Write From Home
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|3 Factors to
Estimate a Fee
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications
A client might ask you to give an estimate of the total project in order
to see if he has the budget to afford your services. When providing an
estimate, calculate these three factors into your answer:
1) Estimate the number of hours the assignment or project will take
If you've worked on a similar project in the past, you should
have no problem figuring out how many hours it'll take you. On the other
hand, if this is your first project, you'll have to estimate as best as
2) Include "out of pocket" costs.
These are extra costs
such as long distance phone calls, research, car mileage, attending
meetings, photocopying, etc. that the client pays for.
3) Use a margin.
Always provide a bigger estimate of the project
than what you actually think it is. This will leave extra room for
negotiating as well as extra costs that you've forgotten to include.
An "accurate estimate" is an oxymoron like "jumbo
shrimp." There will be times when you'll need to ask the client to
pay you for more hours to get the work done and there will be times when
you'll finish the work early and save the client some money. As you
improve your experience in setting fees, you will also improve your
When a prospect asks
for an estimate of the total cost of the project, don't estimate off the
top of your head. Tell the prospect that you prefer to work out a
proposal first and get back to him with an accurate estimate.
A proposal contains specifically how you will get the desired results
for the prospect as well as a complete, thorough breakdown of costs and
steps of action. If the prospect still needs an estimate right away, you
can give him the amount of what you normally charge per hour or per
project, but you'll need to inform him that these are your basic rates
and may not apply to the project that he has at hand.
Konradt is the owner and operator of
a web site dedicated to help writers master the business and creative
sides of freelance writing. Mr. Konradt is also the principal of BSK
Communications & Associates, a communications/publishing business in
New Jersey, which he established in 1992.
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