Does it Pay to Invest in Knowledge during Non-Billable Time? gets to the heart of a problem many freelance or consultant knowledge workers face. That is: whether customers should pay for the training or learning required to do the job they hired you for. And, if they don’t pay for training, how much needs to be loaded on the fee to take the learning part into account?
These are difficult questions for anyone who bills by the hour and remind me of the kerfuffle over James Whistler the painter. Whistler would sometimes create a painting in a day or two, but charge his usual hefty fee. When questioned about the morality of expecting to be paid what amounted to a huge hour rate he replied he wasn’t charging for the hours worked, but for a “lifetime of experience”.