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  1. #1
    Senior Coder NancyJ's Avatar
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    Underquoting - opinions

    I want to get opinions from freelancers (mainly designers) on under-quoting for jobs.
    What do you if you quote x hours on a job and go over that time (when the client's spec hasn't changed significantly)

  • #2
    Regular Coder mic2100's Avatar
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    I just have to continue doing the project, i suppose if i did quote for it to take 20 hours and it takes 30 then its my own fault really, if things from the design had change then a re-quote would be in order.

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    If its a "fixed bid" quote, i.e. I charged say $3000 for the project, then if there are no changes in specs, I always stick to that price. Yes, I have gone way over in what I thought it would take on a couple of projects, but for the most part, I'm usually pretty close to what I want to make for a target rate.

    One thing to consider would be future work. Most of my work end up being an initial "project" then ongoing maintenance. Knowing that I have a high probability of future work by not asking for more money on the initial project is a good justification for putting in a few extra hours unpaid.

    That said, I also usually put a "cap" in my contracts. Something like "this contract will cover up to x hours of programming", that number usually being about 50% more than what I think the contract will take. This gives me some flexibility to recoup billable time if I'm WAY off (but to date I've never had to use this clause).

  • #4
    Senior Coder NancyJ's Avatar
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    I too always charge the price in my quote unless there has been significant feature creep, in which case I always state up front that the requested item is outside the original spec and will therefore cost x, then get them to agree to the amended quote before continuing, however I rarely have to do this because I always overcharge a little - I've been doing this long enough to know that clients always have a 'can you just' that was never mentioned at any point, and that they like to be vague in their specs before you quote and accept a job.

    You win some, you lose some, sometimes things take a lot less time that you estimate, sometimes a lot more.

    My reason for asking is that I recently hired a new designer to work on a project for me and I gave a detailed spec up front before getting the final quote, I was sent an itemised invoice for 30% costs up-front which detailed 10 hours work @ the agreed hourly rate. Now she is saying she has reached the 10 hour mark and is implying that more work will require more money. I haven't been a fussy client, I accepted her first offerings of both layout and logo with only very minor alterations. There were a couple of bits of information I missed off the spec but they were only small details so I'm quite annoyed about this implication that the final payment will be more than originally quoted but I wanted to get a general concensus on the matter. I personally have never experienced this before but I know designers are a different breed so I just wanted to see what everyone else's opinion was.

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    It sounds like your designer is looking at this as a retainer-based relationship, in which case her view is correct. However, it doesn't sound like you intended this to be a retainer-based agreement.

    I'd say it depends on your agreement. If the agreement called for periodic payments, she may or may not have a point depending on the schedule for payment. If your agreement called for an upfront payment with the balance due on completion, she is clearly wrong. Absent any such clauses it will probably be a negotiating point.

    Assuming the agreement called for a specified number of hours and if this is an indication that the entire project will take significantly longer than agreed upon you should probably discuss with her the reasons for this and quite possibly renegotiate your agreement.

    If the job completes as spec'd (ie: no major changes, additions, deletions) then the agreement should be honored. If she underestimated her time, that's her problem. If she is not experienced enough to determine her time, that is her risk. If she is experienced enough than she should have done a better job estimating her time - again, her problem.

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    If she has underestimated the length of time it would take then, it's her problem. But what was 'the final quote' you mentioned? if it was for a fixed fee, fior the project, then you should hold her to it and get another invoice sent out, for 30% of that amount. She can send another for the remaining 70%, when she has finished.

    bazz

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    Yeah, if I tell them it will be xxxx for a job, that's what I charge. Have definitely screwed myself over a few times that way, but I've found that 9 times out of ten the client comes back and I'd rather have that then trying to go back and charge more and never seeing them again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
    Yeah, if I tell them it will be xxxx for a job, that's what I charge. Have definitely screwed myself over a few times that way, but I've found that 9 times out of ten the client comes back and I'd rather have that then trying to go back and charge more and never seeing them again.
    Amen to that. That's the mark of how to be successful! Sometimes you as a developer need to take a hit to succeed.

  • #9
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    Whenever a client asks for something making i go off the basis 15 a hour

    if its a large project i make sure i understand exactly what the client wants then i request a specification with everything i want. and i quote for that specification. and stick to it.

    if a project takes longer than expected then its my fault and dont charge for the extra time.

    if a client wants something extra adding to the specs then i charge accordinly and add on to the time expecation.

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    Well it has to be decided at the beginning of the project. Are you going to use a per hour rate or a per project rate? If it is a set amount then you are going by project and there's no real point of even bothering to track your hours so in theory you'll never know if you "go over" (I know, I know it's good to track for future jobs and to have an idea of how much you make per hour, etc etc) If you use a per hour rate then of course charge them for any extra work you put in. However you have to be fair. Just let the client know upfront what the process is, and if you quote them 10 hours for something and it ends up taking 40 it's border-line ethical to charge them for the full 40 unless the original specs were changed.

    The bottom line is:
    * Make a policy
    * Know your policy well
    * Inform your client of your policy ASAP
    * Stick by your policy all the time


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