SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Did I overcharge for this content management system?

    I created a content management system for a friend of mine and he wasn't too happy about the total price ($7,000). He wants a way lower price. I know there are formulas out there to determine pricing but I'm just curious if in your guys opinions, I gave him a good price.

    My full time job is as a full time asp.net web developer in New York City. I've been a professional developer for nearly 5 years now (this is my first freelance work though).

    The website is a full fledged content management system written using c#, asp.net 2.0, and a sql server 2005 database with an informational front end (home page, about us, contact us, etc), a members section (highly detailed. tons of features), and a full administration backend for adding/editting/deleting every piece of site content imaginable. I handled the entire site from start to finish (graphics, database, and site programming). In addition to the usual development cycle, this was a medical website, which brought into the mix HIPAA compliance issues. I spent a great deal of time studying HIPAA compliance to get this website secure. The website is hosted on a dedicated server and I'm the network administrator for this website as well.

    In total, the website took about 200 hours to build and takes up about 2 hours of my time every week to monitor and upkeep the dedicated server.

    I charged him $7,000 for the website and 1 year worth of network upkeep on the site. Was this too much? Too little? How much would you guys have charged for something like this (ballpark estimate)?

    Thanks.

    -Goalie35

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not quite sure if we should be discussing costing on SP.com mate.

    RJ

  3. #3
    SitePoint Member road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Goalie35 View Post
    I created a content management system for a friend of mine. ..
    I think you can figure out the answer yourself. When ever you are helping a friend, they are kind of thinking cheap or for free. . .

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,676
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    whether it's too expensive in hindsight isn't really the issue - what I don't understand is why your 'friend' is haggling over price now that the project is completed. Surely you told him the expected costs before starting the project, and he agreed? If so, he should pay you. If not, more fool you.

    We see this time and time again - people perform work for friends and get shafted because they fail to realise that friends and business only mix well if you treat them like any other client. No friend should expect you to work like a dog for free or cut price. Friends are a great source of income; some of my best clients are friends - but we have contracts, deposits, payment schedules, agreed development processes etc. This avoids the very situation you are describing now.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Member road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You should have had your friend sign a contract up front so your friend would know the total cost involved. Bottom line, get everything in writing, and signed before you do any work. The client needs to know their legal obligations upfront.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot supermighty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Louisville
    Posts
    103
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I try to keep my friends out of my business. If they do happen to mix I will only do work for free. So I only tend to do simple things for my friends, as there is no way I am doing >$500 worth of work for free.
    Supermighty's blog: Debian Virtualbox for local web development.
    Notes from the Walled City

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    OK. Now I am really curious. You have to tell us

    Did you give him an estimate before you started the project that he agreed to or did you just present a bill upon completion?

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    19
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For starters, could probably could have charged half that price and used an existing CMS framework/application. Drupal, CMSMS and TypoLight are three examples of CMS which can be extended in various ways and basically bent to do as you require. Surely this would have saved you time and would likley have been of higher quality -- stability, security, etc.

    I think $7000 for a custom built CMS is actually a low cost -- but again starting from scratch, any application is costly. Most decent PHP applications take about 9-15 months to complete from start to finish (depending on how many people are involved). For this reason it often makes sense to dig into something that already exists -- I am sure there are CMS available in ASP.NET as well you could have used as a starting point and saved both of you time and money.

    So in short, no you didn't over charge, but you did rip him off. :P

  9. #9
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
    spikeZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Manchester UK
    Posts
    13,807
    Mentioned
    158 Post(s)
    Tagged
    3 Thread(s)
    I dont think this is really price discussion, more a business discussion.
    If the site took 700 hours and you manage it for that price - which I assued you told them beforehand, I can't see what they are grumbling about!

    That isnt much at all tbh - I reckon you undercharged him!
    Mike Swiffin - Community Team Advisor
    Only a woman can read between the lines of a one word answer.....

  10. #10
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Philadephia, PA
    Posts
    20,578
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I wouldn't find that fee unreasonable just to get an existing system up to spec for HIPAA compliance, let alone starting from scratch. Especially since you may be taking on liability should your claims of compliance prove untrue and they get sued...

