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This form is only for inquiries about potentially hiring Works Progress. Any other type of "new business" messages (i.e., sales, outsourcing inquiries, SEO "partnerships," etc) will not receive a response.

Or, talk with us directly 757-275-9359.

frequently asked questions

I don’t know the entire scope of our needs, can you still give me an estimate?

We can give you a ballpark, but know that we may be off-base if we haven’t identified everything properly. If you know you need help but don’t know where to focus your efforts, our suggestion is to do a Discovery session where we discuss where you’ve been, what the issues are, and where we can make improvement. At the end, you’ll have a roadmap of suggestions that we can either tackle together or you can take elsewhere.

I’d rather not disclose our budget. Can you still proceed with estimating?

The short answer is: We can try, but it makes the process more difficult. If we have no idea what you have to work with, we may overshoot and suggest tackling more than you can feasibly do. This will likely put us out of the running against other firms you may be looking at.

Don’t think of a budget as the bucket you have to draw from, but would prefer not to drain if you can help it. Think of it as what you’re willing to invest to put your company in a better position. Would you go to a financial advisor and say, “Tell me what a retirement plan costs—but I can’t tell you what I plan to put into it,”? Probably not. Your branding should be approached with similar thinking.

I don’t know our budget, can you help me figure it out?

Many clients don’t fully understand what they can expect if they’ve never hired an agency before. That’s a-ok. The best way to determine what you should invest is to look at your total or projected revenue and determine what percentage of that amount can be invested into the business to launch or improve your brand.

Only you can decide what an improvement is worth to you, but if you’re looking for some general rules of thumb that don’t take industry into account, here are a few:

  • SCORE, the nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses, advises that companies with less than $5 million in revenue should allocate 7–8% of sales to annual marketing.
  • According to Entrepreneur.com, startups and companies 1-5 years old should aim for 12-20% of gross or projected revenue. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the idea is that if no one knows who you are or what you’re about yet, there’s a greater investment to make that happen. That annual amount can taper as time goes on and the audience has gained familiarity.

Can I get just a logo design?

Because we feel strongly about delivering a solid return on investment for our clients, the answer is no—at least not from us. A beautiful logo with no plan for application and customer experience holds very little value. And we just don’t want to be in the habit of delivering pretty work with little value.

Would you consider doing work for equity?

Possibly and partially. While the entire project couldn’t be done for equity, if we felt a strong passion for your idea and the investment made sense for us, we would consider it.

Can you price the initial work low for a start-up and then increase fees as we grow?

We’ve spent many years trying to figure out how to give small startups a lower price and grow with them. The only way to achieve that is through a licensing arrangement with eventual buyout at an agreed-upon point of growth (i.e., 1 year, 2 years, second store, 5 stores, etc.). If that’s something that could work for you, we can discuss it. Work for equity could be another possibility, but that would be on a case-by-case basis.

Is your estimate negotiable?

Our estimates are scaleable. Which means if your budget has decreased, we can reduce the scope of work to reduce cost. But we can’t reduce cost without reducing scope. We can also potentially tackle a project in phases if resources aren’t currently available but are expected in the near future. We can make a recommendation for what aspects to tackle immediately, and what to table for a later date.

Do you offer website hosting and/or maintenance?

The hosting game is one we simply don’t want to get into at the moment, but we are happy to make a recommendation for a third-party service. As for maintenance, it depends on what kind.

The websites we develop are always built on a CMS (Content Management System) that allows the client to—you guessed it—manage their content. The goal is for you to not need us for the day-to-day edits and updates. And frankly, it’s not the stuff that really drives us.

That said, a website should be a constantly evolving tool in your marketing arsenal. If you are looking for an ongoing partner to help you make strategic decisions and changes to your site over time as you grow, we can potentially offer a retainer arrangement to address such needs.

You do a lot of restaurant work. Can you show me you’ve done pizza/Asian/insert-cuisine-here just like ours?

Probably, but we’d urge you not to rely on an apples-to-apples comparison in selecting an agency. Your competition’s problem is probably not the same as your problem. And even if it was, we wouldn’t approach it the same way for you. Look for a firm that has a record of achieving success in what your particular area of concern is. Seeking more audience engagement? Better experiential design? Those are the areas of expertise you should be looking at.

Why should we hire Works Progress instead of a firm that specializes exclusively in franchises?

Well, it depends on what the need is. If your brand is already inspiring your audience to shout your name from the proverbial rooftops, then by all means, go with a franchise specialist who can offer you the turn-key solutions that’ll be the icing on your already kick-ass cake. But if your need is true brand differentiation, “proven solutions” is an oxymoron. Repetition isn’t innovation.

Do you collaborate with other agencies?

Absolutely! Whether that’s an existing long-term relationship on your end or someone we suggest to satisfy a need we don’t do in-house, we’re happy to partner up. We don’t try to be all things to all clients. We know what we do well and when it’s time to bring someone else in.

Will you participate in an RFP?

Possibly. If it’s an open call to agencies, probably not. If you’ve whittled down to a short-listed group of 3-5 firms, we’re getting warmer. If we can help you decide on a call if we should be on that short list, we’re happy to do so.

Another suggestion that makes the process more appealing to us: the opportunity to meet or at least speak with the project lead on your team (not procurement) prior to submitting the RFP response. Not only is it more informative about the project, but it gets one of the most important questions out of the way: do we click?

Assuming the stars align on the last question, what do you want to see in an RFP?

The best RFPs talk about real issues and needs. Not, “We need a website,” but, “Research tells us our customers don’t care whether they’re dining with us or our competitor. We think the best place to communicate our differentiation is our website.” Why is that better? Because it helps us understand your real problem. A new website might not be the right answer or it might be only part of the right answer. Either way, it helps us craft a proposal that helps you make a better decision. It may make for a less comparable set of RFP responses, but probably more insightful ones.

Other helpful information includes timing, review process, budget, key decision makers, and means of evaluating the success of the project.

Will you do spec work for agency reviews?

Probably not. Spec work is more common in the advertising world where the scope of work can last years and budgets are exponentially higher. Greater reward warrants greater risk. Branding budgets are typically on a smaller scale and require a deep dive into the heart and soul of the organization to come up with a recommended solution. That said, if the risk matched the reward and we had an innate feel for the right solution, never say never.

Are you a web / digital agency?

We are a branding agency that has a keen understanding of what it means to build a brand in the digital realm. Our strength is knowing how to seamlessly integrate your digital experience with your real world experience for one comprehensive, consistent impression.

You’re a relatively small shop. Can you handle all our needs?

It depends what they are. If they extend from identity and in-store experience to packaging and print promotions to merchandise design and online experience… why yes, we can!

If you’re looking for specialized SEO (i.e., a targeted campaign not general best practices), pay-per-click ads, media buying, or something along those lines, we don’t handle that in-house. But we can make a recommendation for a strategic partner. Other services that might require an outside partner include photography or extensive copywriting, depending on the creative needs of the project.