Quoting Methodology

Fun4business sheds light on its quoting methodology

There is just one overriding principle to quoting:

Everything takes longer than you think it will to complete.

Quoting for design and technical projects is extremely challenging because there are so many variables. No two projects are exactly alike, nor are two clients. Add in varying expectations, as well as differing experiences, technical understanding, and personalities, and at best an estimator creates a ballpark number and hopes to end up close to it.

Although the Fun4business quoting methods have changed over the years, here is a run-down on our current practices. Our aim in sharing this information with you is to clarify and illuminate certain factors that leads us to present you with a number. How do we get to this number, you wonder? Does it make sense? Why is it so big?!

Here are some of the factors that affect quoting: 

The creative design process

The creative design process is much different from rational or linear problem solving. Often it starts with a brainstorm, requires many renditions (many of which are discarded), and takes time to develop. When you (the client) requests a graphical image for your website, for example, and we present you with a draft design, you don’t even see the creative thinking work that went into developing such work. Yes, if we instantly come up with and create the winning composition, creative work time – along with costs – are minimized. However, this is rarely the case. In fact, there are famous cases out there where companies took a year or longer and spent extraordinary amounts of money to revise their logos… and the end result of the change is so minimal that the public doesn’t even consciously register the change. What happens in these situations? The design process turns into a journey of self discovery for the company, during which the true objectives exposed and this all takes time and money.

The keyword here is “process”. Coming up with creative solutions requires time and space and moves along an indeterminable path.

Picture a blank canvas. Now use visualization techniques, combined with a measured amount of imagination, and then manifest your idea. Nope, it’s missing something. The font isn’t quite right. Let’s try something else. What about the colours? The contrast? They seem to work, but I want to see some more options. Definitely needs a new photo. Good. Now we are getting somewhere. Oh wait. I’d better step away from the project for a day and come back to it with fresh eyes. … and sooner or later the draft concept is worked up to being of a high enough quality to send to the client for input.

Client needs vary

It’s often surprising how much different client needs can vary.

One client may intake all of the information, make decisions and provide feedback quickly, facilitating the momentum in order to propel the project to completion. Another client may need a lot of hand holding, clarifications, multiple changes/revisions, extensive training, etc.

Therefore, quotes need to be customized to account for the level and amount of assistance each client desires.

Rush work costs more

Web designers and developers typically have a list of items they are working on in the order received. If you need your item brought to the top of the list and attended to immediately, this affects the cost.

For regular updates, it’s recommended to develop an updating schedule with your project manager to ensure your changes are attended to on time.

Web pages are all unique entities

No two web pages are the same. Web pages can vary on the following levels:

  • Length: A 250 word web page is quite different from a 1,500+ word web page, and the latter takes more extensive writing, editing, image formatting, proper organization and ordering, etc.
  • Type of page/website: Currently, the fad is to develop long, scrolling pages that seemingly never end. In fact, many websites technically consist of only one web page. However, for obvious reasons, each section on a scrolling website should be treated as one “web page” and deserves corresponding attention.
  • Images: The number of images on one page, as well as the amount of editing required, affects development time.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Each page should be optimized for the search engines, including page content, as well as unique metatags written and assigned.
  • Internal linking: Each page should be reviewed for helpful internal and external linking, as well as “related posts” added, etc.
  • WordPress customizations: Although a WordPress website’s universal settings may have already been fully customized to your branding, some discrepancies because of a particular functionality being added to only one web page. This needs to be customized to match the rest of your website.

As web designers generally provide estimates before receiving the final approved content, it can be preferable to outline web page costing categories (sliding scales, etc.), based on the above possible variances. At the end of the contract, the actual work can be sorted into the correct category and charged accordingly.

Content revision

There are a few things that can complicate content development and publishing tasks:

  • When doing a website redesign, often the content needs to be overhauled. This can be the longest part of the website design process.
  • Content looks different once up on the website, and revisions need to be made once you’ve seen it up on the site.
  • Editing has turned into an on-the-go process, as some spelling errors, inaccuracies or needed corrections are not noticed until up in plain sight.

Therefore, it is necessary for us to include stipulations around final content and number of revisions included in a flat-fee price (generally one or two included revisions – depending on client anticipated needs), with additional revisions charged at our hourly rate. Without this limitation, content revisions can be never-ending.

Our Quoting Methods

Old Style Calculation Machine

Fun4business provides estimates using the following 3 methods, and sometimes combines methods, as needed:

Flat-fee quotes

Flat-fee Quotes

There are also a variety of web development items where we will apply a flat-fee cost. In these cases, Fun4business provides all of the work to completion for the flat-fee cost and does not levy overcharges.

In this case, we outline included work in detail, work limitations and places where extra charges may be levied. An agreed-upon contract is signed by both parties.

The quoting calculation

Time-Estimating Calculation

On some of our services, we generate quotes to match the amount of time spent on tasks, i.e. our hourly rate multiplied by the amount of time spent on tasks. In this respect, There are 3 possible numbers for each quote requested:

  1. The minimum time a task will take if everything goes absolutely perfectly.
  2. The likely amount of time a task will actually take.
  3. The maximum time a task will take accounting for possible expected or unexpected technical challenges, and other complications and delays.

We add up all 3 numbers and divide by 3 and this results in the most accurate probable number.

Hourly rates

Paying Our Hourly Rate – Straight Up

The other way to go is for the client to just pay our hourly rates. A level of trust builds up in a relationship, especially after working together on a large project like a website design or redesign. Our long-standing clients generally request quotes for larger tasks, and just pay our hourly rate for all other work. If there are hiccups with any elements, we advise our clients immediately to give them the heads up and ask for direction. This is our preferred method of working.

Well, that sums it up. If you have any additional questions regarding the Fun4business creative project quoting methodology, please email us at info@fun4business.ca.

Go to our Hourly Rates sheet.