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by phpPunk View Post
    So in short, no you didn't over charge, but you did rip him off. :P


    Certainly your friend probably feels that you are ripping him off even though you are really not making much money on it.

    Although your hours put in come out to only $35.00 per hour not including the two hours per week monitoring the site and server, your friend probably does in fact perceive it that you are ripping him off. I am sure his friends are saying that there are a whole bunch of webmasters that build sites far cheaper. Unless he knows whats involved, he may not appreciate the time spent to put it together. You may have to take a loss or work out a compromise if you feel you want to keep this friendship in tact. Next time, you need to have him or her sign the contract. Lets avoid the ambiguities.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    286
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I suspect the truth is that the price was not negotiated before hand and the friend was expecting it on the cheap. He was then unpleasantly suprised when he was given the invoice. Learn from it and do not have friends that you do business with. By that I mean treat them the same as anyone else. Quote and have signed agreements before you lift a finger.
    http://www.glasys.co.uk
    Noli Illegitimi Carborundum

  13. #13
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sunny Snowdonia
    Posts
    662
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think when it comes down to business with friends the paperwork becomes more important than ever. I try never to work for friends, neighbours or relatives anyway because the dependency seems to just go on and on. I actually had one neighbour who I built a site for two years ago; get me out of bed on a Sunday morning because he couldn't get on the internet following a storm which had bought down lines. (Figure that one out) I think your price if anything is a touch on the light side given the amount of work and you certainly haven't ripped him off. You have told us about the hours that you worked on this project but I would lay even money that it doesn't even scratch the surface of the amount of time that you felt obliged to spend discussing the project with him (Why do friends expect this bit to be free?)
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  14. #14
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    5,840
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by phpPunk View Post
    For starters, could probably could have charged half that price and used an existing CMS framework/application. Drupal, CMSMS and TypoLight are three examples of CMS which can be extended in various ways and basically bent to do as you require. Surely this would have saved you time and would likley have been of higher quality -- stability, security, etc.
    I wouldn't even consider using an open-source COTS product for an application that has the legal liabilities inherent in the one that he created. Yes, security fixes come out reasonably quickly but I'd rather be working on a platform that I know people are currently trying to hack into on a large scale.

  15. #15
    Headed Home! KM Richards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    I'm right Here!
    Posts
    707
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by exodo View Post
    Did you give him an estimate before you started the project that he agreed to or did you just present a bill upon completion?
    That's what I'm thinking...

    I spent years in the auto repair industry and I learned that you cannot take on a job without first discussing the estimated costs involved.

    If you do, that's a good way to not get paid!

    Of course your situation is different...If I fix your car and you refuse to pay, I file a mechanic's lien and I now own your car so it's no problem in automotive repair.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a good friend in the marine repair business, perhaps a bit similar to the auto repair industry. He would never give an estimate or a fixed price on anything. Most of the time people don't even ask and he just starts working away at an hourly rate with his team. And we are talking big projects that can go on for weeks and months. When the customers receive the bill they usually piss and moan for a bit, but they almost always pay.

    I always give estimates and more or less fixed prices and make sure it's super clear whats included and not before any project is started. Guess who is making more money? It's not me.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for your replies guys. Yeah, I'll have to chalk this one up as a learning experience.

    Before starting work on this project, I had discussed with him my $35/hour rate and that the site would initially take about 120 hours (but I didn't get anything in writing). I also layed out in a detailed document EXACTLY what I would be creating on the site as well, webpage by webpage.

    After showing him and his employees the finalized site, they came back with a ton of changes and I guess this is where the miscomunication came from. I had to charge extra for all of these changes and I have a feeling he was expecting these changes to be included in the initial estimate of 120 hours.

    So like I said, I'll chalk it up as a learning experience and know to get it all down in writing before starting next time. Just a shame because it's now put a strain on our friendship. I'm sure this will all blow over in time between us but not something I want to go through with another friend again.

    -Goalie35

  18. #18
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
    Posts
    434
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You must always address change requests and scope creep BEFORE commencing any development work as thoroughly as possible.

