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Fees, Terms, Etc.
Most clients fit the first part, below.

Our basis for routine fees is $3,000 per month

    Each month of weekly Newstips Bulletin sponsorship participation includes a fresh coverage pitch for each issue plus our help in soliciting reviews, interviews or other coverage opportunities beyond simple information-only contact. We bill monthly, with each month's fee due in advance for the month in progress. We also discount for prepayments of 3, 6, 12 or 18 months at a time (at rates of, respectively,  15%, 20%, 25% and 30%, respectively; see below). We base everything on calendar months, and do not prorate months, but do try to be generous (try us!) when a new sponsoring client is best served by a mid-month start. In any new engagement, we require advance payment for at least three months of service. Note that prepayments can earn a discount, so nominal fees of $9,000 (3 times $3,000) yield mean a net cost of $7,650.

            Prepaying 3 months: $7,650
            Prepaying 6 months: $14,400
            Prepaying 12 months: $27,000
            Prepaying 18 months: $37,800

Terms and conditions

    TERMS: Monthly fee payments are due on the first of each month for the current month, in advance; project fees are due in full in advance at commencement of a project or subproject. All fees not due "net now" are payable net 10 days; 2% monthly penalties are assessed after 25 days. Services are "till forbid" and absent any notice of termination do continue past the end of a paid period; termination requires one full month notice, meaning it's effective as of the end of the month following the month in which notice is received. New ongoing clients are required to pay in total in advance the specified fees for a minimum of three months; note that this payment period does not limit the engagement period, which must be no less than three full calendar months. Fees will not be prorated, except as below. Your payment of this invoice constitutes your assent to the amounts, terms and conditions expressed herein and on the Web site (made a part hereof). All specified amounts are US funds, and all specified dates refer to the date of receipt of negotiable funds. Jurisdiction is Geauga County, Ohio.

    MINIMUM INITIAL ENGAGEMENT: We do not accept clients for any initial (new or after-hiatus) engagement of less than three full (calendar) months; this does not apply to special services we package as a "Project" (identified by that word in the top line of the specified billable on our invoice). While any client may at any time provide us with a notice of Termination, no termination can become effective until after this period expires.

    DISCOUNTS: Monthly fees may be prepaid at a discount: 15% for three or more months, 20% for six or more months or 25% for twelve or more months. In the event of any termination effective before the end of a prepaid period, prorating will treat any partial month as a full month, and any fee refunds will be calculated to reflect fees at the actual earned discount rate, if any. 

We can also work on a project basis

    Some work is more appropriate to a project basis of billing. We've been stung many times and now insist on project payments up front and in full, plus some very stiff penalty provisions (they're in the terms, below). Also, project fees that we quote are subject to escalation if their approval is delayed; we'll be happy to explain.

With a robust ego, your feeling about earning your fees can safely be left to your intelligence and common sense. Never collect or accept a fee that you feel you haven't earned; if you do, your integrity crumbles and your ego will have worms. With that one reservation, get all you can. As you must not take what you feel you haven't earned, so must you get what you feel you have earned.

Nero Wolfe in The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout ©1953

Major Projects

    We become involved in two broad categories of projects. Some are simple projects (like pure strategic consulting or brainstorming) that involve no third parties whatsoever. Others may be major projects (like the production of events ) that can involve a large number of third parties and extremely time-sensitive elements.

    Major project proposals with implicit deadlines always assume fast approvals and fast payment. In the real world, those are seldom the case.  Yet…

      Delays in the first mean extraordinary measures on our part to make the project come off seamlessly in a more limited time. Delays can also mean rush charges, a reduced selection of vendors or resources and other difficulties that can increase the project cost, increase the degree of our involvement, increase the unnecessary crisis-escalation of elements and increase our costs.

      And delays in the second mean cost penalties, not to mention reduced clout with vendors, not to mention all the distractions of bill collectors as we cope with delayed income. If you understand that all of our income is based on the limited bandwidth of personal services, you can appreciate that it is very much in your interest to have us spend the bandwidth you buy dealing with anything but collection issues.

    We want to be creative with an answer, and fair to both of us. We want to provide incentives for your prompt response on both the approval and the payment fronts. To that end we are adopting the following Major Projects policy, and hope you will appreciate its motivations:Working capital

      All quoted prices are as of the date of the proposal only, and assume both immediate approval and immediate payment. We'll try to be reasonable in interpreting the term "immediate", but it has to mean days, not weeks.

      In any purchase involving rush charges from suppliers or in the event of any necessity to engage alternative suppliers as a result of missed submission deadlines, you're expected to pay both the additional charges and a fee increase of 2% of the overall project fee (per incident).

      We will provide a best estimate of third-party charges in our proposal. Acceptance of our proposal is equivalent to its acceptance as an invoice for full payment in advance, to us, of the full amount specified. We will then make payments to vendors, and monitor those charges and relationships. We both understand that any change in conditions or specifications for the project can result in higher costs. You agree to accept increases up to 15% per individual supplier as within the latitude we are allowed (though we will pursue best efforts to curb such increases), and immediately remit payment for invoices reflecting such increases. We will require your written or fax or e-mail authorization for increases beyond 15% (not usually encountered unless a client increases quantities or changes specifications).

      Since we are assuming the liability for payment… and since we are not in the banking business… and since we often secure the services of top-tier third parties based on personal reputation and trust… and since we do not have a mechanism for passing along the time costs of money (other than the one you're about to see here)… full advance payment of the proposed project fee is not negotiable. We'll allow a week to get the money to us; after that, you agree that we are entitled to additional management fees of $5,000 per week for the additional time and services we have to expend when explaining to suppliers why they haven't been paid yet, begging them not to disallow advance payment discounts, trying our damnedest not to get bumped into lower priorities, etc.

(c) Copyright 2012 Martin Winston and TwandaCorp - all rights reserved.

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