T A B L E--O F--C O N T E N T S (clickable)
Account Service | Agency Time
This section explains, in detail, all itemizations customarily used in Legend's estimating system and billing structures. It is our policy to estimate every job before commencing work. In the case of most clients, however, our charges are well known and expected so this is not necessary in routine assignments. Estimates are always available because internally, we estimate every project.
ACCOUNT SERVICE. This is an hourly charge for the time agency personnel spend on a project or with non-printing vendors managing the project. Basically, this is time, other than sales and routine client/agency matters, that your account representative spends on your account. These charges are highly valuable to the client in facilitating a swift completion of the projects involved. These services are not duplicated by any other agency fees.
AGENCY TIME. This is an over-arching billing category that generally refers to creative and production work. The chronological listing on every invoice will offer further explanation.
BILLING. Typically everything is billed on a project to project basis, however, if a project takes a long time we always bill in-progress. Here is how a "typical" bill from Legend, Inc. looks. Click here.
CLIENT PAYABLES. Not usually charged, but in some cases where work is extensive and commissions minimal, we do reserve the right to charge for this service. For example in New Hampshire, we were placing 30 ads per week in very small publications with commissions under $300. This charge allowed us to continue serving the account, and our client was happy to pay it as agreed in advance.
COMMUNITY AD SHEETS. Many clients are confronted with community advertising requests and opportunities which are really more donations than marketing events. We generally provide pre-approved sheets of varying size, simple-image ads that the clients may place at their discretion with no further involvement of the agency. This service involves a nominal printing fee, plus the production of the original ads and the preparation of the sheets. It saves redundant creative fees for "low end" advertising, yet guarantees the client a consistent quality presentation and message in the community.
CONCEPT. In the development of almost every job there is a certain amount of time spent in a creative and conceptual mode. For example, a client mentions that a particular service or product is not as popular today as it was a few years ago and asks us to improve that situation. We develop the "concept" of a name change, or other solution, implement it with a direct mail piece to existing customers and a radio advertising campaign in search of new customers. At the same time we recommend a PR campaign and an in-house employee re-education program. "Concept" and the development of ideas are really the heart of each project.
COPYWRITING. This is the actual writing of the words that comprise the sales message of the project. Copywriting is the most difficult part of the advertising business and often takes considerable time. Headlines, body copy, articles, and slogans comprise the "Copywriting" portion of our services.
DELIVERIES. Every job must be delivered somewhere. Sometimes a job must be picked up, delivered, picked up and delivered somewhere else. These charges mount up, but there is no alternative. We generally use a courier service ($25 to $50 depending on size of delivery), Federal Express (approximately $20) depending on the size and weight of the delivery, or Express Mail (approximately $12) depending on the size and weight of the delivery.
DISCLAIMER. We fully disclose on all insertion orders and purchase orders written on behalf of our clients, the name of the client, and the fact that we are acting as "agent" for a disclosed principal. Therefore, our agreement with our clients and with the media and vendors we use on their behalf is that we will pay them once we are paid. All difficulties in late payment accrue to the principal, not the agent. As an agent, we place all monies received in a "Client Trust Account" (CTA) out of which all disbursements are made. This protects our clients, and the agency as well. We pay ourselves from the CTA, just as we would any vendor or media. Hence, this agency lives on what it earns, not what is owed to others. Your cooperation in prompt payment is essential to this arrangement.
ESTIMATES. All estimates are based on the agency's time and/or vendor services planned for this project, as described above, through the first pass. Our estimates are not quotes. All estimates do not include client changes (subsequent to the first pass), supplies, taxes, or deliveries, which are determined once the project is complete. If the project evolves beyond the scope and time originally estimated above, this will be reflected in changes in the agency's final billing. All projects will be billed in progress at monthly intervals, until complete, if necessary.
FAX & EMAIL SERVICES. $2 per FAX, no charge for email services, except time involved.
INTERNET SITE DISIGN, MANAGEMENT, AND GRAPHICS. We are typically interested in designing content based sites. Our philosophy concerning the Internet is that it is a basically an intellectual exploration process and that the number one reason for accessing sites is to seek out information, not entertainment. Legendinc.com is a good example. We feel that as a readership is built for each site (a "community" in some terminologies) its success will be guaranteed. Extreme animations, music on arrival, blinking, flashing and streaming videos are generally not part of our entry pages and. if used, reserved for internal locations accessible once a visitor starts to make destination choices within the site. We also produce our sites to be accessible from cellphone and other handheld devices, which requires a simplification design as well. Additional information on setting up your site and virtual hosting services: click here. See below for pricing.
LAYOUT/DESIGN. This service takes the concept to the next tangible step: it gets it from the concept level to the on-paper level. Sometimes this takes the most time of all of our services because, after the substance of the idea is developed, how it is ultimately seen is crucial. "Layout/Design" develops the presentation and plans the overall graphic scope of the project.
MARK-UPS AND COMMISSIONS. We generally mark up vendor assignments 15% to 30%, and all media billings 15% to 20%. If the media has a "national" rate, then there is a built-in reduction for the agency and no mark-up is added.
MECHANICAL PREPARATION. This is the "hands-on" preparation of a mechanical for publication or printing. Traditionally this was actually done on an artist's drawing board; today, technology allows us to do all mechanical preparation via computer. Despite the digital revolution, careful calibration, measurement and color work still take time and skill.
