Working on Estimates
All services contracted will be performed to the best of my knowledge and expertise, all in “good faith”.
I am trying to put my thoughts together about the constant requests for estimates that I usually receive on the phone, and this is what comes to mind:
About the project proposal
Please understand that without a fully written “Project Proposal”, I can not give anyone a true nor a real estimate on anything!
Any software application, large or small, could have tons of features and requirements, or just very few features which they in turn do depend on many factors that must be considered individually. Each software feature could take several months of programming time to complete while others could be completed in a very few hours or minutes.
Without a complete list of features demanded “up front”, it is practically impossible to guess the total cost of any application, much less, I would be able to calculate the time it would take to complete any project.
An “Architect” creates the blueprints/plans for building a new house, and only then an “Engineer” can give you an estimate for building that new house, … (and build it once the price is agreed, if that is the case) , “But, not the other way around”. Asking an Engineer for an estimate about the costs for building a house without having the plans or blueprints to build the house will be impossible for an Engineer to guess the cost just from the imagination. And, … if not impossible, the estimate could be totally inaccurate and unrealistic. If what you are looking for is just my hourly fee, please click here.
If you do not have the blueprints/plan of the house, (In our case, THE PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THAT NEW OR EXTENDED INFORMATION SYSTEM YOU NEED), then you must hire an Architect first, (in our case it will be an “Information Systems Analyst”). He/She, a SYSTEMS ANALYST, will be able to create a “COMPLETE PROJECT PROPOSAL” for you and your business. I am both, a COMPUTER PROGRAMMER, and a SYSTEMS ANALYST. I am fully capable of creating any type of project proposal for your Information System needs
Once the “Project Proposal” is complete, only then it must be presented to a “Computer Programmer” to obtain a quote or an estimate on the cost to build (and the time it will take) to complete the suggested application; and if agreed to create the application itself. Got the picture now?
If you already have the “Project Proposal” then please send it to me ASAP via email to: email@example.com so I can give you an estimate on the total cost and time to complete the application; otherwise, please write me a note stating that you need my “consulting services” first, so we can create the “Project Proposal” together. In such a case, your full participation will be required and mandatory.
No middle companies please
I do prefer to work with the hiring company “directly”, without middle companies please. The reason is that, intermediaries usually want to make 50% or more on each contract, while at the same time I am the one doing all the works, so please!, why should I split so much money with them after all? Just for a phone call? No way, sorry!! NO MIDDLE COMPANIES PLEASE!! I do prefer to do my own work search and handle everything by myself. In most cases, my fees are by far much less than those offered by the big guys.
Fees and other terms
For non-time termed contracts I normally charge $125/hour for consulting or programming services, (paid in advance on a weekly basis), Example: 40 hours x $125 = $5,000), 8 hrs per day minimum.
I am fully negotiable in situations where a long time contract is anticipated. (Ex: 6/12 month contracts). If you do not have a complete “PROJECT PROPOSAL”, I can prepare one for you no later than two weeks, but rarely, due to the nature of each work, it may involve several weeks prior to starting any real development/programming project. All fees will be accepted on a minimum of 80 hours, (2 weeks), on a prepaid basis only. No exceptions.
Refunds, warranties or guaranties
There are no refunds nor warranties or guaranties of any kind on this type of work. All services contracted with me will be performed to the best of my knowledge and expertise, all in “good faith”.
Depending on each project, we may need more time to complete the project. If we both agree to continue, you will be billed for the extra time at the same hourly rate negotiated originally; otherwise, all works completed to the end of the 5th day of work of each contracted week will be delivered to you in full, and all consulting/programming services will be considered as “completed at your full satisfaction”.
Your involvement and/or availability during the production of the “Project Proposal” is mandatory. Not being able to participate during development time, it does not constitute an understanding to postpone the “end-date” already contracted, which concludes at the end of the 5th day of each contracted week. Days of work are continuous, never alternated or chosen at free will, otherwise customer will be billed for all the dead times. (Example of a week contracted: MON-FRI, TUE-MON, WEN-TUE, THR-WEN, or FRI-THR). Unless there was a mandatory holiday, most Project Proposals for small business applications are completed in two weeks.
Don’t have a project proposal?
We could also take a second approach to the problem of not having a project proposal. For those individuals who think that “plans and blueprints are not important”, “much less necessary”, because they think all they need is a “barn” and not a “hotel”, then, please provide me with some basic information and I can tell you later what is that I can do with the information you have available.
1) Provide me with a brief explanation of the project,
2) How much money do you want to spend in this project?
3) How soon do you need it?
4) What platforms will the project be implanted at? (Unix/Linux/Windows/RTOS/Mac)
5) What inputs and outputs are involved? (PDAs/Reports/GUIs)
6) What are the basic features you want in this project? (Make a list)
7) Will this be a 1, 2, or 3 tier information system?
Prepayment is a requirement
Contracting any type of software development will require a prepayment before starting any project. Sometimes I may require the full 100% of the total cost “paid upfront”, while other times I may request just a percentage of the total cost paid upfront, in which case, some type of payment arrangements will have to be agreed upon the remaining balance.
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