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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...

From my experience with Avonelle, she can be relied on to deliver whatever she promises--always on time and for the quoted cost. She'll ask the right questions to make sure that what she delivers truly meets the business need. Her expertise has been invaluable. All that at a very reasonable rate!

Kim Merriman, Operations Manager @ HousingLink