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Quoted A Price For A Site - Decided Its Too Low For Work Involved!


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#1 GAViN

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 01:34 PM

In a bit of a pickle here.

A small insurance broker in my home town got in touch with me to design them a website.
At the time the manager informed me they wanted a homepage, motor quote form page, home insurance, commercial forums, and about us page.

I have done an insurance website before which included quotation forms, so had an idea of the sort of information that would need to be captured from the forms online.

Anyway I quoted them a price including the domain name/webspace/web design/graphics.

They came back to me with HUGE information they wanted the potential customer to fill in on the site, and decided there was a lot more work involved that originally anticipated.

I decided that the original quote was too low, and have therefore basically explained to the manager
what i have said above about more work involved, and said although i cant give a ball point figure and gave them a rough idea between two prices.

This price also includes setting up email accounts, and then going to their office and setting up/testing email accounts on their PCs as well.

I am curious if this has ever happened to others, and if it has, how have you gone about in a professional manner explaining to the client the reason for a price increase.

Cheers.

#2 Respree

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:46 PM

I don't think you're in a pickle at all. A pickle is when you have a signed contract, have started work, then, mid-stream, realize that you've grossly underestimated the amount of work involved (or can't deliver what you promised). :)

The client asked you for a quote on "X" work. You provided that.

If the client now comes back and says he needs a quote on "X" + "Y," its pretty fair to assume the client is expecting to pay more for the additional work. You've already quoted him in the range of __ and __, so I'm not sure what more there is to do. Personally, I'd be pretty uncomfortable winging a quote like that. It may turn out you were way off with the off the top of your head estimate. Maybe its better to say, "I'll have to get back to you on that."

As for what the dramatic price difference between the "X" and "Y" part, I'd simply break down "Y" into tasks with its related billable hours, so he can see depth of the work involved and how you arrived at your quote.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Respree, 12 February 2008 - 02:47 PM.


#3 saschaeh

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:50 PM

There’s an old story told about a little girl who is asked to spell the word, “banana.”

“I know how to spell it,” she explains. “I just don’t know when to stop.”

Taken from this great Relavent Article

Im sure that has happened to most people . I suffered from wanting to do everything for next to nothing - I learnt very fast that everything must be chargeable and it is not at all unprofessional to request cash for any of your professional time. If something should take additional time not due to your own inability you need to charge for it. It should be easy enough to make the client understand why and if they are at all reasonable they should be OK with it.

I guess it also depends on your client and the situation. You may say to them that this form is a lot more involved then you had expected and that the price would go up by 20% - they may be completely understanding. If they are not you may have to cut your losses because you where not clear enough in your initial quotation.

One of the biggest problems with freelancing and running your own webdev company is controlling scope creep. You need to manage very tightly the scope of functionality from the outset. Refer to link above and do some research into Scope Creep. It will help you create methods to define the overall scope of a project preventing issues like the one you are faced with now.

My direct advice would be to either meet with them or write an email explaining what you were expecting the functionality to be, what it has become and how much extra that would cost. In this situation I would also offer an alternative solution that is in the same price region as the first price you gave.

Good Luck!

#4 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 03:08 PM

The nature of the quote you provided makes a difference, as well. Did you outline, in detail, what the quote covered? I generally make it my practice to specify in a quote exactly what is provided with this quote. I want to distinguish between 'will set up email addresses for all 375 people in your company' and 'will set up your email' --- as in YOUR email, the individual person I'm dealing with. English not differentiating between the 2nd person singular/plural, I do find this needs a bit of specification!

Outlining, however, the number of pages you're basing a quote on, the number and types of forms, the original programming you expect to do, etc., can be hugely valuable.

It doesn't need to be exactly right; but it provides a ballpark for explaining differences between the quote and the final cost. If I quoted 10 pages and they produce 13, it probably won't make a difference. If I quoted 10 and they produce 100, however, there will be a significant difference.

If the quote you original provided laid out what you were expecting to do, there really shouldn't be any problems in increasing the price. If they don't like it, they'll either need to scale back their ambitions or they'll need to look elsewhere --- it's not worth taking the contract if you're going to end up charging way too little.

On the setting up their email accounts at their office -- I've sometimes WISHED for that, instead of having them trying to set them up themselves and calling me every day until they've actually got it figured out.

#5 sanity

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:20 PM

There’s an old story told about a little girl who is asked to spell the word, “banana.”

“I know how to spell it,” she explains. “I just don’t know when to stop.”

I like this!!

Joe, and everyone, made some good points but I'd like to add a bit.

