Know the Scope

Scope by PantoDXYou’ve probably already figured out that a lot of what we write about on our blog is based on our own first-hand experiences. This article is no different. The lesson today is Know the Scope (of work).

Here’s what prompted this article…

We were invited to submit a proposal for a data cleaning job and the job description stated the work should take no more than two hours work. “Awesome!” I thought, and submitted our proposal (with a fixed rate). We were awarded the project.

To put it nicely, I will never submit another proposal for a data cleaning job at a fixed rate. Honestly, I think this was my last project at a fixed rate – Period.

The project involved going through numerous documents and extracting the people who met a certain criteria. The first document I opened was a 25 page PDF made from a 9pt font Excel document. Each page ended up taking 10-12 minutes to extract the required data from, which put me at over 4 hours on this one document alone. Not good.

As a contractors and small business owners we all need to be protective of our time. It is our right and duty to know the scope of the work before accepting a contract to complete the work. If you ask the client to see the documents before the work is awarded – be leery. You may offer to sign a confidentiality agreement in case that is why the prospective client doesn’t want to show, but if their answer is absolutely no yours should be too.

Honestly I should have known better then to submit a proposal on a fixed rate basis – we’ve always gotten burned by projects that were much bigger than initially thought in the past. I failed to know the scope of the projects, and in the end the clients made out much better than we did.

Never again.

What do YOU do to ensure you know the scope of the projects you are submitting proposals for? Are there certain questions you ask up front? Please submit your answers in your comments field below.


Kim SuttonKim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios.  She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.

An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.

In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.

Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.


About Kim Sutton

Kim is the CEO of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is married to her best friend and soul mate, Dave, and together they have six children.
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