Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Sherlock Charitable?

For a number of years I worked for non-profit organizations. The last one investigated really far-right organizations. While I found this extremely rewarding, the fundraising part wasn't. We never charged for our services, but relied on member's dues and contributions to sustain the organization.

When I left the non-profit world and started Sherlock Investigations, I intended it to be a pay-as-you-go company. In other words, to charge people a reasonable fee for a valuable service.

It's sad when people take advantage of us. We often try to help in heart-rending family situations where an investigation would help a needy client. It may be a missing family member, or locating someone who stole money or assets which practically put the client into bankruptcy.

As some clients neglect their bills, we are less inclined to be charitable. (One client strongly objected when I used the word "charitable." She said that she didn't want our charity, but she still hasn't paid our bill, which was half of what we normally charge for locating an absent parent.)

We also normally get paid in advance. One exception we made was to lawyers. Big mistake. Lawyers, unless they're working on a contingency basis (which we do not), get paid in advance. From now on, we will charge lawyers full payment in advance.

Sherlock Investigations will continue to be nice, and, yes, charitable, but it will be the exception and not the rule.

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