Are you up nights wondering what to charge for your work? Do you suspect there’s a secret formula you just haven’t discovered? Watch this recording as IMPs Talk about pricing and structuring contracts. Laura Roberts, IMP steering committee member, and a 25-year indie museum pro will talk about her experiences and provide tips for determining fees and structuring contracts for fair and timely payment. Presentation followed by small-group, breakout discussion.
Nicole Smith: Hi, everyone. We are going to start welcome to this IMPs Pricing Your Projects, hosted by the Independent Museum Professionals. This session is being recorded. We want to introduce you to ourselves today, so I am Nicole Smith. I am an IMP from St. Louis Missouri. I have 14 years of experience in working in and with museums. My main specialties are accessibility, sustainability, outreach, and strategic planning. I want everyone to feel like museums are made for them and advocate for museums as a space that benefits people, places, and planets.
Laura Roberts: And I’m Laura Roberts. I’m an independent museum professional in Cambridge. My work is primarily around planning and governance, so it’s project based. And so we’ll talk about retainers. I rarely work on retainers except on very few occasions. And I’ve been an independent for about 25 years.
Nicole Smith: Great. Also on this, we have our fellow IMP, Mara Gerst. A grant and a nonprofit development consultant. She will be a moderating the chats and helping with the backend force today. You’re welcome to edit your name in the zoom to include pronouns, to do so. Just click on participants on the tool bar, click on more besides your name and rename yourself. Independent museum professionals network is an AAMs professional network of consultants and freelancers who are in the area of museums and with all types of museums. Our network provides a central hub of resources, knowledge and connections. We actively work to support independent museum professionals, strengthen the relationships between independent museum professionals and museums in advance the museum field. If you’re interested in joining IMP, we’ll provide more information at the end of the session.
Laura Roberts: So, what are we going to do today? We’re going to discuss pricing, your work and some other billing and pricing questions. You’ll have the opportunity to learn, share, and connect with each other. In each section, I’m going to give a brief intro and then break out into smaller groups with a recap in between and in some of the sections, I’ll have some polls, so we can all see what each other does. This will run about an hour, maybe a little bit longer. And then at the end, we’ll have a brief open chat time, for those of you who can stick around to network with your fellow participants. This is a large call, so all of your comments are going to have to go in the chat. We’re not going to have open mics with verbal Q and A, Mara is helping to watch the chat and will send any questions our way. If you’re joining by phone, you should still be able to participate in the breakouts. And we’ll try and recap for you, some of what people have talked about.
Nicole Smith: Great. We hope that you’ll meet some people in this session and we want to make sure you’re able to contact them. We are putting a link of their contact sheet in the chat right now. It asked you for your name, what you do, your contact information, just so everyone can see who’s on the call. You obviously don’t have to participate if you want. We will distribute the list after this session with the slide, as well as the recording for this.
Laura Roberts: Okay. Thanks Nicole. So the first thing that we’re going to talk about is setting rates and actually Nicole, we could stop sharing the slides for a moment. And we’re going to talk about setting rates and how you just figure out what to charge, which is what everybody really wants to talk about. And what I always say and what we’ve put in the recent publication we did on professional practices for IMPs, is to start with what your hourly rate would be, if you were a full-time employee and then double or triple it, and look at a rate that someplace in between the two and the three times. Now why two and three times and clients will say, my gosh, in the interpretive planner I have on staff, doesn’t make $140,000 a year. You’re giving me a rate that would translate to $140,000 a year.
Laura Roberts: Well, the answer is, of course you have a lot of expenses that those employees don’t have. Right off the top, you’re paying 7.65% for FICA. You have to run your home office. You have to have your own computer. You have to have your own printers. Nobody’s paying you for vacation time. No one’s paying you for sick leave. No one’s paying for your professional development. And also you have to have a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule. So we’ve all had the experience of trying to book with a doctor or a hairdresser or whoever who books all of their time, every single week. And when it’s an emergency, you can’t get in to see them. And so you really, realistically, you can work more than 40 hours a week, but realistically, you’re not really going to be able to build 40 hours a week. So you’ve got to have that cushion in there. Now, where in the two to three times, should you be, well, how good are you?
How experienced are you? How much in demand are you? What’s the competition for your work? If you are an interpretive planner in history. And there are a bunch of history professors who are freelancing at the same time and don’t have to charge for all of their overhead and their health insurance and all of that. Well, they may undercut you and you’re going to have to cut, price yourself a little lower. If you’re very much in demand and you’re very experienced, you’re going to be able to price yourself a little higher. You’re going to start out. You’re going to be cheaper as you go on, your rates are going to go up. And, that’s just the sort of beginning calculation that you want to do.
One of the things that I learned early on is the question of whether you priced cost or priced value. And you have to think about yourself as being priced to value. What is the value of what you’re providing? What is the value add that you provide? So if for me, when I’m on my 80th strategic plan, I can price that I have done 80 strategic plans. I’m not a newbie. When I first started out, I sure couldn’t do that. The other part about pricing to value is once you’re more experienced, you work more efficiently. And so you can be competitive with somebody who’s going to work much more slowly and charge a higher rate because you’re going to work efficiently.
Then the question is, do you work… Do you, bill on what’s known as time and materials or by the project. Every time I tend to bid by the project and it drives my husband crazy because he hears me on the phone with my clients on, into the night saying, “You’re billing by the project again, aren’t you? You’re not billing by the hour. If you bill by the hour, they wouldn’t abuse you this way.” And it’s true that when you bill by the hour, clients are less likely to abuse you. They think twice about picking up the phone. And, I actually don’t like that. I don’t want them to think twice. The way we all think twice about calling our lawyer or our accountant and say, oh God, it’s going to cost me $50 just to have my accountant answer the phone.
I hate that. And I think my clients hate it too. So usually I figure out how much a project’s going to cost. We come up with a scope of work based on my hourly rate. And we decide on a project price. There are times I regret it. I regret it with clients who do abuse my time. I regret it with clients who can’t get their act together. And it takes them twice as long to do something as a good client, as a normal client. After a while, you get to read the room, you get to understand who’s going to be the problem client, and who’s going to be the easy client to work with. So it’s time and materials versus a fixed fee. And then there’s the question of a retainer. And a couple of people are able to work on retainer, are able to sign a contract that says, you’re going to give me 15 hours of work a month, and we’re going to pay you for 15 hours of work a month.
And they’re basically buying your availability. People who do public relations might work on that basis because they know, the client knows that they’re going to need 15 hours more or less of public relations work every month. That might be written with a plus or minus 10%. So if you work 16 and a half hours in a month, nobody notices, if you work 13 and a half as in a month, nobody notices. If you tend to work a whole lot more, you may, it may be written to the client, into the contract that you get paid for more. If there’s a month where you work a whole lot less, it may be that you can carry over the time into the next month. It’s a great system. I’ve never been in able to do it, but it’s a great system. If you’re providing steady replacement for staff, if you are the contract IT manager, for example, they want to know that they’ve got you for 20 hours a month and not think about it. And they want to be able to budget for that as well.
In my hourly contracts, I tend to write A Not-to-Exceed, but it has to be clear about what the Not-to-Exceed is. One way to read Not-to-Exceed is, you’re contracting with me at $150 an hour, which is my billing rate. One of the things I want to preach here is to transparency. We should all be willing to talk about what we charge. You should all be willing to ask your friends what they charge. I charge $150 an hour. And so I might write a contract that says, I’m going to do all of this work and I’m going to do it all for no more than 20 hours. It takes me more than 20 hours. I eat the difference, not to exceed $3,000.
There is a way of writing a contract that says, this is a contract for $3,000. If it exceeds, starts to exceed $3,000, we’re going to go back and we’re going to renegotiate, and we’re going to do a second purchase order for your additional time. I’m running one contract right now like that. And we just amend the purchase order every time we go over it. So it’s just really important to be clear about which one it is. And then the question is about discounting your rate. Of course, people want you to discount your rate. I discount my rate under two circumstances. One of my friends, one of my mentors taught me that projects should give you fame, fortune or fun. So if it’s not going to give you fortune, if you’re trying to discount your rate, it better be giving you fame or fun.
