How much to charge for this network setup/config and SBS 2011 server install?

Hello everyone,

I have a potential new client, a small law firm, and need to figure out a total project cost for the following needs.

Currently I am thinking $9,500, but I do not know if that is too much or too little.  This is to be done in Philadelphia, and work can only be completed during weekdays after 4:00pm and weekends.  This law firm works a lot and can not have lots of downtime.

I am hoping to get this quote out by this coming tuesday April 12th, so please reply back ASAP :)

Also, I am not looking for hourly rates, I want this to be a flat project rate.  The client will be purchasing the hardware and software, so the $9,500 project cost is just my service fee.  The hardware and software will cost them an additional $4,500.


They currently have 8 client computers and a xp machine acting as a file server, all peer-to-peer.  They want a server/domain setup.

I am getting them a quote for a dell server with SBS2011 Standard.  They want a new 24 port switch installed at their patch panel.  But they need me to locate, tag, and label all 24 network cables that are installed throughout the building.  

I need to install the server, configure the server for DNS, DHCP, FIle and Print, install the new switch, tag all lines, add the 8 client computers to the domain, copy all user's files to the server to their appropriate home directories, created all domain user accounts, configure printer sharing on the server, etc.

Here is the full scope of work I wrote up, if you don't want to go off the summery above:


Scope of Work – Network:
•      Located, tag, and label patch panel and all jacks throughout building
•      Install new 24-point switch
•      Configure switch and router to turn off DHCP
•      Configure network: Cloud -> Comcast Router -> Linksys Switch -> Computers and Server

Scope of Work – Server:
•      Install and configure Dell server with Microsoft SBS 2011 Standard
•      Setup Server Roles: Domain Control, Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, File Server, Print Server, Firewall, and Access control on server
•      Configure static IP address, subnet mask, DNS, and default gateway information on network interface card
•      Configure DHCP to relay IP address, subnet mask, DNS, and default gateway information to client computers
•      Create domain login user accounts for all users
•      Create appropriate user groups (Administrators, staff, receptionist, etc.)
•      Assign passwords to user accounts – require change password of first login
•      Create “DomainAdmin” account – will have full access to all network resources
•      Install battery backup for server
•      Move file storage on server to second hard drive
•      Install external hard drives for nightly backup from server
•      Configure SBS Backup to use external hard drive for daily data backups
•      Import all user files to external hard drive
•      Create appropriate group policies for users and computers
•      Install QuickBooks, copy data files from old server to new
•      Create login script to automatically map drives
o      Create H: user drive for each user
o      Create S: shared drive – public location where everyone has access
o      Create Q: QuickBooks drive
o      Create F: AbacusU2003
o      Create G: QuickBooks Data
o      Create Z: drive that will be mapped to the old server
•      Install and configure Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition server component
•      Install networked printer/copiers on server using new standard IP port and configure sharing

Scope of Work – Computers:
•      Backup all workstation’s user data
•      Backup all workstation’s outlook data (email, contacts, calendar, settings)
•      Join all computers to domain
•      Once users are logged in, copy all outlook data to appropriate profile
o      Email configuration will stay the same (POP3 email access)
•      Configure sleep/hibernation/screen saver settings
•      Connect all computers to network domain
•      Setup user home directory & shared drives
•      Install windows updates
•      Install remote access software (not for client/user, but for technician remote access to trouble shoot issues only)
•      Install Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition client component
•      Copy local user profile to domain profile
•      Configure Windows 7 Professional built-in backup utility to backup local user outlook data to the server

Scope of Work – Miscellaneous:
•      Configure multifunction copiers’ network static IP information to work with new network system
•      Install networked printer on server using new standard IP port
•      Obtain email hosting information, check MX records
•      Diagnose Marino’s Spam issue
o      May require opening a ticket with the hosting/email company
•      Document all products, warranties, licenses, etc.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Why are you getting SBS Standard if you're not going to use Exchange.  Are you experienced in properly setting up SBS servers (I have to ask because in my experience, experienced people would either setup exchange or NOT buy SBS Standard).
phantomdan2005Author Commented:
Exchange will be added in the future.  They do not want to use exchange yet.  So that is why standard will be purchase, to support their future needs.

I have never setup SBS 2011 from scratch before.  I have only supported and reconfigured SBS 2008 for someone else.
Glen KnightCommented:
I would agree with leew, SBS has it's place and it doesnt sound like it fits your needs.

You may be better off looking at SBS2011 Essentials.

As for cost I don't know what the regular hourly rate is in the US but $9,500 equates to 79 hours of my time.  If it took me that long I would be out of business.

