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ASK THE TRAINER Q&A

Hi Anne,
I hope you can help – and are willing to help your “in over her head” student. I am not really in over my head, I am just not sure how to go about something.

I have my first project where I may need the help of someone else, and I am not sure how to go about it. It is a larger project and the client does not want to have anything to do with it, other than for me to tell her what I have done and what she needs to do to maintain it. I can do that – although not the ideal scenario as I am used to having the help of a client.

I am used to having the client help with a project, so what do I do now when I don’t have any help? How do I approach her about whether she is fine with me doing the project on my own – or if she wants me to hire someone to get the job done faster? How do I go about including an assistant in the estimate? If I charge by the hour, or by the package deal, how do I account for another body – especially when I don’t even have another body? Where do you find help? How do you hire help? Another organizer is going to raise rates considerably – but we will get the job done in half the time.

Help – I don’t know what to do and I am in the middle of a proposal!

I hope you can help.
Thank you Anne,

Answer: Breathe!!

If you don’t have any help, do a macro grouping of items by activity or category. Then ask the client to review each grouping and decide what can be reduced.
If the client wants you to do the reducing, then place those items in boxes for them to make the final decision and disposal.

I don’t think anyone can get the job done faster unless they have more people working on the project. Which you can do too if you want to. As I recall, you worked very well with the other participants on your organizing project. You would be the lead organizer on this project.

Regarding assistants: If they are not your employee and you pay someone over $600 you need to report it on a 1099. These are considered independent contractors and you will want an agreement with them to protect you. Sally Allen of A Place For Everything has an Independent Contractor Guidebook that can help you if you go this route. Check it out at http://www.sallyallenorganizer.com/independentContractors.htm.

When I have a big project I bring in other Professional Organizers from the NAPO Oregon chapter or that I have trained through my training program. The client pays each Professional Organizer at my hourly rate. It looks like it costs more to the client so you need to remind them that the project will take at the most the same amount of time as if you were to do the project alone, it will just be done in a shorter period of time (the benefit of others working on the project = less time). In reality, what I have experienced when I have others help me on a project is the project gets completed in fewer hours than if I were to do it alone. So, it is actually a cost benefit as well as a time-saving benefit to the client.
Another options is, you could propose to the other Professional Organizers who work on the the project with you a flat hourly rate less than yours, because you found the client and are providing them with billable hours without their marketing/overhead efforts. That would help to lower the cost to the client.
Or, you could hire temporary help through a temp agency that would eliminate the need to set up payroll and other employee overhead costs/requirements.
This is a lot of information, so let me know what other questions you have after reading through it.

Anne

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