New Office, New Service ( sourcing agent )

So, the time has come to leave the Asian country i am living now and move back to my home country in south europe. There i plan (already organizing) to set up my own office in a under-develped id/new-product-development market. As such I need to develop an extensive service portfolio as purely and solely ID jobs will not be able to sustain my office.
Having a (i hope) good pool of companies and individuls here in Asia that could take an id design to production i am thinking to capitalize this asset. In a sense i could sell the whole package from ID design down to ME/Tooling/Production in collaboration with partners in Asia. Alternatively, a company that already has a design but no experience in production could come to me to help them find suppliers/vendors/manufacturers.

My main question, is how i could quote such services. For example. where with my ID or another existing ID, we get to the point of sourcing. The first step is to find appropriate vendors (needs some time and maybe involve people in Asia who will have to be paid) then the request-for-quotation (rfq). However both of them is not sure that will yield results but from my side or my partner’s side will need billable time. How could I quote these hours and communicate to clients that even if i locate a vendor/manufacturer it does not mean that he will respond, take time to send back a completed rfq.
I have heard a company that is only getting money from its clients depending of how many completed rfqs will manage to collect from potential manufacturers. That sounds “fair” for the design office’s client but not for the design office itself (isn’t it?)

Also, supposing everything goes well and a vendor/manufacturer is found and signs, what is your opinion in terms of confidentiality. Do you think i should assume the responsibility and me to be the one and only contact window between my client and the supplier vendor? In this sense i would put a huge load of responsibility and management over my shoulders but at the same time i keep the vendors/manufacturers list/contacts within my office. As such, next time my client that will need to produce something else may come to me again while if i provide the rfq and then i just do the pm for the product development, then my client could go directly to the manufacturer and surpass me (as well as share the contacts with other companies that could go directly to the manufacturers as well). Hope the above make sense… hehe…

Maybe i think too much so i would like to hear how you deal with similar cases, or if you have heard how design offices or other agents are managing these services.
Even if you do not have personal experience, just opinions are welcome as well.

Thanks a lot everybody.

Our scope of services includes what you’re proposing to provide.

We act as a service provider and give our clients proposals that estimate each step of the process - but as you can imagine, actual costs vary and we explain that in our proposals. Each of our disciplines bills hourly and we invoice our clients monthly. We also do a comprehensive job of removing ourselves from liability (via proposal/contract) in case production issues arise or other things outside our control occur - we act as an agent for the client, bridging the gap between their needs and the manufacturers who can “make their stuff” but the client is always the customer of the manufacturer, not us.

Scott, thank you very much for your response and the insight of how your consultancy works and manages its clients during such services.
May I ask, did you have a case where your client in a second project, went directly to the manufacturer you had introduced during your 1st project? Of course everything is legal but in a sense you have give out an information (that most likely you charge enough during the 1st project) but how did you handle such an incident?
Then, i guess you ask various vendors for quotation for the same project. You charge your client based on your time to search, ask for quotations or per quotations you deliver to your client? Because i can imagine that a consultancy may spend time to find vendors, send to them an rfq but the vendors may not be interested for the project (small moq for example) and do not provide a quotation. In this case, will the client be willing to pay? I assume that the client has to be informed that there is this possibility but still has to pay?