How long does it typically take for a law firm to prepare an NDA for a startup business? Also, how much does preparing the NDA typically cost?
It can take a lawyer anything from 10 minutes to several hours to draft an NDA, depending upon how complex the circumstances are, and how closely the lawyer's precedents fit with those circumstances. Most of the NDAs I prepare are relatively straightforward and take less than 30 minutes.
How long it takes for a firm to actually send out a document after taking instructions is a different question. That will depend amongst other things upon how busy the lawyer is, and how important the client is.
If I instructed a firm to prepare an NDA, and didn't have at least first draft within 5 working days of giving instructions, I would be asking questions.
The charging rates of UK commercial lawyers vary dramatically, from around GBP 100 (for an junior lawyer or inexpensive freelancer) to around GBP 1000 (for an expensive City lawyer) per hour. This range is reflected in what you might pay for an NDA. E.g. for a straightforward 30 minutes NDA you might expect to pay between GBP 50 and GBP 500 depending on the firm/person you are using. Note, however, that many commercial firms would not take on a job for a new startup client if the total fees were not expected to exceed a certain threshold.