PageBreak Podcast | A book review podcast for designers, freelancers, and other nerds

Pagebreak is an audio podcast hosted by Liz Andrade and Niki Brown. Join us every Tuesday for a discussion on books (in our monthly 20 - 50 minute Book Shows) or blog posts (in our weekly 5 - 20 minute Snippets) that pertain to Freelance, Design, Development, Marketing and other such things.

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Snippet 57: Reinventing The Client/Agency Relationship

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(Episode listen time - 10:43 - download mp3)

For this Snippet, we discuss Reinventing The Client-agency Relationship by  Andi Graham at Big Sea Design. Hope you enjoy! Please subscribe to our podcast feed via RSS or iTunes so that you can be sure to get the shows as soon as they are released! :)

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Posted on: 5 Comments

5 Responses

  • I’ve worked with Big Sea on various projects for the past year, as both a joint venture partner and a contractor, and I love the clarity of time-based billing. It’s a practice that ensures respect from both sides. I’ve had past clients (not affiliated with Big Sea) question hours I submitted and attempt to get free labor, on the grounds that the work wasn’t done “satisfactorily.” As a result, I have made a point to include explicit language in operating agreement contracts to remove as much of the subjectivity as possible. A friend of mine said it best:

    “The client is paying for work product *and* your time. If they aren’t satisfied with the work, they should pay for what you’ve done to date and take the project to another vendor. Refusal to pay is grounds for a copyright infringement lawsuit.”

    One other point I’d like to include here is the notion that you’re running a for-profit business. If you don’t include an explicit line item for profit, you’re leaving money on the table. This is routine practice for government contracts. Above and beyond the cost of paying the salaries of the people doing the work, the company has overhead that is not directly billable. Line item profit callouts are a convenient (and industry standard) way to address that.

    Great discussion!

    • Liz says:

      Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to listen to the show and comment! :)

      Aubrey you have some great points here! Contracts are SO IMPORTANT! Too many over look them and it’s in those unfortunate situations when you really NEED IT.

  • Niki Brown says:

    I’ve started to do an ‘exploratory’ phase where I charge hourly to help the client develop a clear scope and then that helps me do a fixed price estimate.

    And yea – Thanks for listening & commenting Andi!

  • Liz says:

    Thanks for listening and Commenting Andi! Big projects like that I can see how a project estimate would just be ridiculous and impossible!

  • Andi says:

    Thanks for the discussion! All good points that I consider on a *daily* basis. Always looking for a better way.

    So many of our projects are HUGE development projects with 9-12 month build cycles that billing by project is impossible. Smaller design projects seem more easily bid in project quotes.

    Almost all of our clients work with us in an ongoing little bits here and there sort of way – so hourly seems to work for us.

    This sort of thing is the big “unknown” in our industry – we don’t have standards like ad agencies and tend to borrow from architects, contractors, lawyers and other creatives too. It’s a mess.

    As for billing by the minute, we bill for the time we start opening Coda and until we finish updating Basecamp or emailing them. I transpose the time from Toggl straight to Quickbooks.

    Communication time is a really difficult one – I now add Project Management as a line item on estimates and invoices. And it always *always* exceeds my estimates. It’s unbelievable how much time we spend communicating.

    Anyway – thanks for the discussion :)

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