Five Keys to a Clear Website Estimate
As an IT company owner, a big challenge is providing a clear website estimate to potential clients. If done right, an estimate can give your client a clear understanding of the price and work involved in the project and start the project on the right note.
At IT Hands, we’ve experienced the good and bad of estimates and formed five key points to create a clear estimate for clients.
Understand the Scope
Think like a reporter. Your client has objectives for their project, but it’s up to you to figure out how those define the scope. Ask the right questions and understand their business objectives before you even get into the technical requirements.
Think through the project scope and even offer any suggestions to enhance their technology or minimize cost. Be consultative! Clearly define for your client what requirements are in scope or out of scope in the project.
As you are able to look back on the list of requirements and discuss points with your client, you will be more confident with the task before you and your client will know you will follow through on your commitment.
Make Good Assumptions
At a certain point, you have to stop gathering requirements and make some assumptions. These assumptions have to make sense both for the tech on your team and the business you’re serving. The most important part: Make sure you’re absolutely certain what those assumptions are for the client. (Read Chris’ blog for more on this topic)
Here are a number of common assumptions that we have thought through in some projects:
- What browsers (and how old of browsers) will be tested in this project?
- How fast will the site be expected to load?
- Where will the images come from? Who will provide them?
Involve Your Delivery Team
Don’t be a postman. Meaning: Don’t blindly deliver estimated hours from the development team to the client. Make sure the team understands the entire scope of the project. This is especially true for custom development work.
Also, don’t ignore your delivery team. If they receive a project in which they disagree with the estimate, you’ll have a group of unhappy developers. Many projects derail when the business development side and the developers lack communication from the very beginning.
Define the Project Management Methodology
Sometimes, you just don’t have enough knowledge of the project to give a clear website estimate. What do you do? Just be sure you have a trusted method as you move forward with the client.
There are many types of methods of working through a project. At IT Hands we follow an Agile/Scrum methodology, which gives the client the benefit of a quick iterative process providing consistent feedback and readjustment of deliverables. Using Agile methodology allows a project to naturally evolve from an idea to an excellent product.
Understand Timeline and Budget
Understand the expected timeline and budget of your client before you present an estimate. It’s better to overshoot and save the client time and money. If you don’t know the budget, then be sure you have a strong level of trust with the client throughout the process.
Don’t get into details when providing an estimate. If you breakdown your estimate and provide too many details, it gives the client a chance to nit-pick the numbers or demand a discount. If this starts, it could be a sign that the project may not be successful.
When you present a clear website estimate to the client, you should already have a feel for what the client will say. The client should have provided a timeline and budget, which you can meet. If you don’t think the client will say yes, you’re probably right.
Looking for a format to follow when developing a project estimate? Download one of our free questionnaire templates to get started on your next project estimate. Click Here.