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Can anyone point me to reference materials on what companies may expect to pay for outsourced apps? I had hoped to find something in a trade publication or the like, but have only turned up two or three quotable articles with any sense of credibility. We are talking to a client about their first app (and ours) and, as neither party knows what sort of number to expect at the beginning of the negotiation, I'd like some ammunition to be able to say, "On the open market, you can expect an app like this to start around..."

Any link or even search term suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you, Mary Kroll

Post script: I have ready Joel Spolsky's "Camels and Rubber Duckies" and Neil Davidson's "Don't Just Roll the Dice." My focus is more on what is common in the industry, rather than rate x hours, etc.

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Very similar, if not a dupe of, programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/52954/… –  Steve Haigh Apr 13 '11 at 11:53
    
This question is more about what is typical in the industry (what prices people should expect to see if there were a big Sears catalog of apps) rather than how to determine the price internally based on hours, costs, etc. I'm really just asking for any trade publications or article folks have seen that I can cite, in case our client gets sticker shock as they haven't gotten any other bids. –  user22637 Apr 13 '11 at 13:42
    
sure... so not a dupe but a relevant link. maybe. –  Steve Haigh Apr 13 '11 at 14:53
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2 Answers

Can you start with a very small piece of the project? This way, no one gets in too deep. You get a feel for the process and what to expect from each other. Very quickly you'll see if you end up in, This is going to cost more than expected land.

I thought this article on graphic design pricing had some good points and why no one can answer your question without knowing your client or your application.

Do the math on your costs and what you want to make. Otherwise, ask them what's in their budget if you want a starting point. You can always negotiate features and timeframes if they have a limit.

Be prepared for the client to tell you what they can afford. This really means what they are willing to pay for this project; not the same thing. Someone approached me with one of those, "it's only a small website" projects. I informed them I wouldn't boot my laptop for less than $500, but I'll give you more than $500 worth. They told me they only had $150 for the project. I suggested they get a paper route, sell some old stuff, crack into their children's piggy bank, or give up the morning latte for a few months.

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If you are looking for what is common in the industry for a specific type of app. Then you need to find where in the market that app is sold and get a price quote. This will tell you the exact numbers. If that is market you plan to compete in, price shopping should be something you do on a regular basis to keep tabs on your competition.

If there are no apps in the market then you can't really even say "On the open market, you can expect an app like this to start around...", because there is nothing to compare.

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