Quoting a New Customer

A graduate of mine is quoting on his first project and he sent me an email asking what he should charge.

I thought this information might be helpful to you.

Quoting a job for a new client is always a difficulty.

Methods:
  • You could ask for a lump sum for a specific task.
  • Or, set up an hourly rate and a set number of hours.  And then renegotiate when that time/project runs out.
  • Another idea is to work for a lower rate but ask for shares in the profits. Make sure it is a specific things ($10 per sale or 10% of the gross sale) and something that can be tracked and verified by a third-party.
Approaches:
Start small. Do a simple add/change to the program just so you can get the feel for it. Make it a specific task that you can estimate better on how long it will take.
Encourage your client to chunk the project so you can bid on each task or a group of similar tasks.
After awhile,  you will have a working relationship with the client and will have a better feel for what he can afford and how fast you can accomplish it.Also, look for things that the client might not think of. The more “value added” you bring to the project (from his or her point-of-view, not yours) the more you will be worth.An earlier blog entry I wrote might help you determine a rate for yourself:
http://webexplorations.com/blog/archives/52

Figuring out a rate is very personal. Don’t think so much about what the client will pay, but more of how much your time is worth. If you bid to low you will be cranky near the end of the project because you will feel like it has kept you from doing what you really wanted to do and all you got for it was a lousy t-shirt.

Above all, work towards a partnership vs. how much money you can make, that will pay off the highest dividends in the long run.