I have been freelancing for a client for two years now at 15 hours/week. I recently raised my rate from $30/hour to $50/hour to reflect that of a freelancer and not an employee (since I receive no benefits from them and am growing my business), and now my client is being a stick in the mud about a few things.

Previously, I charged for "team" monthly lunch meetings (even though again, I am a consultant, not an employee). My client now wants me to attend these team lunch meetings for free, which can last anywhere from 1-2 hours, and the drive time alone is one hour round trip (so 2-3 hours). This lunch meeting is also a big interruption to my day and productivity. However, my client seems to think that since it's a free lunch and that they will give me "proprietary" and "non-proprietary" training during these meetings it makes sense not to pay me.

In addition, they are flying in their business coach next month and want me to attend their team's leadership training, but I'm only allowed to charge half my rate. I'm not sure what the agenda is for this training nor am I sure I will learn anything useful.

How do I go about this? Is it normal to attend monthly, onsite meetings for free? Or have them dictate my rate for trainings/demand that I go to them? I'm new to freelancing full-time and am at a loss here. Thank you in advance!

1 Answer 1


I think you know the answer to this, but may be a bit apprehensive about losing the client if you fail to attend these meetings. That's always a possibility.

It's your business. Your pricing and what you will or will not do for that pricing, is your decision, never a clients.

No client can make any meeting mandatory for you. Now, a client can require attendance to something if you wish to continue working with them. That's not out of line. But you charging for your time is not out of line either. In order to keep a good client happy, it's best to consider every request case by case. However, if attendance puts undo stress on you (the drive, the loss of work hours, etc) you have every right in the world to enforce payment for that time. And, of course, there are always two sides... they can then refuse to pay you and stop working with you if you fail to attend.

Attending their meeting means I can not focus on other work. Therefore they are responsible for compensating me for the time I'm losing by attending their meeting. It is no different than if I spent 4 hours at my desk working on a project of theirs. They want my time and expertise, they pay for it, no matter what they actually do with my time. I'll go sit in their office and stare at the wall for 4 hours if that's what they want... but they'll be invoiced for 4 hours of my time.

If they are unwilling to pay for my time, they don't get my time. For some clients it means they terminate the business relationship. Which, to me, is fine. If they don't value my time, they certainly don't value me or my skills. I'd rather work with clients that do see value in my time and services.

In no circumstance would I ever attend a "business coach" meeting merely because the client wants me to.

The client may mention:

"Hey, we've got a meeting about business management scheduled next week. If you'd like to attend, you are more than welcome".

They are merely inviting me if I so desire, not requesting I attend as if it's necessary for our relationship. Then, if I wanted to attend I would and not charge the client anything for that time.


"Hey, we've got a meeting about business management scheduled next week. We need you to attend that meeting".

That meeting (and travel) time is invoice.

If a client ever states to me "you have to..." my reactionary thought is "Okay, you will have to pay for that." It's really not much more complicated than that.

  • I really appreciate you taking the time to answer this! Thank you for validating that I'm not crazy by asking to be paid for my time, especially if something is mandatory. I responded to the client echoing this and hope that it does not burn bridges.
    – J-Min
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 17:53

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