Pricing services can be tricky business, and even harder when it comes to putting together estimates based on the amount of time and effort that will go into a particular project that hasn’t been completed yet. Youw don’t want to price yourself too high, but you also want to make sure you don’t price yourself too low. You deserve to get fairly compensated for your efforts. Here are just a few tips to help you put together accurate estimates that you can give to clients with confidence.

Track Hours in a Database

Start tracking how much time you are spending on actual projects to get an idea for future estimates. This information will make it much easier to put together an estimate with confidence because you are drawing on actual data from previous projects of a similar nature. This tracking will also help you determine realistic time frames for getting different aspects of a project done to total completion.

Tips For Putting Together More Accurate Estimates

Keep Track of ‘Lessons Learned’

Like tracking hours based on real projects that came before this one, it can also help to put together a nice little database of ‘lessons learned’ on previous projects that will help you more accurately assess the current project and anticipate any factors that can delay, increase cost and the like.

Complexity Factor

Certain projects will naturally take more time and effort depending on a variety of factors unique to that particular job. Developing a ‘complexity factor’ that allows you to determine whether a future project will be easier or more difficult than a previous one can help you determine pricing more accurately.

Closely Dissect Each Task

It will be easier to put together an accurate estimate if you take the time to really delve into the particulars of each task that will be performed on the project. What exactly needs to be done at each step? What do you have to do exactly to get this particular task accomplished? What resources will you need? Do you have to do any research? What expenses will you incur?

Don’t Forget These 3 Things..

When putting together your estimate, it is important to identify any assumptions, caveats and constraints that would affect your calculations. Doing this allows you to establish the conditions under which your estimate would be truly meaningful. Anything that occurs outside of these assumptions, constrains and caveats would be considered out of scope.

Making Adjustments

If the client’s proposed budget or schedule appears inadequate to properly complete the project, inquire about adjusting one or more of the main scope criteria upward or downward: quality, schedule, cost or features. It is always important to talk to the client if there are concerns the project cannot be completed as they want it based on what they are providing you.

It can take a bit of trial and error before you really get a handle on pricing your services with the utmost accuracy. Experience is the best teacher when it comes to business. If you are looking for free software to put together your estimates, check out free online estimate template for easy calculation.