We fully understand you need to know how much our work is likely to cost you. You don't want a big unexpected bill at the end.
At the same time, family history projects can be very open-ended, and
it's hard to estimate in advance how much work they will require. That can
depend on a vast number of different factors, such as where people
lived, what historical period we're dealing with, where they went to
church, how wealthy they were etc. etc. etc.
The way we normally recommend we proceed is as follows:
1. We begin by carrying out a one-hour no-charge assessment of your project, based on information you provide. We just need enough to allow us to make a start, familiarize ourselves with the basic facts, try to pick up the thread of the family line in the records and get a handle on what might be involved, and how easy or hard it might prove.
2. Based on what we find during that hour, we will propose an initial research budget.
The budget is the maximum amount you would be charged for our work. It gives us a degree of freedom to proceed without having to check every penny with you, and gives you the reassurance you're not going to get a big unexpected bill at the end.
Our basic rate for genealogy research is £20 per hour, plus any costs incurred.
The minimum realistic budget for a Tree-planter package or Pay-as-you-grow is £50. A typical budget for this kind of work is somewhere between £200 and £500, depending on how much you feel you can afford, how difficult we think the project is likely to be and the level of costs that could be involved.
If you're interested in a Blockbuster solution to a brick wall problem, we can also quote a no-win-no-fee "bounty" option. The bounty would be an amount of money you would pay only if we are able to answer your question. Inevitably, it tends to have to be quite an attractive figure to give us an incentive to do work which might lead nowhere, e.g. typically a minimum of £100.
3. Once we've agreed a figure and some research objectives, we would carry out the work until either the targets had been achieved or the budget was fully used up. Either way you would receive a research report with supporting documentation and evidence and charts. At that stage, we can decide what further work you would like done, if any, and what the budget for that work should be.
4. Whatever budget we agree, we ask for at least 50% in advance and will invoice for the balance on completion.
We find this is a practical way of operating which protects both parties.