New to freelancing, asking for more money

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by big_malk, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. big_malk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    Hi, I'm quite new to doing freelance web development, and I'm currently working on a project for a client.
    Thing is, we didn't write out any detailed requirements, or have any sort of contract or time scale (I know, I know, I really should have sorted that all out before I started).
    The client is regularly asking for little (or quite big) changes that are really starting to add up and parts of it have got way more complicated that I expected / was led to believe.

    I want to ask for some more money, as I think their getting a really good deal even without the extra work. I'm just not sure how to go about it, without sounding greedy or unfair?
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    I'd bring up the changes from the "original" requirements that have been given to you.

    Use this as a learning experience.
     
  3. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #3
    Write a contract up now with your updated price. Make sure you specify that changes in plan can allow you to raise the estimate. If your contractor doesn't agree to your reasonable terms, just stop working for them. Although this will cause you not to get paid for your time so far, your time is worth much more elsewhere.
     
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #4
    You need to go back and redo some time estimates, and have a discussion with your client: "I quoted you $x based on our original agreement to do the site, which I estimated to be about Y hours of work. You're now asking for these new things, which is starting to grow a lot bigger than we initially agreed. I estimate will take an additional Z hours of work, and I would need to bill you $xxx dollars to make these changes."

    Then offer to leave the site in a finished state, as per your original agreements, for the original payment amount, or do these new changes if they're willing to pay you the new amount. If they refuse, cut your losses and walk away now, having learned a lesson about contracts and requirements.

    And this time get everything in writing.
     
  5. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Oh Boy...Business 101. Don't do any work without an agreement. If you done what was expected in the initial scope, then you should be done. Let them know from now on that they'll be billed on an hourly basis for all new change request or scope modifications. Chalk it up to a learning experience. Seems like a lot of people have this issue on this board.
     
  6. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #6
    There is a helpful statement I borrowed from an article I read about billing online. I use it in my agreement.

    People here with more experience might have better wording for this, but when I read it it seemed to sum things up nicely:

    It seems like such common sense. But explaining things to clients sometimes can be so frustrating it makes me sick to my stomach.

    What other field of work would you expect someone to completely redo a job for free because you changed your mind about your requirements?
     
  7. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Thanks for the advice guys, I guess I'll just have to speak with my client, explain, and hope we can come to an arrangement.
    I knew at the time it would be wise to write up formal specifications, but I guess I was a bit over-keen to get going and make a good impression :rolleyes:
     
  8. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #8
    I am in the exact same situation as you. I think it likely happens to most of us newbies at one point.

    I started doing some contracting work for a hosting place in town. It's lead to a ton of new work which is great. But I ran into major issues taking on some of the existing clients that had existing estimates. The estimates were not realistic, and I would have never had given them. It was a whole lot of learning about business crammed into a 2 month period.
     
  9. trule macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    #9
    Writing formal specs can be difficult. One way to handle this is to say with a happy enthusiastic voice "sure, that's a great idea, we can work that into the site. It will cost you X dollars, do you want to go ahead with that?".

    This forces your clients to really think about what they want and what they *need* :cool:
     
  10. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #10
    I still don't have a clue about making realistic estimates, I guess it just takes experience to get an idea how long a job might take before you start on it :confused:
     
  11. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #11
    I have a web developer working for me at roughly $12/hour, and most web designers will charge $10-$30. Some of the higher end designers can charge upwards of $40.
    Most clients (including myself) want an upfront cost, so it would be best to quote a single price. A small, simple (very simple) website shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars whereas a large CMS website with shopping cart can cost upwards of $5000. Depending on the amount of customization and graphics design work you are doing (quality is another factor) the price can vary greatly.
     
  12. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #12
    In any service based industry there is undoubtedly going to be estimating. Once you get a good year or two under your belt, you will realize what each job is going to take you and you can plan accordingly. For example, I know exactly how much labor my team is going to need to get a 5 pager done vs. a custom e-commerce platform. It's all based on the last 3 or 4 years though, so it will take time to learn. One thing I can tell you though you're always going to have tough clients who either think they are designers and that changing things on the computer are "easy". You just have to train them from the get-go as to what it is you do, what each milestone deliverables will be what their role is in the whole situation.

    Where are your designers and developers? India?
     
  13. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #13
    He normally charges per hour ($40) but I got an upfront cost and he told me the number of hours it would take him and it works out to roughly $12/hour.
    My web designer is actually in Europe and is independent, and therefore doesn't need to pay anyone else.
     
  14. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #14
    I read a thread on here earlier that anything under $80/hour and you wouldn't be considered a professional.
    I don't have an hourly figure for this job, but thinking about how much I've actually done, it would probably work out so low I don't even want to know!
     
  15. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #15
    These costs also depend on what the client wants though. A truly 'simple' site rarely exists I find. Yes a client only want a 5 page site... but they want a logo designed, photo work, galleries, custom graphics. These things don't just apply to advanced sites. For even the most basic sites a client will come to you with NO content looking for an estimate.

    The thing is you have to have a consultation with them to find out EXACTLY what they want. When you give an estimate you have to take all of that into account, and have to clearly explain the costs. And then if do the job, you need to come up with an agreement as mentioned in the posts above. One that states as Chico posted:

    You can only give an up front price on what is discussed in the consultation. So I found I had to work on those skills as much as I did my skills at estimating a job. I am still not fantastic at either though lol. It's tough.

    I have to say the figured quoted above shock me. I could be working retail for $12 an hour. I can't imagine any designer taking on a job for that amount of money.
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #16
    Keep in mind that there are some tasks that just can't be billed hourly. ;)
     
  17. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #17
    Business 101:

    1) Quote more than you expect it will take, you can always reduce a quote but it looks really bad to increase because you've incorrectly scaled the job.

    2) Get everything in writing and make sure the client signs off on it.

    3) Make sure you get everything in writing.
     

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