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I haven't done independent contracting of the sort you're talking about,
but I am struck by one thing: it looks to me like taking the long view
is the way to go here. Start with Jennifer's recommendations, which
sound great, and make sure they understand the units could vary, but
don't worry too much if you under-estimate on the first one. If you do a
kick-ass job, even if it takes you a little longer than you expect, you
are establishing a long-term relationship. In fact, you might not even
want to factor in as much cushion so that your estimate doesn't scare
them off. Steady work is steady work. And, if you over-estimate by a
lot, you could do the honest thing and discount your invoice to reflect
that, thereby establishing trust and good will.
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