So, I might discount my rate for a project, I really, really, really want. I’m changing it. I’m moving into another line of work. I want to get a really great contract under my belt. I want to be able to talk about it, or it’s just going to be really, really fun. Or I contract it. If it’s going to be a lot of work, I’ll discount it. If it’s going to be a lot of work. And particularly if it’s work that doesn’t allow, that doesn’t require that I ever leave my house.
Now that used to be my rule, now after COVID, it shouldn’t be my rule anymore. So if we can bring up, we’re going to break, move into breakout rooms. If we could bring out the slides, Nicole and Mara put the questions in the chat, and we’ve got about, I’m going to do 15 breakout rooms and assign them automatically. And what I want to do is put you in breakout rooms and have you talk about how you determine your rate of pay. And if you’ve ever felt that it’s not in line with what others charge, what did you do? So the questions will be in the chat. I’ve been told by somebody that you can still see. It’s a slide share now in the chat and some new versions of zoom, but I’m not certain about that. And we’re going to give you five minutes. And if you’ve got things that you want to share, drop them in the chat. And when we come back, we can all look at them.
Opening all the rooms. Nicole, you’re still in the main room.
Nicole Smith: Yes, I am. But we do have two people that have not.
Laura Roberts: Three. I see three. Do you see how to do polls?
Nicole Smith: I’m sure I can figure out. Hold up. Yeah. Right next to the left of share, polling.
Laura Roberts: I don’t have it.
Nicole Smith: Okay. Well, I can bill those if you want to just see.
Laura Roberts: I guess only you can do them. Shoot. It’s fine. Do you have the texts?
Nicole Smith: I will get them off my email.
Laura Roberts: Okay. I can put them in the chat. Okay. You all are coming back from the breakout rooms.
Laura Roberts: So, Nicole, if you could close down the… Stop slide… I think I can do that. There we go. Thank you. So someone typed in the chat. Yes. I don’t know about you. We needed more time. So we’ll give you more time. Sarah Burrows put in the chat that she got advice that discounts opened a can of worms, especially if you have a habit of undercharging, either full price or pro bono or nothing in between. And that was always Elaine Gurian rule that it was full price or pro bono and nothing in between.
My habit is to, if I’m going, I don’t discount. I’ll discount for… I sometimes do accreditation and that’s a lot of work and I don’t have to leave my house and I can do it on my own time. And so it’s sort of a bulk discount, if you will. What I’ll do instead of discounting for any anybody else, if it’s somebody who I really want to work with, I’ll say, that project, as you’ve described it to me is a $20,000 project. You’ve told me you only have $15,000 in your budget.
And it sounds like it would be fun to do, so I will do it and donate $5,000 worth of my time. And then on my bill, it says that it’s $20,000 project donation to XYZ museum, $5,000, total due $15,000. One of my other mentors, Ann Butterfield said to me, when I was hiring her to do a strategic plan, “I will cut my rate for you, but I’m going to do all the pro bono, time up front. I’ll do the pro bono time for the first third or quarter or whatever it was. And then you’re going to pay me my full rate at the end.”
Because I got to tell you, at the end of a project, it’s so painful to finish out a project. If I’m not being paid full rate, you’re never going to get my time. And, in my own head I’ve to know I’m being paid full rate at the end. So, that was good to know. We were going to do some polls and we’re experiencing a little bit of technical difficulty using AAM zoom account instead of our own zoom accounts that we’re familiar with, where we’re the hosts and we can’t do the polls. So fortunately, I’ve got a lot to say on the subject. So we’re just going to do this on the fly. And I’m going to look in the chat and see if there’s anything else that people wanted to.
So, I do a project fee versus time and materials, but often end up working harder and longer sounds as if I need to charge more. Yes, you need to keep track of your time and realize that it’s actually taking you longer than what you estimated and you could continue to do project pace, just budget more time. One of the things that I’m always worried about is that I’m underpricing myself, right? And so I’ve taken to saying to clients, well, I could do this project for anything between 10 and $25,000. Where are you in your budget? What’s the range? And if they say 10, then I know to scale back the services that I’m going to give them. If they say 25, I say, great. We’ll have more meetings. I’ll do more research. I’ll do more interviews. I’ll gross up what I’m doing. I’m not going to change my rate, because I’ve told them what my rate is probably, but I’m going to do a more expansive project, but I won’t try and fill every moment of that 25.
