Back when I was a corporate marketing manager, I dealt with a new copywriter, who we’ll call Jim. Jim sent me a bill for eleven hours of work on a white paper.

I called him, and with some gentleness, I said, “Please don’t charge by the hour. It creates extra work for me.”

He was shocked and started to apologize. But it wasn’t really Jim’s fault. I was annoyed at myself because I did a poor job of explaining requirements.

For this white paper, I had put in a PO for TEN hours of work based on Jim’s estimate. So…I had to jump through extra hoops to have Jim paid for his additional hour. I spent twenty minutes or so completing extra data input, three emails, and a phone call to Finance. Twenty minutes of lost time — not good. Friction — not good.

Jim would have helped me out if he had quoted a project fee and stuck to it.

So…how do you bill for a project if you can’t bill for hours spent? That’s easy. Research, guess and pad. I’ll cover that in my next post.