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I once helped staff an industry specific software presentation where loads of people were invited to come along for demonstrations cake and coffee
I had one potential who, for every aspect of the software I demonstrated, told me that his existing self made solution was faster, better, wider and cheaper. I took this for a while and then stood up, handed him back his business card, and told him that we couldn't help him.
He seemed shocked and I know everyone else in the room was as well but you just cannot help some people
It depends on how confident you are in your own abilities and how desperate you are for the work.
That was about 30 years ago and I am still working in the same market place today and also still have some of the same clients that became customers around that time (I would love to have said that particular demo day but cannot remember for sure)
Seems you have a choice to make. If you find yourself with enough work, simply stand by your estimate and let them either agree or go elsewhere. If you are short enough you are willing to risk being wrong then accept the counter offer.
Way back (in 1996) I was the new guy in a software shop.
Graeme, one of the Directors, said "Robert, we have great new project for you to lead. Visual Basic, right up your alley, large budget, big multinational. The deal is all signed - fixed price contract. Dave will tell you all about it."
Dave, apparently, came up with the fixed price quote. The fixed price covered about 6 man-months at the then rate for developers.
Dave showed me his spec document, about 70 pages. It appeared to be a series of style notes for Win Forms. After listening to Dave for a while I said: "Dave - how many input forms are there in this system?".
"I don't know", says Dave, "you can figure that out when you design the system.".
"Dave, how did you come up with a fixed price for this system if you don't know what it does?".
"Oh", says Dave, smiling. "It doesn't really matter. We've got a huge budget, AND ... it's going to be written in VB which is really fast and easy!".
At this point I was thinking to myself: "Dave must be a total VB hacker with no real world smarts. I need to let him know that what seems really easy for him may not be for ordinary folk".
"So Dave", I said, "how much VB have you done?".
"Oh", says Dave, "none at all. But I've heard that it's really easy".
And yes, I did quit that company not long after ...
Is there any free and easy to use software under the sun that would allow a group of people (let's say non techy neighbors) to share data, complaints, problems, ask for meetings, calendar, to send messages between them...
I've even though on creating a facebook group but this is a little bit... well...
PS: I've not searched for anything but I've abandoned before trying I even don't know what to search...
Why not just set up a website (on one of the free hosting servers) and use phpBB[^] - it doesn't need any software, they can use it from anythign with a browser, and it'll be familiar to anyone who visits forums at all.
Bad command or file name. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaaay...