Re: Web site consulting

Subject: Re: Web site consulting
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 1997 12:53:35 -0500

Cynthia Maciejczyk <cynthia -dot- s -dot- maciejczyk -dot- 2 -at- ND -dot- EDU> wrote:

>I have done some consulting over the years as a technical >writer and have a good idea of what to charge for those >services. However, I am not sure how to estimate a Web
>site development job.

Why not estimate by the number of screens you'll produce? Assuming that
2-3 screens of information equals one page of hardcopy, you could soon
have a base figure. Then, you could adjust the figure upwards if the
work requires producing or manipulating a lot of original graphics, or
writing scripts.

>I don't want to low-ball just for the sake of getting the job, >but our potential client understands that this would be a >maiden project for us and I'm sure they are expecting us to >take that into account when we estimate for services.

Since your work presumably has to meet the client's approval, your
experience shouldn't have anything to do with your fee--especially if
the job is straightforward.

One way to argue this point is that, while you may only have a little
HTML experience, you do have experience in writing and design--and these
skills are transferable to any medium, including HTML. This position is
especially true given that most web-authoring tools allow you to write
HTML from a GUI, manipulating HTML tags directly only for

>At this point, I don't think they have an Internet service >provider, so I'm sure we will be expected to handle that end >of the project as well.

If you do handle this end, it's another reason not to under sell
yourselves. In this case, the client is relying on your business

Of course, there may be other considerations. For example, if you want
the experience or the goodwill, word of mouth advertising, you may
moderate your fees. But my comments reflect how I would approach the
project, and I've learned through experience that selling yourself short
is a good way to be taken advantage of.

For me, the bottom line is this: if the client trusts you enough to hire
you, they should be prepared to pay you properly.
Bruce Byfield (bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com)
Technical Writer
Burnaby, BC, Canada
(604) 421-7189

"All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean--
In scorn of which we sailed to find her."
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo."
==Robert Graves

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