SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 58
  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Quoting a client, hourly vs by project

    My partner and I are 21 and 23 and have full time jobs doing our web site development on the side and hope to soon make it our full time jobs. We're working with a client who's been very good to us and we do their computer maintenance as well.

    We're building their web site because their last web development company basically didn't do much and they didn't feel like he was doing his job. Well, now we've got the client and it's a great deal for us. She wants an hourly quote and a timeline breakdown on when things will be completed. Is this reasonable for a client to demand? We have other clients who are just like "get it done by this date" and we do it. I feel like this is a complete waste of time that could be spent developing the site. On top of that, I feel like it's just not worth the effort.

    Anything I include in that quote is irrelevant as soon as the content isn't delivered on time. On top of that, we aren't doing the graphics, another guy is who is under us, the thing with graphics is that we never know how many changes they will want. How can we set a final deadline on something like that?

    What should we do? We really don't want to spend the time to sit down and put together a timeline on things that in the end can be used against us as things that weren't completed "on time" regardless of what caused it.

    We have to have it ready by Monday. Kind of on a time crunch to decide.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Atlantis
    Posts
    73
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Once clients are left alone with bad work from some freelancers, they become more careful about approaching new ones. I cant say this is not a reasonable demand. In fact its always good to draw little timelines and milestones of project and try to follow them. I dont see why you reject this or see it as an effort. You can set a revision/change timezone as well after the initial demo is prepared, and leave flexible dates for it after talking with your client. If you arrange this hourly, you will have nothing to lose, you can still charge for your time after revisions.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast John Sharp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    On Your Hard Drive
    Posts
    51
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Talking Money is Money

    If the money is not going to be worth the time it takes to do an itemized job sheet (which is what it is called) then tell them so. IJS are for BIG projects with many workers... She knows your not a big company so let here know that if she really needs it you got to outsource the IJS and it will raze the total job cost. basically point out the things you stated here to her. If she still wants the IJS without covering your costs, tell her sorry, and give her a few quotes from a few BIG development company's that will be happy to give her the IJS... after full payment. Don't ever be mean to a customer, just be real. However, if the money is worth it... then outsource the IJS to a technical writer for a few hundred dollars and carry on.

    My2Cents
    Official Card Caring Member of the Seroquel Mafia
    Wordress Commando Design Services
    What we can do for you

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    This may be too late for you to beat the crunch, but why not structure your timeline in days instead of dates? For instance, the template will be complete x-number of days after you receive all the required graphics.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO.
    Posts
    206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I give myself lots of space to work with deadlines. I figure out how long it should take me ad some days for unexpected things and then add some more cushion for the client. The bigger the job the bigger the cushion. I also include in the contract that completion date is dependent on the client providing content in a reasonable time frame. Whats reasonable? Yeah its a little subjective.

    Regardless in the end you will have to push for content. You will be waiting and there will be an incredible amount of stupid changes. Plan for it anyway then be happily surprised if it goes smoothly.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    I include that the timeline is dependent upon the client supplying all content for the content before the beginning of the project and that completion depends upon the client's prompt (72 hours) requests for revisions, etc. I try not to put subjective words like reasonable in, since what may seem reasonable to a client may be unrealistic for smooth project completion.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict Robert_2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Tarpon Springs Fl.
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Make sure you and they both understand the scope of the project otherwise if you set a timeline and experience some project creep you'll be in trouble.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    967
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Honestly, its probably in your best interest to have this in writing.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Posts
    358
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    My partner and I are 21 and 23 and have full time jobs doing our web site development on the side and hope to soon make it our full time jobs. We're working with a client who's been very good to us and we do their computer maintenance as well.

    We're building their web site because their last web development company basically didn't do much and they didn't feel like he was doing his job. Well, now we've got the client and it's a great deal for us. She wants an hourly quote and a timeline breakdown on when things will be completed. Is this reasonable for a client to demand?
    I guess she might be a bit more careful as to what she will get out of the development. I would suggest to break down the development and have a number of intermediate deliverables. In return however, you need to:
    - make clear that she has to sign off and pay the intermediate deliverable.
    - terminate the project, if she doesn't pay or doesn't approve the result of a development step based on what was agreed.

    In this respect, you also need to agree beforehand what will constitute sufficient quality.

    In addition, if she simply wants an hourly break-down of what and when you have spent time on, simply sign up to a time tracking system and log your time. Again make sure that you don't even start discussing the contents of this with her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    We have other clients who are just like "get it done by this date" and we do it. I feel like this is a complete waste of time that could be spent developing the site. On top of that, I feel like it's just not worth the effort.
    If she is paying by the hour, how can you judge that? Why don't you offer the project as a quoted price instead?
    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    Anything I include in that quote is irrelevant as soon as the content isn't delivered on time.
    You can plan time for that, and if she goes over it, you revise it, no problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    On top of that, we aren't doing the graphics, another guy is who is under us, the thing with graphics is that we never know how many changes they will want. How can we set a final deadline on something like that?
    You can limit the number of revisions. Usually two is enough unless someone doesn't concentrate. In which case they loose.


    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    What should we do? We really don't want to spend the time to sit down and put together a timeline on things that in the end can be used against us as things that weren't completed "on time" regardless of what caused it.

    We have to have it ready by Monday. Kind of on a time crunch to decide.
    If you are on hourly rate, how can it be used against you? She can't have it both, either she pays you hourly or she pays you quoted. Only in the latter can she decide if it is good enough.

    HTH, Jochen
    http://www.automatem.co.nz
    Websites, On-line Software and everything Internet
    Follow on Twitter | Connect on LinkedIn | Read on Posterous

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks so much for the input guys. You've brought up some good suggestions and given some great advice. I'll be sure to think hard over this for the next 24 hours before I finalize the quote. I'm meeting with her tomorrow so we might discuss it then.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    LaGrange, Georgia
    Posts
    6,117
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    She wants an hourly quote and a timeline breakdown on when things will be completed. Is this reasonable for a client to demand? We have other clients who are just like "get it done by this date" and we do it. I feel like this is a complete waste of time that could be spent developing the site. On top of that, I feel like it's just not worth the effort.
    Of course it's reasonable for a client to want to know how long it's going to take and what it's going to cost. Were you serious? If you took your car in to be fixed, would you want to know how long they'd have it? What it would cost? Even if they have to get parts from a supplier, they still give very good estimates. It is still an estimate, but you should be able to quote it with 95+% accuracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    Anything I include in that quote is irrelevant as soon as the content isn't delivered on time. On top of that, we aren't doing the graphics, another guy is who is under us, the thing with graphics is that we never know how many changes they will want. How can we set a final deadline on something like that?
    If you hire the designer, you should work with professionals that can meet a deadline. You should have a pretty good idea of what she will want after your consultations with her, and work in some time in the estimate for revisions. Also work in enough time for her to get you the content and materials you need.

    Personally, we don't start a project until we have all the materials in hand... but that is hard sometimes. Still, you should provide the estimate under the assumption she will make her deadline of getting you the materials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    What should we do? We really don't want to spend the time to sit down and put together a timeline on things that in the end can be used against us as things that weren't completed "on time" regardless of what caused it.

    We have to have it ready by Monday. Kind of on a time crunch to decide.
    Almost all clients (if you want to do this professionally) will want a quote or estimate regardless of whether you provide a fixed price bid or hourly. No one will just say "sure take as long as you want."

    If you want to do this professionally you will have to learn how to properly estimate a project, whether it's to give an accurate fixed-price proposal or hourly estimate. And you will have to make and adhere to deadlines, in spite of subcontractors or other unforseen factors. That's just part of the business.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I always quote per project. Trying to calculate it down to the hour is ridiculous, that is unless you're simply doing a small task or ammendment. Its impossible to cost a project on an hourly basis, because in this business, change requests and delays are a way of life.

    Cost it as a project with an estimated completion date.

    And as always - be sure to use documentation!

    RJ

  13. #13
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's funny how there are always people who will say that it's impossible to estimate a web project, then there are always people who estimate web projects all the time. Like building a house or a manufacturing electronics, a complex project is very hard to estimate accurately, which is why it takes practice and experience to do it well.

    I work with people who estimate projects all the time, and we produce details cost/hour/time charts for big systems - is it really THAT hard to estimate a web project with a reasonable degree of accuracy (+/- 10%?). So long as you detail the risks and contingencies that can change the model, you should be fine.

    If I went to a contractor and asked for an estimate on my house and they said it's just 'too hard to estimate' so they'd give me a massively padded fixed-bid instead, I'd show them the door.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    It's funny how there are always people who will say that it's impossible to estimate a web project, then there are always people who estimate web projects all the time.
    I said "Its impossible to cost a project on an hourly basis" and I stand by that. Trying to calculate exactly (or even within a -/+ 10%) as you suggest isnt something that I forsee myself ever doing in this business.

    Im not suggesting that what I do is right or for everyone, but it works for me. If I can complete the project within a certain time frame at a certain price, and it benefits me and the client is happy, then great. But I sure as hell arent going to have a project drag on forever and a day at an hourly rate due to unforseen delays, only to throw a huge bill at the client because of those delays.

    Besides, Ive found my clients are much more receptive of a "fixed price" than they are left guessing at what it "might cost" when finished.

    RJ

  15. #15
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The amazing thing is that as you move into larger and larger projects, you find that more and more of them are estimated by hours. It can actually be hardest with a little project (i.e. <$5000), but for really big ones (i.e. >$100,000) it's generally best to do hourly estimations for components, work in a risk model, and even put it all through a Gantt chart to try and figure out the cost. In the software business, it's common to use that technique to generate a fixed-bid if one is necessary.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You should break your regular project fees down hourly. I have separate hourly rates broken down by Conceptual Design (Designing the Look and Feel of the site) Coding (HTML/CSS), Graphic Design, Copyrighting (writing/researching content) Programming (which includes Javascript, ASP, PHP and even flash). Then I tack extras like putting up a Shopping Cart, or Designing a Blog etc.
    I charge extra for things like stock images that have to be purchased.

