FOOD FOR THOUGHT Pricing Question for Gurus

voip_user

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This maybe tough to answer, but here goes.

How many hours do you usually bill a customer for a PiAF install for lets say 75-100 users 1 location?


I've been working on my pricing as I get ready to transition to offering Open source solutions for clients. I'm expecting anywhere between 60-80 hours total for a project.

5 hours project management/meetings
30 system configuration, design burn in
10 hour cut
20 hours post cut support
3 hours documentation.

This is what I would usually charge for a cisco system, I'm wondering does this translate well over into this world.

Obviously if I start to do number ports and so on the hours will increase, but in general I was looking to get some baseline numbers.
 

Cynjut

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30 hours for design, configuration, and "burn in" seems excessive. A lot excessive. Because of the Bulk Import capabilities, even with 100 extensions, if you're spending more than a couple of hours configuring the system, you're doing it the hard way.

10 hours to cut the system over also seems pretty excessive, and another 20 hours after the cutover? That's a week and a half working full time to set up a phone system, or about 45 minutes per extension.

People expect to be gouged for Cisco equipment - I wouldn't expect them to be that generous on a open-source system.
 
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Huckda

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If you've never done it before: 60-80 hours I can understand...
if you've done it more than twice... I can't imagine more than 40 hours all-in...

if I were to charge 80 hrs at $100/hr and then charge the retail price of the hardware I'd be hard pressed to make a sale.
and just so we're comparing apples to apples: I'm talking 1 server, PiaF installed, 75-100 endpoints, "planning time", documentation(I only give Feature Codes)​
as for cut-time... when I cut over my first system.. it was little more than unplugging 4 lines from a Toshiba Strata and plugging them into my PiaF box, and hitting each office with a new phone and removing the old.​
but that being said... prices are set by what the market will bear. ;)
 

voip_user

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One thing I didn't think about until i read your post is when i build a cisco system. I have to build 2 Call manager servers, 2 Voicemail servers, and usually a IM server. I think thats where the 30 hours come in. Some of them can be built at the same time, other require the other 1 to be finished first. At around 3 hours a server it adds up. Also I usuaally have switches and routers to configure as well. I guess that has to be readjusted for PiAF.
 

voip_user

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Huckda
Out of curiosity why only 100 dollars an hour? Thats around 33hr that can go into your pocket after taxes, overhead and so on. Even if we are using open source I feel that we should be charging a min of 150hr for work with customers. Once again this depends on the customer. I plan on only dealing with people over 50 seats. If I run into anything smaller I'll have to figure out if the business is worth it.

I know shortel, Avaya, Mitel dealers and they all charge around the same. Just because we are using open source software does not mean our labor should come down as well. If you call some of the other vendors for support directly they charge 165hr to talk with someone. Even if we don't have the skills they have, we know the customer, we know the environment, so we do bring some value add into the mix. We also want some money to give back to the team here and other projects.

This is one of my concerns about moving into open source means the low cost of entry for anyone with an internet connection and PC can enter the VoIp business, but how many us have the deep networks into the telecom dealers, the ITSP's and the thoughts into how companys can increase there revenue through there phone systems, I feel it takes us time to learn these things and we should be paid accordingly.
 

Huckda

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voip_user $100/hr was merely for fast-math's sake, albeit what I charge for my I.T. services(VoiP falls under that now), my main clientel are small non-profits and that's what the market bears ;)
here in Portland, OR the avg. cost of small-biz I.T. support is about $125hr., but I work on a retainer style contract, you hire me for min-to-max amount of hours a month, anything above and beyond 'max' you pay a premium hourly rate.

but your point is well taken,
when I need an electrician or plumber for my house.. they START at $90/hr + travel time and while the 'skill set' might not be as high, the willingness to get the crap shocked out of you or deal with other people's fecal matter are something that $150 doesn't even tempt me for ;)

your comment on labor price dropping because we're using FOSS I agree with, but at the same time, unless you are passing on part of the proceeds to the developers you aught not be charging closed system prices for it.
And just because 'anyone can enter the business' doesn't mean they'll do it well, have solid support, know how to interact with customers/clients professionally.

