The Project Budget
When we present a budget to you, the client, it’s usually broken into a pie chart of a small handful of categories (writing, design, printing, etc.). But on our end, there are as many as eighty different line items that are compressed into those pie slices. Some of them are large—writing, design, and printing, for instance. Many of them are small and will include everything from travel (airfare, lodging, auto rental, meals) to supplies, postage, and whatever.
The more precise we can make the budget, the better it is for you and it is why we can guarantee the budget within certain parameters (e.g., change orders). The way that works best for us is to break virtually every aspect of the budget into unit costs. For instance, the book is designed on a per-page cost and printed on a per book cost. Photography is commissioned on a per day rate and shipping of the books based on poundage. The writing? We pay the writers by the word (standard in the freelance writing business), and, yes, the fee is the same whether the word is “it” or “and” or whether it’s “university” or “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the nonsense word sung by Mary Poppins.
The advantage of budgeting by the unit is threefold: it enables us to quickly build a budget; two, if you, the client, make changes to the scope of the project such as increasing the press run while decreasing the page count, then we can rapidly recalculate the cost for you; and three, our valued vendors know exactly what they will be paid, thus eliminating the need to renegotiate the fee.