# Quoting?

Discussion in 'ASP General' started by mark | r, Oct 9, 2003.

1. ### mark | rGuest

anyone know a good formula for quoting for development work? i am a designer
and have a partner who handles development work - my problem is that he
continually under quotes on both time and project cost saying "its like
asking, how long is a piece of string" but other people must be able to
accurately judge the amount of time it will take to develop a project?

mark

mark | r, Oct 9, 2003

2. ### Ray atGuest

I think this is something that just comes from experience. After some
experience, you learn that there are hours, and then there are business
hours. A job that would take fifteen minutes to do in your head, will take
an sixty minutes when you go to do it. I'd say make a guess at how many
hours something will take you, and then add 50% of that time. That is not
in agreement with my 15:60 ratio I just said, though.

Ray at work

"mark | r" <> wrote in message
news:3f8563aa\$0\$27818\$...
> anyone know a good formula for quoting for development work? i am a

designer
> and have a partner who handles development work - my problem is that he
> continually under quotes on both time and project cost saying "its like
> asking, how long is a piece of string" but other people must be able to
> accurately judge the amount of time it will take to develop a project?
>
> mark
>
>

Ray at, Oct 9, 2003

3. ### mark | rGuest

weve been at it for over 3 years, id have thought he (by business partner)
would be able to do this by now?

mark

"Ray at <%=sLocation%>" <myfirstname at lane34 dot com> wrote in message
news:#...
> I think this is something that just comes from experience. After some
> experience, you learn that there are hours, and then there are business
> hours. A job that would take fifteen minutes to do in your head, will

take
> an sixty minutes when you go to do it. I'd say make a guess at how many
> hours something will take you, and then add 50% of that time. That is not
> in agreement with my 15:60 ratio I just said, though.
>
> Ray at work
>
> "mark | r" <> wrote in message
> news:3f8563aa\$0\$27818\$...
> > anyone know a good formula for quoting for development work? i am a

> designer
> > and have a partner who handles development work - my problem is that he
> > continually under quotes on both time and project cost saying "its like
> > asking, how long is a piece of string" but other people must be able to
> > accurately judge the amount of time it will take to develop a project?
> >
> > mark
> >
> >

>
>

mark | r, Oct 9, 2003
4. ### Ray atGuest

"DrewM" <> wrote in message
news:...

>
> Estimating time is always difficult - especially on projects using
> technologies or techniques that the developer hasn't used before. There
> are many unknowns.

I will toss in my opinion here. If I have to use a technology that I am not
familiar with, and I accept the job, I do NOT feel that it is up to the
client to pay me for the time it takes for me to learn this technology,
unless it's something proprietary of course. The way I see it is that if I
know the requirements of the job and I accept the job, it is up to me to
have the tools to do it. Does anyone disagree?

Ray at work

Ray at, Oct 9, 2003
5. ### DrewMGuest

mark | r wrote:

> weve been at it for over 3 years, id have thought he (by business partner)
> would be able to do this by now?

That's a reasonable expectation.

Estimating time is always difficult - especially on projects using
technologies or techniques that the developer hasn't used before. There
are many unknowns.

Experience really is the key. After getting it wrong a few times and
having to live in the office for the two weeks leading up to the
deadline, you learn how much extra time you need to factor in.
Some aspects of the project will still run over, but some will run under
too, so with a little care it should even out.

It's not a trivial skill, but it's certainly not a "piece of string"
situation - in most cases.

Drew

DrewM, Oct 9, 2003
6. ### Aaron Bertrand - MVPGuest

> weve been at it for over 3 years, id have thought he (by business partner)
> would be able to do this by now?

Or that you would have learned by now, how much you need to adjust his
estimates.

Aaron Bertrand - MVP, Oct 9, 2003
7. ### Aaron Bertrand - MVPGuest

> I will toss in my opinion here. If I have to use a technology that I am
not
> familiar with, and I accept the job, I do NOT feel that it is up to the
> client to pay me for the time it takes for me to learn this technology,
> unless it's something proprietary of course. The way I see it is that if

I
> know the requirements of the job and I accept the job, it is up to me to
> have the tools to do it. Does anyone disagree?

I agree, I don't charge clients for my learning curve. However, if the
environment is non-conventional, such that I have to employ weird and
untested techniques in order to get my implementation to work, that's a
different issue.

Aaron Bertrand - MVP, Oct 9, 2003
8. ### Mark SchuppGuest

You need to track quoted vs actual time for projects. Then you can determine
the proper "fudge factor" for estimates. The factor will vary for each
person who does the estimation.

--
Mark Schupp
Integrity eLearning
www.ielearning.com

"mark | r" <> wrote in message
news:3f8563aa\$0\$27818\$...
> anyone know a good formula for quoting for development work? i am a

designer
> and have a partner who handles development work - my problem is that he
> continually under quotes on both time and project cost saying "its like
> asking, how long is a piece of string" but other people must be able to
> accurately judge the amount of time it will take to develop a project?
>
> mark
>
>

Mark Schupp, Oct 9, 2003
9. ### Ray atGuest

"Mike Florio" <> wrote in message
news:...
> >> I do NOT feel that it is up to the client to pay me for the time it

takes
> for me to learn this technology,
>
> Well, I sure do ! Remember, in most cases, you're probably saving your
> client from having to hire a full-time employee and getting them trained
> somehow. Most bigger projects I have done have required me to lean
> something new.

