If you hold one in a location other then your home or theres, say at a starbucks or other fast food place, do you offer to by them a drink? one can hardly sit there for an hour with out buying something. just curious what you would do.
I definitely would! It would be a nice courtesy to the client and appropriate since you are using a place of business other than your own.
I have not done this, but when they come to my home I offer coffee or a can of soda or something. If I were to meet somewhere else, I would probably offer to get them something. (If the tables were switched, I would thank them for being so kind and tell them it's not necessary and buy my own coffee.) If nothing else, it shows good customer service/consideration. If they take you up on it, get a receipt! It's a business expense and is tax deductible! Keep track of mileage too--I usually forget to do this. HAHA! Take all the breaks you can get!
If I arrive early, I get me something and get seated. If I'm the last to show, I might(depends on what side of the bed I woke up on), say something like, "I'm going to grab me a coffee would you care for anything?" If I'm buggin', it may go more like this, "I'm going to grab me a coffee then we can get started"
I would probably offer as well. But, I do mine in my home, because I like to show my cake portfolio on the big screen TV. So we sit back, get comfortable, have coffee or soda and go through several styles of cakes and talk about what they really like.
There is a wedding planner who meets her clients at places like that and she will periodically invite me to meet with her/them. I ALWAYS offer to buy them coffee or even lunch. As was mentioned above, it's good practice to support the business where you are "borrowing" their space for your business meetings. It's also just plain polite to offer "your guest" a refreshment.
When I meet someone at a coffeeshop or other place similar, it's because they either don't wish to drive all the way to my place or those that will be helping them choose don't want to drive all the way. So, to accomodate their wishes, I have driven upwards of 50 miles(one way)...they can get their own. Some, there wasn't even a "I'll meet you halfway"
I would see myself as being their guest not the other way around.