View Full Version : Seeking input from small business owners/managers

05-18-2010, 05:31 PM
DH works in IT. He has done some work on the side but no major projects.

An acquaintance is opening a small office- 5-6 employees- and is hiring DH as an IT consultant. DH does have an hourly rate, but for something like this would give a project cost.

Does anyone have any more specific suggestions as to what this would cost than 'multiply your his hourly rate times the number of hours you think it will take.'?

05-18-2010, 07:31 PM
An acquaintance is opening a small office- 5-6 employees- and is hiring DH as an IT consultant.

Honestly, that's a little vague. Exactly what is he going to be doing? Helping set up a new business can vary from simply coming in, making sure their internet & network are up, and plugging everything in to complete turn-key spec'ing & installing computers, installing network cable, setting up a file server, QuickBooks/Peachtree, etc., etc., etc.

As a general rule, I try to make sure that I know exactly what the customer is looking for before quoting the job. For example, sell customer 5 computers, setup computers, sell server, setup server, run wire for 6 stations, setup wireless, setup internet connection. Then, I'll quote each as a seperate item on the quote and give a total. It is much easier to estimate time for the small jobs than for one huge job. It also gives the customer clear items that you're going to deliver. In the event the customer says he has two laptops he forgot to mention (or some other random thing that will increase the time the job will take), you have an out so you're not eating the cost of the extra labor since you gave a clear list of what you're doing as opposed to "set up everything for the office." In the event he's running ahead of schedule, he can always do it for free. As for estimating the time, that really depends on experience level. If he doesn't know, some Google'ing would probably yield time estimates.

05-18-2010, 08:59 PM
Thanks. That's actually very helpful, and I'm sure quite obvious to you...not so much to my DH as he has only done small projects on the side up to this point.

The vast majority is small jobs that are easy to price. There are a couple of products that are very specific to the profession of the small business owner that he has no experience with, but they were aware of that when they asked for his assistance.

05-18-2010, 09:32 PM
I've been there... so I understand completely. Quoting out big jobs is very time consuming; you can not only leave money on the table, but actually end up losing money if you don't quote them right. But, if you charge too much the customer won't come back... definitely a big balancing act. Splitting things up will definitely make it easier for him to quote the whole thing.

My experience with industry-specific software has been to err on the high side if the customer insists on a quoted rate. Honestly, his best bet would be to quote the entire job, minus the special software, and then deal with the software on a hourly basis. In the event it takes an exorbitant amount of time, he can always negotiate something with the customer. If it means a few free hours of service so your DH can learn the software and get future business, it may be worth it.