Not sure if this the correct place to post this, but here goes.
I’ve been with my company for almost 2 years now, and we have never created a site much larger than 30-35 pages. We have a client who wants a site that is approx 80+ pages. We qualified them as much as possible via our Online Questionnaire, and have a call with them tomorrow for more details. But even then I feel its going to be pretty difficult to get a good estimate as to the hours involved.
Question is, what techniques/approaches do you and your company take to pricing very large websites?
I don’t know if this works for you, as you’re quoting from a company rather than freelance, but I always quote based on a total of what I plan to spend hourly. I just take my rate and multiply across how many hours I plan to spend. Then, the kicker is, I always let them know up front that this is an ESTIMATE, not a QUOTE. If the job ends up taking way longer, I add to the estimate.
That said, I always let them know as soon as I know I’m going to go over the estimate.
On a side note…if you’re talking 80+ pages, you might look into a CMS, that way you can just code the site and all content pages are brought into the “theme”.
I would recommend sitting down with the client and creating a detailed outline of the features involved. From that discovery document you should have a much better grasp of the specifics involved in completion of the project resulting in a more concrete, qualified quote. Time can’t be qualified in pages. There may be be 10,000 pages but one page used for all ten thousand so it makes little sense. Instead you need to determine the features and quote from there.
I agree, always think ‘features’. It is also always better to over-estimate work! You can offer a nice partial refund later if you charged too much. It can mean you get less work, but who cares if you get higher pay?
I think accurately determining workload prior to starting a project is one of the most difficult tasks. It’s almost like guesswork, you just have to use your intuition and better judgement.