[nycphp-talk] CMS - Estimating Hours

BAS lists at
Thu Mar 27 22:55:16 EDT 2008

Hi tedd,

I agree, getting the layout nailed down can be a problem. It seems that 
no matter how many content reviews, mock-ups and wireframes I do, most 
clients can never quite "get it" until they see an actual live site, so 
they usually end up being billed for post-launch changes. With a static 
site using semantic HTML code, well-formed CSS, and includes that's 
usually not a big problem, but I can see how it might get more 
complicated with a template-based CMS.

You're right, I've never had to sue anyone before. When I was 
freelancing I always required a 50% non-refundable up front deposit with 
50% due upon completion (but before delivery), which worked well for me. 
I'm sorry to hear you've been burned in the past, and will keep in mind 
how expensive lawsuits can get should I ever find myself freelancing 
again and feel an urge to let the deposit slide.

As for running into coding problems, I'm pretty persistent when I don't 
understand something and will usually keep working at it until I figure 
things out, but that's when I'm doing my own coding--this first attempt 
at working with a CMS will likely result in me needing assistance at 
some point or other, so it's comforting to know you guys are here if I 
need you!


tedd wrote:
> Bev:
> Some of the biggest problems I've had with clients is getting them to 
> agree and adhere to a certain layout. Without a solid foundation, your 
> site can fall apart very quickly -- especially when your client starts 
> to add and change stuff.
> I had one client recently who had a front page that had a static six 
> item menu on the left and a variable  (0-16 items) "things of interest" 
> link list on the right. The client said that he wanted the top and 
> bottom of both (the menu and "things of interest") to line-up. The 
> client hadn't really thought this out. So, that took time for me to 
> explain the problem and I billed for it. This was an example of how a 
> client can waste your time if you allow it. Bill for everything 
> (including emails explaining things), but deliver what you say you will 
> on time, without problems, and clients will respect your work and come 
> back.
> As for contracts, a letter agreement outlining what is going to be done 
> for what money is good to reflect back on for reference. But, if you 
> want an iron-clad legal contract so you can take someone to court for 
> not paying for a $5k project, then you haven't sued anyone before. My 
> last suit cost me $20k over a $10k dispute. IMO, it's not worth it. So, 
> get 50% up front and the remainder when done.
> If the client won't pay (been stung two times in the last 12 years), 
> then just don't work for him again and move on. Simple, but effective.
> If you run into problems coding, organize and illustrate the problem and 
> drop it on us. Usually someone has been there before. You see, doing CMS 
> and dynamic sites are really simple things to accomplish. Most of us 
> have done it more than once.
> Good luck.
> tedd

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