    I also have basic rates for a 1-3 page site, 4-10 pages, 11-25 and 26-50.

    Every customer is different some will just want a project total cost, others wants to know what it costs hourly. If you want to go into business you'll want to firgue this out now, down the road you will be asked for it again and it's better to be prepared.

    I wouldn't have any specific set timelines I would give her an estimate and have it in writing that it's just an estimate and you do not guarantee those times and have her sign it. It is good though to give any customers periodic updates I try to contact an current project customers at least once every other week and explain what has been done. I usually put my customer's templates up on a temporary page and then add my changes it to it as I work on the project, that way they can link to it and see that work is being done. It usually keeps them happy.

    Good Luck
    Jodi

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    sasquash, excellent advice. I've taken the hourly rate with this project and your idea of having it constantly viewable as well. I think they will be very happy.

  18. #18
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sasquash_0 View Post
    You should break your regular project fees down hourly. I have separate hourly rates broken down by Conceptual Design (Designing the Look and Feel of the site) Coding (HTML/CSS), Graphic Design, Copyrighting (writing/researching content) Programming (which includes Javascript, ASP, PHP and even flash).
    What is the rationale of having different hourly rates for different activities? I know that different activities have different value, but if the same person is doing those activities is there really any basis for the different rates?

    From a client perspective it would seem arbitrary, I think.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  19. #19
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    6,455
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sasquash_0 View Post
    You should break your regular project fees down hourly. I have separate hourly rates broken down by Conceptual Design (Designing the Look and Feel of the site) Coding (HTML/CSS), Graphic Design, Copyrighting (writing/researching content) Programming (which includes Javascript, ASP, PHP and even flash). Then I tack extras like putting up a Shopping Cart, or Designing a Blog etc.
    I would advise against this for the simple reason that it does not scale as a company grows. As your client base becomes larger and you have to hire someone, you then have a rate structure you have to manage in the background to pay them (assuming they are part time).

    With a flat hourly rate it's much easier to track tasks and the time they involve, rather than trying to remember what kind of task you worked on yesterday or three hours ago.
    Last edited by Hartmann; Jan 21, 2008 at 23:00.

  20. #20
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    I agree with Hartman and Sagewing. I once looked at a writer's competitive site and saw that she charged different hourly rates for different types of content. I thought that was quite daft. To me, it doesn't matter how I spend my time. I know what income I want to generate and I know what I have to do and what I have to charge to do it. I believe it's best to keep all your clients on a level playing field, no matter what kind of service they want you to provide.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  21. #21
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Its hard enough trying to keep track of the hours worked, let alone different rates as well!

    Sheesh!

    RJ

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well my reasoning behind this is that I don't think that my customers should pay the same rate for simple HTML/CSS Coding as more complicated ASP/PHP programming or for Graphic Design/Copyrighting. With my basic package sites I have already estimated about the amount of hours I spend on each one.

    All of these have different pay scales in the marketplace. If I hired employees I would not pay my Graphic Designer the same hourly wage as I would someone doing ASP or PHP Programming.

    I do have customers coming to me not wanting an entire site but just wanting simple links fixed or a programming features added or some simple graphics change. I'm sorry but if I'm doing programming I feel my time is more valuable then if I'm just designing a new graphic or logo. I would not charge both customer's the same hourly rate, I would lose money this way. If one went to a graphic artist and the other a programmer they would both be charged very differently. I think it does depend on the type of work your doing.

    I do have a basic web design package rates based on the number of pages. I have based these prices on my estimation of how many hours I spend doing each one of the mentioned tasks (as experienced from previous projects). Now sometimes I go over that estimation sometimes I do less it depends on the project however the customer's basic rate will stay the same. I also have a menu of extras like Shopping Carts, Blogs, Multimedia Features etc. that are not part of the basic package, if they want these then they pay extra.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sasquash_0 View Post
    I don't think that my customers should pay the same rate for simple HTML/CSS Coding as more complicated ASP/PHP programming or for Graphic Design/Copyrighting.
    I can understand your reasoning to a point, however I really doubt that clients would care. So long as youre providing quality work on time and within budget, I doubt a small offset in rate is going to make any difference.

    Besides, ask most clients the difference between HTML/CSS and ASP/PHP and no doubt youll get nothing more than a confused blank look.

    Oh well, each to their own.

    Its late, Im off to bed.

    RJ

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We've setup different hourly rates due to the fact that certain things are a lot more complicated. Should we stick with 1 hourly rate for all future projects? I can see where that would be kinda stupid.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Posts
    358
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    We've setup different hourly rates due to the fact that certain things are a lot more complicated. Should we stick with 1 hourly rate for all future projects? I can see where that would be kinda stupid.
    Hi,

    it comes down what kind of profile you want to present. Do you give one big solution to your clients problems or do are you a labour hire company?

    HTH, Jochen
    http://www.automatem.co.nz
    Websites, On-line Software and everything Internet
    Follow on Twitter | Connect on LinkedIn | Read on Posterous


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •