C A Maggi
It is a good idea to send your expression of interest on paper, at least eight months before you require a consultation.  Perhaps include:

An outline of the problems and mysteries you are trying to solve

A suggested schedule for the consultancy, with some indication of the total number of dedicated hours that may be required

Payment arrangements and the acceptable hourly fee range

The possible additional expenses you will cover

The measurable outcomes you hope the consultancy will assist

An indication of the discretionary payment *see below

Your full contact details

The special reference number from the copy of Travelling at the Speed of Life that you have been reading

Other information and documentation that may be useful for unbiased, confidential assessments of your needs.

About the discretionary payment

Initial assessment - three months

There is no fee for the initial assessment.  It is a process that may take up to three months from receipt of your expression of interest.

Once I accept your proposal for more detailed assessment, I will invite you to send the discretionary payment.  The amount for this is subject to negotiation and will usually be based on the complexity of your requirements.

Detailed assessment - part one - three months

Once I receive the discretionary payment, I will make a more detailed assessment of your requirements.  At the same time, I will provide you with a special password (you may have requested open-access passwords in the meantime, too). 

The special password will give you access to an online commissioning kit.  You may like to use the kit as a tool for re-examining, re-defining and refining your needs. 

Detailed assessment - part two - two months

At the end of the three months of access, your special password will no longer work.  This may be the time to consider arranging a formal contractual agreement.

Please note, however, that there will be no obligation on either side to proceed with the consultancy before a formal contract is signed, especially if your needs have been met in the meantime.
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