Laura Kolker on 5 Feb 2008 06:30:22 -0800

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Re: question for all you freelancers

  • From: "Laura Kolker" <>
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  • Subject: Re: question for all you freelancers
  • Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 09:30:05 -0500
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Just a couple thoughts:
* I usually use the following question to determine whether I charge
for it or not: Would I have done this if it wasn't for the job? If no,
then charge for it.
* I like to use the word Support to refer to time spent answering questions.
* flat rate vs. hourly - I don't have a preference, but I've mostly
used hourly as that seems to be how my clients like it. Robert Haas'
point about being penalized for good work is valid, but I look at it
more like: doing good-speedy (even hourly) work encourages repeat
* Justin's list technique is something I use as well, and I agree that
it is useful for many reasons, including helping yourself do estimates
in the future.
* Your client's being a tad unreasonable. This happens sometimes. I
agree with Robert: Just politely explain how you understood the
agreement to be, and apologize for the misunderstanding (even when
it's totally their fault. I know: Annoying! Email's easier - less
acting involved). I've found asking polite questions in these
circumstances can also help the client contextualize better. For
example: I'm sorry, my understanding was that we had agreed to do XYZ
(redo the project 5 times, spend 40% on testing, etc.), what did you
think we had agreed to (or if you're in the middle of it: How would
you like to proceed)? During the process of answering, the client will
often have the opportunity to cool down, realize you're right, think
of something useful to resolve the problem, etc. Also, during
negotiations and project communications, I tend to say things like:
"Ok, I'm hearing you want to do XYZ (redo the project 5 times, spend
40% on testing, etc.), is that correct?

Good luck!

On Feb 4, 2008 5:12 PM, Lawrence Miller <> wrote:
> 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.
> Cheers.
> --
> Lawrence D.P. Miller
> -
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