Drew this is awesome. So much of this echoes the type of thinking I’ve done about pricing, and my struggle with moving away from hourly work and integrating more value based pricing.
I too have begun to favour a weekly retainer situation for most new and ongoing projects. It’s quite simply to estimate the length of a project in weeks and determine how much value you can deliver in a week. And it’s something clients can easily understand too.
I haven’t gotten to the same level of abstraction away from hour tracking that you have. I still base my weekly retainers on an expected number of hours delivered, because I find many of my clients still expect it. But my aim it to move further and further away from hourly billing, and do as you do and start promising a certain amount of value each week rather than a range of hours.
I find I usually split my time between two large projects, and taking into account how much focussed billable time I actually have each day and week, that equates to roughly 10-15 hours per project per week. In that case I’d be charging in the range of NZ$1,500 — $2,000 for a week’s value. But I don’t really think about it as hours. I think about it as attention. Both those clients are getting half of my attention and expertise each week. I’m thinking about their design problems all the time, even when I’m not “on the clock”.
Thanks for this personal insight. It’s inspired me to continue to interrogate and improve my own pricing methods and evolve my client relations to accept more innovative pricing schemes.