Can you elaborate on this more please, I think I am starting to experience this? What wording to avoid and what problems one might face?
I see your point in charging by time, but in the long run it will encourage you to degrade the quality of your work and your profitability.
Think of it this way. First, before I start a job, I require that the client purchase a minimal amount of licensing on the images for it to be worth my wild; they need to pay me regardless, although I do go to lengths to make sure they are satisfied (just being professional). And that minimum amount will not give them a lot of use (for hotels, I treat architects and designers differently since they are in a lower exposure market), at most brochure/printed promotional use. Now lets assume a client of mine can only budget for the minimum amount, now it is up to me to create images that are so good that the client will want to purchase more licensing for them after I deliver, which is always possible (or someone else involved in the project wants to use the image too like the Gen. Contractor if I am working with a designer). How do I do this, going the extra mile, doing the extra scouting work, bringing props, renting that extra 2 head profoto 2400 w/s kit at $105 a day, because doing so will increase my chances of selling more licensing. It becomes more than just satisfying my ego to produce great work (which you need because time will wear any down).
If I charged for time the only way that I could make more off of the shoot is to not bring extra props and lights, not to spend extra time on the project, and eventually time will wear you down to that mentality.
When I explain my pricing to my clients, I always tell them that the value of an image is dependent on how much exposure it receives because more exposure will bring more customers bringing you more money. Now not every business will have the same exposure meaning my images will not be worth the same value to everyone I work with, that is way my price varies depending on use and location of the firm. I also explain it like this. As long as it is done right, any marketing plan (photography is marketing) should never be looked at as an expense, but always as an investment. And when buying an investment, one should not only be concerned about price, but also the yield (or return). If I charged for time, everyone would pay the same from an expense point of view, but from an investment point of view, the smaller firms with less needs would pay much more since their yield (off a consistent hourly rate) would be less. So to be fair, I vary my price according to use and exposure.
Also, although you can vary your rate for smaller less needy firms if you charge for you time, it does not make sense from a business plan point of view. At least not for any bank you may have to get financing from in the future. But selling a license and changing your price make perfect sense from a business plan point of view.
In terms of wording, when working with a client the only mention of time when pricing out a job is when we talk about of the actual execution of the shoot. How long I will have to be there in order to create the images. There is no mention of time on my estimates; my estimates say standard licensing fee and underneath I have that broken down into three parts, photographer, assistant(s), and production costs. Any other licensing then the standard licensing (which is my minimum) is an additional percentage of that amount. On my website, it says that I create images that businesses will want to use and license their use. It all comes down to being clear. Saying you sell a license for use, not your time, and being able to explain it so they can understand.
I once had a general contractor involved with a project call me to get copies of image that I shot 3 months prior for the architect. I told them for the use they wanted it would cost $XXXX for the four images. They wanted to know why I was double billing for a project that was already paid for. I explained that I do not sell my time; I create images and sell a license for their use. The architect purchased a license for his use, but not anyone else, which I would not expect him to do. If you would like to use these images, you need to purchase a license as well. (Not to mention it would not be fair to original client.) Two days later they called back and purchased a license for use.
From my point of view, selling on price never leads to great success, unless you want to sell volume which will inevitably be low in quality. And taking on a client, who after explaining to him in a way he can understand why you charge by use, who insists on charging for your time is like selling on price. So I concentrate on selling on what they need, explaining how I can help, selling the sizzle instead of the steak. My price is my price, and my method of charging is my method.