Scope creep is a common issue with web designers and one, once you get the hang of it, is easy to manage. Whenever you quote always remember to clearly define what the job includes and what the job does not include. This could include such things as how many re-deigns you will perform, whether copy writing, photography, SEO and the like is included. If you include on-site meetings, and how many, whether you provide on-going support and so forth.

If you do this and clearly explain it to your client there should be no problems if they realise they need additional work. And remember asking for additional work at a later date may not be to get more from you for free (not saying you suggested that) but just that they didn't realise they needed it until the project had started.

Any reasonable client should understand this. Open, honest and clear communication should help you all achieve the goals you set out to.

In this situation if you don't have a contract in place I think it would be reasonable for you to explain that what they now require is additional and that you'd be happy to provide an additional quote. If they aren't happy with that personally I'd probably run. ;)

Good luck!

#6 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:48 PM

Yup... I remember situations like that (and still worry about waling into them even now ;)).

The trick, as basically stted by all the above, is to have a brief/spec that covers what is planned.
Any quote made pertains to the brief/spec.

You also want something in your terms & Conditions (and any contract!) that makes it quite clear that changes to the spec may result in chagnes to the estimated costs, and to the approximated time line.
(please note two key words... estimated and approximated!).


Always leave yourself room to play.
It may even be worth starting to add a "pay play margin", a percentage of 7to12% is roughly what I use.
I quote, and know that I have added a little extra to cover minor deviations/discrepancies from the original spec. In several cases, I've been able to go back to the client and say ...
"I quoted A for the job. You paid the deposit of B, which left the outstandign at C. Well, because things went so well, I'm happy to tell you that instead of C, you only have to pay D."
Not only do you get the job done, but you come in under budget as it were, which generally makes clietns even happier!

#7 sanity

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:56 PM

You also want something in your terms & Conditions (and any contract!) that makes it quite clear that changes to the spec may result in chagnes to the estimated costs, and to the approximated time line.
(please note two key words... estimated and approximated!).


Here's one I have used on occasion:

These figures are an estimate, not a quote. They are based on information provided, and may be inappropriate if additional information is forthcoming, or job specifications change. It is valid for 30 days.



#8 DianeV

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:21 PM

What Sophie said above about "scope creep", and what everyone said about being fairly specific (with wiggle room) about the nature and scope of the project for which you're providing a quote.

Truth is that sometimes issues, ideas of what might make the site better (or work better for them) and new things the client also wants don't become clear until you start working on it. This is not a bad thing; it comes with the development of the site. That point is where you can simply say that the new thing(s) are outside of the original proposal, put forth a quote for that part of it -- and ask them if they'd like to include the new items. That puts the choice in their court, as it were.

My working method of operation is to ensure that everything is fair on both sides, without limiting what the client can get, since sometimes great ideas come *during* the development of the site.

#9 sanity

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:33 PM

My working method of operation is to ensure that everything is fair on both sides, without limiting what the client can get, since sometimes great ideas come *during* the development of the site.

Good post Dianne. I work in a similar manner - I call it my reasonable test.

At the end of the day I think the key is open, clear communication. If you and your client have a good, mutually respectful relationship these things should be easily resolved.

#10 GAViN

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 11:30 AM

Fortunately, and what I should of mentioned from the start is that I personally know the Manager.
I would not go as far as he is a friend but he is a friend of a friend. But because this is a website in my local town, I'd like to come across in a professional manner, as providing I do a good job and get good praise, it could be a nice little earner for me for the opportunity of designing more sites or graphics for other local businesses as well.

Word of mouth is vital in such a small community.. "Oh, that is a good website, who did that for you? Was it expensive?" etc, etc.

So far, he has been impressed with what I have done so far, which is good news for me.

I just really wanted an idea of the best way to go about this situation.

As it turns out, he was fine when I explained to him, more work involved than originally quoted from him, and was happy for me to carry on. In fact, he even offered me some finanical payment up front, however I declined as said to wait till site was live. I can trust him which is why I said that.

:)

#11 saschaeh

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:23 PM

Good stuff

#12 bwelford

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:47 PM

I am glad it is turning out well, GAViN.

Re the question of upfront payments, I believe having that as a standard policy can be an indicator of quality services. There is an old saying, "Good fences make good neighbors". In all probability your current contract will turn out fine. However I believe progress payments are much more equitable. You could for example have an initial deposit of 30% of the total fees, an additional 35% of the total fee when the first draft goes live and the balance of the fee when the project is completed to the client's satisfaction.

Most clients will find that a reasonable basis for working with a professional web designer. If the client has a problem with it, it may be an indicator of a potential problem with that client down the road. If you do lose a client because of such a condition, it may well be it is a client you are better not to have.



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