When a colleague said, "Hey I got all these Voip phones, you can have 1/2 of them if you'll show me how to setup a system for one of my clients", I laughed because to learn the meager(in comparison to the guru's here) amount that I know of PiaF/Asterisk I've spent over 200hrs in research and self-education, and the phones far from compensated for that.
 

billsimon

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voip_user - just a thought. Perhaps you could add open source to your Cisco toolkit and do both. When I worked for an organization that used Cisco, we were always thinking of new things we wanted to do, but that the add-on from Cisco would cost arm+leg. Keeping the Cisco core & phones (which is what people seem to really like) and then attaching an Asterisk or other open-source solution for extra features would be a unique and, I believe, valuable offering.

Whether Cisco permits VARs to do this is something I do not know.
 

voip_user

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billsimon

Thats actually part of the plan. I plan on still using cisco switches, and phones in some of my designs. I've already chosen the SPA525G2 phone as one of the models I use. For companies who don't want VPN phones this is a pretty decent phone. The other model I'm considering is the yealink T46G due to its vast feature set. Cisco allows us to be pretty flexible in our designs. The problem with cisco is when you start getting into the big boy companies. 1Billion dollars and up they play to keeps and bringing in a non cisco solution can keep you from getting calls from your account rep when something good pops up. Luckily for me I only have 4-5 customers like that, the majority of my customers are pretty small so we stay under the radar and if they don't want to spend the money on brand new cisco switches we can point them towards some other suitable options.
 

voip_user

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Huckda

On your thoughts of the closed systems price, I'm not to sure if I agree with charging closed systems prices comment. When I show up on site the hardware and the licensing is already paid for. Cisco has already been paid the money they were looking to make off the deal. Our companies on the other hand shouldn't charge for the software as its open source. Our labor on the other hand is what we charge for. I think some of the people involved in the FOSS movement are very talented and should be paid well. Labor is Labor. Cisco voice consultants charge as high as 300 an hour in some cases. I'm not saying we should be charging that much, but we shouldn't be charging 75hr either. That cheapens the value for everyone as customers get the wrong idea. If it took you 200hrs of asterisk training, 200 hours of linux, and so on to me its worth something.
 

atsak

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It always depends on the client for me - if they're complex (ie have no idea what they have and they need a pile of queues, DISA, complex phone arrangements, etc) then 80 hours, sure. If they just need an IVR and phones, I've dropped that in a day, for 100 extensions the most time would be spent plugging the phones in. Is their network ready? etc. So you see it's about complexity.
 
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SkykingOH

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I am at year 11 now supporting Open Source PBX's. Before that we drank more John Chambers (Cisco) Kool Aid than should be allowed.

We started off dabling as you mention in Asterisk/FreePBX and selling call manager. Then we started leasing little wall mount boxes as a "managed" solution, pay per seat. Far less questions as to what's in the box.

Beat Cisco out of several large deals by simply laying our reputation on the line and doing a "pay us if you like it" install. Cisco started treating us like step children. Eventually we did not keep up our certs and don't sell any Cisco.

In our own data center all our routing and security is now Juniper and when our Cisco4500RE with 10G sup's is fully depreciated we will use Juniper switching also. Juniper treats us well and they don't care what phones we sell.

Even though it's free and Open Source you have to keep dedicated staff, train them (my techs are all OTTS certified. Several have the advanced class) and "productize" your offerings. We only offer Asterisk today. I don't look back on the decision.

Summary - If you are good and efficient people won't mind paying $150.00/hr. If you have to go to the forums or Google to fix things you are not ready to bill clients. Point 2 - 1/2 measures won't get you anywhere. If you want Open Source Telephony to be a profit center for your business you must invest and treat it as any other platform you position yourself as an expert in. Point 3 - Customer service has to be an obsession not a passion.
 

vic peters

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Not my intent to derail the OP, but...Maybe SkykingOH can answer one question.
Digium-Certified Asterisk Professional (dCAP) certification, Asterisk specific cert;
Digium Certified Asterisk Administrator (dCAA) certification, Asterisk specific cert;
Linux + LPIC, A+ and Network +,
these are all well known certs,
AWS Cloud Architect/Admin are cloud certs.

please tell me what is "OTTS certified? I must have missed that one.

And Voip_user, you can send all the potentials with less than 50 endpoints my way, I'll take good care of them;)
 

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