What’s the Cost?


Any business has to decide what value to place on the goods or services they offer. Most of the time the cost is established upfront and a customer or client knows what to expect at the end when the bill is due. In web design and development things can work differently. Sometimes a project proposal has a set cost and other times we estimate, to the best of our ability the number of hours we think a project will take and then bill the exact amount at the end. We have found that potential customers and clients are much more comfortable with the former type of billing and project estimation than the latter and rightfully so.

In my most current project, I estimated out the expected time for each aspect of the website I was going to be working on. I included the cost per hour and gave a final project price in conjunction with the estimate. At the end of the work, that project would cost the client a set amount. If we are being realistic, I spent almost as much time researching and quoting the project proposal as I did working on the project, but those hours weren’t billable. It was a choice our business had to make for this specific project. We see the potential for additional work down the road and since so much time and effort has gone into understanding the business goals for this company, we will have less leg work to complete next time around. In the end, the client asked for some additional work and we were able to increase the profit we made on the project.

Here’s the biggest question when putting together a project proposal. How long is that going to take? We have found that more often than not, the time it takes to complete a task is almost double what you expect it to be. For a variety of reasons, we run into roadblocks or hoops to jump through that we aren’t able to foresee on the front end of a project. Due to this understanding, we typically double the time estimate for each project we submit a proposal for review. It’s not dishonest, it’s just the reality of the work. I can’t think of one project that took less time that the proposed amount of time. By using this strategy, we are getting paid a fair wage and we don’t have to ask the client for more time (money) half way through the project. It’s part of the human nature to expect more of ourselves than what is realistic.

Are you looking for a better way to reach your clients and customers, but are afraid of the cost of a project proposal? Let us help you understand the most time and cost effective ways to take your business to the next level!