This question is something that's been bugging me for the past 3 months since I switched from being a freelancer to working at a Web Design firm.
Our sales people often ask us something similar to the following series of questions:
- How much does it cost to program a widget
- How many hours will it take to convert this website to this software.
(Without knowing what the website currently runs)
- How can we give a quote without any information? (No, I can't ask for more info!)
I have another question if a project goes over budget it's bad. Recently, I missed an entire menu when calculating the cost of transferring a website over to a new platform so the project went over budget. My boss was not happy at all, and it's my opinion that some things like this can't be avoided.
2. What is the general practice for dealing with going over budget
and do projects like web development often go over budget?
If you work at a web development/design/similar company:
3. How does your billable hour system work?
For me, we have a time tracking application that we record how many hours we spend on which project and if they are billable or internal (AKA non-billable). If don't meet xx billable hours a week we can get in trouble/fired eventually. Work you do for the company or for clients that isn't billable isn't part of this system, and we often have to do internal work, so I'm wondering if any alternative systems exist.
EDIT: Ok I am a developer at this firm not a designer :)
Second, I am paid salary, but here is how management looks at it. You have 35 hours a week that you must work. You could be doing work that they bill to clients in that 35 hours and you should. If they figure out a project will take 50 hours and I take 55 hours, that 5 hours could have been spent on another project that wasn't over budget so we just "lost" money.
Another example is that if I only have 1 project, that is due in two weeks and I spend a day doing internal work, some how we lost money because I wasn't working. If I worked that day, I would finish a day early and still have no work. Either way, the work is contract so we will get paid the same amount regardless of which days I work!