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Kim Wilson
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3 Factors to Estimate a Fee
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and Associates

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 you.
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 you can.

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 estimates.

Estimating Tip:
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.

Brian Konradt is the owner and operator of FreelanceWriting.Com (http://www.freelancewriting.com), 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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