Just tell me.
Don’t make me fill in forms, schedule an appointment.. or talk to someone.
Ok. TL;DR: $1,000.
That will get you a true MVP. A brochure website that doesn’t do much, but it reflects your brand in a page or two, and allows a visitor to email you. For your new venture or small business that doesn’t yet have a web presence, this will be huge.
It’s the right place to start. We’re big believers in spending as little of your money as possible. Because then you’ll see results faster, hopefully make money faster, and keep us engaged for phase 2, 3, 4… and because we have amazing developers, the sky is the limit – really. Some of us helped keep dell.com running on Black Friday (trust me.. scary). We can worry about the technical part of your business, no matter who you are or how fast you grow.
But we’re entrepreneurs first, so we get cashflow.
LET’S STEP IT UP A NOTCH
Next, your web site will grow to 10-20 pages of content, and may need e-commerce, blogs, or a new branding exercise. Now we’re in the ballpark of $5,000-$10,000. We’ll be customizing your website design to support more functionality, maybe a little custom programming. Our graphic designers are making some fancy doodads.
Need more pages? Easy.
The more you want, the more you pay, of course. All our work is Time and Materials (T&M). In other words, you only pay for the work we do. Even if we’ve estimated x, we could get it done for less. So you pay less.
Or, to be candid, we may find an issue that will cost more than our estimate. When that happens – as soon as we even think that will happen – we’ll bring it up. Before we do the extra work. Our project managers track estimates against actuals daily for this reason.
NOW WE’RE COOKING
Your business is making proper money, but you need some automation to scale further. You’d like your customers to have a self-service area of your website. You want customers to be wowed by the experience.
We’re moving from a web site to a web application. $20,000 – $100,000 and up. A lot of custom programming from a dedicated team that’s engaged for 2 months or more.
It’s not unheard of to put together estimates of $500,000. Usually even these large projects do get broken down into phases, but the milestones will often be six figures.
Remember, it’s our goal that you should be making more money from these software engagements than what they cost you!
KEEPING IT SPICK AND SPAN
Hooray, we launched!
Now the work begins. You need to be constantly working on your website. Improving it. Adding more content. Monitoring it.
Don’t forget to pay the bills! We’ve seen a domain expire, immediately taking down their website and email.. and they didn’t know for a week. Don’t be that guy.
It’s free to setup a simple web monitor, point it at your website and it will let you know if something bad happens. Picking who hosts your web site is super important. If you’re paying $10/month, it’ll go down. Sometimes for days.
Are you using WordPress, the most hacked platform in the world? It accounted for 90 percent of all hacked CMS sites in 2018. SEO spam was found on half of them. You’ll need to manage that.
Do you store your web site code and content in a remote repository like GitHub? You’ll need a backup somewhere, and preferably version control.
All these things and many more are covered by any competent software shop’s support plan, normally run on a retainer model that will give you support, maintenance and some number of hours to help you improve the site.
But.. what exactly is a “competent software shop” and how will you know?
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.
There are many bad people out there. And if you’re not highly technical, they can be talking gibberish and you’d never know.
Here’s a recent description we were sent: “The backend server they told me is web/db behind a firewall on a physical server, but can be moved to once the app is in ‘production’ and they have an iP schema. I asked for an architectural diagram, and they said there isn’t one.”
Oh my. So many red flags.
Almost every week we hear a story that a company quoted half of everyone else, spent it all, and delivered 10% of the work – or nothing at all. Some keep the source code hostage, or even “bought the domain for you” on day 1 which means you have.. nothing.
At the very least, ask your friends, colleagues, neighbors for recommendations. Hell, ask on Facebook. Ask the company for references, and call them.
In fact, I’d rather you ask us for a sanity check on someone else’s estimate than go it alone – seriously. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to read our other post 5 Flags to Watch for When Choosing a Software Development Team to make sure your technology partner is the right fit