30

Most people have trouble estimating projects, especially when they are new. When estimating, we tend to think of the project on a very high level and fail to take into account the details involved in figuring a good target estimate. The most logical solution is to prevent this problem by focusing on improving your estimation techniques: Break down the work ...


15

I either contract for a fixed price and stick to it - and only those jobs that can be well defined - or contract for an hourly rate and expect the client to stick to it. They can't have it both ways. If you're going to protect them from the cost of an over-run, make sure you've covered yourself for it. The client can choose anytime to reduce the scope, stop ...


15

I only provide services on a fixed fee basis, so if I get the estimate wrong, I eat the cost, because I've assumed that risk. I do a few things to mitigate that risk, though. I work very hard to be accurate in my estimates, constantly improving how I put them together. If I'm asked for a bid on something that I don't feel I can accurately estimate, I ...


11

I prefer not to ask for more money on fixed bids with fixed scope. What I will do is put the additional hours on the invoice and mark them as discounted 100%. I have occasionally had customers offer to pay for those though it is the exception rather than the rule. I would rather charge a higher rate that allows me to eat some extra cost and lose some ...


10

Per hour, my rule is, I bill only for time spent, and for all of time spent. Build in a buffer to your estimate, but if it is an estimate, be prepared to invoice above or below. In general when I produce an hourly estimate I put in a buffer of 50-100% depending on unknowns because if I can bill under estimate customers are happy. Some times, customers ...


6

It may very well be possible to negotiate the terms of the contract, depending on the type of work and your specific experience with that work. For instance, if the contract requires very specialized skills, skills that you happen to possess that are in high demand, you may have more room to negotiate. You could approach these organizations with an ...


5

It takes just one bad client to make you think about this... So true! I'm hoping you are far enough in your career that you have other clients and other projects to work on as well. If not, read the next part; if you do, great! If you have other work to do, then you need to explain to your clients what takes priority, what the due dates are, and that work ...


5

The main thing is you need to justify why you want more money. Has it taken longer than expected? are there additional materials required etc? If the answer is yes, then put that to the client and see if they're willing to pay the extra. If not then inform them the project may not be finished. This of course will only work if you mentioned at the beginning ...


5

It depends what terms you have, you can bill them for all of your hours and try to give them a rough maximum amount, but if you have said it will just cost X amount then I would really stick to that. I'm usually pretty nervous about taking on projects where I'm going in a bit blind. In that situation I normally say I think it will be between X and Y hours, ...


4

A standard contingency in many organisations I have worked in is 15%, but as you are working alone I would push that up to 20%, as I indicated in a similar answer here. The key is to get as much scope agreed with the client up front so that you don't have any surprises down the road, but the only thing that can really help you regarding estimation of time to ...


4

If you work on a retainer like a lawyer does, then depending on the specifics, your client may/will expect you to ask for more money. Most attorneys will accept a client with a standard retainer, often $10k to $100k, and explain to the client that this amount will be held in escrow (many states require that amount to earn interest at some rate too) and paid ...


3

In addition to the good advices that was given already by others, I want just to say that after encountering a few clients exacly as you described, I made it very simple and added in the contract the following (in a nutshell): For the development of project "A" (as described in attached specs module "B"): $$$$ (fixed price) $$ / hourly for all ...


3

taking way too much of my time The client hasn't been taking too much of your time. No, you've been allowing it. If your client wants the privilege of having you sit through meetings while the staff gets all their ducks in a row, and you can't control how long these meetings take, then you need to be charging by the hour and not for a fixed price. A ...


3

So much depends upon individual circumstances that a general answer is not really possible. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you and your wife are on the same page regarding travel. This is a family matter and since your work and family life are by no means separate, this sort of decision needs to start there. Major restrictions can ...


3

There's a lot of really good answers here, but I just wanted to pipe up and mention what I've come across in the past (either by trial and error, as well as what I would consider best business practises). If you have quoted your client $2,500 to do a custom WordPress theme, they agree and you set out to do the 45 hours you budgeted for yourself to do it, ...


3

I typically tell customers that these jobs will get fit into my schedule when possible, and that 1 day lead time is not sufficient. However, I have also on occasion charged more for bumping other work. When possible, I'd try to quote both rates to the customer up front - "If you want my guaranteed attention immediately, it will be $X, but if it can wait a ...


2

On a fixed-price engineering job I bill time and expenses for a couple of weeks (typically) while I'm mostly onsite getting familiar with the project's current state and the client's expectations and requirements, and co-writing a spec or work-statement. When we have agreed on the spec, I'm in a much better position to estimate the work that follows, and ...


2

Payment FIRST! Clients like to rush, rush, rush and if you're not careful all you'll see is dollar signs in front of your eyes without examining the situation properly. The client needs to be in as much of a rush to PAY you as the client is to get the work finished. Write a strong contract and don't rush the details. Beware the client who says, "can't ...


1

I think there is a serious chance you won't see the money / will be asked to pay back, if you don't deliver. That's the thing with fixed price projects: you agree on a deliverable, a specific outcome for a specific amount. If you can't deliver, you don't get paid unless your contract says otherwise. So it seems you have two options: Tell your client ...


1

Did you set the price ahead? If yes, it's your fault then. You can tell them that you've actually spent double time in preparation and they may offer to pay for that. If you hadn't set the price ahead, then you should have told them after 3 days that you had spent 3 days already. It's not too late. Tell them now that you spent 6 days already and you need ...


1

The important question is not just about money - as I understand you, you would much rather bill your normal rate with a decent deadline, than bill double with a short deadline. So whatever rate you choose, make sure to inform your client in the initial quote, and make it their, well-informed choice. Eg. Feature X: 100 $ Feature Y: 50 $ Feature Z: ... ...


1

I agree with Avonelle. However, I'd charge 100% (or more). Every industry has a rush fee. Shipping, design, transportation etc. It's nothing new or unheard of to mark the price up drastically. I don't do it to make more money, I do it to discourage the habit. Once you do something as a rush for free, you devalue your time and establish an environment that ...


1

I was working with a smallish company that did legacy migrations, and we had a large IT services firm on the phone discussing a prospective project. The account representative went on at some length about how their company did their projects 'on time and on budget'. There's only one small problem with this. I spent a few days thinking about that, and made ...


1

In the case of a fixed price contract, then the clue is in the name - the price is fixed. However... What you don't say is why the project has not completed in the allotted time, although the inference is that you estimated incorrectly? If this is the case, then (regretfully) it's down to you, and therefore your loss. If, however, the cause was scope-...


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