I’ll also give it myself a little bit of a cushion and not expect that I’m going to be able to account for every one of those minutes. What if they won’t disclose a budget or even a range upfront? What I tend to do is say, I have found project like that are going to cost you 15,000… Are going to be about $15,000. If that’s in your price range, I’m happy to give you a quote. If it’s more than you have to spend, we shouldn’t proceed any further and see what they say. They don’t… Sometimes they won’t answer. And then you have to decide whether you want to go to the effort, to do a proposal for something where you may be wildly out of range.
Martha Kartime says it’s often very difficult to price a project accurately because the amount of research necessary is unknown. So I spend a lot of time doing… Whoops, I lost it. Spending a lot of time doing research to get the project done. In which case I would go to time and materials. I would switch over to time and materials. If the client will let you, because what you’re going to say to them is we really have no way. If you have no real… If neither of us can securely think that 50 hours is going to produce the exhibition or the interpretive plan or the furnishing plan or whatever it is that you’re bidding. If neither of us are confident that we can do it in 50 hours, then we should either do A Not to Exceed 70 hours and both hope really hard that we can bring it in at 50 hours, but I’m protected with another 20 hours of time.
Or we’re just going to go to time and materials. I would probably do the Not to Exceed. I would probably start with what you were hoping it would take at 50 hours and then give them a Not to Exceed of about 20% higher than that. So that you’re protected. And if they don’t swallow that, then you’re just going to work for less money, than you are thinking you were going to work for, and I’m sorry. You’ve been at it a long time Martha, you ought to be pretty efficient at it, at this point.
Betsy Loring says I had a brilliant collaborator explain to a client. He couldn’t offer a discount because his costs are fixed and any discount has to get passed along to another client. And you wouldn’t want to pay the discount from a previous client. I think that’s probably a little bit complicated for the client to understand.
And they actually don’t care. They actually don’t care what your internal billing practices are. They don’t care that you have other clients. That’s one of the really interesting things is that actually they hate, that you have other clients. They want to think that you are spending all of your time working for them. They don’t want to hear that you have another deliverable. They don’t want to hear that you have another meeting. I actually tend to lie and say that it’s personal obligations as opposed to other client obligations, because people will respect that you have a doctor’s appointment, but they actually don’t respect that you’re on the phone with another client.
I actually don’t actually lie that often, but… And the other thing that’s interesting is that just happened to me this year. I want to talk about regional differences. When we would do the salary survey for the New England Museum Association, we discovered that there was absolutely no rural, urban regional difference in salaries. Let me say that again. Absolutely no regional difference in salaries between urban and rural that were worth anything. There was a considerable difference in size of the institution.
So actually, what you’re seeing in lower rates with rural institutions is that they tend to be smaller, not that they, the rates are lower. That said, the Museum Association of New York always separated in their salary survey. This is for salary positions, not for consultants, always separated in their salary survey. The difference between New York City and the rest of the state, because there was a considerable difference between New York City and the rest of the state.
Obviously, the cost of living is so much different. And I just bid a project in New York. I don’t know, I told them it was going to cost them that $10,000. And they said to me, “Wow, our other consultant came in at 25.” And my response was, you should not be paying $25 for this… $25,000 for this scope of work. That is highway robbery. But she said, “Yeah, but you’re coming across as being not as good.” They wanted… The director wanted to hire me. It was board work. She said, “You’re coming across as being not as good.” I said, fine, I’ll give you a proposal for 15, but trust me, you should not be paying 25 for this work for an organization of your size. It is unconscionable.
So, there are a few differences. I would say New York City is one of them. I don’t think Boston is one of them. So therefore I don’t think Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco are that different. Again, size of institution is more of a driver than location. And those of you who have worked with small institutions know that all too well. And the other part of it is that small institutions don’t know how to run their projects as well as large institutions. So they’ll be more slop and more wasted time.
So, Sarah asks, is asking Roger whoever’s on the phone. If they have a base for percentage, for change orders that they know about upfront, or do you who figured out in advance to the specific situation. And frankly, I don’t work in in a field with change orders. And so I see Matt Kirkman’s on the phone. If he wants to tell me how he deals with change orders or anybody else who does exhibition work, wants to share it in the chat. That would be great.
