It’s hard out there at the moment for everyone, especially SMEs, and I always look for ways to reduce the cost of bid writing for my clients, offering flexibility in how the bid is pulled together to make sure it fits my clients’ budgets and helping out with advice here and there if hiring a bid writer really is not something a client can afford right now.
However, I had my fingers burnt a couple of times last year and, although most of my lovely clients are extremely trustworthy – generally being small businesses themselves, they know how important it is that invoices are paid on time (or just paid at all, frankly!) – one or two have taken a few liberties, either leaving me out of pocket or needing to find extra time to finish work for another client (the occasional midnight shift is to be expected in this line of work but I am still human and can’t physically work 24/7/365!).
So, this year I’m implementing – and enforcing – new and stricter Terms & Conditions, which will include:
Clear Scheduling – Confirmation of the dates/times set aside specifically for work on your job, along with any other related information (e.g. if I’m likely to be away or unavailable for other reasons, such as pre-scheduled work on other clients’ bids etc.). Please be respectful of the time other clients have booked in.
Office Hours – Generally, unless otherwise specified:
- Mon: 14:30 – 18:00
- Tue to Thu: 09:30 – 18:00
- Fri: 09:30 – 12:30
- Sat/Sun: Closed/By arrangement
- Public Hols: Closed/By arrangement
Please note: if I am ‘mid bid’ I may only respond to voicemail or non-urgent emails every hour or so or when I have a break.
Progress Updates – Updates from me at agreed points over the course of a job, including how much of the estimated time has been used and how much is left. This allows both of us to keep a close eye on progress and readjust our agreement if necessary (e.g. if a deadline is extended and you wish to make use of the extra time).
Down Payments – 50% of the estimated cost for the full job, payable up front and cleared prior to any work starting. For larger or longer term jobs (e.g. jobs that span 4 weeks or more, or that require me to work full time on one job for a period of time) ‘milestone’ payments may be required, to be agreed individually per job.
Signed Contracts – A statement of exactly what is required from both sides in order for the job to be completed on time, to a high standard. This will include how the job is likely to progress and what it will include (e.g. information required from you/any partners; timing and content of first/second/final drafts; rounds of amendments; any associated documents to be created, such as new/updated policies; whether you or I will submit the bid etc.). It will also include copyright information for the work I do for you.
Fee Scales – Agreed fees for the main bulk of the work, with a reasonable amount of time for ‘consultancy’ type activities included as standard, and with a scale of additional fees for any extra consultancy or other services over and above the agreed time.
Expenses – An agreement up front on the payment of expenses, such as travel and a ‘full day rate’ if I am required to visit or work from your offices. For the most part this is not necessary – unless in extremely unusual circumstances – and I encourage all clients to work with me remotely, to save on costs and to allow me to ‘get on with it’ from my home office, which is set up to be efficient and practical for the writing of bids.
Full Payment within 14 Days – If, for whatever reason that is not going to work for you, please do contact me and we can perhaps come to some mutual agreement. However, please be aware that this has to be at my discretion – and agreed in advance.
If you’re an existing client, you may already have seen and agreed to some or all of the above but I’m making a point to write about it here and now so that any potential clients who can’t or don’t want to work to these T&Cs can make their decision as soon as they need to.
All of the above will be added to my FAQ section and will be included from now on when providing an estimate for upcoming work.
Any questions, just ask!