Understanding Our Rates and Fees
Common Questions Our Customers Ask
Venture Mentors seems like an unusual company - how do they get paid for their services?
Venture Mentors is a private for-profit company that generates income by charging fees for the services rendered. In this way, we are no different from other companies that offer professional services such as doctors, attorneys or accountants. Even though we specialize in helping people with disabilities form and manage successful small businesses, Venture Mentors is NOT a non-profit human services agency or a government sponsored program. We do not receive any charitable donations, support from private foundations, or government grants to support our work. All of our income is derived from the fees we charge. We understand that people with disabilities may have limited income so we are careful to set affordable rates and fee structures
How does Venture Mentors charge for its services?
For some of the services we provide, we set a “flat fee”. That means we charge a set amount for the service and it costs the same amount every time, for every customer. We do this so that our customers will know what a service will cost in advance and it can be budgeted for. Our flat fees are far below what other companies would charge for comparable services.
Some services are too individualized for us to set a flat fee. In these instances, we charge an hourly rate for our work. We keep track of how much time we spend on the service and then bill the customer for these hours. Again, in an effort to keep out services affordable, we have set our hourly rate at a rate well below market. In some cases, our hourly rate is less than half what you would pay a typical company providing the service.
Who pays the bill?
In many cases, our customers are involved with programs such as State vocational rehabilitation agencies, State or county mental health agencies, Medicaid waiver programs, or MR/DD agencies. These programs may be able to use their governmental funds to pay for the services provided by Venture Mentors. Our professionals will work with you to identify sources of funding when they are available and will help you negotiate with the agencies to get services paid for. Venture Mentors tries to secure third party funding for the services we provide whenever possible!
When no other source of funding exists, payment is expected directly from the customer. This is a lot like the way doctors are paid. Doctors bill the health insurance company first and then expect the balance to be paid by the patient. Venture Mentors will let you know up-front if there are no sources of payment for services. You will be sent a payment agreement to read and sign if you are going to be billed directly for services.
In some cases, there may be ways to use your Social Security disability benefits to help fund your business and pay for the services you get from Venture Mentors. You may be able to use a “Plan for Achieving Self-Support” or PASS to set aside income for your business and allow you to receive more in benefits. Our professionals will work with you to see if you are a good PASS candidate and can help you get a PASS developed.
If I have to pay for services, how will I know how much it will cost?
The payment agreement will include all the information you need to budget for the cost of your services. The agreement will tell you whether services are being billed on a flat fee or an hourly rate basis, and the amount of the fee or the rate will be specified. If you are being charged an hourly rate, we will provide an estimate of how many hours we think it will take to complete the task so that you will have an idea of the total cost. We will provide this information to you in advance before we start providing any services so that you have the information you need to make informed decisions about services.
Do I have to pay anything up front, or do you bill me when the service is complete?
Venture Mentors uses a “retainer” system just like many attorneys do. For certain services, we will require you to pay a small percentage (20%) of the total cost in advance before we begin work. We require this retainer or deposit in advance as a way for you show us that you are serious about getting the work done. If a retainer is required, this will be stated clearly in the payment agreement we send you. Work on your project will begin after the retainer has been received.
When the services are complete, we will send you a bill for the balance due. We expect payment upon receipt of the invoice unless you have made special arrangements with Venture Mentors. Any special arrangements will be included in your payment agreement.
What if I have questions about how to pay for services?
Call or write us today to arrange for a free initial consultation on your specific circumstances and self-employment goals. Every one of our customers is unique and there are many different ways to finance business start-up costs. Venture Mentors prides itself on taking an individualized approach to help you achieve your self-employment goals.