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The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

Rick Bjarnason

4 proven ways to save on website cost estimates

It is no secret that Drupal is transitioning, or already transitioned, to an enterprise solution. What this means is we are seeing larger and larger builds with massive budgets and hours.

To muddy the waters even further we are dealing with clients that prefer flat rate quotes. As a Drupal company, or even an independent freelancer, it is very important that we are accurate on our quotes. And since we base our quotes on hours, even for flat rate proposals, it is imperative that we don’t “miss”.

So the problem, as I see it, are massive projects with many moving parts that have to be quoted out on a flat rate. It is very easy to miss a portion of the project or to misquote another, making the whole project a miss for the company.  

How we are currently handling it.

Cheeky Monkey Media quotes out projects by breaking them down into many small pieces or tasks. We then quote out each task based upon a best case/worst case scenarios and present the client with a flat rate that takes in the most likely or average. The risk for us is that we could miss on every task and come in at a loss. But, the alternative which means quoting the client the worst case scenario, puts us out of the running on most projects because we come in way too high.

Sometimes, it seems like there is no way to offer a win/win situation.

However, we do have some options. We can make sure that we are never (or rarely ) re-creating the wheel on our projects. This means improving our workflows so that we are reusing as much as possible.

The current options that are available to us.

1. Distributions

Essentially pre made Drupal sites, that we can then edit to match our current clients needs.

This allows us to spend less time on features and more time on customizations.

2. Drush Make files

Using Drush, we can create our own base installation and setups.

This is an easy way to save a handful of hours, but at the moment it can only go so far. I would love to hear what others are doing in this space to be efficient.

3. Features

Currently we use features as part of our workflow to protect from overwriting Databases. But, another use it to have pre-built solutions. This is in fact, how many of the Distributions deliver their pre-built functionality.

4. Modules

This is one that I bet every shop uses. Especially the contributed modules on However, I know that Cheeky has built many a module that we have not contributed back to the community, which is bad enough, but we also rarely look to these solutions as possibilities for another project.  


In conclusion, the sites that we work on are not likely to get any smaller. This is going to make it even more difficult to quote out accurately. The best thing for us, and our clients, is to find ways to reduce the amount of time needed to build Drupal websites.

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