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So many clients who are starting out their projects really just want to know one thing. And that is how much will it cost. It’s incredibly difficult for clients to get an answer to this, and applications really are hard to estimate. So clients will end up getting the wide range of estimations and they are all over the map, and it’s pretty frustrating. Anyway it’s possible to get a pretty good estimation of how much your project is going to cost and that’s we are going to talk about today.

Have a great written specification

The first step in getting a really good estimation is having a very clear way of explaining to developers what it is that you need. That means you have to have a greatly written specification. The reason is when you have a great written specification developers see you as an organized client. They think that you know what you are doing and they trust you more. Come in with a really good written specification. Write it up, draw a picture, make a video, record your voice. Make it polished, make it nice and clean, and render it into a PDF. Check your spelling, have somebody edit it for you. Do whatever you have to do make a good first impression. If you don’t bother writing a great spec, you wind up just calling companies over and over again describing your application over the phone. If you are doing that, you are screwing yourself, because you look like an amateur and developers know that. You think that you’re evaluating and judging the developers but don’t think that they’re not so evaluating and judging you. They are looking for good clients and they are trying to avoid incompetent customer. So don’t pay that incompetent tax.

What does your perfect team look like

The next step. Try to figure out what type of vendor, what type of a team really fits your needs. What kind of developer is it that is going to do the best job for you. If you have a super complicated project and you have no experience at all in managing a technical project, then don’t even bother sending it to some crappy team. It’s not a real estimation, that’s just a be for you to be another nightmare outsourcing story. Therefore figure out the kind of team that’s going to provide all the stuff that you need. Project management, testing, quality assurance, wireframing and graphic design, and all that stuff mostly comes out of project management. It has to come from somewhere, so if you’re a great project manager, fine. But someone has to do it. If you can’t do it that the team has to do it. Make sure that there is a project manager on that team.

First contact should be by email

Now we have a very good specification and we’ve identified the type of team or developer that we want to get estimation from. So now we are going to start sending out our specification. We’ll send it to say five developers that fit the profile. But we would do it by email. Never contact developers by phone. It can be a huge waste of time. First of all, they never give you a good estimate on the phone. It’s not really possible for someone to pick up the phone and just throw out a number. You don’t really want that. Also, it takes forever to call all these guys and have all the phone calls. If you just send out your specification by email, then the developers get the spec and they are pretty motivated to give the customer a really good estimate. Developers call the customer up, ask him some questions. This is a pretty good situation.

So you’ve got a bunch of developers who fit the profile of what you’re looking for, they understand your application, and they are calling you and pursuing your business. They don’t think you are incompetent or you are not going to pay the tax.

Let’s sum up. Make sure that you have a greatly written specification. Figure out the profile of the developers that you need, and only target companies that fit the profile. Then send them your great specification by email, wait for the phone to ring and don’t be incompetent. That’s how you do it. Good Luck on your project.