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Re: General business que

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Billing for learning;  that is a good question.

The way that I look at it is if the project (or part of the project) is 
unique and that I probably would *never* encounter that aspect in a good 
number of years, I would advise the client that *research* needs to be done 
and that would be billed on an hourly basis in addition to any other fee, 
fixed or not to exceed.  However, if the results of the learning are reusable 
within a short period of time, or, that I feel that I *should* have known the 
material, then I would consider the time spent *learning* as overhead and not 
bill the client.

I know that billable hours are a problem; that it is virtually impossible to 
bill for more than 1,000 hours a year, no matter how busy you are.  In 
addition, we, as engineers, are always overly optimistic in estimates of the 
time that it would take to do a project, therefore, we *rarely* figure the 
correct number of hours a project would take.

Therefore, I would say that most "learning" hours should be "chalked up to 
experience,"  like many other unpleasant things.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona