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Project Quoting

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posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 10:27 AM
I'm hoping this is the most appropriate place to put this; if there were a "Business" forum, I wouldn't even hesitate, but this is probably the closest other than General Chit Chat.

I recently decided to start my own business doing web and software development. I've got a couple of clients that are basically friends, so I have an easier time explaining to them when something is taking longer than expected. Of course, I want to get more clients eventually, and it'll be a little more difficult trying to get a complete stranger to understand that things go wrong and projects can explode on you.

I know there's quite a few other developers on here, and I was wondering what you guys use to determine a general (and reasonable) timeline for a project. It seems every time I've quoted a project in the past I've been way off one direction or the other: I say it'll take two weeks, and three months go by and there's still no end in sight; I say it'll take three months and I'm done in a couple of days.

I'd really appreciate any tips on this. I mean, I know that it all depends on the type of project and everything that's involved, but is trial and error really the only way to figure it out?

posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 12:29 AM
It depends on the site that you are building. A business site takes me anywhere from a day to a week and it depends on the hours you put into it. Once again it depends how much information you have ready for the site at your fingertips. You may have to wait for the client to produce things, or agree or disagree to things you have done, all this takes time.

my own personal sites are never ending projects. I am always changing and adding stuff to them.

posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 12:59 AM
Good Engineering rule applies here, always multiply by a factor of 10 the time you think it will take to finish a project. That way you'll look like a miracle worker most of the time

Oh and building on experience is a good idea too. Never let on that you're new, price it like you're new though so bargain hunters may be willing to put up with more hassles. Same rules apply to the web as they do in RL ime.

[edit on 28-8-2005 by sardion2000]

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 11:08 AM
I have been in web development for over eight years now. The old adage "Plan your work then work your plan" applies here.

Get a piece of paper and list each and every task you'll need to accomplish in order to get the job done, i.e. (1) come up with a design, (2) develop functional specifications, (3) get approval of the customer, (4) convert design into HTML, (5) code all functionality, etc etc etc. Then figure out the time it will take for you to accomplish each task. Multiply by your established rate, and your off and running.

The first few times you do this will be inaccurate, but the estimation will get more accurate over time. Your established rate should be such to support your inaccuracies to an extent.

But more importantly, your written agreement with the customer should list all the tasks, AND have built in limitations. How many versions of the design will you show? How many iterations (rounds of changes) will you allow? If you're shopping for artwork or photos for them, how much shopping will you do? Etc.

Again, as you grow, you'll get better at it. Every one of us developers has a great "Ah @#$%^&" story on estimation.

Good luck in your endeavors

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 03:32 PM
Thanks for the responses; big help.

BostonBill, that's what I've just done with a new client before I saw your response--break everything down into as small of parts as possible, and estimate each one, although I start estimates from coding on. Less pressure on the client to get a good design going. So far everything's moving smoothly; I think I'm about half an hour behind schedule, but that's not a big deal. It might blow up in my face and I'll have to eat that, but that's just the nature of the beast--live and learn and all that

Again, I appreciate all the responses so far. Thanks!

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