So, we have… So one of the polls was going to be, do you to the point almost to the point of change order, do you bill your expenses at cost or do you do what’s called grossing them up and large firms always gross them up to, over to take of their overhead. And in fact, they have had overhead, right? They have sent CAD drawings off to be printed and they had to come back and then they had to pack them up and send them to the client or wherever and all of that is overhead. And so they gross it up. Even their travel. It takes you time to book your travel. And so if you are arranging a four day trip to go see a client and you’ve got to get your airfare and your car and your hotel and all of that stuff, if you just pass along your costs, you haven’t been paid for all of the time, it took you to arrange your travel.
And so, the idea of grossing up expenses is to cover your overhead. And I was going to ask everybody whether they grossed up expenses or not. And my gut is going to be the people in the exhibits, architecture design fields, where there’s a lot of back and forth with subs, tend to gross up their subs. And that those of us who are just arranging airlines and rental cars, don’t gross up our expenses.
But if people have a sense of that, I’d love to have you share it when you do gross up your expense and when you don’t. And if you do gross, it’s referring to as grossing up your expenses. And so you might add 5%, 8%, 10% to your expenses in order to account for your overhead. And people will gross up their subcontractor’s time, again, to account for their overhead. You have had to hire find the subcontractor, supervise the subcontractor. It has taken you time to run a subcontract. And so if you have hired a proofreader and the proofreader charges you $2,000, you’ve spent some time making sure the proofreader has done a good job. And so maybe you should add 10% to the proofreader’s bill when you pass it along in order to account for your time and for your contacts to have found a good proofreader and to have administered the contract. So some people will gross up subcontractors time.
One question, which you could answer in the chat, or you could think about is when you bill, what’s your billing frequency. So do you say a third upfront, a third at the most important deliverable and a third at the end, do you bill monthly? Do you bill it all at the end? You don’t do that anymore because you need the money. Don’t be stupid, bill, at least something upfront, you set the terms, right? Just set the terms that will work for you. And when do you bill your expenses, do you bill them as they incurred? You bill them with the next invoice. Most people tend to bill to a deliverable and then you get into the question of whether or not the client has accepted the deliverable. You think it’s done and you think, okay, I’m sending you. I was like, oh no, we still don’t like the font and we need to have another version of it for some other thing. And you think the work is done and you’re ready to bill, but you’re not. But they don’t.
So, one of the big questions that I always get is about billing for travel time. And I cannot tell you how disparate the answers I get are. And We have, I don’t know, 75 people on this call. We’re going to have 75 answers about whether or not to bill for travel time. So some people only bill, if they can’t do other work, I’m not sure how anybody does other work. I guess if they fly. Some people bill, if the travel is on the weekend, other people, bill, if the travel is during the week, some people bill half rate for travel time.
Some people only bill, if it’s a certain distance from their house, like I start billing if I have to travel more than an hour. So commuting from New Jersey to… I always bill for travel expenses, but yeah. And then what do you do about your plane being delayed? So I have spent six hours in the Nashville Airport. Does the client have to pay for the six hours I have sat in the Nashville airport. So because this is so complicated, I’m going to break you into small groups and just have you discuss whether or not you bill for travel time because it’s fun to hear what everybody’s practices are. So I’m going to put you into different groups and send you off to do that.
Okay. It seemed like that might have been a simpler conversation. And so I hope that was enough time simpler than the prior conversation, because we want to get onto a really messy conversation, which is the conversation that we had at AAM, which is what do you do about problem clients who won’t pay you and whether you start to charge late fees or not. I never have, this was a revelation to me, but it occurred to me having once tried to run a business office, then I have two invoices and one invoice says that there’s going to be a late fee starting to be charged after 30 days. And another invoice doesn’t, I’ll pay the invoice that’s going to charge, start charging a late fee after 30 days because I can age the bill with no consequences. So this conversation that we had at AAM made me rethink my own billing practices.
