Why Do App Development Companies Require “Discovery” to Provide a Quote?

So you’ve been contacting app development companies to get a quote for a custom mobile app.

Each time, you hear the same thing – in order to give you a quote they need to complete a “Discovery” process with your team. And, there’s a charge for that.

If you’ve never purchased custom software, or you work in an industry where upfront quotes are common, you’re probably wondering why software developers appear to “charge for a quote”. Or, why they need so much information to provide one.

To you, this may be frustrating, or downright absurd.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is the time your app development company spends meeting with your team to discover what you need, research and plan out the project. Discovery helps your developer provide a more accurate time and cost estimate.

Not only that, it ensures everyone is clear on what will be built and gives your team peace of mind that your developer truly understands your needs and has given careful thought to everything before any code gets written.

Discovery gives you confidence that your developer is not just slinging around numbers (low ball quotes) in order to win your business.

Why Do Custom Software Projects Require Discovery?

Your custom-designed, custom-built app is not like the last new car you bought.

When buying a new car there is an illusion that you are customizing it …leather or fabric, heated seats or not, colors and so on. But you know that these cars are already built and your choice just tells the dealer which to pull off the lot.

You are not designing a new style of seat or building a new type of engine from scratch. The car you buy from a dealership was already designed, and already built. The cost was determined before you ever arrived on the scene.

With a custom app you have the freedom to make endless choices about what you want, down to the fine details. A developer could never predict what every client will need, and until they know, taking guesses at requirements and prices is incredibly misleading and risky.

Why Do App Development Companies Charge for Discovery?

Depending on the complexity of your application, the Discovery process can take anywhere from a week to a few weeks. Your development team brings a lot of expertise to the table to design a custom solution for your company.

There’s a charge because, well, would you work for free for a week?


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Sara MacQueen

Sara MacQueen

Sara MacQueen is the Founder and CEO of Big Fish App Development Studio. She was named one of "25 Mobile Women to Watch" by Mobile Marketer magazine and has been interviewed by local and national media for her expertise in mobile technology.
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