(Originally uploaded by sweetsexything)
One of the problems I’ve seen over the years, in corporations where I’ve worked and as a business owner, is the misconception that a builder (a developer in this case) can quote a project without the blueprints. I often times receive a request for a quote (10 pages long) and it says something like this:
We want a dynamic website with a unique design and easy to follow navigation that we can update ourselves.
That’s basically the equivalent of going to a car dealership and asking “how much is a car with wheels and doors?” Until you tell them the make, model, and all of the features you want they can’t give you a real price.
The problem with this process is that the client and the developer both have expectations and a vision for the project but you’re not talking apples-to-apples. Sure, the developer can give a quote based on vague information but everyone loses during the process. The client loses because their expectations aren’t going to be met. The developer loses since they can’t possibly give a realistic quote. What do you do when you start working and the client expects the Ferrari (which they all do)? Both parties clash when they aren’t on the same page.
Hire an architect. When I get a vague request for a quote I tell the client it will take a few hours of billable time and we’ll make a blueprint together. There is no reason for me to give a vague quote on a vague request. I’ll be quoting the Ferrari just to cover every possibility, and the client can’t afford the Ferrari. No one expects an architect to build a blueprint for free and it should be the same with a developer. Once the client has the blueprint they can send it out for quoting and will get apple-to-apple quotes back instead of a fruit basket.
No one is to blame for this misconception since the idea of web development is new and mysterious to most people. However, I challenge all developers to change things and educate the clients that come asking for help. They’ll appreciate the education, respect the architect idea, save money, save time, and you’ll prevent lots of future headaches.