It is very easy to give prices and rates custom names as you might have seen in the setting rates and prices article. There are of course many approaches available here but we strongly recommend the approach that has served our clients best over the years - give your rates good names.
Who cares about names?
Firstly lets agree that rate names are very important. Your client most of the time has no idea of the effort you put in his matter, does not know how you divide labor at the law firm, how long tasks take to complete or that many people have to put work into his matter at the firm. But what the client always gets is the invoice which he must pay. You have here an excellent opportunity to make it as easy as possible for to pay the invoice without problems - make the best of it!
What is a rate?
The best example of a rate is your hourly rate you will charge your client. If it is $200 that is your rate. A clerk at your firm might have a $50 rate at the same time. Big difference in price and also big difference in value for the client. For each rate you add to Manor you can give it a custom name. The rates are visible when you add time entries to a matter and the rates used in a matter will be visible on the invoice you issue and send to your client.
Sell what the client is buying
It is by far best to give rates and prices names that best describe the service and product the client is buying. This is important. If the client is under the impression that he is buying the services of a specific lawyer at your firm it is best to use a rate that has that lawyer's name so the client can see he bought so many hours of service from that person. That makes the client see clearly that he is paying for what he expected.
Lets take a look at two different approaches.
The good naming approach
Here is a law firm that picked names for the rates and prices it was selling in good detail. Here is it very easy to see what people worked on the matter, how many hours each spent and what they charged for it. Then you can see support work listed but at a clearly lower price, you have travel miles, items charged by the number and then finally expenses laid out for the client. Then a clear total, vat and discount. Not many questions remain when the client has read this invoice.
The generic names approach
If you go for a generic rate name, like Legal Services, you open the door to comments and disputes from your client that might think he got the time from paralegals, junior partners of someone other then the specific lawyer he thought he was getting. In any case he might request a detailed work report to get a breakdown by person at the firm. This is not good for the client relationship and could cause a lot of work on your part and should be avoided. Worst case the client never intended to buy any hours from anyone but this specific person which could be a problem if other staff did most of the work on the case.
Here is an example of the generic approach invoice. No details and just legal services with the total hours worked and an approximate rate that shows average price.
To many this invoice raises more questions then it answers. This might delay payment and force you to discount the invoice or make changes to it - all causing loss in revenue.
Where do I set the names of my rates and prices?
Setting names for rates is easy. You simply navigate to Administration and Rates. Where you edit the rates you have or add new ones, depending on what you need to do to fix the names.
Still not sure?
Take a look at the two invoices above. Which one would you be more confident in paying? Which one would be easier to explain to senior management or accounting if needed? In which case are you sure you got what you ordered at the law firm? Think about it.