Proposal dilemma - How do I structure this and get paid?

William702

Elite Member
Feb 26, 2017
2,401
4,728
I'm hoping to get some advice and insight into how to structure a proposal.

tl;dr
Should I add my fee into the proposed budget or charge my fee on top and risk scaring the client off?

The too much info why did you write so much version is down below :)

+++++++++++++++++++++++

I have a client that wants help with a new brand that will launch later in the year. I'm to manage all social media and manage all influencer marketing. So anything to do with the social media including the content, growth, communication and everything to do with the influencer marketing and managing them.

The budget for this is to be in the 6 figures for a 12 month contract. For the time we will be spending and for access to the resources and our experience in this sector I need to charge a fair amount. However for that a lot of work will be involved and working pretty heavily for the first 2 months, then on an ongoing basis dealing with and monitoring everything for the rest of the year. I just dont know the best way to structure this.

Include my fee in the overall budget they give me?
Ask for a monthly retainer/fee?
Bill my fee on top of their budget?
Base my fee off of the total spend?

For what they want me to do and manage on a daily basis for 12 months and the time that would take each day I could not bill them less than 5k a month for our time, resources and experience in this niche. However $60k over 12 months represents nearly half the budget. Is that sort of percentage normal? Also when I think about it that's very low at that rate and some posh agency would be charging well into the six figures just for their fee on top of the spend.

One thing is for sure I know I can deliver ten times what he would get for his budget at some crazy overpriced agency and with the resources and connections we have we can really help them hit the ground running and deliver a lot of value.

Like I say I really just need some advice. $60k is no small amount of money to me and this could easily lead on to future 12 month contracts to do the same thing with bigger budgets. I have worked with the client in question for over two years and there is a great level of trust there so I will be able to work my magic on the promotion side and they would be very hands off. That's the way they want it and how I prefer it.

I dont want to scare them off by providing a proposal for their budget and then tacking on my fee which would represent another 50% but I also dont want to propose my fee as this much if that percentage is going to scare them off if I include it within their budget. Either way I know I can deliver what they want so I'm not worried to take the project on. What should I do? I really cant do it for less because it would be a hell of a lot of work in the beginning and I would want it to succeed as if it where my own company so I know I will care and put much more into it than I ever bill for. It's just how do I get that across in a proposal. If I did it for much less I would be doing it for less than 20 bucks an hour knowing what is involved.

When I think of all I would be doing for $20 an hour I think am I fucking crazy but the extra 5k a month would really help out right now. and this could lead onto a huge projects. This guy just sold a company for close to $40 so he has capital to start a lot of things and If I we really prove ourselves which I'm confident we can do then this could be big.

Should I talk about what we bring to the table in an email accompanying the proposal or include it in the proposal itself. I have a very easy going relationship with this guy and most of the deals we have done in the past were based on a phone call. He would send us the fee for 12 months social media management upfront and trust us to do the work. so again there is a great deal of trust there so working with him will be great.

1) I could easily think of some great promotional methods to spend all of the budget on so do I ask for our fee on top?

2) Do I work that into the budget they want me to base the proposal on?

3) Do I just say fuck it and work on my own projects instead of spending a lot of my time building someones else's dream for the next 12 months and possibly longer? :( Its a real brainer lol

Any advice would be truly appreciated. This is not a brag thread honestly and if anyone thinks this could possibly be bragging they have no fucking clue how much work this would involve. I have a problem with selling myself short in these situations basing it off of what I would spend or how much value I can add and not what it is worth to or what the potential client is willing to pay.

Thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions please share.
 
nice I also own a SMM management agency I don't ask NEAR that price... If you dont have any other offers and time isnt an issue I wouldn't hesitate to make him Buy now or else he'll just f off to some other agency. In this biz I found you have to pressure sell them right away or else you'll never get the deal.
 
Thanks for your insight. I was worried about handing over proposal/plan so early on but they have said I'm the right guy for the job many times and like I say I have worked with him on another project. that project has totaled over $50k over these past 30 months, but this is a much bigger project and a hell of a lot more work trust me. Its also a hell of lot of responsibility so how do I bill for that lol. If I had to judge the situation I would say I don't have to worry about him going with someone else. I'm more worried that he will say yes and I will actually have to do the work :)
 
It does not matter who actually does it but there are two parts to the project. First doing the work, second managing who does the work when it is multiple parties involved.

If you charge a management fee for just managing yourself, you will piss the client off.

Obviously it is tricky to know exactly in your case but management is a legitimate cost in any creative industry where various parties are involved, it is usually about a 15% markup.

So if that is the case work out a fair price for doing the work and add 15% for managing it.
 
It does not matter who actually does it but there are two parts to the project. First doing the work, second managing who does the work when it is multiple parties involved.

If you charge a management fee for just managing yourself, you will piss the client off.

Obviously it is tricky to know exactly in your case but management is a legitimate cost in any creative industry where various parties are involved, it is usually about a 15% markup.

So if that is the case work out a fair price for doing the work and add 15% for managing it.

Thank you for your input, if that were the case I would probably have to turn the project down because it would just not be worth it. I'll have to see what happens in some of our future discussions.
 
It does not matter who actually does it but there are two parts to the project. First doing the work, second managing who does the work when it is multiple parties involved.

If you charge a management fee for just managing yourself, you will piss the client off.

Obviously it is tricky to know exactly in your case but management is a legitimate cost in any creative industry where various parties are involved, it is usually about a 15% markup.

So if that is the case work out a fair price for doing the work and add 15% for managing it.

Thank you for your input, if that were the case I would probably have to turn the project down because it would just not be worth it. I'll have to see what happens in some of our future discussions.
 
Usually it is itemized separately, so list the work and add 15% management fees in that list.

But i will be honest with you i think you are confusing doing the work and the management of it.

When you say "all the work i would be doing" that is not management that is doing the work.

Simply put it works like this...

Manager: john i need you to do this.
John: ok i go and do it:
John: done it boss.
Manager: i will check it.
Manager: yep its fine / i need you to change this.

Cost to client
Johns time + company markup of johns time
Management + 15%

My point is management should not actually be a lot of time.
 
Anyone else?
Retainers are pretty common in the agency business and usually entail $xxxx per month for a set amount of hours + any media budget. For straight ppc it is also very common to do percentage of spend.

I would always break out and itemize what the money is spent on as many people wrongfully assume that all the money goes to you/agency and are not aware how much you pay to the networks.

Don't value your time too low, would that project take your full month? Assuming you're in the us remember 30% ish goes to taxes.

Good luck
 
I have decided to turn them down. Its too much work. I would be their bitch for a year and the whipping boy for a bunch of beauty bloggers. I cant outsource this stuff. I want it done properly so I would be spending far too much time dealing with communication from influencers, worrying if some of the blackhat tactics used are going to get any of the social media channels closed. dealing with the growth of the various social media channels into the mid 5 figure following counts. etc etc etc.

It's just way too much work for me to want to get paid anything less for. I mean, I can make 100k a year clear profit selling nothing but fucking jeans from my local thrift shop on so I'll be damned if I'm going to do all that work for a 5k a month retainer and a few fees. If I put that energy into launching and promoting my own dropshipping sites or setting up some affiliate sites and promoting those I will make WAY more so I just don't want to commit myself to something like this and sell myself short.

I might help them with the initial growth of the social media for the first month for a fee but I wont be offering to do any of the management they want doing, especially the influencer outreach and management. I will probably recommend one of the large influencer agencies like the ones that advertised on BHW recently. I forget their name but I will find the thread Diamond Damien started and take a look at that in more detail to give them some solid recommendations.

I know some people will think I'm mad for turning them down but It's not for me I don't think. I worry it would detract from achieving a few of this years goals.

Usually it is itemized separately, so list the work and add 15% management fees in that list.

But i will be honest with you i think you are confusing doing the work and the management of it.

When you say "all the work i would be doing" that is not management that is doing the work.

Simply put it works like this...

Manager: john i need you to do this.
John: ok i go and do it:
John: done it boss.
Manager: i will check it.
Manager: yep its fine / i need you to change this.

Cost to client
Johns time + company markup of johns time
Management + 15%

My point is management should not actually be a lot of time.

Thanks again for your explanation it did help me a lot.

Retainers are pretty common in the agency business and usually entail $xxxx per month for a set amount of hours + any media budget. For straight ppc it is also very common to do percentage of spend.

I would always break out and itemize what the money is spent on as many people wrongfully assume that all the money goes to you/agency and are not aware how much you pay to the networks.

Don't value your time too low, would that project take your full month? Assuming you're in the us remember 30% ish goes to taxes.

Good luck

Thank you for that. There was to be a 6 figure budget for influencers and then our fee on top, but we would have had to create/manage all the social media. create the content, manage the interactions and deal with questions/messages that come through social media. We also would have to source influencers wanting to deal with a pretty niche product, it is a niche that is exploding but niche none the less. We would have to manage those influencers and deal with all communication going forward. All this for 12 months and having no skin in the game at the end of that to show for it.
 
Thank you for that. There was to be a 6 figure budget for influencers and then our fee on top, but we would have had to create/manage all the social media. create the content, manage the interactions and deal with questions/messages that come through social media. We also would have to source influencers wanting to deal with a pretty niche product, it is a niche that is exploding but niche none the less. We would have to manage those influencers and deal with all communication going forward. All this for 12 months and having no skin in the game at the end of that to show for it.
If you can make more during that time working on your own and there is no long-term benefit (% of sales, significantly bigger contract) than you definitely made the right choice. You mentioned $5k proposal but $20/hr so that would have been 250 hours so beyond any full-time employment (average here guys not talking top1% etc) and for that, the return is fairly low. While missing out on the absolute $ you did the right thing as you would have likely regretted busting your butt for this while not getting ahead with anything. For that 9-5 is better as you still have time on the side (and get all kinds of benefits)...

