Step 6. On Budget

This should ideally come as early on in the project as the brief, but as is the case with many creative project using emerging technology, you need to go through a discovery phase first.

Once different options are researched before you can agree a more accurate budget. We look at ways to budget a creative project and tools for tracking time and effort.

Here are a few examples of costs for a small to medium sized creative project, which should ideally feature in a quote or ‘statement of work’:

  • Artistic direction
  • Producer time
  • Project management time >> this can be a percentage of the overall labour cost e.g. anything between 10% – 50% depending on how complex the project, how many stakeholders are involved, etc.
  • Supplier services
  • Material costs
  • Equipment hire
  • Venue hire or rent
  • Transport and packaging
  • Marketing and PR
  • Travel expenses
  • Insurance, licence
  • Contingency >> 5%-10% of the overall budget costs should be enough to cover those unknown unknowns

In order to get subtotals of the above costs, you would have to breakdown the project into tasks and subtasks so that you can get more accurate estimates of time and resources needed. Here is what this could look like:

Sample project budget
Sample project budget

If you haven’t come across yet, then it might be worth checking it out. To use the software, you would have to pay, but there are quite a few free templates on the resource page to help you create project budgets, track time, timelines etc.

Once you have managed to agree on a budget, which includes tasks where you have guesstimated the time, you better start tracking how long they actually take you to do. That way, you might have some figures based on reality rather than guesswork next time around or you can alert your project sponsor that more budget is needed. There are various free tools for tracking time. One of my favourite ones is where you can track your time per task / per team / project / client and create beautiful charts that show what you and your team have spent your valuable time on. Here is an example of a Toggl report, which can also be exported as a PDF or CSV file and attached to an invoice:

Time tracking with Toggl
Time tracking with

If you are short of time and would like someone from Developing Dreams to help you put together a project budget or timeline or maybe even help you with some of the deliverables then what are you waiting for? Get in touch!

**This is part 6 of a 7 article series. Missed step 1? Read A Jargon Free Anatomy of a Creative Brief.

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