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View Full Version : How would you qoute this.


generalj
07-22-2008, 07:17 PM
My first "business" client since I started.

Situation is this:

Small insurance office with 5 workstations and no servers.

They have another workstation not being used that they want to turn into a server for 2 to 4 employees to access a scansoft scanned documents management software application. They also want the server to have mirrored drives.

Seems fairly easy job. The "server" does need a raid controller purchased and installed.

Would you quote this at your hourly rate plus any cost of parts?

Or would you come up with some flat rate.

They way I see it on an hourly basis is this.

3 hours to get the server ready. which includes reinstalling windows, updating windows, securing windows, installing the scansoft ware and any updates it may have.

Then about an hour to setup the workstations with shortcuts to access the server and any training involved for the end user or the owner.

So at $80.00/hour would come out roughly to $320 plus any parts.

Do you think this is a fair quote?

MrMille
07-22-2008, 07:39 PM
More questions than answers I'm afraid.

What are you going to run on the sever?
Are you setting up a domain/active directory?

If I were you, I'd post up each step you plan on doing,
and perhaps the more knowledgable guys could review the plan.
A network diagram too.

generalj
07-22-2008, 07:48 PM
Well at this point no domain or AD will be used. Just an XP machine basically with the application installed that users can access via a shortcut on their workstations.

Step 1: Install Sata Raid controller and install XP in mirrored array
Step 2: Install any updates, security and Scan Soft software.
Step 3: Setup directory sharing and file permissions for the Scan soft application on the server.
Step 4: Configure shortcut to application on workstations pointing to Server.
Step 5: Conduct training.

I think but I am not sure and have not verified but I believe XP allows 5 simultaneous network connections to it. Is this correct?

MHCG
07-22-2008, 09:29 PM
10 simultaneous for XP Pro

dave-northoaklandtech
07-22-2008, 11:11 PM
Add $200 to hardware for at least 1 USB external drive for backup, add another hour of labor for setting up backup and testing it. Alternately, find an online backup service and quote that for setup (Carbonite comes to mind). OTOH I don't think I'd want to back up a lot of scans over the Internet, might be pretty s-l-o-w.
Verify that the 'server' has USB 2.0 ports, not USB 1, by checking the device manager for "enhanced" USB controller stuff. USB 1 kills external drive performance bad.
If your users are using different user names than the server knows about, you'll need to add the users to the server machine.
What about network printing? Do they want to share any printers off the server? If so, you'll probably need to reinstall the printers at the workstations to use the new shared port. Allow enough time for that too.
You say you'll be setting up shortcuts to the application on the server. Are you sure that's the right method? Many times, apps won't run over a network, they'll need to be installed on the workstations. So allow enough time to install and test the apps at the workstations too.
Will they be scanning stuff in at the server only, or at the workstations?

bagellad
07-22-2008, 11:58 PM
Not sure your level of experience but I know personally I would setup the server at home and test it all before hand just so everything goes smoothly during the setup and you can take the server out of the equation of trouble shooting in case something isn't working properly. Also familiarize yourself with the router they are using and stuff.

generalj
07-23-2008, 03:07 AM
I am not sure if this application supports the shortcut method I was talking about but I do use applications here on my network that are designed to work that way. They want to do the scans from the workstations. They have 2 workstations each with their own printer/scanner connected to them where they scan from. They want to set it up so after scanning they can upload the documents to the server via the new scansoft application.

He did mention getting an external usb hard drive for backup and I mentioned to him about remote backup solution so its not in his office incase of fire or vandalism etc he would have a remote backup of it.

I have done these things before on my own. I have setup Domain controllers with AD/DHCP/DNS etc. and have experience setting up file sharing etc. My only concern is if this app will work the way I want via shortcuts I will do some research now and see if I can find anything out about it.

Thanks for all the reply's.....keep em coming :)

cmonova
07-23-2008, 09:57 AM
I think quoting it at 3 hours is being pretty nice to the person. Problem with quotes for things like that is never knowing what will happen once you start. Typically I like doing the flat fee on those projects and letting the customer know the price is based on "no unexpected" problems and then go from there.

Do not like quoting a job for say 4 hours and it turns into 8....

hawks5999
07-23-2008, 10:01 AM
rule of thumb:
however long you, as a technical person, think it will take to do a job - double it. You have to do this because all your estimations are based on blue sky perfection and you aren't even sure how the software works. Expect that you are going to run into problems that are going to take longer than you thought and be more complicated than you ever expected.
Seriously, make it 8 hours. If you finish up in 4 or 6, then great. You beat expectations and are hero. If you quote 4 and it takes 6 or 8 then you look incompetent and the client says "sorry, you said 4 hours in your quote" compared to "wow, you said 8 hours in your quote and got done an hour early! how can I best refer you?"

Experience talking here...

MrMille
07-23-2008, 01:22 PM
rule of thumb:
however long you, as a technical person, think it will take to do a job - double it. You have to do this because all your estimations are based on blue sky perfection and you aren't even sure how the software works. Expect that you are going to run into problems that are going to take longer than you thought and be more complicated than you ever expected.
Seriously, make it 8 hours. If you finish up in 4 or 6, then great. You beat expectations and are hero. If you quote 4 and it takes 6 or 8 then you look incompetent and the client says "sorry, you said 4 hours in your quote" compared to "wow, you said 8 hours in your quote and got done an hour early! how can I best refer you?"

Experience talking here...

I was going to say exactly the same thing. Tell them it's a day's work, but the real smart money is thinking two days ;)

bagellad
07-23-2008, 06:31 PM
Can't you just map a drive on both of the scanning computers and have them save on the mapped drive? It would still be available to everyone... and it would be pretty easy to troubleshoot/setup etc. Also with my luck I also agree with doubling any estimate. Thats the danger of the "Hourly" technician.

generalj
07-23-2008, 09:31 PM
Well I need to figure out the applications license information. I am not sure if it can be installed on more then one machine yet. I tried calling the company to ask but I dont get support from them because I could not provide the registration info of it. On top of that you only get one 15 min phone support from them the rest is like 40 hour charge.

Anyways, you are correct about the mapped driver solution. Either way both will be simple and both should take about the same time to setup.