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DBA Members’ Forum | June Summary

In our June DBA Members’ Forum we talked about profitability with a specific focus on recovery rates and client servicing. Here’s a summary of the conversation.

  • With average recovery rates across the DBA membership at 80%, here’s a useful document to help identify why you might be under recovering your time
  • Fundamental to this metric is that the work is either taking too long, or it was underpriced – and this is irrespective of business size. It’s simple to monitor the amount of time you’ve scoped to spend and track the amount of time you’re taking in reality – whether you’re a team of 2 or 200. It’s important to look at this as an average across the business, rather than on an individual basis.
  • One member shared how they actively check on recovery rates throughout the project by setting key milestones. This enables them to either have conversations with clients about additional costs, manage expectations, or shift the way the team is working to make sure recovery rates don’t slip further. 
  • Building the inevitable scope creep into your proposals can help to keep recovery rates high. Charging for more rounds of amends over and above what was agreed, giving a price for how much additional work will cost if it happens. If it’s in your agreement, then your client can’t be surprised. 
  • Having access to good data was raised by a few members on the call – including the importance of sharing data with the whole team so that everyone can understand the reasons behind why you’re asking them to track their time carefully. Timesheets are not about checking up on individuals – they are about managing profitability. One member saw a marked improvement in recovery rates when they started sharing financial data with the client servicing team. 
  • Another member raised how their bonus structure is based on profitability, so that helps to get everyone engaged and keep a careful eye on the figures. 
  • When it comes to new clients, it can be tempting to over-deliver on what was promised to get the repeat business, but that has a big impact on recovery rates and sets a dangerous precedent. While you might have different pricing levels for different clients, its important to keep a tight grip on what you’re charging and the work you’re doing to boost profitability. 
  • It’s also important to look back retrospectively and see where there might be room for improvement either in costing out the work or in the project management.
  • DBA Expert Julian Davies shared this great deck on maximising profitability – a 10% increase in income can have a 66.6% increase on profitability – even at 1%, it’s worth starting with your prices, and the DBA Annual Survey can help with this.

There was much, much more covered in the hour – I hope you find these notes helpful. Join our next meeting on Monday 1 July, 4-5pm BST, look out for an email with the details in a few weeks.

We’ve captured the conversation highlights from the all the Members’ Forums which have taken place and they can all be found here.


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