In general, you propose either a retainer or management fee if you do PPC (you manage their PPC budget), It is rare that you would say propose $5k retainer + management fee, at least I have not seen in thus far in the agency world.
Include your % fee (assuming this is no percentage of spend) into the monthly retainer to provide the client with 1 total. Ultimately they do not care what you call the fee, just make sure to separate what is paid to you and what goes to third parties.
 
100k a year selling thrift jeans? I'm calling bs

No i dont think he is.

But i do think @William702 has difficulty in delegating and managing others to do the work and so feels he has to do it all himself. Hence why he has to pick and choose which projects he undertakes. Otherwise he would take on multiple projects and put a team together to do the actual work and then all he would have to do is oversee the management.

Crack team building and that is where the real money is. I learnt that a long time ago and is basically the reason i am on bhw, to see if i can find people i can put together in different teams for different projects i undertake.
 
No i dont think he is.

But i do think @William702 has difficulty in delegating and managing others to do the work and so feels he has to do it all himself. Hence why he has to pick and choose which projects he undertakes. Otherwise he would take on multiple projects and put a team together to do the actual work and then all he would have to do is oversee the management.

Crack team building and that is where the real money is. I learnt that a long time ago and is basically the reason i am on bhw, to see if i can find people i can put together in different teams for different projects i undertake.

yeah I wish I could work for one of these for a fair price, i feel like most the time they screw the workers though
 
yeah I wish I could work for one of these for a fair price, i feel like most the time they screw the workers though

Your problem is your not looking to be part of a team your looking to do your bit and get paid for it. Thats an employee. That makes you replaceable and that is why you will keep getting screwed. Add value through initiative and you become a valuable team member and then you dont get screwed.
 
If you can make more during that time working on your own and there is no long-term benefit (% of sales, significantly bigger contract) than you definitely made the right choice. You mentioned $5k proposal but $20/hr so that would have been 250 hours so beyond any full-time employment (average here guys not talking top1% etc) and for that, the return is fairly low. While missing out on the absolute $ you did the right thing as you would have likely regretted busting your butt for this while not getting ahead with anything. For that 9-5 is better as you still have time on the side (and get all kinds of benefits)...

In general, you propose either a retainer or management fee if you do PPC (you manage their PPC budget), It is rare that you would say propose $5k retainer + management fee, at least I have not seen in thus far in the agency world.
Include your % fee (assuming this is no percentage of spend) into the monthly retainer to provide the client with 1 total. Ultimately they do not care what you call the fee, just make sure to separate what is paid to you and what goes to third parties.

Thank you. You would be suprised how nice it is to hear someone else say that.

100k a year selling thrift jeans? I'm calling bs

LOL I fucking love this. @RA1NMAN sends me a message basically asking me if I will show him my site and agency and asks me to do critique his site for him and says he wants to collaborate which basically translates to teach me I dont know anything. I politely turn him down with "My intention with my thread was not really to share any personal info like that here, more just to get some advice. but thanks for the offer." So it's all nice nice when you want something and then when you get turned down the accusations fly...LOL

And like I said that's just from one store. There are 7 of these particular stores here in Vegas and several in other cities close by. I could make a lot more than that so you keep thinking it's BS and my wife and I will keep making the money.

No i dont think he is.

But i do think @William702 has difficulty in delegating and managing others to do the work and so feels he has to do it all himself. Hence why he has to pick and choose which projects he undertakes. Otherwise he would take on multiple projects and put a team together to do the actual work and then all he would have to do is oversee the management.

Crack team building and that is where the real money is. I learnt that a long time ago and is basically the reason i am on bhw, to see if i can find people i can put together in different teams for different projects i undertake.

lol it's not a nice feeling when someone you dont really know categorizes you spot on ;)

You hit the nail on the head there and that is by far the biggest issue I face on a daily basis. I'm trying to work it though. Although the "management' in this case is a considerable amount of work and its ongoing every day for the 12 months so even with a team doing the work it would still zap my time. You are 100% correct though that is definitely the smart way of doing it.

yeah I wish I could work for one of these for a fair price, i feel like most the time they screw the workers though

Who is these and who is they?

Your problem is your not looking to be part of a team your looking to do your bit and get paid for it. Thats an employee. That makes you replaceable and that is why you will keep getting screwed. Add value through initiative and you become a valuable team member and then you dont get screwed.

Well said.
 
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