It all depends on what it is. I could probably talk someone into hiring me
to pave his driveway if I wanted to. Would it be ethical for me to charge
the person by the hour if I had to spend 40 hours learning how to do it
first? I've never paved a driveway before.

> The key is to be able to estimate how long the learning
> curve will be, and *reasonably* factor that time/cost into the quote. In

my
> experience, if it's a client I have done work for previously, then they

are
> highering me because they have confidence in my ability to acheive the end
> result, and will gladly pay for what it costs to deliver it.

Yes, but you should charge ethically and expose your current knowledge.

> And of course,
> if its a project that's just too far out of my area of comfort/expertise,

I
> decline it.

So I guess you aren't interested in paving my driveway, eh? I'm having a
hard time accepting the cost of paving a 600 foot driveway. :[

Ray at work

Ray at, Oct 9, 2003
10. ### WIlliam MorrisGuest

In my experience (no disrespect to your partner, Mark) what your partner is
actually saying is "I don't have the guts to really say how long this will
take." I used to do that, that is, consistantly underestimate, to make my
clients/partners happy, and I ended up eating a lot of crow for it.

I now have a partner that called me on the carpet several times early in our
relationship for just this issue. The deal is now that I OWN any
deadline/estimate I give. If I'm wrong, I'll know it well before the
deadline and it's my job to raise my hand and say so. If I wait and force
my partner to call and put off the client because of it, then life here at
the office gets really unpleasant.

By the same token, if I honestly can't estimate, because of a learning curve
or needed research, that's also my job to say so. I don't believe this is a
skill issue, but a courage issue.

My .02. Apologies if I offend.

- Wm

--
William Morris
Product Development, Seritas LLC

"mark | r" <> wrote in message
news:3f8574f3\$0\$27820\$...
> weve been at it for over 3 years, id have thought he (by business partner)
> would be able to do this by now?
>
> mark
>
> "Ray at <%=sLocation%>" <myfirstname at lane34 dot com> wrote in message
> news:#...
> > I think this is something that just comes from experience. After some
> > experience, you learn that there are hours, and then there are business
> > hours. A job that would take fifteen minutes to do in your head, will

> take
> > an sixty minutes when you go to do it. I'd say make a guess at how many
> > hours something will take you, and then add 50% of that time. That is

not
> > in agreement with my 15:60 ratio I just said, though.
> >
> > Ray at work
> >
> > "mark | r" <> wrote in message
> > news:3f8563aa\$0\$27818\$...
> > > anyone know a good formula for quoting for development work? i am a

> > designer
> > > and have a partner who handles development work - my problem is that

he
> > > continually under quotes on both time and project cost saying "its

like
> > > asking, how long is a piece of string" but other people must be able

to
> > > accurately judge the amount of time it will take to develop a project?
> > >
> > > mark
> > >
> > >

> >
> >

>
>

WIlliam Morris, Oct 9, 2003
11. ### Aaron Bertrand - MVPGuest

> Well, I sure do ! Remember, in most cases, you're probably saving your
> client from having to hire a full-time employee and getting them trained
> somehow.

You have to assume that they're doing so because they don't want to pay
someone else to learn something, they want to pay someone else who already
knows how to do it. I think charging a client to read a book, which will
benefit you in much more tangible ways than it could ever benefit the
client, borders on immoral / unethical. YMMV, of course.

A

Aaron Bertrand - MVP, Oct 9, 2003
12. ### Ray atGuest

In that case, I think I'll be a Unix consultant. I'll go buy Unix for
Dummies, and I'm ready for anything. If someone asks me how many hours
it'll cost to install Unix on a server, I'll say 81. 1 for the install, and
80 for reading and learning.

Ray at work

"Mike Florio" <> wrote in message
news:...
> My philosophy is that the client is paying for me, not the techniques. In
> other words, to use your example, the client trusts that I will *know*

what
> book to read if I need to read one.
>
> Mike
>
>
> "Aaron Bertrand - MVP" <> wrote in message
> news:%...
> > > Well, I sure do ! Remember, in most cases, you're probably saving

your
> > > client from having to hire a full-time employee and getting them

trained
> > > somehow.

> >
> > You have to assume that they're doing so because they don't want to pay
> > someone else to learn something, they want to pay someone else who

> > knows how to do it. I think charging a client to read a book, which

will
> > benefit you in much more tangible ways than it could ever benefit the
> > client, borders on immoral / unethical. YMMV, of course.
> >
> > A
> >
> >

>
>

Ray at, Oct 9, 2003
13. ### Aaron Bertrand - MVPGuest

> My philosophy is that the client is paying for me, not the techniques. In
> other words, to use your example, the client trusts that I will *know*

what
> book to read if I need to read one.

Maybe that is true for the clients that you have, however I can tell you
that not all clients are so particular about a specific contractor that they
will be willing to throw away the money required to pay him/her to learn
what they need done, versus paying another contractor less to do the same
job.

Aaron Bertrand - MVP, Oct 9, 2003