My bill used to say that it’s due upon receipt, but without any penalty for not paying me in a certain period of time, what’s common is to say net 30, which means that it’s due in 30 days. And if I were running a large contract with a client who I thought was going to be a problem paying, I would definitely put into the contract that after 30 days that a late fee of a percent and a half or a half a percent or something like that starts to be charged. And definitely if I went back to work with any client who was giving me problems paying, and then the car question is what do you do with dead beats? What do you do with people who just aren’t paying and what your options are other than cajoling and continuing to up the interest.
And so, if anybody’s got any advice on that, you can drop it into the chat. Tracy says in the chat, they’re wondering about when you aren’t with the client, but you’re away from home and maybe not as available to other clients. How do you bill just the time you’re actually with the client or working on their project or a set day fee. So yes, I would suggest that you have, for all of your work, you set up minimums. And so if I have to leave my office, you pay me for a minimum of one hour of work. I don’t get my car and go anywhere. And bill less than an hour. If I have to drive more than 15 minutes from my house, because I don’t bill for travel time, you’re going to pay me for two hours. I’m in Boston. If I have to cross 128, it’s two hours.
If I have to go to 128. If I have to go out of town, it’s four hours in my car and otherwise, yes, it’s a full day. And what I say to clients, Tracy, is you’re going to pay me for four hours of work. If you can fill my four hours, I’m delighted to have you fill my four hours. I don’t want to sit in my hotel room and read a novel. I want to use the time to your advantage, but if I’m there for a day, you’re going to pay for me for a day. And, you can actually do other work from your hotel room, but unless you’re on site and they’re watching everything you’re doing, but you know, like find me something else to do. Give me another stakeholder to interview, take me on a tour of the competitor and institution so that I understand what’s going on at the competitor institution, whatever it may be.
I have to bill you for a day when I leave town and you have eight hours, then it’s up to them to figure out whether or not to use it. And, people are saying that in QuickBooks, there’s a net 30 plus 2% default. And that’s what they… That’s what Matt uses. And a couple of other people are saying that they use the QuickBooks default on all their invoices and memorialize late fee penalties in our agreements, so there are no surprises. Absolutely, Cynthia, it has to be in your agreement, you can’t surprise them. You can’t change the terms of what’s going on.
When do I explain the two day, four… Two hour, four hour full day minimum when I’m talking to them about the contract. When I’m, explaining how I have calculated my time. And let me tell you, the reason I do that is because early in my career, I would drive from Boston to Hartford for a board meeting, give a 15 minute presentation and drive home. And the client thought they had just bought 15 minutes of my time, that had to stop. That was impossible.
Roger Westerman says I once had a deadbeat client about 50 miles away. After six months, I’ve got fed up and drove out to the location in the morning, told them I just happened to be in the neighborhood. And by the way, do you have a cheque for me? It was uncomfortable. And, it made a difference to be there in person, but they wasted three hours, which is true. There’s really other than making it very clear that you have a big professional network. And you’re going to tell people that they’re a deadbeat. There’s really not much that you can do. The only deadbeat client I ever had, was introduced to me by the funder. And I told the funder that they were a deadbeat and the funder called and it still didn’t get them to pay me.
So, and Lisa Burnt is saying that more and more days, their accounting clauses, that they sub to affirm that won’t pay me until the ultimate client pays them. And it’s really a challenge. How do others hand all this? And I guess it’s their cashflow issue. They’re managing their cashflow. So I suppose the only thing that I would advice, that I would give you, Lisa, is to say to them, then bill a client more often, when are you passing on my time? And I’m going to bill you as soon as my time is incurred, you bill them as soon as my time is incurred. And as soon as you get that, cheque, you’re going to pay me.
So, if their billing practices are laxed, then they’ve got to perk up their billing practice. Or you say to them, I’m not going to sub to you anymore. You can’t make me wait. But they’re dealing with cash flow problems. And you could do net 30 to your general contract. As sums you could do net 30. That’s an interesting idea. Margaret is saying she’s had that happen when the funding was federal grant funds. it used to be here in Massachusetts, the cultural council funding was all on a reimbursement basis that you got nothing up front, which created terrible, terrible cashflow problems for everybody.
And so, Matt, a while back said his solution is that he rigorously bills monthly. He sends out all his bills monthly to help with this cash flow, which takes time, but is worth it, if you’re running a lot of contracts and write your contracts that way. Either proved to me they had not been paid, send me a check. I’ll have to take it to the next level. Suddenly I got paid. Good for you.