As you are migrating from what sounds like a workgroup to a domain, there is always going to be downtime.  For starters the workstations will need to be joined to the domain, and their user profiles reconfigured.  But that shouldn't take that long for5 workstations.

I think you need to manage their expectations, there WILL be downtime, they need to know that, and plan for it.  But, if they use hosted Exchange then they should be able to access this via their web browser.

To me, the scope doesn't look right at all.
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phantomdan2005Author Commented:
Well, like I said, exchange is planned for the future, but not right now, so I rather have SBS 2011 Standard already.  Anyway, that doesn't answer my question as to how much this type of project should cost.

Demazter, I don't know why you do not think this scope looks correct.  This is the clients needs, so whats not right about it?
Glen KnightCommented:
Sorry, not right is probably a bit harsh.

What I meant to say was that you have listed "tasks@ that are part of the basic SBS setup.
For example:

•      Install and configure Dell server with Microsoft SBS 2011 Standard
•      Setup Server Roles: Domain Control, Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, File Server, Print Server, Firewall, and Access control on server
•      Configure static IP address, subnet mask, DNS, and default gateway information on network interface card
•      Configure DHCP to relay IP address, subnet mask, DNS, and default gateway information to client computers
•      Create “DomainAdmin” account – will have full access to all network resources

All of the above is part of the standard SBS install.

•      Create appropriate group policies for users and computers

This one, there are policies setup as standard with SBS, any changes should be managed through the SBS console.  Just axearning really.

•      Create login script to automatically map drives

This should be done using the SBS console, don't use login scripts to do this.  Group policies should be used and Group Policy Preferences.

In the Exchange side, if you are using POP3 then start using Exchange straight away, it brings a number of collaboration benefits along with group calendaring and mobile/remote access.  SBS comes with a POP3 connector. Download the mail from your POP3 mailboxes to Exchange.  Save yourself a job later.

All of the user related tasks, home drives, password etc you have listed are all performed when using the SBS Console to create a user.

Taking all the above in to account that's why I think 79 hours is extreme
phantomdan2005Author Commented:
Oh and demazter, they do not used hosted exchange, right now there email goes to their client computer's outlook via POP3, that is why eventually we will migrate to exchange hosted on SBS2011S
phantomdan2005Author Commented:
Ok I see what you mean about the tasks that are performed though sbs2011S setup.  So if you think 70 hours is too much, what would you estimate this project to be?  Consider work will only be done after 4pm and on the weekends.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
They can use HOSTED exchange with SBS 2011 Essentials and there are no CALs required with a maximum of 25 users - it also does workstation backups.

SBS 2011 Standard does not do workstation backups and *I* as an experienced consultant would not trust the stability of an SBS install that did not utilize Exchange from the start.  Reporting would be broken, among other things.  Understand, SBS is an integrated product - it's not just a bundling of Exchange and Server Standard.  That mentality causes the most problems with new setups, more so, in my opinion, than inexperienced non-IT people setups who actually do setup the entire box.

I'm not trying to insult you or suggest you don't know what your doing - but I am reacting to the information you have posted to date and my understanding of the product, which, while not perfect, I think is pretty darn good.  When I first started with SBS 7 years ago, I ROYALLY screwed up my first install... but my background had me installing servers and Exchange separately - and I went in to my first install thinking "it's just Server 2003 and Exchange bundled".

The price you're quoting does sound a little high, but backing up workstations can be time consuming and if there are 5, could take a day or longer depending how you do it.  The network cabling and documentation can also take a while.  

My advice - and what I usually do - think about every aspect of the job and how long YOU think it will take you if you did them separately, didn't multi-task, and everything went flawless.  Minimum of 15 minutes per item and use 15 minute increments.  Then add those up and multiply by your hourly rate.  So if you think it will take 35 hours and your rate is $150 per hour, then you should charge $5250.  If you think you deserve a premium because you're doing all work outside of business hours, then add that premium... 10%... 20%, whatever.    Problems will likely occur - nothing ever goes as smoothly as you want it to.  But, hopefully, you'll be doing things in parallel - perhaps labeling the patch panel while the workstation backups are going - you COULD just sit there, but that's counter productive and makes the client think negatively of you.

Also, workstation backups?  That's a pain.  Hard drives are $40.  And they take 5 minutes to install in most systems.  Go buy 8-10 and replace them in the existing workstations.  The backup cost goes to $40 + time to install a hard drive and make the old one a slave (typically less than 15 minutes).  In 2 hours, you can have all systems backed up (by virtue of new drives, so you're certain you're not missing anything) rather than 2 days and worry you are missing something...

