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Subcontracting turned consulting?

Identify a project 

My small (2 people, at the time) consultancy recently completed a project subcontracting through a marketing firm for a local network of hospitals. We built a management / business workflow type tool for the network. Essentially, it replaced a Word file or files being emailed from person to person.

Were you seen as an investment or an expense?

I suspect we could have been seen as an investment. We quoted the project as if we would be seen as an expense. We ultimately did a significant amount of client interaction, despite the marketing firm's involvement. I suspect we could have charged more if we had simply pitched it as something we would manage from the start.

In hindsight, per individual hospital, I would guess the tool saves at least 1 full-time employee's worth of hours for 6 months every 4 years. (If that seems convoluted, you'll just have to trust me.) That is actually probably a conservative estimate. Two hospitals have taken advantage of it already. We charged about XY,000, but that estimate makes me think we could have charged anywhere from XY,000 + 10,000 to 2x XY,000, had we also illustrated the value the tool would represent to them. 

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