4 Things Besides Pay Consultants Need to Negotiate in Contracts
Consulting gigs always come with costs and opportunities. Your contract needs to anticipate both.
As a consultant, you can travel the world training companies on how to do what you teach in your business. Consulting can be another source of income in your main business or you can start a consulting business as your primary source of income. It's one of the highest paying industries and the opportunities worldwide are exciting.
As you do research to identify companies that are good prospects for your consulting services, you'll start sending out proposals. Some of your proposals will be ignored. Others will get a response from the company saying "no thanks," and there will be some companies that see value in what you offer. You will then move forward to negotiations, and if all goes well, a contract.
You don't have to accept whatever contract is offered initially. You can and should negotiate a better deal. I want to add a disclaimer upfront that I'm not a lawyer and can't offer you legal advice. You should always consult an attorney when it comes to legal matters to protect your business. However, as someone who has gone through contract negotiations 40 times-and-counting with companies all over the world, I've learned a few lessons. Here are four things to think about including in your next consulting contract.
1. Keep control of your travel budget.
Conventual wisdom is to ask for a consulting fee and have the company book and pay for your travel-related expenses. There's another way. You can figure out how much it will cost for all of your travel expenses and then come up with the main number. You ask the company for your fee and then give them a "travel budget" number. Once you've been paid the travel budget, you can book all of your travel arrangments. You can pick the Airbnb's, airlines, and extras that you want. You might even find deals as you book and pocket some of that travel budget.
2. Retain your rights to you content.
There will be companies that see the content you offer and want to own it. They may see the value in using it to train their staff or they may want to repackage it and less it as their own product or service. Either way, it's not in your best interest to sell what you worked so hard to create. Over your career as a consultant, you'll make far more training at different companies than you'll make if you sell a company the rights to your signature content.
3. Get an option to sell high-end coaching.
The employees and/or department heads that you train at a company will need more help and some handholding. That's where high-end coaching comes into play. I say "high-end" because you can charge fees in the $20,000 to $40,000 range per client. If you add this option to your deal, you can earn extra income and take your work with that company and their employees to a deeper level. The potential for another contract and for great referrals is much higher if employees from the company sign up for high-end coaching with you.
4. License your products and services.
If you have any online courses or products that you sell to customers through your website passively, you can license them to companies as follow-up training for their employees. You can sell licenses of what you offer at a rate of $1,000 to $3,000 an employee (or more). If the company wants more employees to get access, they will have to buy more licenses. There is software you can use to set this up and track users. This is a passive way to earn more money beyond your consulting fee, travel budget, and high-end coaching.
There are a lot of ways to make an income through consulting at companies. You can travel to companies on the bucket-list country of your choice and train them on the topics you created your business around. Don't settle for a standard consulting deal. Ask for what you know you're worth and negotiate extra ways to make more. You are adding value in a way that the company will benefit from for years -- charge accordingly.