RE: bidding a first contract

Subject: RE: bidding a first contract
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 11:47:42 -0800

They have given you enough information on which to bid, but it's not what
you think it is. They have told you their expectation of 100 hours. If you
bid 300 hours in return, they will react badly. It often is not a case of
making an accurate bid, which will occur as you get more experienced at it,
but of deciding if you want to do the job, and are you willing to do it for
what they want to pay. If you assess ahead of time that the true amount of
work is 200% more than what they expect, you must begin immediately to
educate them as to why that is so. Help them understand why it will
take/cost 300 hours. Some companies simply don't know how much it costs for
good documentation. If you cannot convince them to up their offer, then let
them know what they can expect to get for that price, and decide if you want
to do the job anyway, for the experience as much as the pay.

Especially starting out, your first bids are going to be off the mark, one
way or another. It does take finesse to be able to accurately scope a
project and develop the right bid. At this point, it doesn't seem as though
that is realistic. Instead, start discussing the project with your contact.
How firm are they on the 100 hours? What hourly rate do they think that
covers? What activities do they think it covers? How do they like to work
with contractors?

After getting a sense of what price expectations are on both sides, quote
them a flat fee for the project, one you feel good about and which
approximates their budget. Understand that if your time goes over your
original "estimate" you won't be able to increase the amount you'll be paid.
Accept that as part of learning how to deliver to contract.

While you want to get a fair wage for your efforts, your ultimate goal is
yes, to create great documentation for them, but more importantly, to create
a happy client, who will hire you again and refer you to other clients.


Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416-491-5050 x3133
My questions are, do you think that they have provided
me adequate information to make a bid, or are there
other questions I should be asking? And do you think
the numbers I've come up with are reasonable?

Thanks for your input!


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FW: bidding a first contract: From: Anonymous Poster

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