We get an email from a company it is asking for a quote for a business solution now they give a lot of detail on what they plan and what the future may bring.
Now itís not imposable to do what they are asking but it may become quite expensive plus it may even take more then one server to help out with load balancing could run into as many as 3 maybe 4. (unless there is some other way to handle 10ís of millions connections a day figuring 100,000 plus concurrent connections at peak times with an average of 10/20 minutes per session)
Crunching the numbers is not that big of a deal, we can always come up with a solution even if we have to write a custom application to handle it all. But the time spent on planning, coming up with a solution then implementing it for testing is time consuming and costly (this is just to test our ideas for what they are inquiring about).
How do you figure this in a quote? If we figure what they expect then the cost will be way out there. But if they do not succeed then they would be paying a high cost for nothing.
Of course we are trying to check out this company but are running into road blocks as the company that is hosting their site right now ( it is not hosting the service that they are inquiring about just their company site) must be having some load problems seeing how we can not get the site to load completely before it times out.
Doing a check on the domain gives conflicting information plus an email address from one of the well known free email services as the owners contact email.
So my question is to those of you that have done this before on a quote not an hourly base (if it was an hourly project there would be no problem as long as they had a big enough budget). How would you go about dealing with this sort of project?
While I have not been in this exact position with web hosting yet, I have been in this identical position in my EMS business countless times.
What we did was to have a flat fee for a Compatibility Evaluation. This paid for our travel expenses to various random locations, existing system evaluations, compatibility with our system and the evaluation for implementation. Fees in these cases ranged from $1500.00 to well over $50,000.00. It was my experience that those companies that were not willing to pay for an accurate appraisal and compatibility study were not serious (or ready) to move forward with any projects.
This is the kind of stuff we are learning in my systems analysis and design class. There is a point system that you use to determine how big the project/system will be. This will tell you roughly how many lines of code you need, then using a formula based on the language you choose to do it in will tell you how many lines of code per day can be coded etc. Obviously this may not all apply to you, but the general concept will work.
Its not a matter of saying the project will have a flat fee of $X with half up front, and half on delivery. But you need to also factor in the scope of the project. What the requirements are now, might change halfway through and add several months to the design phase. Then there are also implementation costs and training costs. And maintenance costs that are all involved.
If this is a big project (which it sounds like it is) It will most likely cost in the upwards of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in total cost. I would strongly recommend finding a systems analyst that can help you go through the whole project/system to keep your costs down and improve efficiency.
Of course, you would have all the appropriate contracts signed and documented to cover your rear, and deal with the person directly for something of this nature.
Any time we're presented with a project we're not sure about, we charge for a quote. We always put some sales time in first to get them interested, and tell them why we charge for quotes - but most companies will charge for a detailed proposal of that magnatude so don't hesitate to charge for providing the quote.
A project quote for something like that - or at least a quote worth the paper its written on - is a major project no matter how you do it (although geek has some good ideas). Too many of those done for free, especially for people who are just sending our feelers, and you'll be out of business.