I usually do an hours build up in my proposals, but sometimes this gets me into trouble when clients say, "Well, spend less time on it, so I don't don't have to pay you as much." An thus begins a painful back and forth where I have to explain why what they want will take the hours I've estimated. This year, I'm going to experiment with itemizing proposals without hours just to see if that's what causes the pushback... Or if it's just clients who like to negotiate.
Below, Seth Godin does a fantastic job of explaining why an hour build up is a bad idea for professionals.
Most professionals ought to charge by the project, because it's a project the customer wants, not an hour.
Surgery, for example. I don't want it to last a long time, I just want it to work. Same with a logo or website design.
Or house painting. The client is buying a painted house, not your time.
One exception: If the time is precisely what I'm buying, then charging by the time is the project. Freudian therapy, say, or a back massage.
Another exception: If the client has the ability to change the spec, again and again, and the hassle of requoting a project cost is just too high for both parties. A logo design, for example, probably starts with project pricing, but if the client keeps sending you back for revisions, at some point, they're buying your time, aren't they?
- Seth Godin