Recently, I came across an interesting question on Quora.
A developer had done a web project for free. This free work has now brought new interest from another prospect. They want something similar, but slightly customised, because their needs are of course different.
Because the developer had already delivered a similar project, it means the code base is available for re-use.
The quandry was: how do they charge for something that was essentially a free delivery?
In my opinion, this question raises some issues of pricing and perception; some of which may be beyond the scope of this post.
The developer in question also appears keen to temper pricing, in order to get access to the prospect’s network of contacts.
Does this sound familiar?
I thought it was interesting that their prospect had access to other prospects..kind of like a hierarchy of prospects. But would they be willing to make their contacts available to our developer?
Interestingly, the developer spent about 105 hours on the initial free project.
Yes. That’s a lot of hours.
I too have run into similar issues of ethics and price, while delivering several projects in the early days.
While a web project is ongoing, it sometimes feel like I should have charged a more substantial premium (and I probably should have); more so, if the revisions are never ending.
However, after the work is done, it doesn’t seem to matter if it is all given away for free. After all I’m not still working on it now, am I?
It’s almost like I forget how challenging a web project was, as soon as its completed and handed over.
Having a retentive memory when it comes to web projects is something that I’m trying to do as well.
Remember that “easy-peasy” site that turned into a man-eating monstrosity, with tons of revisions? Yes? Good.
Remember it when you quote for that next web project!
By the way, the “promise of future work” from prospects probably deserves its own topic post. 🙂
Part of my reply to the developer in question was:
I’m not a pricing expert myself. I was only writing from the point of view of a web site builder who has made the same mistake several times.
By looking outward at the prospect’s values, our developer might be able to offer a better pricing solution. One that takes the prospect’s unique situation into consideration, and also compensates the developer for their time.
In the end, my advice to them was to setup a 3 stage pricing model for their prospect. Such a pricing model would cover web project delivery, maintenance, and a support level agreement.
This would allow them to re-use their code base, speed up initial delivery, provide standard maintenance for their product, and even take care of change requests as they come up.
Are they better ways to price this project? Yes, I think there might be. But those 3 stages are a good starting point.
What do you think?