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Not sure about where I come from (denmark) but I know that it's illegal to have these kind of discussions in the US.
One way to get the answeirs you want would be to check out your competitions prices. But I find that price is never the issue as long as you're not too outrageous...!
Nick, I guess you have the fair competition laws in mind :) Theyre virtually the same here in the UK. As long as we don't fix a price I'm sure we can "get away with it"...
IMHO charge by the hour. The fact you have experience to make a dynamic site might mean that price per hour is a bit higher...and you might work faster than the average webmaster :)
There are some good past threads on the board about this sort of thing. Maybe these can add to this thread and give you an idea of what sort of ballpark cash sum you'd like to make :)
You might want to include time/cost for paperwork and legalities
Some Fine Line Contract Issues [webmasterworld.com]
Website Fees [webmasterworld.com]
Some More About Charging Clients [webmasterworld.com]
How much would you pay for your skills? Some people will do it bargain basement....maybe just to get a portfolio and reputation...otherwise I'd just say charge by the hour and maybe get something in writing explaining how the payments will work.
...I know that it's illegal to have these kind of discussions in the US
So that's why they've been following me around! ;)
Personally I prefer to scope the job, estimate it lump sum based on how long I think it will take plus a bit more for client management. The more difficult I think it'll be to work with the client the higher the second number.
The only way to stop this from happening is to put an hourly charge clause for making changes that diverge from an agreed upon design. And always get your design plans ok'd before doing ANY work.
I prefer to do hourly for big projects and fixed price with an hourly clause for small projects. :)
I prefer to scope the job, estimate it lump sum...
So do I. But I've learned that I must work for an hourly rate while developing the particulars for many jobs. This is because many prospects like to turn the "proposals" cycle into a free consulting session -- and then mix and match ideas they pick up from different companies. Sometimes they just give the job to a relative at the end of it!
I've been burned there too many times, so I'm not doing free proposals any more - I do paid "feasibility consulting". If they take my ideas to somebody else, then at least I got paid something for my effort. I put a lot of study into any proposal I make, and I bring years of experience.
You've got to value your own intellectual property and not let it be ripped off.
Sometimes they just give the job to a relative at the end of it!
I know what you mean but I'll add that I'm very picky about the clients I work with. There has to be a good repoire or I won't even bother with a quote. I'll simply tell them thank you but I have enough work right now (even if I'm starving).
And when I do quote for services I ask for a face-to-face meeting where I give them my pitch. I don't give them anything concrete to show to someone else until I win the job. They can look at my ideas and storyboards but the proposal/contract is a simple 1 page form that says they're getting a web site of such and such and it will do such and such for $x,xxx. End of story.
I concur that you are totally right to protect yourself by adding an hourly clause for work outside of the scope or just sticking to hourly rates. It's not easy to define a scope. You want to leave it somewhat loose to allow for creativity but need to keep it somewhat tight so you don't get bled to death.
Personally, I feel there's more profit in the lump sum providing I can read the client well enough. And since I don't work for anyone unless I get the warm fuzzy's about them, the "milkers" have never gotten a chance to bleed me. In fact, I'm normally being asked to bill more money as a fiscal year draws to close which is a much better way to do business! :)
In thinking about this more, one of the things that helps reduce costs for scoping and a bid is to streamline the scoping process down to it's bare essentials. I think of the process as if I were going to sell it as a franchise and strip it down to those elements that I'll need every single time I have to bid. While the particulars are many they can be answered rather quickly within a 30 minute meeting with the client. But those 30 minutes - even if I don't bid - are worth a million as they've saved my backside more than once!
I usually handle maintenance on an hourly basis unless I've worked with the client for a while and know what to expect from them - in these cases I'll offer a yearly maintenance fee based on the work (hourly rate plus a discount) I expect to see from them.
What about maintenance?
As a starting place, maintenance will be a percentage of the total figure cost with the power to modify the costs depending on client demand.
So strip it down to basic work- just a few changes every month. The site costs $3,000.
6% of 3,000 gives me a total of $180.00 yearly for maintenance. 6% of 6,000 is 360 and 6% of 9,000 is $540 and so on. That sounds reasonable right? I was never any good at maths;)