Client wants quote breakdown

I have client who is a return client and who has both times now asked for a detailed breakdown of the quote price as a whole, do you run into this with your clients? What pricing labels do you use (ie- Graphics, Animation, Admin area, etc.)? And how do you quantify each label?

I retract my prior comment…Sagewing & Ted S’ insight below has enlightened me. Thanks, guys.

That seems a little harsh. It doesn’t seem unfair for a client to ASK for an itemization, nor would it be unfair for you to refuse. If a client was looking for a lower price, an itemized bill might be a good way to help them find things to eliminate.

All situations are different, but it’s definitely not a ‘red flag’ client just based on that request.

Wasn’t trying to come across as harsh. Ultimately, as I disclosed, only Webnet knows his client and the relationship they possess.

As a client I have never hired any design firm without a breakout of project unless it was an extremely small task and therefore already clearly broken out. As Sagewing put it, seeing a breakout helps me decide what I want to use the vendor for and what I don’t.

If copy writing is coming in at $75 an hour and my team has one we like at $55 an hour, guess what’s going to go. That doesn’t mean cutting away budget is the only goal, sometimes I find that we can trim one area and extend another.

I also find that with a breakout lets me double check the estimate against my own sense of the project. If 80% of the budget is spent on development and I’m doing a redesign we have a communication issue.

There’s lots of reasons to breakout a bill but it should not be a burden to do so. On a larger project covering multiple areas, breakout categories will often include PM time, Code Development, Database, Front-end Design, Design Coding, Testing/ QA. If your project is smaller in scope (i.e. just doing design and build out) you may want to break down a bit further but you shouldn’t be worried about trying to show every hourly task – that would be an unreasonable request.

Interesting perspective. Very insightful and valid points. Thank you.

I agree, there’s nothing to worry about…yet. Just do the same itemization you did last time or maybe ask them how they want it organized. The reasons they’d want this are probably money as an issue (i.e. they’ll want to negotiate) or they’re just detailed oriented and have to see all the numbers.

If they start negotiating then you can make the choice to keep them or not. If they become a pain then consider doubling your rates and then give them 50% “loyal customer” or “package” discount. If they want to take out an item then they don’t get the discount. Just a thought. GL

No problem. I think the bottom line here is that both the developer and the client have to be reasonable in the process for this to work. Sending over a bill that says “$10,000 - Service fees” doesn’t cut it, but neither does asking the developer to explain what each minute will be used for. If one party isn’t reasonable, it’s logical (and probably for the best) that the other one walks away.

thanks for the insight, we weren’t on the shelf of not wanting to do it, but I do appreciate the advice.

In order to send itemized estimates, you first need to break effort into typical lifecyle that the project will go through. If you do Design , Development and Testing then you could typically allocate % of effort to each one of them for each feaure. Thus, 10 hrs may mean 35% Design, 50% Development and 10% Testing or 3.5 hrs of design, 5 hrs of development and 1.5 hrs of testing.

Once you do this, you will be able to send an “all inclusive” itemized estimate in 3 ways:

  1. You can estimate each module seperately and the estimate will already contain other activities. Thus, you can use a label like - “Shopping Cart - 40 hrs”

  2. You can make a sum-total of numer of hrs that you are putting for each phase. Thus, you will say something like 3.5 hrs of design, 5 hrs of development and 1.5 hrs of testing.

  3. A hybrid approach saying - Shopping Cart 30 hrs, Testing 10 hrs i.e. development phase activities are elaborated whereas everything else is summarized.

We normally follow option 3 as it works best in our case.