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I would love your thoughts here and some input into how other agencies are doing it. The way we generate our “fee” for pretty much every project is based on a staffing plan. Using industry standards rates. Every position has a rate associated with it — we make some assumptions about who will be touching the work, we put a certain amount of hours to the position. This generates our fee. This part I believe is pretty standard.
Continued in comments…..

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To me, it feels like for out of scope asks, there either needs to be 1. More control on timing since we haven’t staffed for this, therefore we’re assuming we’re going to have to reorganize and totally fuck up our resourcing plan to pull it off, or hire freelance or 2. We should say fuck the staffing plan, there is a premium for unplanned work. Because there is a premium to labor that isn’t full time, that you haven’t paid for us to do this….

Both of these points are so reasonable to me — yet we just don’t operate this way. We say yes. We charge our standard rate. How do you guys handle OOS requests? Is this the industry standard? Are clients reasonable to this type of expectation setting? Would love any and all thoughts around generating fee, managing incremental requests, scope management, etc.

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This is a good point and is the crux of it. Agreed if going back to client isn’t a real option bc of how we positioned ourselves - we have to build the resource cushion.

Would be happy to help but your request is out of scope. Where should I send my proposed fee?

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LOL just hit my DMs!

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This is not how it used to be. Agencies never carried a lot of unassigned talent but we used to have more cushion when we were less task and fee oriented. The model is totally broken and doesn’t really account for higher value (not necessary higher cost) talent at all excellence is actually penalized in many ways

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I don't have a solution for this but I think it's a very common problem. In the situations I've seen, it's usually something to the effect of:

1. Someone is not effectively managing the clients and their expectations. No one wants to have these conversations but for the sake of employee retention and client satisfaction it needs to be brought up if this is a reoccurring thing.
2. Either the client is not being honest about the scope when planning out these costs, or the agency is trying to get away with hiring less in order to make the clients happy. Aka spend less, get more.

Whatever the case, someone is dropping the ball and I'm sorry you have to suffer for it. I'd bring it up with the client lead and see what they say. If they shrug and basically say their hands are tied, you may be SOL

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We even staff to these staffing plans. So for example — Client X pays for 3 FTE, we hire 3 FTEs. We have a little cushion but for the most part, we are staffing employees based on our scopes. Again - I think this is pretty standard.

What is really killing me lately is all the out of scope, incremental work that come in from clients. Of course we love organic revenue — but they’re usually so quick turn. The way we charge clients is the same way — based on our time, based on our staffing plan. It feels like we never push back on the timing either.

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