I have 10 years of experience in the IT, mainly in SharePoint & .NET development/customization. i had the 10 years working on a full time job, since 1 year i started working as a freelancer, all the projects i worked on during my freelancing, i set the following process:-
I apply to the project inside Up-work or Freelancer
the customer contact me
for hourly rated and fixed price, i am always been asked about an estimation for the cost.
so i set up a session with the client for 1-1.5 hours (before gaining the contract) to understand the requirements
then i give them an estimation with +/- 15%-20% variation
i completed around 10 projects in this way. and i am a top rated freelancer
but now i am working on a project for building ISO approval process, and the system have a lot of templates and workflow and approvals going on. so i had 2 meetings with the clients (1.5 hours in total), but i still can not define the scope. as to be able to understand this project i need to have requirement gathering sessions for not less than 10-12 hours, and i am not sure if i am suppose to do those for free. so i am thinking about this process:-
Ask the customer to create 2 projects inside Upwork, one which is hourly based and the other is fixed priced.
for the hourly based we can setup 10-12 hours on requirement gathering over 3-4 days.
based on the requirement gathering i can write a design document.
review the design document with the customer and get their approval.
once the design document is approved, i can provide a fixed priced project for the implementation. i need 2 projects as in Upwork we can not change a project from been hourly based to be fixed priced.
does my appraoch for this large project, sound valid? or i can improve it? for me and for the potential customer as well? at the end to understand the project i need 12 hours >> and to understand what i need to implement i need a design document...