How we bill for our work

Quick Answers
I’ve been burned by agencies before – how can I prevent that in the future?

Know – and clearly communicate upfront – three things to any agency and you’ll almost never have a problem. Those things are:

Precisely what you want to have happen...
Exactly when you need to have that happen...
How much it’s worth to you.
Give them as many details as you can about all of the above. Don’t expect them to be mind readers; if you have a very specific idea or approach in mind, tell them.

Then if they still fail, they aren’t the right folks for you.

I’m thinking of having a variety of agencies compete for my business by doing an identical project. Would you be interested?

No. A better idea is to go spend a few hours at each agency you’re considering. Don’t let them show you any work, or ideas they have for you. Instead, take the time to get to know the people who you’ll be working with – not the “new business“ team – but the folks you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis.

Imagine spending long hours with them. Tossing ideas around with them. Arguing at times with them. Depending on them. Trusting them to spend your time and money wisely.

Then make your decision.

How do you work with clients outside Philadelphia?

All but one of our clients are outside Philadelphia. One of our first clients, who stayed with us for 12 uninterrupted years, in fact, was located in Colorado. Our largest current client – who has now been with us for over 20 uninterrupted years – is over 100 miles away.

The way we deal with these remote clients is no different than the way we deal with closer-in clients – we maintain a lot of contact, largely by phone and e-mail, supplemented by Fedex®, with fewer “in-person” visits than you might imagine. We only visit in person when it’s absolutely necessary – usually for planning or strategy, and always at their invitation – and are not big on wasting their time with live “show & tell” sessions. The vast majority of them prefer to see our work electronically; it saves us and them valuable time.

Do I have to buy everything – like media and printing – through you?

No. A few of our clients place their own media, or have other media-buying groups do it for them, for example. Many handle their own printing. We can handle both services for our clients, too, and we do for most of them, but it’s certainly not a requirement.

We bill by the hour for most things, and apply a mark-up of 17.65% on outside purchases we make on your behalf, such as printing, courier services, etc. We do not bill you for phone calls to you and your associates. Nor do we bill for "travel time" coming to or from your place of business.

We are happy to provide you with written estimates for anything you want us to do creatively or in terms of marketing planning; we insist on giving you written estimates for outside purchases before we make these.

We generally invoice when projects are completed, or against standing P.O.s if you prefer. Invoices are e-mailed; terms are net-10, with a 1.5% interest penalty per month after 30 days.