Lawrence Miller on 4 Feb 2008 14:12:37 -0800

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question for all you freelancers

I've got a question for those of you who do or have done freelance work
(actually, a few related questions).

When you deliver a proposal, do you typically prefer to quote a flat
rate or an estimated total based on an hourly rate?  How do you include
time you spend working on the project that isn't specifically writing
code, for example doing research or answering the client's questions?
What sorts of those "extras" are bundled into your hourly or flat rate,
and which are not?  

I'm asking because now that I've just finished a project for $2,600 that
I thought I was really low-balling on because I have a relationship with
one of the client's major investors, the client is telling me that he
feels I took advantage of him, because some other shop estimated it at
"20-25 hours at $95/hr".  But before I spoke with him initially, he had
no project plan (I wrote it for him) and he hadn't really identified who
the end user was (and then he changed his mind a few times even after).
In total, I've had 23 phone calls and exchanged 221 emails (he's sent
140, I've sent 81).  Plus, of course, I had to actually write the code,
which all-told took me about 40 hours, spread over the course of about
six months as he put things on hold and changed his mind about things.


Lawrence D.P. Miller

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