Mail Migration - On prem SBS Exch. to 365 / How to charge??

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by ikonz0r, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. ikonz0r

    ikonz0r Member

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    Hi All,

    I did something silly the other week to help a client out (in order to move my own project forward), I had to get the users off their onpremesis Exchange (was on a 2008sbs running 2010 exchange on 2011vm) to 365. I thought a simple cutover would work, and based on users and data anticipated a weekends work. (Charging hourly, estimated around $1500-$2k)

    It turned into an absolute shitfight with endless hurdles. Overhead/throughput issues, corruption issues, identity issues, you name it, I experienced it.

    In hindsight I should not have gotten involved... but too late, its all over. Ended up running hybrid for a week (took a bit of research and lots of support logs) to get going.

    End end result is me burnt out easily spending 80+ hours. Of coarse I did not quote this time frame, however need to be compensated somewhat. In the end I enlisted some help from a high level MS Sysadmin I know, he said he would have quoted 80-100 hours given the complexity and operating environment @ $200 per hour.

    I don't charge anywhere near that, and talking to someone else they suggested a flat rate of $400 per box. That would make the invoice over $10k (14 boxes) which is still much more than expected.

    What is typical in the industry or where you work? I know im going to have to justify/substantiate with some evidence which is fine.... however unsure what to aim for. is 5k too little? 10k too much ? Keep in mind some users had issues for a day or two which caused downtime so don't want to be too greedy due to my lack of risk mitigation etc..

    But yeh, just wondering what the going rate is... I have no idea, I mostly deal with CRM customisation and connectivity, not mail migration :p
     
  2. Dre_

    Dre_ Member

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    Skykick. Use Skykick.
     
  3. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    fixed price migrations involving SBS is basically asking to lose money.

    Give estimates - but until you actually start digging, you never know what nightmares you will find and need to rectify to get off it.

    I budget roughly 1.5 hours per user - because I know I can extract their mailbox and do a cutover migration inside that time.

    Maybe I hybrid it, maybe i don't - but I can handle it inside that envelope typically.
     
  4. bcann

    bcann Member

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    So you messed up and did something your not experienced in and now want someone else to pay you to learn on their dime?

    Dude, you muffed it learn from it and move on.

    I'm guessing you also didn't do the simple maths of the EDB is 200GB and max upload speed is x, so theoretically using 100% bandwidth (which never happens i always budget for 40% bandwidth) will take y hours.
     
  5. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    ^^ This. O365 migrations aren't hard with the right tools and planning. We just use MigrationWhiz. Takes about 20 minutes to initially setup the project, add all the mailboxes in and then start syncing. If client is bandwidth limited, kick it off at 5pm Friday and do most of the transfers over the weekend (or multiple weekends if it's big).

    Do a final sync of the last X amount of days (ie when you started) and then cutover. They even have a tool to cut over the settings in Outlook remotely too.

    Most of the issues we've seen are at the O365 end when there are problems provisioning a mailbox and the MS Support team need to manually tinker.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    ikonz0r

    ikonz0r Member

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    Not exactly... as mentioned, yes I messed up, however the only guys I know that do this stuff have quoted (if they were to do it)

    1. Approx $6000 (based on average of $400 per mailbox)
    2. Approx $20,000 (based on knowledge of what I went through)

    I estimated $1500 ... Unsure where to pitch... both of the above are both vastly different, and for different reasons.

    Was just wondering what is the going rate, irrespective of my expensive lesson learned :)
     
  7. taldoren

    taldoren Member

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    The going rate is for experienced and skilled work.
    Were you consulting as a business with relevant expertise,insurance etc ?
    Did the client receive scope of works quote and sign off to proceed with the work, and did the quote state assumptions/ limitations for the work involved ?
    Did the client expect downtime for there staff when you first quoted ?
    Did the client have expectations that you knew what you were doing ?
    Was the client informed early that issues were encountered and why ? and did the issues fall into the limitations of the scope of works ?
    Was the client informed that due to the issues more work would be needed and the estimate adjusted and get sign off ?

    Yes, you spent more hours than you thought, however, look at it from a business/client side, they also would have had expectations that you knew what you were doing and would deliver what you promised within the estimated price.

    During that week, I can only assume that you provided additional information and new estimates also allowing the client to say STOP without just racking up hour after hour of unexpected costs.

    Was there not a higher level engineer that reviews all quotes / scopes of works prior to submission to a client ?

    Is it worth possibly getting a bad rep as a consultant that oversells skill level and expectations and ends up charging 2/3/4/5 x the estimate ?
     
