There’s a better way to work!
Most of us are used to hourly rates. We’ve come to expect this kind of agreement for creative services. Request a proposal, book your freelancer, set a timeline, revise the timeline, make changes, revise the timeline again, finish somewhere in the ballpark of when you expected to finish.
The truth is, it’s almost impossible to correctly estimate the time needed for a project.
Say we know a project will take us 10 hours to complete. The reality is that when you’re doing many projects across several clients at once, timelines shift and hours can stretch out because we’re having to split our attention. We spend 30 minutes here, an hour there. Someone calls us, we get distracted. There’s lots of research about the inefficiencies of this constant context-switching.
Almost everyone with an office job works this way. You know who doesn’t? Almost every other service-based business! These folks are doing it right:
- Everyone in the beauty industry (hair, nails, aesthetics)
- Health care professionals (doctors, dentists, therapists)
- Home services (inspectors, appraisers)
The secret to the way they are working is that they all make appointments with their clients. Client and service provider make an agreement, via booking, to show up for one another and get the job done during a discrete amount of time. So we thought: why can’t we provide this kind of experience for our clients!?
But…what’s your hourly rate?
Because everyone is soooooo used to hourly pay, we still get asked this question a lot. You can go on a website like UpWork and contract freelancers for an average of $15-80/hour. (You get what you pay for, but that’s another post!) But we’re not freelancers. We have built a business that strongly values support, service, and connection with our clients.
When we price our services under the appointment model, we take several things into account: business expenses (web and graphic design projects especially require expensive software and licenses), the time we spend on the frontend and backend of your project with communications, healthcare, taxes and retirement. Our goal is to create a sustainable business and pricing model so we can ultimately hire additional talented people to deliver amazing projects and experiences that support passion- and purpose-driven businesses like yours.
How does the appointment model work?
Every project follows the same workflow:
- Project Briefing Call: This is our intake meeting where we get to know you (if you’re a new client) and/or get to know the needs of your project.
- Book the Workday: You’ll get an all-inclusive contract and you book the time to complete it. It’s just as easy as booking a yoga class.
- Homework: The collection of all the assets (text, photos, content, etc.) that we need to build your project.
- Project Kickoff Call: This is our chance to discuss all the materials and our plan before we begin the work.
- The Workday: When the magic happens! Even though we keep using the word “appointment,” our clients aren’t physically or virtually present while we work. We just ask them to make sure they are available during this day for questions via phone, email or text.
- Edit Rounds: Almost every project needs a second pass or feedback phase. This gives you time to sit with the work and pull together edits.
- Delivery: After edits, we finalize your final files/assets and send them to you along with any support documents or training that your project requires.
- Project Debrief Meeting: If the project is a larger one, we like to check in with you to make sure you’re able to use all your files, your website, your copy.
- 30 Days of Support: We think of ourselves as your creative partner, so we make ourselves available to any followup questions you have. This support is included in your contract. If you find yourself needing extra help, ask about our ongoing support services!
Our clients have been loving this new way of working. Everything is so much clearer than traditional workflows that start and stop. “This makes so much sense,” said one of my longtime clients when I described it on the phone the other day. “This way we all have accountability!”
Some projects still take longer than others. We can always adjust the length of the appointment to fit the project. The bottom line is: We’re holding each other accountable for setting aside the right amount of time to focus and attention.
If you’re excited about working this way or want to know more, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a Free Q&A Call. We’d love to hear from you, answer your questions, and hear about your projects!