So you have an idea for an application or solution and need a quote. Great! As an entrepreneur, SME, or startup you already know you’ll need to onboard a development team to help realize your idea. Fantastic! While you’re on the market and looking for the right software development team, probably the first question that comes to mind is how much will it cost?
Though getting a quote is not the only thing you’d ask an outsource development team, it is certainly one of the most important. And we want to ensure you get as accurate an answer as possible.
To show you how the company gives a quote, let’s take a look behind the scenes.
- The first thing software companies try to assess is the size of the project and how many specialists will be needed.
- Then they try to understand how much time each specialist will spend on completing the tasks at any given stage.
- With this information in hand, the company adds up the required hours for all tasks according to the working hours of the required specialist and arrives at an approximate total amount. Why approximately? Simply because at this stage it is not possible to precisely predict all tasks and sub-tasks. Therefore, the more experienced the company is in building solutions similar to your own, the more accurate the quote will be.
Still, no company can guarantee that there will be no deviation from the initial budget. For this reason, a certain percentage +/- range is usually given for a fixed-priced project. In some cases, when it is not possible or appropriate, the company works at an hourly rate, which provides greater flexibility, especially in the case of large and experimental projects. Taking the above into consideration, as the client, try to provide as clear and detailed an RFP (request for proposal) as possible in order to get a proposal as close to the real picture as possible.
The truth is there are ways and maybe even life hacks you can use when asking for a project quote that will give you the best possible insight as to what it really costs to get your product up and running. There are some critical factors that can drive the price of the project. Expectations may vary. And the better prepared you are, the more precise development teams will be in their quote. So without further ado, let’s get you prepared for your next meeting!
What information should I have prepared for the meeting?
Generally speaking, costs depend on the business needs of your solution. Having the information listed in bold below will enable you to have a quick glance during the call and answer any questions the development team may have.
The vision and business goal are crucial for every app and more important than any list of features you might already have in mind.
Not sure how to meet your business goals? Don’t worry! We know that clients are very different. Some know exactly what they want, some are at the idea stage. This is why software companies should have different approaches.
If you’re at the idea stage, look for a software company that offers consultancy or strategic planning in addition to the main development services you require. This service will help you understand what it will take to build your idea before you start spending money and time. It’s highly preferable, to seek consultation from a company that has experience in building similar products to yours. So don’t forget to look at the company’s portfolio before choosing a consultant.
These are important services to look for in a software company, especially if you’re at the beginning of your development journey. Having a product strategist onboard allows you to know the market better, define your product concept, and deliver solutions within the timeframe and budget. Having a clear product strategy will help you form a good plan based on different analyses (market, competitors, customers).
To learn all about the full benefits of product strategy, check out our comprehensive article here.
If you already have a clear idea of what you want you should be able to provide a description of the project. Ideally, this should be a complete (RFP) Request for Proposal document, with all the modules, features and detailed specifications of the project. (If you don’t have one, this is another reason to request consultation and product strategy service.)
Some other things you should have ready for discussion are business needs, expectations, and any other pertinent details, and technical resources. Remember, your goal here is to make it crystal clear that both you and the development company have the same understanding about the scope of the project. Don’t start a project until you are not sure about this point. After a few meetings, the software company will provide you with a quote.
Pro tip: Be on the lookout for unexpected expenses/hidden costs such as extra services, third party paid solutions, licenses, etc. If these are not mentioned in the estimation you receive, ask about it!
What questions can I expect to be asked by the software development team?
Software teams want you to be clear on what you want just as much as you do. That’s why they may ask to clarify details and specific requirements. So here are some questions to expect:
- Describe your project idea and your needs.
Yep. The best place to start is at the beginning.
- What are your business goals? (E.g. growth, MVP development, product adjustments)
This question can be answered if you’re a bit more experienced. If not, use the meeting to consult with the development team.
- Give us some examples of solutions that are similar to what you want to develop.
This is a basic question and a real icebreaker. Expect to hear this one from whoever you talk to.
- Please describe your company and your target customers.
It’s always good to clarify who your solution is intended to reach. What different demographics are you trying to attract? Why do you think your solution is most relevant to those groups?
- What does success look like at the end of the project?
What’s a win in your book? Think about this before your call with software development companies.
- What is the status of your product? (If you’ve already done some work on it.)
Do you already have an MVP? Have you already put together part of its documentation? Knowing where to start is important for both you, the client and your development partners.
- Do you have a preferred tech stack for your product development?
The tech stack definitely plays a role in deciding how much your solution will cost to develop, so if you have any preferences, be sure to speak about it.
- What is your time-to-market expectation?
This is an important question that goes to further define a timeline for your work together. Based on this answer, the development team can work backward to determine a timeline and set due dates and deadlines.
- What is your budget?
If you have straight budget limits, this is the best time to talk about it. You and the company definitely don’t want you to get out of the budget during the development process.
- What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing? (E.g. budget, time, team, product quality, bugs, etc.)
Be honest and open.
Pro Tip: Do not rush. Once you’ve gone through a few calls and the process of asking and answering questions, wait until the company prepares a proposal that is carefully designed for you.
In a nutshell, be prepared. Even if you don’t have all the answers or information we’ve listed here, be aware of what you know and what you don’t. This will lead to open and honest dialogue between you and the development team. The result of which will be the most accurate quote you can expect to receive. Be ready for follow-up meetings and clarifications. They may come back with questions; you might also.
Most of all happy development and good luck on all your entrepreneurial endeavors!