Sunday, November 8, 2009

Under Priced a Project?

As I worked on the rush of hardbound family books, I found myself making notes of the things I need to change, update, and renew. I will have to alter my price structure for these 40-75 page books I create. I often price by the job based on my estimated hours. And in one particular case, my old calculation, lost me about 25-30 hours of work. That’s a lot of dough!

Allow for Growth in the Contract
One project began with the Tinberg and Schmotz families, but grew to include wives. In the end, the customer received an overview of six families: Tinberg, Andersson, Schwarz, Schmotz, Waymire and Sieg. My pricing structure was not specific enough for me to estimate my costs. Of course Tinberg was married to Andersson, she couldn’t have just dropped in from the sky, so background info, social standing, etc., was needed to make the text cohesive.
Lost 15-20 hours

Allow for Scanning and Cropping Pics
The customer provided over 100 family pictures and newspaper articles that she wanted to be considered for the text. Whether or not I use all of them, each photo had to be scanned. My current price structure did not take this into consideration. Even though the high tech scanner used can scan 10 pics at a time (and place them in separate documents) is fast, I still had to name each file, crop each picture, and have a few cleaned up for publication.
Lost: 3 hours of pay.

Give Client a Checklist
I actually have a personal relationship with this client. And although I believe every client should have a special relationship it is difficult to reign in the time spent over labeling pictures at her dining room table. A checklist of things needed from the client may have assisted in cutting out the excess time with post-its. So, my newly created checklist includes: “client must label each photo on the back or with sticky notes, or distinguishable file names.” I even provide examples. Maybe next time, I can enjoy that peach tea over a chat at the table, not for work.
Lost: 6 hours.

Outline Binding Options
This client began with a GBC book, which is standard, but through her excitement, she upgraded her family book to hard-bound, preferably leather-bound. Just working with the client in choosing, working out minimums, and working with various binders, requires a surcharge.
Lost: 2 hours

How to Recoup Your Losses
But all is not lost. I will be publishing this booklet, with the client’s permission of course, so that it will be accessible to others through the Interlibrary Loan System and available for sale.

In the meantime, my price list for these kinds of projects, will include options, but with the pricing itemized. My per project pricing will better reflect the hours worked.

Hope you never under bid, but, the more you publish, the more clients you will have.

Accurate, Accessible Answers

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathleen,

    As I peruse your site, I came upon this post.

    It is timely for me as I know that a lot of my efforts aren't being billed. I need to change that.

    Thanks for the wake-up call!

    "Guide by the Ancestors"