MEDIA PLANS & PREPARATlONS. This is a monthly activity (for some clients a yearly activity) in which we create an advertising calendar, with prices, broken down by media, by week, and with totals. This is generally done mid-month for the coming month and is invoiced monthly with the media.
MEDIA RELATIONS. This is all activity responding to calls from the media on our client's behalf. Generally this activity alerts you to special sections, changes in schedules, opportunities for price breaks or positioning, new media resources and the like. This allows you to refer all incoming media calls to us, and saves you all the time talking with media salesmen. This service is invoiced monthly with the media.
MEDIA TRAFFIC & INSERTIONS. This is a clerical charge that is generally a small fraction of the media charges, and is invoiced monthly with the media. This also includes double-checking rates and the placement specifics of each ad that runs as well as monitoring contract fulfillment and opportunities.
OWNERSHIP OF ARTWORK, ETC. Clients own all artwork associated with projects, once a project is paid in full, unless otherwise noted on the estimate or invoice. This includes negatives, mechanicals, designs, and files, unless otherwise stated at the time. If a dispute occurs, all artwork is retained by the agency until resolved in full.
PARTIAL PREPAYMENT. We reserve the right to require partial prepayment for new clients and sometimes in cases of extensive projects requiring large out-of-pocket expenditures at the outset.
PAYMENT. We ordinarily bill with terms of 15 days. We expect clients who have questions about our invoices or charges to call us immediately upon receipt. We reserve the right to charge for (1) late payments and (2) late fees charged to us due to late payment by a client. We also view the speed of payment as a comment on our work. Happy clients always pay immediately. We currently have less than 2% of accounts receivable overdue. Since 1979, we have been involved in no litigation, and although we have a renowned collection firm, it is a very rare occasion when they are needed. We aim to please from start to finish.
PHOTOGRAPHY & PHOTO PROCESSING. These are generally flat rates, arranged with the client. Photography charges are based on hourly or day rates. Photo processing is the supplies and actual prints or transparencies resulting from the photography and generally comprises 10% to 15% of the photography charges.
PRICING. Hourly rates and flat fees. revised: 1/5/08
PRINTING MANAGEMENT. This is really an account service charge, but we itemize it for a greater understanding on our clients' part. This is the time we spend finding the right printer, monitoring printers to expedite projects, insuring that all specifications remain as ordered through the process. This hourly charge pays the agency to find the least expensive vendor or printer (within our quality and service parameters). Many times this charge is less than $200. We are able to save our clients thousands of dollars, debilitating delays and reprints. If our clients do not want to manage their own printing, we require this function and estimate it ahead of time. Sometimes, clients who do their own printing ask us to independently check the prices they are getting, with often very interesting results. Print bidding is a specialized skill, as all printers will tell you. The more complicated the job, the more difficult it is.
PROCESS CAMERA. This is the time spent working at enlarging, reducing, reviewing or reworking artwork. Also included is laser printing, scanning, and color inkjet printing in this category.
PROJECT AND "IN-PROGRESS" BILLING. Ordinarily we bill once the project is complete. However, if a project takes more than two weeks, we reserve the right to bill it "in progress." This means a partial billing payable prior to completion and billing the remainder once the project is completed. This allows us to continue to devote time to a project without affecting our cash flow, and yet, it still reserves normal client prerogatives in the final payment.
PROJECT NUMBERS. As a point of interest, we started with project #1 in 1979. Currently we are nearing project #16,500.
PROOFREADING. We itemize this charge for your information. There is nothing more important than professional proofreading. It is noted on all estimates that this charge is not included at the estimate phase because it is impossible to estimate ahead of time. Experience has taught us to reserve this service until the end of a project, and sometimes due to changes it must be repeated. But, as just stated, there is nothing more important than professional proofreading. Proofreading is included for html conversions, word processing documents, all creative production, and even reviewing client-supplied materials. We will not accept responsibility for typographical, or content errors unless the client approves this expenditure. We highly recommend it.
PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION MATERIALS. After an advertisement or collateral piece is approved by the client, instead of sending the original to the publication or printer in question we make a production quality duplicate. This is generally (for black and white) done at a flat fee. Four-color publication/production materials are more expensive. Also because almost all media and printing resources have different mechanical specifications for publication and printing, each of these sets of materials usually require some additional mechanical manipulations and agency time. These are unavoidable. Even when resources accept digital transmission, their individual specifications still must be accommodated.
Publication/printing materials can be a source of confusion because they are the end of the creative process that generally proceeds are follows: concept and copywriting (plus photography, illustrations, or other graphic element purchase, procurement or origination), mechanical preparation, client revisions and approval, final proofreading, final scans and rainbow color proofs (not part of the publication materials and difficult to estimate until production process is complete), and then the final publication or printing materials.
SALES TAX. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts dictates that we charge 5% tax on all invoices, excluding media billings. Our invoices may separate service tax and sales tax, for your convenience, however, the total tax is always 5% of the total invoice, and there are no duplicate tax charges. We have been audited twice by the Commonwealth for sales tax collection and payment, and in both cases have received a perfect evaluation with no fines or charges. All tax charges are monitored on a quarterly basis by our accounting firm, and all details are available upon request.
SETTING UP A WEB SITE. Click here for the details.
SUPPLIES. There is a minimal charge on each project to cover agency supplies required for agency account maintenance and overall preparedness.
TIME. All projects are billed based on agency time (plus outside charges). Itemizations of time are always available upon request.
TYPESETTING. This is actually keystroking the copywriting into the computers. Typesetting is the initial step in preparing a mechanical for publication or printing.