Kristen told us last month, “I will have to have a lot of legal assistance in reviewing contracts the next month. I have a very limited budget for this but it is a necessary expense. I need to try and find a less expensive attorney than the one I have now who charges very high rates.”
This is not a new problem for small companies. In fact, most startups start off on a limited budget. Oftentimes those just beginning don’t budget enough, because the ‘small’ things tend to creep up and take a chunk out of the wallet when least expected (think leaky roof in a new rental building or miscellaneous office supplies, like staples and paper clips!)
I posed the question of less expensive legal advice to quite a few experts and had a great response to the question of where a new business owner can find it; so much response, in fact, that I’m going to break down the posts into several days of information.
Today I’d like to offer a tip that showed up several times: that of obtaining legal advice on a flat rate scale. Many of the respondents stated this is one of the best ways for new business owners to start off.
Attorney at Law Traci D. Ellis works a lot with new entrepreneurs and understands their problems when it comes to obtaining lower cost legal advice. She recommends the flat fee structure, saying, “Request a quote up front for the legal work to be done—and ask that it be done on a flat fee basis so that the owner knows up front what the budget is.”
By understanding what it is you will pay for each item you need done you can budget more effectively.
Erik Pelton of Erik M. Pelton and Associates charges flat fees for many projects and says,”The projects can even take a year or longer. But this way the client knows the total cost and we keep our overhead (and thus fees) down by not having to worry about billing, collecting, and accounting for every minute of work. For a client, they benefit with the security of knowing the cost, and by paying for the value of our work, not some measure of time.”
We will explore other cost-savings tips for legal advice in tomorrow’s post.