How Much Do Consultants Charge?

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Let’s talk about the sensitive topic, proposal consultant prices. I don’t think I am revealing any trade secrets here.

How much proposal consultants charge varies from individual to individual, and can range between $60 an hour on the low end to $250 an hour and up on the high end. I should say that it really depends on what proposal services the person offers, how much and what kind of experience they have, and how good they are at realizing what value they bring to the company to charge what they are truly worth.

You will expect to pay the least for proposal coordinators and copy editors. Graphic artists and Word, InDesign, and PageMaker experts usually charge more. If a proposal coordinator combines all of those skills in one, prepare to pay a much higher fee. Graphic artists who can help you conceptualize graphics, rather than just rendering them, will cost as much as really talented technical writers.

Currently, the average cost for a company to hire an experienced in-demand technical writer, proposal manager, or capture manager in the DC Metro area falls in the range between $100 and $200 per hour.

The prices are the highest when you’re hiring an orals coach; a consultant with expertise in a highly specialized field; a consultant bringing a substantial Rolodex of connections to augment your bid team; or a proposal house that will include not only the people, but specific proposal management processes.

One word of warning: a great proposal consultant is not a commodity. For those who don’t know what commodity pricing means, think of car insurance. Even though Liberty Mutual is somewhat different from Progressive or, say, Costco car insurance, you will not care as much about the difference in their services as you will care about the difference in price. Most likely, your buying decision will be based on cost alone, because car insurance has become a true commodity.

Proposal experts, unlike car insurance, are not made equal. Proposal professionals have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. Hiring a lesser expert to save a few thousand bucks may mean losing a proposal that could bring you millions in revenue for years to come. Getting the most experienced and accomplished proposal professional, rather than the cheapest one, is an obvious decision when you think this way. I will at some point cover in my articles how to tell the difference between bad, average, good, and great consultants. To give you a quick preview, years of experience and the consultant’s win rate won’t be the only, or even the main deciding factors.

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