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ProGen Study Group #5

Tuesday, 7 Oct 2008 | by Mark Tucker

It is hard to believe that we have finished our fifth and now sixth month of the study group.  I am a little behind in reporting month five. Here is a link back to ProGen Study Group #4.

Our reading assignment from Professional Genealogy was:

  • Chapter 6 – Executing Contracts by Patricia Gilliam Hastings J.D.
  • Chapter 10 – Setting Realistic Fees by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking

In chapter 6, the author discusses the need for a contract and breaks it down into its essential elements.  The chapter gives two sample formal contracts for genealogical lecturing and research services.  As a less formal alternative, there is a sample agreement for genealogical research services in letter form.

In chapter 10 we read about the process of setting realistic fees:

  1. Identify annual salary needs
  2. Calculate annual expenses
  3. Set a profit margin over and above salary
  4. Determine billable hours
  5. Calculate hourly fee
  6. Evaluate and adjust


Practical Assignment

This month the assignment came in two parts:

Part 1 (Chapter 6)

The assignment was to write a draft of a client contract.  I found the contract for the genealogical lecturing services more interesting.  I did my first presentation earlier this year at BYU’s Family History Technology Workshop and will be presenting at a local conference in November put on by My Ancestors Found.  In both those cases, the conference already defined the terms of the contract.  I came across a page on the FGS site that outlines their policy for conference speakers.

So it appears that most (if not all) conferences already have a predefined contract for speakers.  I suppose you might need to write your own contract if you were seeking speaking engagements at local and state genealogical societies.  I don’t see this in the near future, but when that time comes I will probably combine the example from Elizabeth Shown Mills on page 115-117 of Professional Genealogy with the policy from FGS.

Part 2 (Chapter 10)

This assignment was to use this formula to set or evaluate the fees we charge our clients: 

Hourly Fee = (Salary + Expenses + Profit) / Billable Hours

 Since research isn’t my emphasis, this formula doesn’t apply.  In commercial software we do need to figure out how much to charge for the piece of software and determine how many software licenses one is likely to sell.  In an attempt to better understand the industry, I contacted the owners of two of the top genealogy software applications and asked a few questions.  Representatives from both companies shared some details about how they got involved with genealogy software, but neither shared any formulas for setting the price for their software.

Discussion Group

We continued to gel as a group and find that the discussion time passes quickly and with much laughter.

1 Comment »

  1. [...] If you want to follow my experience in reverse order, follow the link to ProGen Study Group #5. [...]

    Pingback by ProGen Study Group #6 | ThinkGenealogy — 8 Oct 2008 @ 12:06 am

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