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The Problem with Selecting the Lowest Bidder

None of us wants to pay more than necessary for anything, including programming services. Sometimes the lowest bid is a great deal; sometimes it isn't. Here are some things to consider when comparing bids for software development:

Compare apples to apples. Make sure the bids you are comparing are all fixed bids, and not hourly rates (even with an accompanying estimate.) Because estimates are not typically binding, and every developer works at a different speed, hourly rates are a more way to compare bids.

What's included? Make sure you thoroughly understand what is included in each bid. Here are some things that might be extra in some bids and not in others:

  • Hosting costs
  • Status meetings/reports
  • Third party development tools
  • Source code backups
  • Ongoing support/bug fixes

Making contact. Some programmers will be willing to work in your office or at least occasionally visit. Others may charge extra for this service, or may not provide it at all. And some will be able to guarantee response times for questions and changes, and some will not. As you approach deployment of your project, knowing that the programmer will prioritize your application issues may make a big difference if you are coordinating a public roll-out.

Make sure to ask lots of questions so that you can more completely compare the bids you receive for your project.

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is a rare IT professional who can communicate with business users on a level they can understand, and who can recommend creative technical solutions that are in line with the business goals and the business budget. Avonelle is conscientious not only about meeting deadlines, but also exceeding her customers expectations around quality software while providing superior customer service. Avonelle is an inspiration to me.

Valerie Vogt, Director of IT Advisory Services @ Inetium