Traditionally, there is a model in IT consultancies that focuses on billing hours to a client. This type of contract is usually a client requirement that attempts to strike a balance between project scope and budget restrictions. Or so they think.
We at Kitchen Agency refuse to sell time. Why? Because it’s a bad idea. It doesn’t bring value to any of the parts involved, especially to our clients and their customers (or users, or visitors – although we like to call them people).
Time isn’t proportional to effectiveness.
Reasons, Reasons, Reasons
Let’s roll out the reasons why we don’t bill hours to our clients:
The amount of time spent in a task is not proportional to its outcome. Sometimes, a five minute user interview reveals a solution that hours of poring over analytics data could not uncover. Time isn’t proportional to effectiveness.
This time-based model is valid for projects with very specific problems and virtually off-the-shelf solutions. That’s why it works in IT. Barely. But when we’re talking about Experience, UX and Design, we’re talking about people. Budgeting time isn’t a fit for projects with a focus on people’s behaviour and the way they impact a website, an app or any other kind of product.
When you set out to achieve business goals in a specific time frame, you want dedication and commitment and not a handful of hours every week. It shouldn’t matter how many hours the agency spends. Could be a hundred hours, could be a thousand. The number of hours we spend is our concern. Your concern as a client should be achieving your goals within your budget and your schedule. That’s how we measure success, not in the amount of hours we spend researching and solving your problems.
Our approach is to think not only about the present, but also about the future. When you think about today, you should keep in mind that in 6 months there will be another today. Planning and thinking strategically for the future doesn’t come in a pack, it’s a work in progress that requires awareness, R&D effort and different team profiles working towards the same goal: getting you where you need to be.
When an agency sells time, there’s always a dependency that kills initiative, proactive work and execution: every hour spent must be approved by the client before the team can even start working. Time is not the right solution. Experience and knowledge is.
When clients stop buying time, the alternative is to invest in a strategic partnership focused on achieving their business goals.
Why don’t we sell time? Because we’re committed to our clients goals, budgets and deadlines. The experience we have in delivering solutions cannot be measured on a timescale, but by our clients projects and business achievements.