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Freelance input needed for project total price

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Active Member
Dannielle R Member Since: Oct 2, 2015
1 of 14

I am about to post a new job for an online website store. I am going to post it as a project with a fixed price.

 

I would appreciate suggestions from freelancers of suggested fixed price amounts and time frame for completion for my online store. To give an idea of my budget, I don't want a purchased storefront look, such as stores found on Go Daddy and Wix; however, I don't want a very large investment for this store with deep pages (will only need to be 1 page deep.) So I guess my investment should be somewhere in the middle.

 

Background, we are a sign store and we are expanding to start to sell signs online. Below is the details of our new on-line store:

 

We have already purchased a domain for the landing page that will be our online store
We do not want SEO and all artwork will be provided by our graphic designers
We want maintain after project is completed
We need an online store to be written with the below request
1. Store will sell signs with price by square footage
2. Included will be shipping with beginning base price then by square footage for larger signs
3. Need an option for no shipping charges
4. All payments can be processed via credit card, paypal, square
5. Landing page will have link back to our main web-page
6. Web page will only be 1 deep landing (not including payment processing screens)

 

(THANK YOU for any input and suggestions!)

Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
BEST ANSWER
2 of 14

@Dannielle R wrote:

I am about to post a new job for an online website store. I am going to post it as a project with a fixed price.


It doesn't sound like you should.  If you haven't worked out the cost, or at least the value, of the project already, you'll have better success if you post it as an hourly job.  You give no real details here to even formulate an estimate for what you want, so I do hope you'll be giving freelancers more to go on when you post the actual job.

 

As a simple example, a site that sells signs can be as simple as a form that accepts text and limited menu options, or it could be something that allows the user to do complex layouts of their own design (possibly including a 3D rendering for more elaborate signage).  You can essentially get what you pay for, whether it's $500 or $50,000.

 

Since nobody here knows what you want, you essentially have to hire someone to work with you to define the requirements for your particular needs.  It could be done in a series of milestones, but if you don't already have the project management in place, it's usually better to go hourly.

 

Active Member
Dannielle R Member Since: Oct 2, 2015
3 of 14

Thank you, good point about the evaluation by hours.  I think I will post it that way.

 

Regarding the 2nd point, yes I plan on posting more information when I make the post for the job.  I just didn't want to make to long of a post here, just some direction.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 14

Dannielle,

I think you will have the best chance for success if you work on your website in a modular way.

 

I say this partially because you are inexperienced in being a project owner for this kind of thing, and partially because it is generally a good idea when working with unfamiliar contractors.

 

Don't hire somebody who will do the whole thing for you and deliver a finished product to you.

 

Hire somebody (or multiple people) who will deliver small, working components that you can begin using immediately.

 

If a contractor isn't delivering work to you that you love, then hire somebody else.

 

Really try to wrap your head around this scenario (fictional, but based on real experienced clients have shared here in the Forum):

 

"John looked over all my requirements. He said he would do everything we needed. He worked for two months, and I could see in work diaries something that looked like programming. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but he looked busy. After billing 15 hours per week for two months, John disappeared. I don't have a website, I don't have source code, and I'm out $X,000!"

 

Instead of that, make sure you maintain control of a web server, make sure you have a way to download and backup work to a place only you control, on a weekly basis. Make sure that you see progress each week, and see things that users and your staff can browse to and begin to use, even if the whole thing isn't complete and doesn't do everything you want it to.

 

Remember that if you have an hourly contract with a developer, every single thing she does automatically belongs to you. You don't owe her anything in order to receive the work files and the source code. And you don't owe her continued "employment" if you don't like what she delivers. You can end the contract at any time.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
5 of 14

To echo my esteemed colleagues, I think you should first hire someone to flesh out functional and business requirements. In bigger companies, this is done with BAs and PMs. You need someone who understands software development who can extract your ideas and then put them in a form that developers can work with. Then, you can post a job, shortlist the people you like, send them the document and ask them for an estimate. 

 

I wish more people would go that route, because I think their  projects would run much more smoothly. 

Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
6 of 14

As much as I hate to against what other say so often... I just wanted to throw in that by the way you're talking about the project it sounds like you don't need a space ship built. Wait until your online sales are so much that you require a spaceship.

 

One person can knock out a simple one page site for you in a single day for less than $500. That may even be on the high end. It may even be worth considering having the customer fill a form that triggers someone in your office to call them to close the deal (and most importantly upsell something).

 

If you're not currently using a shopping cart for other online products on your main website, then a simple form solution may be a very inexpensive and easy to manage way to test how many sales you actualy get before hiring a team to build something you don't need.

 

I you really want a spaceship, then sure... hire a team, but that is going to become very expsensive and time consuming. I've seen countless small business owners hire the wrong PM who don't know how to manage their given team and the whole project winds up costing the owner 3x or 4x their budget and goes well past any hopeful deadlines. As the saying goes... to many cooks in the kitchen.

 

On the other hand... if you expect to pull a million in your first year or have a need for people to create a custom design of their sign online rather than simply submit a vector image to you, then go ahead and build a small spaceship.

 

/my 2 cents.

 

My views come from years of consulting with many small business owners (and ones who pull 9 figures). I watch them go broke, use up critical cash-flow, become lost in the IT world etc... I see people waste time, money and grow grey hair everyday. Unless your company is expecting large volumes of sales, my vote would be to keep it simple until you see how the market reacts.

 

.. and again, I'm only pointing this out because your post sounds to me as though you are just starting out and not looking for anything fancy. Don't waste your money.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 14

re: "As much as I hate to against what other say so often... I just wanted to throw in that by the way you're talking about the project it sounds like you don't need a space ship built."

 

Tony, I don't think your suggestion goes against what I said.

 

My main suggestion was for the original poster to work in a modular way... get individual sub-components done in a way that makes them immediately useful and usable.

 

That concept meshes well with your suggestion.

 

The project owner can focus, like you said, on getting the things done that she absolutely needs now, and then building on that.

 

A good developer can do that... setting up something useful now, but building on it as needs require and as financing allows.

Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
8 of 14

@Tony H wrote:

Wait until your online sales are so much that you require a spaceship.


As generic advice, this is shortsighted.  If you're selling trips to the moon, there is no need to wait to see what the sales number are: you are pretty much guaranteed to have zero sales until you show people you have a spaceship.  I have no idea what the state of the art is for sign building sites (I've seen some pretty elaborate business card creation sites, though), but that's the market Dannielle needs to compete in, so whatever features she does or doesn't need must be dealt with on that basis.


One person can knock out a simple one page site for you in a single day for less than $500. That may even be on the high end. It may even be worth considering having the customer fill a form that triggers someone in your office to call them to close the deal (and most importantlyupsell something).

This is terrible advice for anyone who is interested in running a customer-centric business.  It doesn't matter what can be cheaply "knocked out" if the result is not what people want to use when they're ordering a product.  I can tell you from personal experience that it puts a bad taste in my mouth when I go to a site looking for product details/prices and all they want to do is funnel me into a high-pressured sales call.


I've seen countless small business owners hire the wrong PM who don't know how to manage their given team and the whole project winds up costing the owner3x or4x their budget and goes well past any hopeful deadlines.

A poorly managed project is a poorly managed project, whether it's for $100 or $1 million.  The solution to that isn't to just hire a random developer and trust they'll do everything right in the end.  This is especially true when someone doesn't have much (or any) experience running a software project.  

 

Active Member
Dannielle R Member Since: Oct 2, 2015
9 of 14

Thank you all for your great input.

 

Our sign shop has been in business and well established in our area for years now; however, selling online in a new store will be a great challenge for us.

 

It is great to be an growing business, but it is also hurts to be a growing business hehe

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 14

I think Darrin, Tony and Jennifer have all provided valuable advice.

 

To harmonize some of the advice here, I think a smart move would be to talk to a few different contractors who can serve as project managers, people who know how to manage a high-quality web development project and can help find specialists to do different types of work (design, content writing, programming, e-commerce, etc.)

 

Ask a few different potential project managers (which may mean hiring them for an hour each to consult with you) about their approach and what kind of costs they envision for developing various components of your system.

 

Eventually, choose one person who you are comfortable with and whose budget projections fit with what you want to spend.

 

Keep in mind that even when you work with quality developers, it is usually best to have a project manager who is separate from the lead programmer. SOME programmers can serve as their own project manager, but most can not. And how do you know whether the lead developer you hire can serve as his own project manager or now? There's no way to know ahead of time.

 

Then develop your project with the help of the qualified project manager, focusing on building high-quality user-friendly components that meet your level of expectation. Maybe the first thing you will do is to set up a site which displays your product offerings and allows customers to place orders.

 

You can do that without having your back-end employee payroll system in place, or without having your desired design automation features in place.

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