  8. bcann

    bcann Member

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    You need to charge what it is you quoted and move on, and preferably don't do this shit again ... EVER.
     
  9. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    $400 per box? WTF?

    You can use tools such as skykick or migrationwiz for a fraction of that and it'll do everything for you. :Paranoid:
     
  10. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I agree that the customer shouldn't get charged more than quoted, Something as simple as a 0365 migration should never be time and materials.

    But I disagree that he should never do it again.

    He spoke with people in the know, the said anywhere from $6k-$10k to do the work.

    He chose to disregard that information, and quoted $1.5K-$2K , basing it on an hourly of ~$150 that gives 10 hours of work.

    He got stung, because he underestimated the work (and/or overestimated his ability).

    He will learn from this, and discover that he shouldn't undercut prices by 75%, based on how long he 'thinks' it should take, when people who do this say $6K... then coming in at $1500, (while it will probably get you the job) isn't going to work out in your favour very often.
     
  11. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Member

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    It's not quite as clean and simple as that. He's quoted a price and is now trying to readjust his price based on advice received after it all went to crap.
     
  12. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    Yeah, My Bad, I didn't grok the OP. Quoting a fixed prices for something you don't know how to do is always going to end in tears... Running it by someone who does it first to get a better idea of the time and costs involved BEFORE quoting would have been a better idea... Maybe that's the lesson that will be learnt.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  13. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    You should also expect to "learn" from the first few times rather than profit also. Profit comes from repeating the same process over and over, based on the tools and procedures you've built and expertise gained.

    $400 a mailbox is also on the high side of what I see around too, most places seem to be between the 200-350 mark for sub 20 boxes. Over 20 you can expect to get down around the $150 a box mark.
     
  14. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Member

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    This actually sounds like government work. Quote x price and then just keep charging when it doesn't go to plan.

    I've never understood how it works one way in the private sector and another for government and everyone just seems to think that is normal :Paranoid:
     
  15. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    Becuase the private sector wants the Job done.
    The Govt sector just doesn't want to get blamed if it doesn't.
     
  16. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    Normally because it's been poorly scoped in the first place (usually contracted out) for the tender docs, then the contractors underbid to gain the work knowing that there will be a lot of additional contract changes after it's awarded to fix all the missed bits. Can't negotiate much on price for these, so they're pure profit centres.

    Look at QLD Health, they had a budget of 200 million for the payroll upgrade and so far it's cost tax payers over 1.2 billion (and still going...). The scope was that bad that in the first few months, QLD health had already signed off on 50 contract changes ($$$$$) and it got far worse from there.

    So, the big difference is that if a private company gets it wrong, they're bankrupt. If a government gets it wrong, they attempt to pay their way out of it and pay more to cover it up.
     
  17. Gunna

    Gunna Member

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    The MSP I used to work at on all their quotes had their quoted time\price, then at the bottom above the signature it would say that the above time is an estimate only and any additional time is billed at $XXX.

    We all work in I.T and we all know it can go pear shaped for any reason however that said if you quoted 10 and it took 80 hours you need to wear a good chunk of that. At most you might be able to negotiate up to 15 hours tops

    It's been years since I touched SBS, can you do an in place upgrade of Exch07 to Exch10 on SBS08? You'd need new cals and wouldn't the tight integration of the OS and exchange cause a few hiccups?
     
  18. OP
    OP
    ikonz0r

    ikonz0r Member

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    lol 11 replies and i think two of you managed to keep on track.

    Also, if you are going to comment ease of migration, you either did not read all of my post(s) or you are an android who doesn't age. I listed very few of the variables and as mentioned, I had to pay for help at over $200 an hour in the end, and it was their advice and assessment that it would have been a 80+ hour endeavour.

    I don't need to defend myself, I already admitted I fucked up, however some of you need to put the brass down.
     
  19. taldoren

    taldoren Member

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    Re Variables, that's why you have a scope of works at least doco signed off by the client as well, helps the client, and helps you.

    Just saying Yeah mate, will do this and this and will take x and cost X and nothing else always looks poor.
     
  20. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    You took on work you had no experience in and wanted to charge the client. They don't exist to pay for your learning, that's your remit. All of the issues you outlined are easy enough to detect if you have process and procedure.

    Basic consulting 101 would even suggest a site survey to generate a scope of works first before quoting also. It's always worth spending 1-2 hours of your time to save you the 80+ you spent or to ensure you comprehend the work required.

    What did you expect the responses to be sorry, charge the customer for your lack of foresight?

    Learn from the fact that diving into areas which aren't your expertise are either going to a) incur costs on your site to learn or b) should be left to someone else.
     

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