Estimating Client Cost On Your Responsive Web Design Project

If you’re knew to responsive web design (RWD), putting together an accurate bid for your first RWD project can be scary. There are many unknowns to contend with.

For your first project, it might be safer to go with hourly billing. Once you have a few projects under your belt, you can switch to high project based billing.

To make your RWD project go smoother, constantly educating the client about RWD is a smart idea. This will help get the client involved, allow them to understand your decisions, and impact on their site.

In fact, educating the client should be a big part of your RWD client process. Not just because many clients aren’t intimately familiar with RWD, but also because it is still relatively new.

If you can build trust at this stage, there’s a good chance you’ll end up having the client see you as the go to web design guy.

We already know there will be unknowns on the project, but how do we cope with them financially. Certainly we want to be fairly compensated for our time.

There are parts of the project that should be fairly known. We can apply our hourly rate to those. This gives us some total value on fairly known areas. Now we must get into the detailed work of providing some estimate around the unknowns.

Rather than trying to focus on small unknown pieces, begin by identifying large boxes. Meaning, large areas of work that are unknowns but related. The big related area can be put into a box. Give each box a description.

Once you’ve identified all the unknown boxes, you can start putting together some type of workflow within the box. Meaning, you begin identifying smaller boxes within a box.

For some of these smaller boxes, you just won’t know how much time is involved but you should have some vague idea. Apply your estimate using days. This allows for lots of padding.

Add up all the time in your smaller boxes. This should provide a follow for their larger parent box. Now you’re starting to get some estimate around the unknowns. You can add this to your already known estimate, which was based on hours.

You might decide to add or subtract time from your new total estimate, depending on how realistic you feel it is. At least at this point, you aren’t just swinging at anything in the wind. You have a fairly analytical basis for your estimate.


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