Topic: How much time do you estimate to a client?

I was just curious....I know there are different circumstances for different types of projects, but for a business or church site with CMS and design, what do you normally estimate project time to be for your bids?


I have found myself being rushed towards the end of projects lately. I was wondering If I wasn't giving myself enough time. Right now I say 4-8 weeks.


What about you?
Jason

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

Depends. LOL.

We never really charged hourly. More of a per project price. And there we're def times we underbid. But its a live and learn business so you just have add more time into your estimate on the next bid. We really started hitting the nail on the head when we started tracking our project time internally. Really helped us ook back and see exactly what we spent on a project.

I will however note that keeping on schedule was one of our biggest issues. It's not easy, for sure.

I dream with an XML intereface

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

I try to give a rough estimate to the client of how long I think it will take to finish a project, but still charge them by the hour... that way they're not limited to a number of revisions or anything of that matter... you could always work it into the contract that if a project goes past a certain date due to the client not providing materials on time or they keep changing their minds that you charge them extra per hour after that date...

Daniel Marino | www.iamdanielmarino.com

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

tank wrote:

...we started tracking our project time internally. Really helped us ook back and see exactly what we spent on a project....

Tank -- how do you guys track your projects? Home-grown method or a specific software package?  I've just started doing this for my projects, tweaking my methods as I go. It's been a major help, both in planning and billing.  We're using TickSpot.com right now, and it seems to meet most of our needs.

Last edited by rwbaker (2008-10-26 14:05:33)

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

Yeah man, we use Tick for most of it. Once Basecamp added in time tracking we started using it in there because we were already paying for that level of service and it made sense to do it all in one place. But I always though Tick did the best job of it. It's a hassle for sure to track time and write down clear tracking notes... but it's so worth it to be able to grow your business.

I dream with an XML intereface

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

dmarino wrote:

I try to give a rough estimate to the client of how long I think it will take to finish a project, but still charge them by the hour... that way they're not limited to a number of revisions or anything of that matter... you could always work it into the contract that if a project goes past a certain date due to the client not providing materials on time or they keep changing their minds that you charge them extra per hour after that date...

I like this idea.  I typically give a generalized idea of how long it will take with a general idea of price.  I quote the hourly rate, plus any involved expenses and how often those expenses recur.  I am currently in a situation though were the client did not provide material in a timely manner and then at the last minute changed their mind on the category layout.  I'm over 2 years into this and I'm still learning lessons!

Live with the wonder of a child, pray with your arms thrown open wide, love with a love that has no end; until I see you again ~ Mark Schultz

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

I just started really working with clients and I know that I agreed to be able to complete a project in one week (7 days), but my client just gave me the down payment, two weeks after we had agreed that I would take on this project. So what could have been done two weeks ago, may take over a month. Especially since I haven't gotten any of the content or anything else from my client. I guess it just depends.

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

Adrian wrote:

I just started really working with clients and I know that I agreed to be able to complete a project in one week (7 days), but my client just gave me the down payment, two weeks after we had agreed that I would take on this project. So what could have been done two weeks ago, may take over a month. Especially since I haven't gotten any of the content or anything else from my client. I guess it just depends.

Are you saying it might take a month because other projects have come in?  I've had that happen.  I've added "as of now" or "currently" to my general time estimates.  It's not concrete but it helps keep things smooth I think.

Live with the wonder of a child, pray with your arms thrown open wide, love with a love that has no end; until I see you again ~ Mark Schultz

Re: How much time do you estimate to a client?

I'll give my clients a quote for a price based on a project and limited revisions (one or two) and then we'll swap over into hourly work past that mark.

I've found that - so far into my brief design career - having a hard number to work with but the possibility to get further revisions done is a good balance. I've gotten hosed once pretty bad on a rather open ended per-project job and won't have that happen again!

Also, get an iron-clad contract and everything in writing!

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