How to build your first offer?
Now that you have practiced your first chatbot project(s), it is time to figure out what it can bring to the world. This moment of transition should be exciting and motivating as an aspiring bot builder because your practice will be evaluated in the real market. Whenever you are starting, you must always remind yourself to be open minded and ready to listen more than you talk. A successful chatbot builder is one when the client feels that you adapted your product to their precise business needs. The more time you invest dialog with them and caring about their work, the more trust you are going to build. This is important especially for new products like chatbots. Once this relationship is going, you can write and send them your offer as if it was a reward they earned from you. Because it is, so let’s dive into it!
What to include in your offer?
An offer should be somewhat detailed with the proper information you are committed to provide. This is an opportunity to be totally transparent with what is it that you are doing and also a way to protect your work if there is any future misunderstanding concerning the value you are offering. The following elements can be found in a typical offer:
– Your business information (name, location, etc.) and your client’s general info
– Chatbot Project: description of what it does, its purpose, the platform it will operate on
– Phases of development: detailed timing, how long it will take to develop each
– Features: if your bot includes features your client can choose, explain it carefully
– Pricing: detailed for each part and with/without tax included
Depending on the project you could also include the audit you are making when studying your client’s inbox messages and any similar type of services. We used to offer the audit for free as a way to build trust. Be also aware of the number of hours/days you expect the chatbot project will take. If you decide to do so, it can definitely be a way to justify your pricing. For instance, “I expect this project to take 10 hours of work at 50€ / hour so 10 * 50 = 500€”. Each feature you propose should be detailed with price as well, example: your chatbot will be developed in English for 800€ and add 300€ if you want to add French.
Pricing. How to not be wrong?
An offer will be accepted by your client as soon as their expectations of the delivered value are worth more than the money they are ready to invest in you. If you set your price to high, you’ll more likely lower your chances of closing. If you set your price to low, you’ll feel underpaid which is not motivating at all. In order to find the right balance and a fair price, we would recommend you to build and propose “Packs Offers”.
Knowing that many parameters can influence the price, such as:
- Complexity of the chatbot, external integrations (API)
- Size of the project (do you have to automate 20 questions or 200?)
- Number of languages (English only or other languages as well?)
- Type of bot (Linear or Hybrid with machine learning?)
- Assistance: if they want to change / add / delete content, how long will you be okay to do so? Would it be included in your offer for a limited period or do you charge more?
- Payment plans: retainer fees on bigger projects (usually 20% or 30% of the development price). You can start the proof of concept (V1) as soon as you get paid.
And also taking into consideration that:
- Not all chatbot builder / agency offer the same price range
- Each project is unique and different
- A chatbot budget can be compared with the development cost of a website
- Each industry has their own budget, so has each culture and country
In conclusion, listen and adapt as much as you can. The more projects you’ll close, the more precise your offers are going to be. Be ready to negotiate your price depending on the context of the sales. We proposed discounts such as going from 2500€ to 2000€ for a night club’s chatbot, knowing that as they are apart a bigger group of 14+ bars/clubs.
Ok cool, can you now give me some pricing examples?
– Chatbot Development A: 800€ for a basic Linear chatbot with different languages possible (300€ per language). The bot will cover 5 topics (Location, Opening hours, Service details, Pricing, Contact the team)
– Chatbot Development B: 2000€ for a Hybrid chatbot with NLP answering 20 frequently asked questions based on their inbox messages you have observed. Included in the Offer: they can ask you to change / add / remove content of the chatbot for 14 days after the launch.
– Monthly subscription A: 50€ / month. You built a chatbot template for the hotel industry. As long as they use it, they are paying you and they can stop whenever they want to.
– Annual subscription B: 200€/month for the first year then 50€/month. The first year will then cover the development cost. You set up a contract for one year minimum use.
– Retainer fees: you propose a chatbot project for 2000€. Retainer fees include the development of a proof of concept for 30% of the initial price. 600€ are paid, you develop the V1 that you’ll present to your client, they pay you 1400€ and you finish the project.