Post 475 —by Gautam Shah
Rare professional skills earn a high return in society. Sometimes a professional also earns more by exhibiting exemplary behaviour or professionalism. An experienced professional earns more than an amateur or novice. A young professional with fresh or new talent may demand more fees. Professional fees are often suggested or prescribed by their bodies, public groups or Government, yet professional fees remain subjective and negotiable. It is private understanding or a covenant, sometimes secretive, and no one else needs to know or be informed about it. Professional fees are very subjective. A professional may charge different set of fees for nearly similar project or assignment conditions. Fees vary from a professional to professional, from project to project, and also from one client to another. There are no standards.
Fees’ determination and thereafter fees negotiations are very difficult aspect of professional practice, but (first) fees collection sometimes more worrisome matter.
Senior professionals have experience, and so can prejudge the value of their professional services. Fresh professionals and even seniors venturing into unknown fields cannot do so. They would rather compute the cost of input first, and then add a fixed or a percentage amount, as profit, or more simply find out what others are charging, and follow that up.
To determine a right fee, a professional is expected to know the following:
(a) What is the Value of professional services to the client, and in the society,
(b) What is the cost of providing professional services (cost of input),
(c) Wills there be a surplus (profit) after deducting (b) from the (a).
A professional’s involvement in an assignment or a project depends on many factors: Personal attitude (sincere, commercial), Demands by the client, Nature of the assignment / Competition from others / Client’s readiness to bear the additional costs (of intense involvement), etc. Cost of involvement in the project is as per the agreement on the variety of design services offered and agreed upon, and the scale of the project. Any downward sizing of the project does not automatically reduce the involvement of the professional. Though, upward scaling of a project, increases the professional’s work.
● Scale of a project varies during planning, designing and the execution phase. Even at fixed spread or volume, the costs inflate or deflate according to the economic conditions.
Professionals conduct two types of jobs. ONE, where the projects are materialistic consisting of materials, labour etc. and charged on the Cost basis. And TWO, where the projects are metaphysical made up of concepts, advises, ideas or abstract offerings like artwork or literary compositions. These may be delivered as formatted over some media. The cost of creating, delivering such a metaphysical entity is of course negligible, and the cost physical actualizing could also be very small. But the affectations of such offerings are great. A client may gain extraordinary advantage by such professional contribution.
● Materialistic projects are like Architecture, Interior Design, Software programming, etc. Metaphysical projects are like project consultancy, medical, legal, delivery of proto-types.