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 requuiremts, 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 same house, it will be impossible for the Engineer to just guess the costs from the imagination. And, … if not impossible, the estimate could be totally inaccurate and irrealistic.
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 your business application. I am both a COMPUTER PROGRAMMER and SYSTEMS ANALYST.
Once the “Project Proposal” is completed, only then it must be presented to a “Computer Programmer” to obtain a quote or estimate on the cost and time 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 A.S.A.P. 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 mandatory.
No middle companies please
I do preffer to work with the hiring company directly, without middle companies. The reason is that they usally want to make 50% or more on each contract while at the same time I am the one doing all the work, so! why should I split so much money with them? Just for a phone call? No may, sorry! I do preffer to do my own work search and handle all negotiations myself. In most cases, my fees are less than one half (about 40%) of what the big guys charge.
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 minimum.
I am fully negociable in situations where a long time contract is anticipated. (Ex: 6/12 month contracts). We must be able to complete the “PROJECT PROPOSAL” in no later than one week, but due to the nature of each work, it may involve producing the Project Proposal during several several weeks of work.
Refunds, Warranties or guaranties
There are no refunds nor warranties or guaranties of any kind or any type available on this type of works. All services contracted with me will be performed to the best of my knowledge and expertise, all in “good faith”.
Unless the project is very extensive, we may need one or more additional weeks to complete the “Project Proposal”. If we both agree to continue with the it’s production in more than one week, you will be billed at the same rate minus a 10% discount after the first week; otherwise, all works completed to the end of the 5th day of work, of each contracted week, it will be delivered to the customer in full and all consulting services will be considered as “completed at full satisfaction”.
Your involvement and/or availability during the production of the “Project Proposal” is mandatory. Not being able to participate during the development time, it does not constitute an understanding to postpone the “end-date” contracted which concludes at the end of the 5th day of each contracted week. Days of work are cointinious, never alternated or choosen at free will, otherwise customer will be billed for all 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 one to 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 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 required
[quote]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.[/quote]
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