Panel

Ashe Dryden (twitter github blog)
Eric Davis (twitter github blog)
Jeff Schoolcraft (twitter github blog)
Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up)

Discussion
00:39 - Experience working with fixed bids
04:08 - Risks

Value

06:45 - Collecting Payment

Working in phases and milestones

08:56 - Are fixed bid projects fair?
16:57 - Nailing down specifics
19:51 - Dealing with scope creep

Contract clauses/additional contracts

26:15 - Getting clients to agree with your fixed bid or hourly preference
28:29 - Estimates

Prioritizing
Point estimation

37:11 - Transitioning from fixed bid to hourly work
38:42 - Figuring out what to bid

Project management
Value-Based Fees: How to Charge - and Get - What You're Worth by Alan Weiss
Option pricing

44:41 - Ask clients why they prefer fixed bid pricing

Picks

Healthy Programmer by Joe Kutner (Ashe)
DuoLingo (Ashe)
#RubyThanks (Ashe)
Becoming a Better Programmer Indie GoGo campaign (Ashe)
Douglas Rushkoff: Wall Street Journal adaptation from Present Shock (Eric)
Ruby Heroes (Chuck)
Colloquy (Chuck)
Value-Based Fees: How to Charge - and Get - What You're Worth by Alan Weiss (Jeff)

Next Week
How do you convince clients of the value of tests, refactoring, etc.?
Transcript
ERIC: Chuck, I'm cold. Keep me warm!

[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net]

CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 57 of the Ruby Freelancers Show! This week on our panel, we have Ashe Dryden.

ASHE: Hello from Madison, Wisconsin!

CHUCK: Eric Davis.

ERIC: Hello!

CHUCK: Jeff Schoolcraft.

JEFF: What's up!

CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv. This week, we're going to be talking about "Fixed Bids". How much of you guys done with fixed bids?

ASHE: I used to do them a lot more than I do them now; I actually tried to not do fixed bids.

CHUCK: Is there a reason for that?

ASHE: Yeah. It never really sticks really well with the fixed bid; I mostly do hourly now. I prefer hourly because it allows the client to kind of expand or contract their needs without feeling limited by the contract and it makes me feel less mean.

CHUCK: Oh, it makes sense.

ASHE: So I don't have to constantly say "Well, that wasn't really part of the original contract". I can give them what they need and what they want without having to have that difficult conversation.

CHUCK: How about you guys, Eric and Jeff?

JEFF: I've done a few very small fixed bid projects. But by large, I'm mostly hourly mostly for the same reason as Ashe has. And beyond that, it's really hard to get a scope timed on off and it makes it comfortable for me to try to bid on something.

ERIC: For me...I don't know, maybe 20% if that -- I actually have a different reason. I don't mind fixed bids, but the project has to be very specific. There has to be a lot of trust between me and the client first off so that I can trust that they're going to understand what's cocube is; we don't have those problems or discussions.

The other side of it is, the project has to be [inaudible] and that it's something I've done before or there's not a lot of technical risk on the project. If there is a lot of technical risk for a lot of unknowns, then I basically say "We're going to have to be hourly because I can't guess this upfront and commit to it".

CHUCK: Yeah. I've done a couple of fixed bids myself, they were less than a thousand dollars effect; both of them were $500 a piece and it was an enough work that it wasn't that risky. One of them, I really actually didn't get paid on; and it was because I was setting up some software, some third-party software, for somebody on their server. He was unhappy with the result because there was a bug in the software that I set up, but I didn't actually write it.

Anyway, it's kind of interesting I haven't done major fixed bid projects,

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