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Time estimate for new project

time estimate project

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#1
François Goulet

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Hi guys!

 

I've been doing this for 10 years and each time, for each new project when I have to give a quote, I sit looking blankly at my screen and come up with a estimated number of required hours 10 minutes later.

 

For my regular client (those I know won't change their minds 10 times), I often give a fixed amount as an all-included package. As I normally underestimate the time it's going to take, I multiply my estimate by 1.5... Sometime I loose, sometime I win.

 

Do you have a form or a particular method to estimate your time on a project? 

 

I'd like to have a better method than the total guess I'm doing now (I have enough experience so it's an educated guess, but nonetheless...)

 

Thanks!



#2
Bogdanovits

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try using a project management software (like the free www.openproject.org) to estimate and/or modify tour time.



#3
Daniel Huffman

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I also have trouble with estimates. I usually tell clients an hourly rate, and bill by the hour. This way I don't come out on the losing end, if things run long. I give them an estimated # of hours, and warn them as I go, if it looks like I'm going to take much longer. I don't know if it comes off as less professional, less put-together, to do it this way, but so far it's worked. I track my project times on a spreadsheet, since I need them for billing; but then I delete when I'm done. What I really should do, and haven't done before, is keep a permanent record of how long each one took, so I can go back and look over them when making a new time estimate.



#4
Charles Syrett

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I'm the opposite of Daniel; I always give a price and stick to it. I find that if I don't do that, there's always room for dispute, and the client is, by definition, correct! But I'm the same as Daniel in that I keep records of times on different kinds of projects, summarized in a simple text file. And yes, multiply by 1.5. If your price looks right, it's too low!

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


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#5
IainS

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Having been a consultant since the early 1990's I find the simple thing is to break down a project into tasks and try and work from that. All quotes are to some extenet a guess but if you know the your buisness well you can give an educated guess on most things even tasks you haven't ever tried. You can provide a mixture of fixed price for the things you know and hourly rates for variables. Also you can protect yourself by scopeing out your asumptions and cleints inputs (such as data being available on time and in a certain format) so if you have to spend extra time mucking around you can get paid for it.

Project management software is usefull for very complex projects - ProjectLibre is another open source example. For complex projects we use software to make sure we have covered off on everything but for small projexts it isnt worth the time.

 

Cheers

 

Iain



#6
François Goulet

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I'm the opposite of Daniel; I always give a price and stick to it. I find that if I don't do that, there's always room for dispute, and the client is, by definition, correct! But I'm the same as Daniel in that I keep records of times on different kinds of projects, summarized in a simple text file. And yes, multiply by 1.5. If your price looks right, it's too low!

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

 

That's the main reason I tend to give a fixed price and stick with it. My clients seems to like the fact that they could stick to their budgets without fear of my job busting it. Of course, I always specify that my estimate is based on the information the gave me and all major changes, will need to be reevaluate before working on it.

 

 

I've done some big gigs, but never much complex projects.

 

Thanks everyone! 






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