Step-by-step plan drawing up an offer

Clients like to receive an offer before they do business with you. In this offer, you note down your fee and the schedule for carrying out the assignment.

1. Formulate the assignment

Before you can draw up an offer, you want to know what the desired end result of the project should be (and your role therein). You formulate this on the basis of a discussion with the client. In any case, make a concise description of what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and, where applicable, with whom.

2. Determine your responsibilities

Formulate what you are taking responsibility for when accepting the assignment and what you expect from the other party. In the event of agreement, you can include this in a commission contract, so that it is clear what the agreements are that both of you can rely on.

Directly to:

Commission contract

3. Make a schedule

Clear deadlines are often part and parcel of the desired end result. Include these in a concise schedule. Explain when and on what you are going to spend your time. If you are dependent on what your client supplies for your schedule, specify that too. A precise or estimated number of hours may come out of this schedule, for example, with which you will substantiate your price.

4. Determine a realistic price

The total amount of the offer is determined by various factors: what kind of costs do you have to incur, how much time will the assignment take and what is a reasonable hourly rate for the nature of the work? When you specify the costs, the customer can see how you go about your work, what you spend your time on and what you will be paid for. That also makes any negotiations about the price easier.

You should also calculate the preparation time, such as research, interim consultations, presentations or rehearsals, in your offer.

Do you need more information in order to be able to determine your (hourly) rate? In that case, ask colleagues what they charge for similar work or ask a professional association for the going rate. It is very reasonable to factor in your experience and specialism. You should, of course, ensure that you remain above the minimum wage and that you adjust your rate annually. See also the ‘FAQ determining a fee or salary’. You will find a link for this at the bottom of this page.

5. Calculating VAT

In principle, you quote your (hourly) rate excluding VAT. You subsequently quote your total amount excluding VAT, the VAT rate that you apply and the total amount including VAT in your offer. Make sure that there can be no uncertainty about which amount includes or excludes VAT.

Not everyone who works in the arts and culture sector applies the same VAT rate. There may be an exemption, a zero rate, a low or top VAT rate. This depends on the type of work and whether you make use of the ‘small businesses scheme’ (kleineondernemersregeling).

6. Do you incur expenses? Include them

If you also have to incur expenses when carrying out the assignment, make sure that it is clear whether your offer includes or excludes expenses. Examples of this include travel and accommodation expenses and material costs.

7. Determine the period of validity

In order to be able to schedule your work, you need to know in time whether an assignment is actually going ahead, especially if you have several projects running at the same time. If the assignment is delayed for a long time, you also don’t want to be bound by today’s price. For that reason, you should always note down the date and a deadline in the period of validity of your offer.

8. Determining and including general terms and conditions

If you apply general terms and conditions – and that is advisable – then include them with the offer. These terms and conditions are then a part of the offer. You can also even list additional terms and conditions in the offer.

9. Approved? Arrange a written confirmation

Following the client’s approval, the offer can apply as an agreement. You can also include the information in a commission contract. Always ensure that you receive a written confirmation, so that you can also prove the client has approved. You can email an offer as a PDF, for example, and request that it is returned signed. Never send an offer as a Word or Excel document.