May 1, 2020 at 12:08am #14000
This is one of the most challenging aspects of the work we do and it won’t be realistic for me to respond to all your questions in a forum post. I will mention a few general things that might help:
- When you’re starting out work on time and materials. Until you’ve done a lot of work, are efficient at what you do, and can accurately measure and estimate your throughput any various tasks you’ll under-estimate the job, lose your shirt, and possibly conclude this isn’t a viable business. I assure you it is, but protect yourself up front and don’t offer fixed project pricing until you have more experience.
- For unit rates such as scanning just estimate the number and ask for half the total as a down payment. Then tell the client you’ll “true up” when that phase is complete. That way you both have skin in the take from the beginning and you have leverage to get paid when you’re done. The only exception to this is when the estimate is way off. I recently had a client hand over what she thought was 12,000 negatives to scan. As I got into the project I realized it was more like 20,000. So instead of surprising her with a balance due invoice that was almost 70% higher than she expected I got her permission before proceeding. I never want to surprise my clients with a big invoice, so I set expectations along the way.