OK, so it's a singular question. But lots and lots of answers to make up for it.
So exactly how much does it cost for your services? Not that we have that kind of cash, but I'm curious anyway.
Well, nowadays I'm contracting Darkan army in two pieces for month's period of time. each piece is 2 battle groups and will be having 5-8k CS. I will have to run them on mercenary mode for nearly a month, so they will be sucking up a lot of gold both in recruiting and upkeep costs. Anyway, I figure it's less costly for the hirer than providing such a force by themselves, since Darka is not netgaining any extra gold from this all, only action... so basically Darka is paying up more than half of it.
Still, the cost is measured in thousands, because it takes me about 350-400 gold to have just one troop leader equipped up for the job initially, given he has nothing to begin with.
Factors affecting cost are also the distance of the fight and diplomacy... and price-competition between the wouldbe-hirers of each month. The more the job needs diplomacy changes, the bigger the multiplier. And the worse your stance is towards us initially, the bigger the needed gold is again.
We also require a local army meat shielding us. I won't take deals where that piece is not sufficient. That also cuts off trying to hire us for going in to some distant place for a suicide mission. It is no fun for my boys to be send off week's march away with infantry or cavalry and then get it chopped up in 1-2 battles and to be on the way home after that. So that's why we're doing ranged combat. And ranged combat force gets chopped up fast without the infantry/cavalry screen.
We won't do suicides, we won't do takeovers and we won't declare wars or hatreds - except maybe in cases where it goes a bit more personal from the poor realm in the receiving end for the month (things like getting nasty on my TLs rotting in prisons - I'm fine about keep-a-day-or-two-then-release -pacts that work both ways).
We are eager to do plundering to get more cash when being far off from our banks.
About civil work... it's so-so. If there is really nothing else to do, I figure we could let the volunteers with high morale do that on contractor's lands temporarily.
Sharing intelligence would be fine to save hours.
Having a contact person (from maybe the council or senate of contracting realm) to coordinate Darka's battle groups on the field-of-operations, would be fine, too. One that is either in the same BG with our BG leader(s) or one that has family in both of our realms. but espionage I won't tolerate, and also this keeping-in-contact thingo going on after the mission time is up, is a no-no.
If things go bad in home, I receive the right to abort the mission and maybe throw you back some of the payment as compensation (depending on how much the mission has cost Darka already)...
I demand pre-payment of 1k gold before hand and after payment of 1k gold after the month is up... so the minimum cost is 2k gold. any other costs can be send during the mission. These pre/after cash are used for building the army up in here.
I don't know exact costs of our services. but make an offer and I'll let you know if it's acceptable or does someone else have a better deal for our time.
Since Mr_Jones was unearthly wise man, I sign this page as well.