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  1. #1
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    Exclamation How to price for a year long web commitment?

    I recently started up my own web design practice and have mostly been building small short-run projects for clients (i.e. small business sites with 1-month turnaround).

    However, the staff of a startup film festival contacted me and wants to contract my services for the year...and I have NO idea how to approach pricing this! Any help you could provide would be MUCH appreciated

    The actual festival is in the 2007 summer and they would like me to design/build/launch the site in the 2006 fall and then work with them throughout the year to improve the site, regularly post content (i.e. new releases, announcements), manage all user communication, film submission, and all technical aspects of the site (i.e. traffic, usage, server, emails, etc).

    On the one hand, this sounds like a salaried job (i.e. I'd be the "web manager"), however, it doesn't sound like every week will require 40-hours of commitment so it's arguably more of a part time job.

    How would you go about providing an estimate of cost? Would you
    - break down each phase of the project into hours?
    - ask for a monthly "retainer" (or salary) and just accept that some weeks will be busy and others will be dead?

    ...I'll take any advice or input!

    Cheers,
    BC

  2. #2
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    Hi Bearclaws,

    I would be having an fixed cost on the initial development of the project and put them on a maintenance plan after that.

    EG 5 hours a month for xxx with the hours not carrying over and everything over this amount charged at xx per hour unless there is a significant more amount of work where is a new fixed cost would be made with a new contract on that work.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Mentor bronze trophy

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    I'd treat the initial build as any other project - create a detailed spec, quote a price on that exact spec and then any additional features or ongoing management is billed by your hourly rate. So, take 50% of the initial build price in advance, then upon completion of the initial build (which should be clearly defined in your contract, or even better, defined by a specific date), take the balancing fee. Then at that point you could either just go to monthly billing in arrears for all ongoing work you carry out, or take an advance retainer each month based on the estimated work you will perform (with any additional work collected in the next month's invoice).

    I personally wouldn't agree to working for a set salary of sorts - what you don't want to do is end up working your guts out each month with no defined variables, 70-80 hour weeks getting pushed to the limit with absolutely no benefits or protections that you would usually receive as an official company employee. Much better to remain an independant consultant and charge your standard consulting fees plus all expenses. I would not offer a discount either - remember they are asking you to dedicate unlimited time exclusively to them for the next year - that's quite a commitment.

    alternatively, agree a set number of hours each week that you will definitely work for them, e.g, 10am-2pm, Mon, Tues, Thurs etc. Anything beyond that is not guaranteed and obviously will cost more.

  4. #4
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    I'd like to say that I could spec this in advance but there's just no way of knowing how much time is going to be involved with certain components.

    So, I think I'm leaning more toward shadowbox's proposal: work out a "max" number of hours for a fixed price and then charge for any hours worked over that limit.

    Thanks for your advice!

    BC


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