3 Simple Steps to Create a Job Estimate at Your Creative Agency

3 Easy Steps to Create a Job Estimate at Your Creative Agency

Your client called you first thing this morning and asked for a rough estimate on how much it will cost to produce the winter brochure for their company’s 2012 campaign. Although you may have a solid idea about your internal costs to produce that brochure, it is paramount to follow these 3 steps before you commit or agree to a specific price.

1. Don’t Price Your Job Too Quickly

Look at previous estimates that fit in the same category. For instance, pull up a list with all the brochure jobs you have done in the last 12 months and check what the profit margin was, your estimated vs actual hours spent and external expenses. This will give you a better understanding of what the potential price for your job should be. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to provide a quote right on the spot. Taking the tame to properly price your job will pay off big time in the future.

2. Use a Workflow/Traffic Management System

Make sure you have a traffic management system in place to help you estimating the work. Most of the tools will allow you to look at historical estimates and even use a template for your new brochure quote. Below is a print screen of Function Point’s estimate creation page. Please note that you can also create revisions to keep an audit trail in case your client decides to request a change order as well.

3. Approval Process and Visibility

You finally created your estimate, sent to your client for approval, now what? Does your team have full visibility of the approval process? Has your client requested a change to your initial estimate? Giving visibility to all staff members who will be working on the project is extremely important to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Visibility into your allocation of human resources is also critical so you can plan ahead in case you secure the job; be prepared by knowing who will be available to work on the job right away.

Take Away

Next time, before you send a quote to your client, make sure you do your homework and look at previous estimates. If you don’t already have a traffic management system in place, look into it – it will pay off in spades. Giving full access to your team so they know what is going on across the agency will go a long way to helping make your agency more profitable!

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