Monday, September 27, 2010

Doing the Job Without the Quote

Something strange happened on Friday.

An existing client phoned me and asked for a small job, to be done in a hurry: “We need the amount of capital raised for resource companies (with $5MM market cap or less) in Canada over the last 2 years (since June 2008) so it can be compared to our company. The data should be amenable to be put into a bar chart, e.g. GLD raised 16 million; The average resource co with less than $ 5 million market cap raised XXX$, the top 10% decile raised YYY$.”

I’ve done a similar job for this gentleman before. I set up a few constraints, set the computer running and walk away, returning in an hour or so to massage the results and deliver a short list of 100 or so companies from a pool of about 4,500 candidates.

Good work for me, good value for the client.

Except this time I forgot to write the 1-page proposal and get a cheque up front.

This is the first time I’ve had it happen this way.

How much should I charge the client?

Every job is a little different, takes a different chunk of my time, has a different impact on, or value to, the client.

And therein lies my clue.

(1) I’m comfortable with the client, and they with me. We do business and we neither of us are in the rip-em-off mode, ever.

(2) I really never know the value of my work to the client, but I know it is significant.

(3) There is an urgency about this job (I read the press releases daily!) so I know that this is an above-average job.

My theory is that once delivery is made, client will ask “How much do I owe you?”, and my response will be “Let me know what this is worth to you and I’ll send you an invoice”.

We know the response won’t be “Five dollars”, for that would see me issue an invoice for %5, plus tax, as my last communication with the client.

We also know the client won’t feel obliged to think of a number and double it, because they don’t want to set a precedent for future business expectations.

The figure has to be reasonable, and since I asked the question, they have to supply the answer. Otherwise no invoice gets issued, no payment gets made and the relationship terminates.

And neither of us want that to happen.

The result ought to reflect our mutual appreciation of the business relationship.

We want to do business together. That is the primary goal.

The dollar value is a secondary issue.

Talk to Me !

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