Every week we get calls from people that have big ideas for the next Facebook, Twitter, eBay, or Trulia, but they are rarely fully prepared to hire a web development company for these undertakings. We understand that typically the main reason to contact a web design firm is to get an idea of what the cost of the project will be in order bring numbers to investors or plan out project budgets. With this being the main focus, it is important to make sure that you understand the different kinds and amounts of information necessary in order for us to properly give you an accurate price estimate.
In order to assure that your first meetings or phone calls with web development firms are effective, informative, and without surprises, there is a short checklist below to help you. (Remember, the more detailed you are, the easier it will be to receive accurate costs.)
1. Have you done your research?
a. Do you use Google and other search engines?
b. Who are your targets, how many are there and where?
c. Is there anyone doing what you want to do currently, who will your competitors be?
d. What is your differentiator, or what is it that will make your idea stand out or better?
e. Do a simple SWOT analysis.
If you put in the leg work along with the type of research described above, it will make the rest of your project process much smoother and will also allow you to focus your efforts on the end goal of launching a successful project.
2. Do you have written information prepared on the business/service?
a. Business plan
b. Mission statements
3. Technical aspects
This is the most important piece in making sure that you secure accurate pricing from all the vendors that you reach out to. If you have strict requirements and can paint a clear picture, companies will be able to outline the services and costs that you require as well as give you break downs for where time and money need to be spent. Remember that the design and development company is there to help you and give you guidance during the project, but if they don’t understand what you are looking for in the beginning, there will be additional time and costs that can add up. Some good things to have prepared are:
a. Functionality requirements:
i. What are the goals of your site?
ii. What does a typical visitor session look like?
iii. What is the user able to accomplish or gain from your site?
iv. Wireframes to show relationships and UX
4. Non-Disclosure agreement
If you are willing to put in the time to develop your idea and draw out moving parts, you will find that responses from potential vendors will be consistent and precise. This allows you to not have to spend valuable time reviewing documents trying to compare apples to oranges.