Re: Quoting a user manual

Subject: Re: Quoting a user manual
From: Shari Punyon <sharipunyon -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2017 18:49:41 -0400

I've been on the other end of this game. You will be probably making some
of the decisions about the items below, and you know how long it takes you
to write, although there are standard estimates you can use- 2-4 pages a
day, I think?

I wouldn't just quote the work, but the estimated timeline. When you can
expect to have first drafts, when there will be reviews, etc. That lets
them know when things are coming in from you, and gives you some protection
in case they don't deliver on their end.

In some cases, it isn't a matter of getting answers to the questions below
before the quote, but creating contingencies within the quote - I assume
I'm going to create 50 pages, and this quote is good for up to X pages.
Everybody should agree on what you are delivering, and what kinds of
changes would warrant more money, or less money, up front. I would also
agree to an initial drop

1) Can you see the InDesign template in advance? (I assume it is an empty
template?) This ensures the template is good, and helps project what "50
pages" means in terms of words.

2) Will the manual need graphics? I assume you can create whatever graphics
are required, or they will supply? If they supply, there has to be an
agreement on what they are supplying.

3) Complete specs - are these done? If not, when are they projected to be
complete? If they are not complete, or the design changes during the
project, you'll need to re-estimate. Make that clear in the quote.

4) You'll need a list of specific SMEs before you start (but not before you
complete the quote) - access to SME's should be posited in the quote, with
some sort of suggested development and review timeline included - both when
you deliver to them, and when you need items back.

4a) It is good to be clear up-front what their review cycle entails, who
will be the point contact for the reviews, and what is the escalation if
reviews are not returned per request.

5) What format are you delivering? Back in inDesign, PDF, or something else?

6) Are there style guides you need to follow? Are there documents they want
you to use as an example? Can you do a first drop early in the process to
accept the deliverable quality? You don't want to get 1/2-way through the
project, and discover on their first review that they wanted you to use a
different writing style.

That's what I can think of off the top of my head - I'll let you know if
anything else occurs to me, and I hope the above helps. I know that when
I've had work done, it can really help to have more laid out up-front,
especially if you are not familiar with their shop.

Good luck getting the job!

Shari

On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 5:20 PM, Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I charge an hourly rate. I've been wooing a client for many months and am
> finally close to getting what I hope to be my first of many assignments.
> Although I've created many user manuals, I have never had to provide a
> project estimate before.
>
> They project their motherboard user manual will be approximately 50 pages,
> with me being handed an InDesign file as its basic structure. No problem.
>
> I may have hands on access to a physical unit while I create the manual
> innards. I may have to make one trip by car to the client's site, which is
> but a few hours away through the country (read: likely a pleasant road
> trip).
>
> The deadline for completion is Oct. 27.
>
> Beyond complete specs and ready access to a SME, what other info should I
> ask for before providing an overall project estimate? What would you guess
> that estimate to be?
>
> Chris Morton
> (click logo â for details)
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