Recently, I met with new clients, a couple referred to me by a friend of theirs who is a good client of mine. When I get a referral like this, I do not charge a consultation fee, because it is almost a given that I will do some work for this referral. The consult took way too long…. 2 hrs. I typically do a 45 minute – 1 hour consult. This couple was very new to decorative painting, and did not have a clear idea about what they wanted. They did know they wanted something for their kitchen back splash, a finish in the powder room, and a finish in the master bath, oh…and a finish under the counter in the kitchen, where the stools are. There was a lot of disagreement with the selection of the finishes between the husband and wife. The wife was very concerned about spending the money to do this work and seemed quite unenthused about all of the finishes I suggested. The husband, on the other hand, was very interested, enjoyed placing the various sample boards around the room to view, and was excited to have the work done. Finally, finishes were selected and I went over the process, which would be for me to price it all out and get back to them. At my home office, I spent about an hour pricing everything out. I phoned the clients with my pricing, on the day promised. The wife was the one who took my call, and again, very non responsive to it all, just stating she’d get back to me. No "thank you for the time you spent at our home "; no questions about anything. This is one of those jobs that I feel will not happen at all, and I am just kicking myself for not charging a consultation fee. Two hours of my time on a busy Saturday, not to mention the gas to get to this clients home and back, and my time pricing everything out. I do feel my rate covers all of this, but when the consult results in no work at all, it’s a loss. With the high price of gas right now, I think I am going to re-institute my consultation fee for all new clients. A "thank you for your time" goes a long way with me. I don’t think that is too much to ask, do you? I will do a follow up call to this client later today. That is my process. I first either email or phone in the quote, put a hard copy in the mail, and then follow up with a phone call a week later. If I get no response, or a negative response, then after I enter their contact info into my data base, they are filed away. You never know, some clients contact me a year or two later, some never, others will pass my name along to a friend.