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I was recently given some negative feedback on a estimate I gave for a new web development contract. You may think that the worst that can happen is to not get hired.There’s even an expression for it: “the worst that can happen is that they will say no”. This, I can tell you, isn’t true.
Something worse than NO is to receive an email explaining why it can be done cheaper and a sort of “what’s the matter with you,” and worse still, a between-the-lines “you are a pirate of the digital sea and likely have plans with my underage daughter,” (this last part is embellished).
I won’t say what the competing price was, but I can tell you it shouldn’t even cover the mock-ups (or even the project management for that matter). Yep, shitty software comes cheap — but why build it? Why have terrible design created by a programmer (rather than someone with user design experience), no user testing, no exciting features, and do nothing innovative?
The other thing about bad software — it can actually cost you more in the long run. Taking the time to plan carefully results in a better end product, which is more usable and actually provides a return on investment. Piecing something together for $500 that actually costs you an hour a day in downtime and user problems isn’t worth $500. Making a good investment means calculating your ROI and putting in the cash to make things work well for your company and its clients.
I tried to explain this without overstepping my bounds. I could tell from the response that he didn’t get it, and he never would.
To anyone looking to hire a development firm — please be gracious. Be thankful people experienced in web development worked for free to provide an estimate. Simply say ‘no thank you’ if you can’t afford it. Mercedes knows that there is a cheaper way to build a car than the McLaren, but it isn’t really worth it. Don’t assume a development firm will try and provide a quote for bargain-basement, garbage software. Any worth their salt won’t bother.