What should clients get from you at the end of the first consulting session (created 2010-08-14).

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There has been a lot of discussion about the nature and role of consulting on the message boards of the Statistical Consulting section of the American Statistical Association  One particularly valuable question was what should you do when starting a new consulting job. Here is an adaptation of one particularly good response.

Let's assume that your client has already provided a reasonably good description of the scope of work that they need. In return, you should provide them with

  1. a confirmation of what you plan to do (a paraphrase of what they requested, written in your own language),
  2. estimated start and end dates for your work,
  3. milestones, if this is a particularly complex project,
  4. what the client is expected to provide, and
  5. what you will provide to the client.

If the consulting is of a commercial nature, you should also specify

  1. pricing (flat fee or cost per hour),
  2. payment schedule,
  3. how modifications to the scope of work will be handled,
  4. methods of resolving disputes, and
  5. conditions under which either party can terminate the contract.