No one was calling me for juicy quotes. Some of you have started visiting the blog. I was getting tired of the lack of interaction in a blog (too much lecturing). So I thought I would do something fun, I would interview myself.
Related Link: the guru’s document assembly page
The DocGuru: Where does document assembly make the most sense?
Himself: Well everywhere! Anything you write, anything you type, any form you fill is a candidate for document assembly.
The DocGuru: Be real. Coding a template takes time. Should we really do everything?
Himself: Why not. It’s fun. It challenges the mind. It beats billing time.
The DocGuru: Yes. You caught it: “billing time.” Shouldn’t we spend our time doing billable work?
Himself: Well for me, document assembly is billable work . But for you, I get the point, and the answer is NO!
The DocGuru: Who is going to pay for the office overhead? We can’t hole up in a dark corner with a laptop and code.
Himself: I don’t do it in a dark corner, I beg your pardon. I take the laptop out to the garden, and watch the Daffodils pushing up, hear the birds chirp. Spring is beautiful.
The DocGuru: You are avoiding the question
Himself: All right. Here is why you should “stop billing”. Do an hour of billable work and you make money for an hour of billable work. There is no multiple; no extra reward for the effort, no return on investment. Yes, you make more than the typical wage laborer …. (have you talk to your plumber recently?) But say you make $400 and hour … you need to work a lot of hours to get real rich. And then, you have to constantly justify your time. What is the “value” of your labor … What is the value of your “workproduct”
The DocGuru: But that is what lawyers do, they bill
Himself: I disagree. You don’t come to a lawyer for a few hours of his time …. Yes he may bill you for a few hours. You come for advice; you come for help out of a jam; but more often you come for a “document”. It is the document you want, not the time; you want to take home a piece of paper, whether it be a partnership agreement, a lease, or a will; you want to know that it is well written and will survive the test of time.
The DocGuru: What does that have to do with document assembly?
Himself: Document assembly is all about documents; it is all about the creation of quality documents; it is all about the delivery of services. It is about workproduct. Invest 100 hours in template coding, and the return is equal to a thousand hours of billing. It allows you to bill for the document; not for the time. It is all about multiples; all about service; all about competition.
The DocGuru: You seem convinced about this? You have been doing document assembly for nearly a decade. It is easy for you; but not everyone can code.
Himself: Exactly my point; but all of you can markup documents. You markup documents day in and day out. Why not mark up your documents and send them to me to code. It will take less of your billable time to get the project done; and bring you closer to your the time you can reap the multiples from your investment.
The DocGuru: Aren’t you being a little direct? This seems to be a sales pitch.
Himself: Think what you wish. Feel free to come back; I give away advice for free and tip. You will find me posting (uncompensated) on the HotDocs list and GhostFill list. Many of you have received a private email or a call when you got into sticky trouble. But I do make my money consulting and love my work. Did I mention my new document assembly and case management sections on my website?
The DocGuru: The DocuGuru: You are a hypocrite. Don’t you bill by the hour?
Himself: Have you called me? You ask me to troubleshoot a template and give you “help” writ large; of course I bill by the hour. But, if you come to me with a set of documents, all marked up, and ask what will it take to turn them into a system, I will more than likely give you a fixed fee quote or a range. The quote will be based on a combination of the value of the documents to you, the complexity, and an estimate of the time it would take a typical coder to automate the documents.
The DocGuru: Well, our readers thank you for your candid comments and this opportunity to talk with you. Keep up the good work. Keep blogging.