Finally, don't forget user education.  Don't expect to finish their setup one night (or over the weekend) and leave them a note - "here's how you do things" - expect AT LEAST one full day on site walking them through the changes and how they can work.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
> they do not used hosted exchange, right now there email goes to their client computer's outlook via POP3,
So, setup Exchange and use the POP3 connector to download email.
phantomdan2005Author Commented:

So when it comes to the SBS2011S exchange poop connector, there is no need to change MX records on the hosting provider?  I am assuming that exchange on SBS2011S will just pull email from the hosted POP email accounts, place it in the server, then the clients outlook that is configured for the server, will receive the emails, and visa versa for sending email?  Send will go from outlook, to the sbs2011s server, then pass it out through the smtp pop3 settings?  

So there is no need for MX record changes, or forwarding mail ports from the router to the server?
Glen KnightCommented:
>>So when it comes to the SBS2011S exchange poop connector, there is no need to change MX records on the hosting provider?

Correct, everything stats the same, just instead of the clients downloading the mail via POP3 the SBS server does and stores it in their exchange mailbox.
phantomdan2005Author Commented:
and same for sending correct?

Now does SBS2011 Essentials have exchange with pop3 connector?  Or just Standard?
Glen KnightCommented:
SBS essentials doesn't have any mail capability built in.

The server would send either via a smarthost (your 3rd party SMTP service) or straight out via DNS, if this is the case you would need to configure a rDNS(PTR) record at the ISP.  See my guide here:
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
SBS is a very tightly scripted set of programs and features that install all at  once from an Image file.  After it is installed you should make every effort to manage it from the SBS Console, and resist the temptation to go under the hood and so things manually.  If you do go under the hood you will likely break the wizards and leave the system in a less than ideal state.  Not that you could not do it all manually, but the wizards sometimes do in one or two clicks what takes dozens to do manually.

I strongly urge you to acquire one of the books on SBS 2008, which is very similiar, or wait until one of the books on SBS 2011 is released.  At the very least, practice installing and configuring SBS in your lab before doing so for a client.  Conventional wisdom is to do it at least three times.

With SBS 2008 or 2011 you will have finished the installation to the server hardware in about 1 hour.  At that point it is actually "usable", if you don't count the recommended configuration steps.

Add another .5 hours to create each user and join their computer to the network, and you have a "working" SBS.  But not a configured one.

For station backups, I strongly recommend either Windows Home Server for up to 10 systems EACH, you can have more than one (about $450 ea), or the about to be released Storage Server, for up to 25 stations.

Automates backups and allows you to restore a failed hard drive from an image in about 20 minutes, just as it was as of the last backup (today or yesterday depending on the time of day) or as long ago as you have room to store the images.

Do not omit a true firewall at the edge.  SBS is just like a station, with one nic and no protection from outside, so you need a Watchguard, Sonicwall, or Calyptix or equilivant at the edge.

I also think your quote is too high, and caution you not to inflate the price because you don't know for sure what you are getting yourself into.  You are going to have some learning time on this gig, and (imo) that should be at your expense, not the clients.

phantomdan2005Author Commented:
Great info fl flyfishing.  Couple of questions.

I am thinking about getting a cisco vpn router to put at the edge.  This has a firewall built in.  Would this be sufficient instead of a watchgaurd, sonicwall, or calyptix?

The network will look like this:

Internet Cloud -> Comcast Business IP Gateway modem -> Cisco RVS4000 VPN Security router -> Cisco SG-102-24 port unmanaged switch -> client computers/sbs2011S server
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
Certainly better, I think, that what I read in your first post:
•      Configure network: Cloud -> Comcast Router -> Linksys Switch -> Computers and Server

Don't know that Cisco router or its "UTM" or Unified Threat Managment capabilities, so I just can't advise you on that one.  There is no particular advantage to VPN routers unless you have a branch office with which you wish maintain a stable connection.
I think $9500 is very reasonable as a flat-rate because the risk is on you.  I'm assuming that even if several things go wrong and you find that you have to spend a lot more hours than you expected that you are going to keep your word and make it happen at the flat rate.   That moves the risk onto you and is a value to the client and you should be compensated for that.  When all is done, you may find that your hourly rate ends up much lower than you expected, if not on this job then perhaps on the next.
phantomdan2005Author Commented:

When you say "Correct, everything stats the same, just instead of the clients downloading the mail via POP3 the SBS server does and stores it in their exchange mailbox."

Would I still need to run the Internet Name Management Wizard, since I wouldn't be changing MX records to host mail locally, since ill be using pop3 connector?

I am guessing I would still need to run the wizard, but chose the manage dns records manually?
phantomdan2005Author Commented:
I ended up lowering the price to 6k and the proposal was accepted.  Thanks!
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