Charge Like The Light Brigade

I have a bit of consultancy work in the offing which has been bubbling for a while.
It’s a hot, young brand maybe 5 years old, they are press darlings. I think the thing will grow and if they are going to be doing different shapes every season, it could be a nice on-going thing.

I’ve not quite worked out how they want to work yet but I know that I can be a solution for their tailoring. I’ve asked them a bunch of questions about their expectations.

My feeling is to set them a day rate based on three times my current daily salary. I have no idea really how professional they are. It’s possible to work with a designer and make sample after sample before the final article is reached, a day rate would hopefully make this work. On the other hand, I have been in the situation before where I have solved a brand’s issues in a couple of days and then they don’t use me any more. In this case I’ve not charged enough considering how much money they have made from the blocks I have cut.

Anyone got any thoughts? I have done plenty of this stuff before but it has always been on the side. I now have to take it quite a lot more seriously.


The Charge of the Light Brigade was one big fuck up.
Just saying :grinning:


I don’t know much about it, but very rough back of a fag packet software contracting / consultancy was about 2.5 times the take home of permie work.

However this was for, say, a year - long contract, not just a few days.

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If they are young upcoming and press darlings I would do it for sensible rates

Working with them on your cv has to help build your new diy business (Apologies if. Have this wrong but thought I read you were going solo recently) by association so just charge a fair price that will be competitive to stop them going elsewhere

Tell em you love em and don’t ask too many questions as it can all be worked out on a day rste😀

Assuming you get to know what they are looking for, so that you can get a realistic idea of the work involved, a fixed fee per garment / block / project / whatever, and make it enough that you won’t lose out if it drags on.

I think that’s a good way to start and it doesn’t sound too unreasonable price wise. In terms of presenting this to them how about proposing that as an initial plan for the first three months or so after which you both can review things. Perhaps it would be good if things go well it in the future if you can set yourself up with a monthly retainer from your key clients where you can guarantee to provide a priority service to a small number of them.


I don’t know how this industry works but it is possible to charge a royalty on the number of blocks they use/units sold of your work?

Tricky one because it will depend on what they need from you (And how much you think they have behind them). Your skill set is such it may be the case there is no one else who can assist them to the same level (Depends on their aspirations and also if they intend to use your name as a publicity vehicle, in which case x3 is way too low)

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An hourly or daily rate makes most sense whilst both sides feel each other out. You can bail if you don’t like it or they don’t pay, ditto for them. Make sure the payment terms are short - you don’t want to be waiting 2 months to get paid unless you’ve a nice fat buffer in the bank.

Don’t be tempted to start low with a view of upping your rate - they’ll expect to go the other way, especially if the next job is longer duration

3 x salary was the ballpark I was given many years ago. If you get that I’d say you’re underpaid at the moment! But charge yourself out based on the value you bring them.

Use the contractor calculator website to work out a rate that really is 3x after Corp tax (19%) and dividend tax (7.5%) and remember you’ll have startup costs, accountants, insurance etc to pay for etc

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Louise was about 2x permie when she was a contractor. Now she is hiring (actually firing more) contractors (software and hardware engineers), the average is about 1.5x now. Min of 6 months depending on project

I invoice approx 2x my previous gross salary. I pay myself slightly more than my old take home which lets the company balance build up.

1.5 - 2 (2 is good) is about the going rate now

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That assumes the previous rate/salary was fair though…

They are paying you because you know where to hit the hammer, not because you know a hammer needs to do the hitting. A daily rate, even at 3 x what you get now, could be woefully low.

Have a discussion with them, find out what the scope of work is and what it is they want from you. I suspect there are dozens of tailors who could make the patterns (soz if that’s the wrong term) which makes me think they want you for more than that. I don’t know who they are, are they investing millions? if so, price accordingly, it’s you that you’re selling and not just your tailoring skills.

OTOH if tailors are thought of as just hired hands, them gauge as much as you can get away with.

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Did they approach you? If yes, then you already have an advantage.

I am guessing this is not a “contractor” role like many here, i.e. full time for weeks/months, rather a project based role where the time input will be different from week to week over a number of months.

If the latter, I would suggest that agreeing a detailed scope of work is the key. If it is unclear, ask more questions and try to get into detail about what they want you to do, and it will enable you and them to understand how much work is involved, and how many days may be required over how many weeks.

Then make them an offer which details ALL assumptions is based on a day rate (either inclusive of expenses or excluding), with an initial budget ceiling.

Keep track of their expenditure, invoice monthly in arrears, and be proactive about scope creep and how it will affect the agreed budget. Ensure you have a trail of approvals for any variations to scope and budget.

‘Contractors’ think Java is what they get paid for, you drink it in your breaks.
You are a ‘Consultant’ and you should ignore comparisons to IT contractor rates.
They are two a penny (sorry guys), you are not.

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Lovely generalisation there… you tend to get what you pay for too.

In the end @Wayward if you get an amount you are happy with for the job you do, and you enjoyed doing it, that’s what matters. If you were paid 10x your current job to stay, would you enjoy it? If you could do what you want, on your own terms for less would that make you more satisfied? You need enough to cover the bills and leave a bit over. After that it’s entirely up to you.


Couture Lab-Ya! offer negotiation management for 5% net.
Too many tactics to mention but standard honey pot / night vision / scandal mongering / phone tapping / daggering and kidnap are all included.

Additional services for an increased percentage include:

Narcotic polygraph testing
Murder bees
Directional schmannation
Jim wind
Patch (Shepparded by Stu for an additional 60% cut)


Glad to hear things are beginning to move in a good direction Ritchie.

I would be less concerned about the money aspect and concentrate more on ensuring the ‘consultancy’ is actually ‘consultancy’ and not just getting some random shit thrown at you and before you know it, you are in a situation where you are in their business too deep.

Clear expectations of what it is you are expected to do. If it is this…then that is £ x per day… if it is more specialised then it is £xxx per day. It can all too easily lead to run of the mill tasks for little reward, in which case a retainer and a daily rate would be my advice.

Basically , don’t fall into the trap of getting too involved and make sure you’re only carrying out good high end specialist tasks not drudgery.

Bored myself now. Good luck anyhoo.

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