    RJ

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast Darren_MoreNiche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    36
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Price always up front, especially when friends are involved! For a custom built CMS I think your price is good btw.

    Darren
    MoreNiche.com - New Affiliate Network
    Soula.com - Would you like more sales from your design?
    Claritie.com - Does your support team add 30% more sales?
    ICQ me: 46335817 Email: darren at moreniche.com

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL & Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Your price for this is beyond reasonable, I'm sure most senior developers would even suggest it below the scope but you should have made things clear.
    Feed your need for quality website design
    and on-site IT for the greater Atlanta area.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My first client paid $3k for my CMS and it took about 3 months to develop. I obviously lost a bomb - but as time went on this changed. Still charge 3k for a CMS site and can now roll out a CMS site in around 16 hours.

    My point being - the initial dev cost should really be secondary. More important is ensuring you've retained the IP. In the long run this will be worth a hundred-fold the $7k.

    I *hate* educating clients... And you need to be really careful how you do this as the (non-billable) time required to close a deal can easily rival the billable hours in the project. To avoid this, write a standard doc that you can tweak and hand to each client before engagement. Include timeframes, costing, terms, payment times, warranty, support, IP ownership, confidentiality and functional spec. Once you've written this it’s a no-brainer to reproduce for each job (specially if you kept that all-powerful IP). We only typically have 2 x 1hr meetings on most jobs now and it goes like clockwork. Don't be afraid to make this agreement tough on the client. You can always wave some of your terms based on 'good-will' down the road - but if you start out tough on the client, it will make things much smoother down the road for all concerned.

    Lastly - don't be afraid to tell the odd client to get the hell out of your office. Sometimes they just aint worth it - and sometimes they actually respond well to this .

    PS: I would never suggest selling a client an Open Source CMS… its just asking for big, big trouble.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Posts
    358
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Refreshweb View Post
    PS: I would never suggest selling a client an Open Source CMS… its just asking for big, big trouble.
    I'd be interested to see the downside of selling customisation of an open source CMS.

    In regards to the original post, I don't think the cost is out of whack and there are always cases where a custom built is necessary and suitable. It sounds though as if there wasn't enough communication happening.

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

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,582
    Mentioned
    29 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One of the largest downsides is that the more common, popular, and available the source code, the more people will be actively trying to hack it. Something custom-built from the ground up has no -known- exploitable hacks and people usually won't spend too much time trying to get in to one system used on a single site that may not have any holes in the first place.

    Not to mention, if your client knows you are using an open source CMS, they may realize this cut a huge chunk of time out of your development which they may equate to you charging them a lot more.

    With a custom CMS, even if it is a custom CMS that you developed and reused, it saves a lot of trouble.

    As for your price, I would say it's a little under, but right on the border of being a reasonable price. If it was for something medical, I'm kind of surprised they wouldn't be expecting to pay more.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hmmm - I'm seeing a lot of web developers using these tools lately and it kinda bothers me. Fair enough if you're a kid running your own blog or whatever, but commercial software developers should no be using these products - period.

    Mambo installs itself on a plesk server at the push of a button - and a template can be implemented for twenty bucks... if that's what clients wanted, why would they bother to pay us thousands of dollars? Its a one-size-fits-all comprimise.

    Reselling an open source CMS is no different (IMO) to reselling templates from Monster Template... with the possible exception that you're client's site mightn't get turned into a billboard for the Taliban or a Viagra Catalogue or a Paypal Phishing Hole, if you're simply reselling templates... I can't make the same promise for open source CMSs. And god help you if your client needs something customised. If a developer can't even write their own application how do they expect to be able to effectively rebuild someone elses?

    ...And pity the developer who does heavily customise an OS CMS. They're screwed the next time a major security update is released - I don't fancy the prospect of spending the next 3 years retrofitting every site I ever laid eyes on... at my your own expense.

    If I wanted to mindlessly resell one-size-fits-all products to misguided clients I'd work at a Best`n`Less.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Charge what you want

    Charge what your time is worth. Content management is time consuming. I wonder why people don't call nike and ask why Jordan's are so expensive, charge cheaper. OH NO way... Your next step is bo bo's.


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
  •