Costs and Benefits
These rates are less than the going rates because I expect to have to compromise if I'm going to take my convenience into account. There will be weeks that I'm not available for as long as you want or on the days that you want. C'est la vie.
Ask any IT person: we all hate doing estimates. Now, your average consultant who is doing this stuff for a living decides what his time is worth and then adds on a percentage to cover the things that have to get done to get the business and the various costs of doing business. Because I'm semi-retired, I'm just using a number that is high enough to make it worth my while and low enough that I don't feel that I'm contributing to the bankruptcy of some of the small businesses that I'm dealing with. Essentially it's a rate that I can live with, with no overhead built in.
If you need an estimate, the nature of IT work is such that it's often quicker for me to do the thing than work out how long it will take, with any degree of accuracy. I was ending up working for peanuts and also eating my mistakes. So, learning as I go along, here's the new deal: if you want an estimate, what you'll get is my best guess as a result of a very short analysis; it will probably be in the form of a range, and if necessary only for the next phase. It is still possible that it will cost more than the top of the range, but as soon as it becomes a likelihood that there will be a significant overrun (say more than 10%) I will contact you before continuing. However, if I run into a problem which is of my fault, the clock stops until I'm back on track.
If you request a firm quote, then I will do much more analysis, and possibly some testing and research. The amount I quote will be the amount you pay (as long as the specifications stay the same). The amount will be calculated so that, in theory, over the long run I break even; so some of the time it would have been cheaper for you to go with an estimate, or nothing at all.
Anything that doesn't clearly say it's a firm quote is an estimate!
If you have any questions about these rates, or need an estimate, please contact me by phone or e-mail.