Forums Club Ed Editors’ Forum Estimating a job

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    • #75714
      Paula Lopez
      Participant

      Hello, everyone.

      My name is Paula Lopez. I am a freelance editor and edit nonfiction and fiction. I’ve taken several of Jennifer’s courses and classes through the EFA. This is my first time posting on the Forum.

      I have a question for those who charge by the word. I am taking a copyediting course through U.C. Berkeley, and in our reading material about setting prices, it suggested including a “fudge factor” of 10-20% regarding time and other nonediting items. I’ve never included that in my estimates or charges. How do you figure in a fudge factor if you and the author agree on the word count of the MS, how is the extra 10-20% factored in the charges? In your contact with the author, is it stated that you charge for emails, meetings, or travel time if you meet? Do you do that at an hourly rate?
      I feel that I’ve been undercutting myself, and I want to include the extra factors into my estimates and contracts. I’m curious how others handle this, and any suggestions will be appreciated.

      Thanks so much.

    • #75920
      Jennifer Lawler
      Keymaster

      Paula, this is one of the drawbacks of charging by the word; with a project fee, you can add in the fudge factor, plus other incidentals like follow-up emails and so on.

      For CE, I don’t remember typically having a lot of follow-up conversations with the author, so I didn’t usually worry too much about responding to one or two emails–that was just part of “overhead.” For DE clients, I add an hour or two of coaching calls into the project quote because typically the client will have some questions about how to approach the revision or will want to brainstorm.

      My project quote does limit what the edit includes; I don’t do meetings as a typical part of an edit and would charge if I did, including accounting for travel time, etc. I try to make it clear that the edit is the edit; people can pay a coaching fee for phone calls, meetings, etc.

      If you’re going to charge by the word, really the only thing you can do is make sure the per-word rate covers these issues–that is, that you not only are fairly compensated for the edit but for the ancillary issues around it. It can be a race to the bottom, though. There’s always someone who can do it cheaper than you can. So I encourage people to find ways to quote project rates or at least to minimize scope creep (“Can we have a quick call?” “My fee for quick calls is . . . .”)

    • #77534
      Paula Lopez
      Participant

      Thank you so much for the info. I am definitely finding it difficult regarding the per word charge and that extra fee. I am working with an author and did not include this fudge factor and have been dealing with the “Can we have a quick call?” scenario. I’m now revamping my contract and my approach for future clients and rethinking my pricing structure. Lots to consider.
      Thanks again.

    • #77715
      Jennifer Lawler
      Keymaster

      Paula, over the years I’ve refined my project quote (in this case it would probably be your contract) to also include what is NOT in the quote (“This quote does not include a review of your revision” etc.) It takes a while and a few frustrations to figure out the best approach for handling scope creep!

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