And somebody’s suggesting the Harvest app and Paymo. By the way, you can be asked to be paid on Venmo, which also if you set up a Venmo account means that you get your money faster. I’m not quite sure anybody would do it, but… So a couple of people are suggesting Harvest, which I don’t know at all. Does anyone use EFTs and direct deposits instead of cheques? If so how has that worked for you? I’ve had to do it with federal contracts. They will only do AFTS and its worked fine. The only problem is that you aren’t ever quite sure when it’s been paid, you have to go back and check your statement to make sure you’ve been paid. And QuickBooks also has direct deposit and somebody else is suggesting the Wave app, I presume that’s wave not waves. Nice help for each other on how to get paid.
The only other thing I want to say is increasing your rates. And I increase my rates when I increase my rates. I honor the old rate, obviously with all existing contracts you have to, and I tell old clients, by the way, I’m going to increase, be increasing my rates in the new year. I just want you to know in case you’re planning to come back to me. If I had a continuing client, a long term client, I would probably give them six months’ notice just for their own budgeting so that they’re not surprised. I just had a long term client. I bid a project in 2020. They decided not to go ahead because of the pandemic. They’ve reopened the process. And he’s a lovely client who said, you may have raised your rate since 2020. So give me a new proposal. That was nice. Can’t count on that. And thank you all. Any other, I think Nicole has some wind up to do. I’m very sorry, this turned out so ragged without my polls. I’ll try and do better next time.
Nicole Smith: Let me get to the correct slide because that’s not working for me either. Here we go. All right. Thank you everyone for joining us. I feel that could be the entirety of AAM’s entire conference. Next year, we could talk about pricing that obviously won’t be what the conference is, but nevertheless, we could have talked so much more, but thank you for dedicating an hour of your lives with us. I don’t want you to forget to please put your contact information, if you want to connect with everyone that was here, we’re going to repost the Google doc in our chat. Just you are able to see it twice. I’d like you to join our community and it’s free with your AAM membership. Please connect with us on social media. If you’re on social media, this sheet has our Facebook, our Twitter, our Instagram, and our LinkedIn. There’s also the IMP web page, which is on this, which is on our AAM website, which we will also post in the chat.
And there’s always more ways to be involved. Volunteer, use the Google contact sheet to express your interest. You’re welcome to send program ideas to myself. My information’s in the Google doc and also Julie Govert, who is not here today, but her contact is in the Google sheet. We are the co-chairs of the programming committee for IMP and then also join our biobank. We would love to get to know more about you and we’re now sharing those on social media. So hopefully more people can get to know the amazing work that our community does and hire us. And then we will be having an event in December, but we don’t know what it is quite yet. We’re not able to share it with you. So however you found out about this, hopefully you’ll be able to find out where December event is. And then again, thank you so much, we will be sending a recording, the Google doc sheet and all of that will be in your email box next week, Laura.
Laura Roberts: Yeah. And I have… I’m sorry, I’ve actually written up a bunch of this, which we will also send you as a follow up. And somebody asked a question of how you can just find out what the going rates are. The New England Museum Association IMPs did a survey a bunch of years ago. They haven’t repeated it lately. You could try getting a bunch of people to do a survey. I don’t think we’re going to commit to doing a survey right now, it’s a lot of work. But I would just say, ask. Ask your friends, ask your colleagues, ask whoever.
And when I hire subs, I have to ask what I’m going to pass their time along at. And that’s actually given me a fair amount of data. And sometimes I’ve been pretty surprised. Sometimes I think I’m subbing out to someone that’s going to save the client money because they’re younger and less experienced. And they say, yeah, I’d bill it $200 an hour. Like, well, that was interesting. So just ask and you should all answer when your friends ask you what it is. And Matt put in the chat, the NEMA salary survey isn’t yes… We actually did an IMP survey Matt. We did an IMP survey. It was a bear.
Nicole Smith: All right, well thank you so much for those end comments, Laura. Thank you again, everyone for joining us, we look to see you at our next and just keep an eye on your email, in your inbox next week and you’ll get all this information to you. Thanks again, everyone. Have a great day.