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I finally met with my new client today at 1:45. He was 45 minutes late.

I tried conducting an interview to figure out exactly what it was he wanted and needed. He starts telling me about this vague concept about being able to order car parts and accessories online. He starts off needing a small inventory. Then no inventory as he will be linking to a supplier's database. Then he needs the ability to choose from different suppliers. And he wants the user to put in the make, model, year, etc., of the car he or she needs a part for and have the website's scripts find the right part.

The more he talked, the more complicated the project became. I sat there, looking at the 20-year-old kid, admiring his enthusiasm to get his business going, but thinking: "I can probably do this site. But it will be a lot of work. I don't want to do all that work. And it would cost a shitload of money. And he doesn't look like he has a shitload of money to spend on a site."

I finally intervened to spare us both. "Listen, you just want to provide parts and accessories to clients at a decent cost, right? You don't really need to hook up to all these different databases. Just have a single page describing your business, what you offer, with your business phone and e-mail so that a client can contact you to find what he needs. This would be a hell of a lot cheaper." Then I explained my pricing structure to him and really sold him on the idea of a non-interactive site, basically nothing more than a web advertisement for his business.

We finally settled on the following: I will design a logo and background graphic for him ($20 each). I'll code a home page that gives a description of his business and services offered and lists contact information. There will also be a page that is basically a portfolio, showing pictures and descriptions of select projects (with the repeated contact information). Each page will be $80. I told him if he sends me the pictures for the portfolio page in electronic format I won't charge him for formatting them. Plus I will host the site for him, which, since he will pay upfront, will be $100 for the year. And I'll get him a domain name and DNS services for about $30. He'll only pay about $230, which he can afford, and I'll only have to spend an afternoon working on this.

In the meantime, I finished and billed for another site today. The URL is http://pulm.bumc.bu.edu/interactome/. I know it looks spotty in Netscape because Netscape has trouble with CSS, but Netscape is dead as far as I'm concerned. Those of you with Lynx and Opera, check it out and let me know if anything is seriously out of whack. Since I coded this site with PHP, I charged $100 per page, so I made $920 from this site. I really wanted to charge more, because the tables were a pain in the ass to set up, but I have no separate pricing structure for pain-in-the-ass tables.

Now, if I could just start billing for some of the other work I've done since the New Year, maybe I could start paying off some of my recent debts. <sigh>


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2003 12:34 am (UTC)
Mozilla Firebird seems to be liking the pages just fine.
Aug. 12th, 2003 02:01 am (UTC)
Aug. 12th, 2003 02:58 pm (UTC)
Site looks good. What took the longest with the gene tables, the formatting or the harcoding all the content? If it were me, I'd have set up a few MySQL tables, and done a PHP lookup for each, and applied a bit of CSS to the table rows programmatically. Table design doesn't have to be a pain in the butt -- make it fun! (Also MUCH easier to maintain content this way.) -T
Aug. 12th, 2003 03:29 pm (UTC)
Re: site
I would have done it that way to, if I hadn't been told "We need this ASAP." It would be ideal to have this as rows in a DB, but they hand me Excel files and tell me to make web tables out of them. Those fools know how to create databases; they should start that way instead of creating worthless Excel files.
Aug. 12th, 2003 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: site
Our Multi-Tier ODBC product allows you to connect PHP to Excel files in real time. What else ya got for me? ;-) -T
Aug. 12th, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: site
Oh, I know it does. I did some research on that, remember? But I'm not about to pay for Openlink's service just to speed up a client's job. ;)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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