Fees for consulting services provided by Evergreen can take one of three forms: hourly, monthly retainer, or fixed price, although all fees ultimately derive from an hourly rate of $250 for work done by consultant Bill Zook. Invoices are generally sent in the days immediately following the end of each calendar month during which services were provided, although other arrangements can be made by mutual agreement between the client and Evergreen. Clients are also charged for certain expenses, as detailed below.
To help keep hourly fees as low as possible, time is tracked in tenths of an hour. In the case of de minimis time spent, such as on a very short phone conversation or a quick e-mail exchange, nothing is invoiced. Likewise, no hourly fee is charged for idle one-way travel time of one hour or less. (Especially when public transportation is used, even a one-way trip of several hours will typically result in little or no idle travel time being spent.) Idle travel time, i.e., time that cannot otherwise be used constructively, such as when driving, in excess of one hour one way will be charged at a rate of $100 per hour, again as tracked in tenths of an hour.
If a client is likely to be using Evergreen’s services to a similar extent each month over a period of several months or more, both parties can benefit from the associated fee being the same each month, based on the anticipated extent of the work to be done. The arrangement can be terminated by either party with one month’s notice to the other party. The minimum retainer fee is $500.
Sometimes a flat fee can be settled upon before any work is done, especially if a project is similar to projects Evergreen has completed in the past. A somewhat different approach is for the client to identify an amount it is willing to spend, with Evergreen then proposing a scope of work consistent with the desired amount. A fixed price can also function as a cap on an hourly fee. Fixed prices often make sense in the following instances:
Development of Marketing Materials – The price for something as simple as a letter might be as little as $100. A longer piece, such as an article might have a price of as little as $250. Preparation of extensive website copy could cost $1,000 or more.
Presentations – Fees can be as low as $500 for presentations delivered in the Seattle metropolitan area. Included in any presentation fee will be time spent preparing print and/or electronic materials, along with anticipated idle one-way travel time of more than one hour.
Appraisals – Recognizing that some planned gift terminations can entail significant complexities, minimum fees in connection with different gift arrangements are as follows:
- Charitable gift annuities – $250
- Charitable remainder annuity trusts and unitrusts – $500
- Pooled income funds – $300
- Retained life estates in personal residences and farms – $500
Often the cost can be minimized when Evergreen is made aware of a contemplated termination before it occurs. In addition, when a single appraisal is prepared in connection with the simultaneous termination of two or more gift annuities established with the same charity, the overall fee will usually be something less than $250 per annuity. Likewise, when Evergreen has prepared an appraisal in connection with a past termination of an interest in the same pooled income fund or a previous partial termination of the same charitable remainder trust, the fee for the subsequent appraisal can be less than that for the original appraisal.
Usually, the only expenses for which a client might be charged will be travel expenses, although expenses for such things as large volume photocopying may be passed along to the client. Any expense Evergreen proposes be born ultimately by a client will be brought to the client’s attention before the expense is incurred.
As for travel expenses, mileage driven outside Washington’s King County will be charged to the client at whatever the then-current IRS amount per mile is for the business use of a taxpayer’s private vehicle. Other common types of travel expenses are:
- Airline fares
- Intercity train and bus fares
- Ferry fares
- Ground transportation expenses (such as for taxis) incurred outside of King County
- Parking costs of more than $5
- Lodging and meals while outside King County