|Need your advice for web consulting projects.|
I've been in the web business for around 5 years. Most of the time I had a main full time job, and on my spare time I would also take care of my own small sites and sites I was developing on a freelancer basis.
But for all those freelancer projects I did the whole work because they were small static (brochure style) sites that I could do in a weekend.
Now I've been offered a project to put together an ecommerce store. Nothing huge, I will probably do with OSCommerce or something similar.
The thing is that I work full time in a job and I know I can't be taking care of my side projects on my work hours. But at the same time I know that an ecommerce site will go through problems sometimes, and nobody chooses the time of the problems.
MY QUESTION IS:
How can I still get the project, put this site up, and still have a distance from the project, in a way that if there is a problem, someone else will have to take care of it, or the problem will have to wait until I live work, etc..?
Is it possible? I see this work as more of a web consulting. Do you guys have any advice in how I should handle that?
Thanks a lot for your help.
I was in the same position as you, and when those kinds of jobs started to come in, I opened my own business. It became a real problem when people started calling me at my 'real' job, even though I asked them not to. And believe me, they WILL call, especially if it is an e-commerce site.
My advice to you is if you want to design the site, hand off the maintenance to a full-time person.
Note: many small webmaster shops have priced their services where they make their $ upfront, so when you go to them about just maintaining a site, it's "duh..." And the larger shops are expensive. You'll have more trouble finding someone to keep it up than you think you should.
that's what I want to do. I believe they have a person that could take care of that. And if they don't have, I can help with hiring someone with the skills.
But to get the site up and running, I have to do it all. Even adding the first items.
As this is my first full ecommerce project, I thought about asking for $25/hour.
What do you guys think?
$25/hr seems VERY low. Don't sell yourself short, this kind of skill is worth at least $50/hr (unless you are in Russia or India), especially if you are going to use an application like OSCommerce where you have to do all the customization yourself.
Since you are not available 'full time' I don't think I would go much higher than $60 though. But of course, this all depends on your specific area.
These people are starting their first business. They have no income right now. It's also my first time putting the whole thing together.
I know it's low, but I think fair for now.
And I think there will be learning envolved, so I think it's fair not to charge so much. All I learn I will be able to use for other clients.
Learning involved, fair enough. Don't charge them for all of your learning time. I, too though, would advise that you charge a competitive rate. Simply bill for less hours if you are spending time 'learning'. (I learn something with every project I do.)
It is difficult to raise your rates later.
Painters get $15 - 30 an hour.
Plumbers get $40 - 60 an hour.
Electricians get $50 - 100 an hour.
What are your skills worth?
I think I will have a lower rate for back end work like just adding products, instructing, ertc..., and a higher for front end like design, coding, optimizing, etc...?
I would advise against having different rates for different tasks, it just confuses the client. They have no idea why adding an image is simpler than adding a rollover image, to them it is all greek. Keep it simple, charge one rate and don't confuse them. As willybfriendly said, adjust the actual time figure if you feel you are charging too much.
Charging $25/hr will only de-value you later. Make it $50 now, and just cut the time in half if you feel it is too high. The client may be poor, but that isn't your problem. Charge what you are worth.