Configure your Windows systems for automatic security updates. Utilize encryption software (for professional-level protection). Physically lock-down your computers (especially if you use a laptop or hand-held). Desktop computers and workstations should be locked in your office, both at work and at home. More private data disappears because of stolen laptops than any other source. Secure your wireless network. Make sure that the connection is not open to anyone with a wireless device and that you use WPA encryption, NOT WEP. Secure your Mobile Data Devices (iPhones, BlackBerrys, Treos, Palms, Thumb Drives, Laptop Computers) using all of the tools above. Just because they are small doesn't mean that the data on them isn't worth a mint. About the author: After losing his business to data breach and his reputation to identity theft, John Sileo became America's leading identity theft expert and professional speaker. His recent clients include the Department of Defense, the FDIC, Blue Cross and Pfizer. Learn more about Identity Theft Expert John Sileo at www.Sileo.com and receive a free white-paper: Privacy Means Profit: Safe Data = Profitable Data . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconCorporate "Survival Skills" vs. Entrepreneurial "Survival Skills" By Cliff Ennico www.creators.com "I was laid off from a corporate job a while back. I'm in outplacement, and the people here are telling me there are no jobs anywhere in corporate America for anyone with my experience. I've thought about doing something entrepreneurial - doing some consulting, maybe, or making some money out of some of my hobbies - but I'm really not sure I've got what it takes to make it. I'm seeing a lot of ex-corporate people starting businesses of their own, and most of them aren't making it, which scares the Dickens out of me. What are some of the secrets that separate the winners from the losers, and will help me beat the odds in a tough, competitive climate?" No doubt about it - if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to grow a new skin. Or, more precisely, a new way of looking at the world. The attitudes that helped you survive in a large corporation will often get you killed when you start a business of your own. Here are some key ways successful entrepreneurs look at the world differently than successful corporate executives. Successful Entrepreneurs Focus on Results, Not Process. Corporate executives often spend too much time worrying about process, protocol, and getting team consensus when undertaking projects. Entrepreneurs are all about performance, production, and getting results. Executives excel at planning; entrepreneurs excel at execution. Successful Entrepreneurs Are Not Perfectionists. Corporate executives often cross every "T", dot every "I", and cover their rears ten ways 'til Tuesday before making a decision, risking "paralysis by analysis". Entrepreneurs realize that market opportunities don't wait - by the time you've gotten all the information you need to make a decision, the opportunity has passed. Successful entrepreneurs leap through the window as soon as they realize there's a good chance of surviving the fall, even though the landing may be a bit sloppy and some messes may have to be cleaned up in version 2.0. Successful Entrepreneurs Know How to Sell. Many corporate executives are good at finance, human resources, information technology, "strategic marketing" and other disciplines but have never had to sell a thing in their lives. Successful entrepreneurs are, almost always, terrific salespeople, and realize that marketing and selling yourself, your products and services is Job Number One. If you're not spending at least one-third of your business time networking for leads, making sales calls, and getting your message across to current and potential customers, sooner or later your sales pipeline will dry up and your business will fail. I guarantee it. Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Care About "Whys and Wherefores". Corporate executives, being highly educated folks and "A students" by temperament, often base their decisions on ideas originating in their heads. They rationalize and defend these decisions using theories, models, and "deductive reasoning". Successful entrepreneurs, while extremely intelligent, use their five senses instead, soaking up information from the real world around them and using "inductive reasoning" to base their decisions on what they see going on there. They believe that it isn't always necessary to know why something works, as long as it does. Successful Entrepreneurs Are Flexible. Corporate executives often become overly dependent on a single model of doing business and adapt to changing circumstances slowly and carefully, if at all. Entrepreneurs know that if something doesn't work, you do something else, and quickly. If you're offering a service at $10,000 and nobody's biting, try offering a "no frills" $2,000 service and see what happens. If customers like it, they may be willing to upgrade to a higher-priced service once they see what you can do. Successful Entrepreneurs Are (Often) Neurotic. Corporate executives frequently get too complacent about their jobs, their markets, their products or services, and their future success. Successful entrepreneurs - increasingly, outcasts from corporate America - have tasted failure, and know they can be there again in a heartbeat. As a result, fear becomes their best friend - it keeps them focused, sharpens their five senses, and motivates them to keep looking for new problems, threats and opportunities after all others have accepted the status quo. Successful Entrepreneurs Are Not Always Nice People. Corporate executives often worry too much about what people think of them, and believe strongly in the motto "to get along one must go along." Successful entrepreneurs, under incredible pressure to get results, often have to take actions that are direct, in-your-face, and (sometimes) unpleasant to the people around them -- ask any entrepreneur who has to fire a longtime associate and close friend who isn't cutting the mustard anymore. Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Become "Prisoners of Their Resumes". Corporate executives often become trapped by their resumes - if something isn't listed on it, then it's something they cannot or shouldn't undertake (or so they think). Successful entrepreneurs do not let a lack of knowledge, experience or talent get in the way of their success - when a good opportunity strikes, they say yes, learn on the job and grab the business before their more experienced competitors even find out about it. Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com )is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at www.creators.com or visit succeedinginyourbusiness.com .COPYRIGHT 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconShould You Post YourPrices On Your Website? By Cliff Ennico www.creators.com "I just started a small service business out of my home.nbsp; Becausemy overhead is absolutely rock-bottom, I can charge significantly lessfor my services than my competitors.nbsp; I just set up a website formy business, and I'm thinking of putting a 'price list' on the homepage showing the prices I charge for different services.nbsp; I wantpeople to see just how affordable I am.nbsp; But a couple of friendshave told me this would make me 'look cheap' and is an unprofessionalthing to do.nbsp; Are they right?" This is one of the toughest marketing decisions for any servicebusiness.nbsp; The answer will depend on (1) the services you areproviding, (2) the customers you serve, and (3) how much you want to belocked in to a specific price structure. Your Services.nbsp; Generally, if the service you provide is a"commodity", such as landscaping, where "flat fees" are normallycharged for specific services, it's a very good idea to post yourprices on your website.nbsp; If your service is more "professional" innature, such as marketing consulting, with lots of variables that willaffect the prices you quote for specific jobs, then it's probably not agood idea to post specific prices, although you might want to considerposting your hourly rate, a list of factors that will affect the pricequoted for a specific job, and perhaps some "ballpark estimates" ofprices you have quoted for the most commonly requested services. Even within a particular profession, your decision may vary dependingon the "culture" associated with the specific services youprovide.nbsp; For example, a lawyer specializing in wills, trusts and"estate planning" work for wealthy individuals will probably not posther prices on the web for fear of being perceived as "low class".nbsp; Your Customers.nbsp; If you are a consultant for large, publiclytraded corporations, you absolutely should NOT post your prices on yourwebsite.nbsp; Corporate clients will indeed think you areunprofessional if you post your prices on the Web, and will questionwhether you truly understand the corporate market. If your clients are entrepreneurs, small business owners, and people(like yourself) who work out of their homes, then you absolutely shouldpost your prices on your website.nbsp; These folks are extremely priceconscious, they are generally squeamish about negotiating prices, andthey probably think they can't afford services from anyone in yourprofession.nbsp; Offering them a "menu" is a great way to send themessage not only that they can afford you, but that you really careabout them because you will be sensitive to their budget. "Locking Yourself In".nbsp;Once you have posted prices on your website, you are "locked in" tothose prices, and may have a tough time changing them when you realizeyou set them incorrectly.nbsp; If you are not 100% sure what yourprices should be, or if there are factors that might cause you to quotedifferent prices for identical jobs, don't post specific prices on yourwebsite. I currently have two websites for different aspects of my career.nbsp;Here are the decisions I made in each case about posting my fees: The first site is for my law practice.nbsp; Since I deal only withsmall businesses and their owners, I posted an extensive list of pricesfor certain matters I commonly handle for my clients, such as reviewingcontracts and leases, forming corporations and limited liabilitycompanies, and other transactions for which I can charge a "flatfee".nbsp; Just the fact that I charge flat fees for certain legalwork is enough to set me apart from my local competition. The second site is for my professional speaking activities.nbsp; WhileI do have "standard charges" for keynote speeches, panel discussions,and all-day seminars, I prefer not to post these on my website, becausedifferent circumstances can lead to different price quotes, and I needto ask lots of questions before I can quote an exact price.nbsp; Forexample, someone who wants me to give a one-hour keynote speech inPhiladelphia, which is only a two hour Amtrak train ride from my home,is going to be quoted a lower speaker's fee than someone who wants meto give a one-hour keynote speech in California.nbsp; While the twospeeches may be identical, the latter will require a cross countryplane trip and one if not two overnight stays in a hotel, which willtake me away from my law practice and otherwise disrupt my life to amuch greater extent than the Philadelphia gig. One more thing:nbsp; when you change your prices, be sure you updateyour website before you start quoting difference prices in your e-mailand telephone communications with clients.nbsp; Leaving outdatedprices online is one sure way to get an angry response from a clientwho's been paying higher prices and then stumbles upon your websitewhile Googling something else . . . Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com )is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at www.creators.com .COPYRIGHT 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"My Customers Love MeSo Much, They're Trying To Kill Me" By Cliff Ennico www.creators.com "I run a very successful marketing consulting business - frankly toosuccessful.nbsp; Because I work out of my home and have no significantoverhead, I charge less than half of my nearest competitor in thisarea.nbsp; Whenever I quote a job, the customer never complains - theyjust roll over and sign my standard contract.nbsp; Frankly, despite adifficult economy, I've got more work than I can deal with.nbsp; I amextremely popular, and my customers always refer me to other businessesin the area because I'm giving them the best deal in this area forthese services. My problem is that I'm working my tail off - 80 to 90 hours a week mostweeks.nbsp; And while I'm paying my bills on time, I'm not able to putany money away for retirement and that really worries me.nbsp; I can'tafford to hire anyone to help me.nbsp; Even if I had time to take avacation - and believe me, I need one right now - I wouldn't be able toafford it. I know I probably should raise my prices, but I'm afraid I'm going tolose too much business.nbsp; Is there any way out of this dilemma?" You know you are not charging enough for your services when thecustomers don't bother to argue over your service proposals, contractsor invoices.nbsp; Afraid they will lose a deal that's "too good to betrue" by looking a "gift horse in the mouth," they just agree to yourterms without comment.nbsp; Be assured that the minute you leave theiroffices they are doing "high fives", breaking out the vintage claret,and snarking about your naivete and lack of experience in business. While as a home based entrepreneur you want to keep your overhead andother costs at rock bottom, enabling you to charge lower fees than yourbrick and mortar competitors, you want to be sure you are chargingenough so: you can make a decentliving, enough to compensate you for the fact that you are working 24/7unlike many of your competitors; and you are happy with both yourwork and your lifestyle, not grinding your teeth every night over howyour customers don't appreciate your true worth. If you make a habit of giving yourcustomers too good a deal, two things will inevitably happen sooner orlater:nbsp; you will become physically and mentally exhausted; and youwill end up hating your customers for putting you in a position ofindentured servitude (when after all it's entirely your fault). Here are some tips to make sure that you are getting what you deservewhile still remaining competitive: never charge less than 90%of what your closest competitor charges - your customers are stillgetting a good deal, and you are not leaving too much money on thetable; and make sure you are chargingenough to enable you to live comfortably in your area - if you need$200,000 a year to put your kids through college and live an uppermiddle class existence in your community, then making $150,000 a yearjust won't cut it even though a lot of folks elsewhere in the countrywould gladly settle for that. You can raise your prices now fornew clients, but what about your existing ones?nbsp; Once clients getused to paying a certain amount for your services, they squeal likestuck pigs when you increase your rates.nbsp; Here are a couple of"stealth" tricks for raising your prices for existing clients withoutbeing too obvious about it: charge "flat fees" that areat least 125% of what you would charge for doing the same job on anhourly or "per diem" basis (you would be amazed how many customers willaccept a higher overall fee in exchange for the security of knowingwhat the exact amount of your bill will be); and consider charging a "premiumfee" for projects that are going to eat up a lot of your time, forevening/weekend work, or for other "special access" a client demands(for example, I don't give my cellphone number to any client that isn'twilling to pay a minimum $25,000 for legal services each year - ifthey're going to bust my chops on a Sunday afternoon they should beprepared to pay my home mortgage each month). Whenever you "sell yourself short"by not charging enough for your services, it's always due to a lack ofconfidence on your part.nbsp; If the customer doesn't call you backwhen you quote them a fee, that's bad news.nbsp; But it's also badnews if they don't try to negotiate at least a little bit.nbsp; Whenthe customer winces slightly when they see your proposal, contract orinvoice, but signs anyway after asking a couple of questions, that'swhen you know "the price is right."nbsp; Don't settle for a pennyless. Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com )is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at www.creators.com .COPYRIGHT 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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