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How much to charge for database creation?

By ananse ·
Hello all

I just got a request from a nonprofit agency to create a database for them. The database will consist of basic client information and evaluations performed by staff. I received a template of the word form that they currently use. The template is 8 pages long. The database will capture the information on the template and generate reports for the evaluations. I will be using Access.

My question is how much should I charge for this work? This will be my first paid database gig. I am not necessarily an IT professional but I have essentially learned on my own. I do have another non-IT related full time job.

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Just a thought...

by dawgit In reply to How much to charge for da ...

I sure you will get better answers comming this Monday, but here's my 2??.
First an 8 page template is not long at all, but it's only the start. You need to know up-front just how much Data that needs to be input initially. Get specifics, in writing. When you have all the information as to what they really need, (and realistic too.) You can then determin how much time you'll need. You can then base a figure on the time you estimate (that YOU need) to complete the first install. Keep in mind, Data bases are NEVER finished, but you can get them started. Again Document, Document, Document. And start that before you even start to build. As for your price, it will depend on what is a reasonable rate in your area. That I can't tell you. Remember, however, don't sell your-self short. If you intend to do a professional job (I would hope so) then you should be paid accordingly so. (ok, as a beginer, not on the high end, that's for sure, but your time IS valuable, at least to you.)
I hope you'll get more specific answers, I'm sure you will. Good luck, and Welcome. -d

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not very much info there

by Shellbot In reply to How much to charge for da ...

how many users?
how much data?
how many clients?

I work for a nonprofit group, and we have a database application that consists of basic client information and evaluations. Its a nightmare. It was created by people who were not database developers..rather they were web developers. So the web front is pretty cool..the rest is a disaster. It has grown into a huge monster. Once my bossess seen what they could have they just kept throwing in more and more.

Is this a large group, who do they report to, are they accoutnable to the government for their data etc?

I'n over in Ireland, so i presume we have different legal situation, but make sure you keep legal issues in mind as well..data protection, security etc.

I'm no pro myself and have never done a gig such as this..but its one i'm interested in..let me know how ya get on with it will ya.

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Pretty Brave

by Maevinn In reply to How much to charge for da ...

Without knowing what skill you have, I'd say it's a pretty bold move to agree to build a database for someone. This is NOT an easy task to do properly, and please don't take this the wrong way, but I've yet to see a clean database built by someone with no training. I've spent thousands of hours cleaning up systems that I inherited from self-taught desingers, and the biggest problem has usually been a complete absence of model and documentation.

As for cost--hard to say. I'd estimate at least 100 hours for just the model. After that, it's a matter of determining what needs to be created, estimating work time based on that, then another 20-40 hours of testing. I'd also plan on maintenance window of at least 6 months, since most often there are cases that don't meet the standard identified in the model, and of course, a number of issues can arise that mess up the system, including changes to group permissions on the server, patches, upgrades, etc. All that should either be included or specifically excluded from you contract.

Since it's a non-profit, I'd go for the minimum cost you're comfortable with and claim huge experience points, probably requesting a letter of recomendation from the non-profit upon satisfactory completion. In the long run, a very happy customer will be worth more than a single paycheck.

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Thanks all

by ananse In reply to Pretty Brave

thanks all for the great responses. I hear ya Marvyn about proper design. I have been reading a bit about design and I will model it before implementation. I know it won't be perfect but it will at least give them something to work with that will make their reporting easier.

I had actually offered to do it gratis for the experience but they've suggested that I come up with a stipend which, though not market value, I will feel is fair.

This is a small non-profit of about 10-15 people who work with abused kids. They do have to do some reporting to the government. I am trying to get more info on the type of reporting that they do.

Again, I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your input.

ananse

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feel free

by Shellbot In reply to Thanks all

to contact me if you want.
I'm no pro at it, but i'm working with the same kind of stuff and may be able to offer a bit of insight on certain things

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Start with the Reports

by Minstrel Mike In reply to Thanks all

"I am trying to get more info on the type of reporting that they do."

Remember, the ONLY reason to put data into a database is to get it out again later. Too many "modelers" focus on data tha _can_ be captured, not data that needs to be captured. I usually walk folks thru data entry ideas just to get that out of the way, then ask exactly what sorts of reporting they want, then tell them I can make the data entry easier and more accurate by simplifying to just the things everyone cares about.
Two years from now, what sorts of reports would they want? That tells you waht sorts of data they ought to be spending their time and money to collect.

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One nice point by Minstrel Mike

by unni_kcpm In reply to Start with the Reports

Dear ananse and Others,

I. What Minstrel Mike has pointed out (to
get the Reporting(ALL) formats) is a
good idea. This will give you an idea
how the captured data should be make to
reports and accordingly you can organize
the data and then come to the place
where it is stored for designing.
II.You have mentioned the backend as Access
but nothing about the Front end. This
will certainly cater to the development
time you require for the project.
III.Also depending on the to be captured
data, Master tables needed should also
be decided and the number of such
tables needed and separate UI needed
for such ones also to be arrived at
and the time to create same alongwith
the Transaction table(s) User interfaces
(UI).

Sure this will be a good experience for you. As suggested by "Shellbot", you can
seek his help/ideas or anybody here after
arriving you definite plan on the project.

Best Wishes !

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Few other points ...

by unni_kcpm In reply to One nice point by Minstre ...

1. Maintenance requirements. Depending
on the time frame you have undertaken
it may need that you should visit the
premises too frequently for fixing up
the required s/w hiccups and training.
2. If you are working somewhere, it might
turn out that those people(non-profit
Organization guys) will call you for
help reg. the s/w you have supplied,
which may in turn create problem for your
current Job/Career. You can't even
discourage them too due to reason of
doing the project.
3. So the costing/pricing may vary
significantly.
4. Document ALL THE discussions and get it
signed by Concerned High level authority
for future reference in case of issues.

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Few other points ...

by unni_kcpm In reply to One nice point by Minstre ...

1. Maintenance requirements. Depending
on the time frame you have undertaken
it may need that you should visit the
premises too frequently for fixing up
the required s/w hiccups and training.
2. If you are working somewhere, it might
turn out that those people(non-profit
Organization guys) will call you for
help reg. the s/w you have supplied,
which may in turn create problem for your
current Job/Career. You can't even
discourage them too due to reason of
doing the project.
3. So the costing/pricing may vary
significantly.
4. Document ALL THE discussions and get it
signed by Concerned High level authority
for future reference in case of issues.

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Ongoing support

by bschaettle In reply to How much to charge for da ...

Be prepared to be chained to this thing forever.

Don't forget about the time you'll spend training their staff. Every time they hire a new person you'll probably be expected to train them. And if they hire the village idiot, you'll be fielding phone calls from them every single time they open the database. Make sure your current employer is OK with this.

I don't know what to tell you to charge for this, but it needs to be put down in writing (and signed) before you do any work for them.

Oh, by the way, make sure that they understand that they'll need to regularly upgrade all their copies of Acce$$ and pay you to port the database to the new version.

Sound complicated? It is, and these are just a few of the issues.

FWIW, I completely agree with Mavyn. I'm just wrapping up a complete re-write of a multi-user Access database that was developed by a non-IT person. The original version worked, but barely. The data design was a disaster. We held it together with paper clips, tape and twine, but eventually we got the "Request from ****" and the original design could not be modified to accomodate it.

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