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Seb Anthony

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Fees for Bespoke Creation?


I am in discussion with a client who wants a bespoke sales course created to suit their particular market sector.

They are a consultancy who want the material delivered to their training mangers who can then deliver it off-site to the operational staff within their contracted clients.

As a relatively new freelancer, I'm happy to quote day rates but would appreciate input/advice as to the costing on this project.

If I merely provide the written programme, for use within their contracted clients, what would be the best way to cost this? What if I were to offer exclusivity ie. not tout this to any of their competitors?

There is a possibility that they would want to buy full rights to this product to run as an 'open' course to anyone who operates within their sector. I have no experience of the best way of attaching value to this - I look forward to your input. Many thanks, Kerry
Kerry Lackey

6 Responses

  1. Charging for bespoke design
    Generally speaking I think buyers expect some minor tweaking to be included in the day rate price for a fairly standard product. But genuine bespoke design is clearly value adding additional work for which you should charge. Some people estimate how long it will take and charge this at their day rate (or sometimes a little less for design days) but more common is to charge a total fee. After all the client is relatively uninterested in how long it takes you, they are mostly interested in what they will get and how much it will cost.
    If it is bespoke and the client has paid for the design then they may well expect – quite reasonably – that they own the ‘rights’, though often this is not made explicit in the contract. Intellectual property is not the same as copyright, but both could be an issue here.
    You can show you understand the importance of this by making clear that it (the design)will not be made available to competitors. Though if it is truly bespoke then one might wonder how it could be anyway. The knowledge of the topic that you have is a different matter; that, obviously, could be available to competitors.
    If they want it as an open course then I’d suggest you reflect that in the price and/or build into the contract that you would run the programme for x period of time or, at an agreed stage, hand it over to them (eg by training their trainers) for £y. Pricing all this is never easy – not so cheap that you end up kicking yourself, not so dear you don’t get the work.
    Best of luck

  2. a day is a day

    As someone who focuses almost exclusively on designing training, you bet I charge for it! Most clients I work with want something that reflects their structure, culture, customers and situations. So, although many of the concepts are generic, they are applied in a bespoke way, and this needs writing. as do the examples, case studies, role plays etc.

    In terms of what you charge for design, I don’t see why a design rate should be any different from a delivery rate.

    How many days you charge depends on what you produce..if you simple have a few notes for yourself, some slides and a couple of handouts, then it is difficult to justify more than a day. However, if detailed workbooks are produced, along with a comprehensive trainer’s guide and all other supporting materials, then I tend to charge 2-3 days design per day of delivery.

    Proper design is vital for the delivery of well constructed, useful programme that appeals to different learning styles and aids the transfer of learning back to the workplace. Please don’t undersell the value of it by not charging!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Bespoke = Exclusive
    I agree with the others – if you are designing a bespoke course, you should definitely charge.

    The best courses are always bespoke, and most clients recognise that they need to pay a little extra for that.

    I think by definition that bespoke courses are exclusive and am happy to chat through design/delivery ratios. 020 7202 7979/

  4. To pay the mortgage or rent

    You have a finite amount of time to earn a crust and pay the mortgage and rent. Have you defined a business model that will set your minimum requirements?

    You have to make what you do pay. In my surveys into daily rates I see many trainers reduce their rates by up to 50% for design against delivery. If the course being designed is non exclusive (you hold the intellectual property) and you can re-sell it then this model will work. If the course is exclusive then your rate for design should be the same as delivery (based on your business model).

    I you client wants a generic course then there are plenty of off the shelf materials around that can be assembled into a very passable programme.

    If you want to talk about how to set your rates, do get in touch.

    Chief Executive
    The Association for Learning Practitioners.

  5. Preparation fees

    As per other comments, 50% of day rate is usual. Less if volume of training days allows. This would only be if you are delivering all the training subsequently.

    If they or a third party is delivering then essentially your role is to write the material and you should adjust your fees accordingly.

    As to rights, I recommend that they can ‘license’ them from you but you should retain ultimate ownership – as a freelancer the course you write is central to your business. Annual licence is easier to police but you could charge a licence per course run, but then you have to know when they are being run and if your material is being ‘photocopied’ etc.



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