METM19 presentation

Preparing the winning quote – effective job estimates 

Jenny Zonneveld, Mijdrecht, Netherlands; John Linnegar, Antwerp, Belgium 

A quotation for editing or translation work entails more than just checking the number of words and multiplying by a monetary amount. Do you quote a price per word, per page or a project price? Under what circumstances do you charge by the hour? And how do you quote for work involving Excel files and PowerPoint presentations? What about figures, tables and references? How do you respond to clients who say, “It just needs a quick check” or “There’s a lot of overlap with last year’s annual report, so I expect a lower price this time round”? 

From experience we know that often there’s more work to be done than is apparent from a cursory glance. For this reason, quoting on jobs can be tricky for many service providers, including members of MET. So it makes sense to have an approach or a methodology that helps you to be thorough and complete and to avoid any unpleasant surprises for you or your client as the job nears completion. We believe that it’s preferable to give a global fee for a whole project than to niggle about numbers of words, repetitions, pages and the like. 

For copy-editing, unlike translation, however, many clients prefer jobs to be quoted by the page of the envisaged printed article or book, others on the basis of word count. Using the appropriate calculation tools, we will show you that this works out to about the same thing in the end. 

In this session the presenters will share their tried-and-trusted methods for preparing the numbers behind winning quotes as a way of stimulating interactive discussion on the merits of pricing per word, per hour or per project – something that many members consider a troublesome topic. 
[Read a member’s review of the presentation.]

About the presenters

Jenny Zonneveld has a business background. Before she became a freelance translator, copywriter and editor over 20 years ago, she spent more than 15 years at a firm of management consultants and worked in the UK, USA, Belgium and the Netherlands. She specialized in managing IT and logistics projects. Jenny has drawn up many quotes, often for substantial translation projects involving multiple files and thousands of words. In her current work, Jenny has built long-term relationships with her clients, who appreciate her insight into language matters as well as all things technical – and who still like to know what to expect on the invoice in advance! Jenny is a member of MET, ITI (MITI) and NEaT, besides her long-standing membership of SENSE. She was SENSE chair from 2015 to 2018 and is currently SENSE webmaster. 

As a freelancer since 1984, John Linnegar has had to prepare many a cost estimate in his time, and in his experience few jobs can be costed in exactly the same way: indeed, copywriting, copy-editing, proofreading and different genres all have to be given special consideration. But he does use a handy tool to guide him. John has been a member of professional societies of editors for a while, including the Professional Editors’ Guild in South Africa (he was its chair for several years), the Canberra Society of Editors, SfEP, MET, NEaT and SENSE, on whose executive committee he has served for three years.