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Trainer’s tip: Tailor-made training


What can you charge for bespoke design – especially if it is 'exclusive' to one client? Several trainers share their experience.

Photo of Sheridan WebbSheridan Webb advises:

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 two to three days design per day of delivery.

Proper design is vital for the delivery of well constructed, useful programmes 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!

Graham O'ConnellGraham O Connell points out:

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 (e.g. by training their trainers) for Y pounds. Pricing all this is never easy - not so cheap that you end up kicking yourself, not so dear you don't get the work.

Photo of Peter MayesPeter Mayes, of Trainerbase, adds:

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).

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

Photo of Simon Derry Simon Derry has the last word:

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. An annual licence is easier to police but you could charge a licence per course run, although you would have to know when they are being run and if your material is being 'photocopied' etc.

View the original posting: Fees for bespoke creation

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