Estimating design projects is a time-consuming process but a good estimate can signify the difference between a profitable design project and a costly project. Unfortunately, many designers’ project estimates are more likely to be guessing it by their own.
Base your estimate on the right information. One of the reasons so many web design estimates are wrong is because the designer didn’t get a whole picture of the project. No matter what estimating technique you use, it’s important to be precise as possible when defining a project’s scope.
You can’t always depend on the client to notify you everything you need to know. The client may not realize what information you need to make a good estimate or they may deny information to make the project seem easier to avoid discouraging you or to get a lower price from you.
It’s a good idea to create a list of questions that you usually need to ask and revise it for each type of client depending on how complex is the project is. Always include the project scope in your signed work agreement with the client and once you have a good idea of what the client needs, you are good to go in creating a project estimate.
There are 3 techniques you can use to base your estimate:
The task-based approach.
This approach works particularly on a large projects. It may seem nearly impossible to create a good estimate for a large project. Don’t let the scope of a large project overwhelm you. This approach can help by following the steps below:
- Break the project into smaller tasks
- Decide how long it will take you to complete each small task
- Assign an hourly rate to each small task
- Combine the prices for the whole project
- Present the estimated project cost to the client
The benchmark approach.
This approach is a good technique for designers who do similar work over and over again. Furthermore, it is useful if you do a lot of work for the same client. A benchmark is based on your previous work done on similar projects. You can track your work using a time-tracking tool like Toggl or Chrometa to gather the information you need to create as benchmark.
The tools-based approach.
This approach refers to a few tools for website designers and developers in estimating project. Two tools that you can use to develop a project estimate include:
Austuteo – This tool is geared to web developers, but can be used by designers as well. It’s somewhat a task-based estimating approach described earlier in the post, but the tool automates the process by including some common task descriptions.
Konigi – This is a free estimating template that is based on Microsoft Excel. It’s also task-based. A major difference is that this tool requires you to enter a low estimate and a high estimate for each task. This allows you to provide a range as your estimate and calculate a project completion date.