Welcome, everyone! Welcome to the 64th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today's podcast is Mark Berg. Mark is the founder of Timothy Financial Counsel, an advisory firm that does purely hourly financial planning for hundreds of clients in the Chicago area.
What's unique about Mark's practice, though, is that while "hourly financial planning" is usually characterized as a purely transactional business, for less affluent middle market clients, that can't be scaled effectively... Mark's firm actually did a whopping $1.4M of hourly planning fees last year, across a team of 5 advisors and 2 support staff, and 75% of the firm's clients are recurring hourly clients!
In this episode, we talk in depth about how Mark structures the hourly fee model at Timothy Financial, with a series of 5 "Levels of Service" based on client complexity and hourly rates that vary from $280 to $400 per hour depending on which advisor is serving the client, why he publishes all of the details about his fees and service tiers on his website for clients to see before ever talking to him, and how doing so has led to a whopping 83% close rate on his qualified prospects last year.
We also talk about some of the "myths" of the hourly model, including how Mark has been able to successfully scale of the reach of the firm, why he believes that firms interested in doing hourly financial planning work should only do hourly work to focus on efficiencies, how he has been able to drive the growth of the firm because so few other advisors are effective at doing hourly financial planning for clients, the tremendous opportunity of building an hourly model precisely because so few advisors do it well, and yet why most advisors who start out fail at the hourly model despite the opportunity.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Mark talks about how he decided to come up with the name Timothy Financial Counsel – instead of just naming the firm Berg Financial Counsel after himself – and why, 17 years later, his decision to not name the firm after himself has actually helped him to scale it up with additional advisors beyond himself.
So whether you are interested in learning how to deliver hourly financial planning services in a scalable and profitable manner, how you can boost your close rate through being transparent about your services and fees, or are interested in why so many advisors are bad at delivering hourly financial planning more generally, I hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast!