[Quotes] Consultants

Who/How do you handle your day-to-day business paperwork?

  • Hire admin staff
  • Do it myself
  • Automate most of it
  • Put it in a pile for Ron (…later on)
  • What paperwork???

0 voters

For the consultants, when you quote on a job, do you factor in travel time, dev time, testing time, purchase of test/lab equipment, rent etc… and what is your going rate for custom scripts etc… does it include a web interface

I have just watched my colleagues do a job that has taken nearly two weeks to do. The salesman promised a ridiculous amount of features on cisco handsets that we’d never played with before.

Most people are looking to use asterisk because they want to get away from paying for per seat pricing. This is why we charge by the hour. We ask the customer what features they want and then we extimate how long each one will take and we bill them acordingly.

For traveling time it really depends. If its a local drive I wont. If I have to drive an hour (and I can be paid for that if I did other work in the office) then I charge but at a lower rate. We pretty much bill for any time that we do work for the customer. However if I am working on feature that I have never done before then I will calculate it in and not charge them full price for it. We charge the same amoung for scripting, setting up the OS on the box, setting up the dial plan etc. The only gui that we currently include is FOP. We alse recomend to our clients that they use snap (www.snapanumber.com).

When we quote systems the customer gets a list of features that are included in the system and what it will cost to program those features. The only way that price might change is based on the number of phones the customer needs. Otherwise it’s pretty cookie cutter. If they want custom stuff after that it’s hourly. The stuff I’m doing isn’t rocket science, the systems are usually pretty straightforward and don’t work much differently than anything else. The customer gets a system that works well and costs quite a bit less than what everyone else in town is quoting.

What gets me is that most clients look at the price and crap their pants because we’re so much less than everyone else. The last system we put in was $10k less than the Cisco Call Manager Express system the customer was quoted and I had $4500 worth of labor on it.


Most of what I do is charge by the hour.
However for * setups I generally put together a quote or proposal in advance. This makes a lot of customers more happy because they see how much it’s going to cost upfront, and it makes me more happy because that number is usually larger than time+materials. That quote will then include any time/parts it takes to make the thing work and do whatever else was agreed to at the beginning or necessary to do, ie integrate wtih legacy equipment, take phones out of boxes and assemble them on peoples desks, explain to users why it no longer takes half a minute and 20 keystrokes just to open a voicemail box, etc etc. The quotes are pretty customized, it really depends on how ‘hard’ what they want will be.

One thing that’s important is to always be very honest IMHO. If I know something will work, I tell them that, if I think i can make it work the way they want but aren’t sure I tell them that too. Every now and then is a little feature or tweak that someone wants, sometimes you can do it sometimes not.

As for travel I’m like Dovid- if its in my general area I don’t charge, but if the travel time presents a large inconvenience I will charge them something for it, because that’s taking up time+gas. It won’t be my usual rate but it will be something.