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

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

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, and you work in an industry where upfront quotes are common, you’re probably wondering why they charge for a quote, or why they need so much information to provide one.

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

It might help to understand why this process exists in our industry. I’ll explain.

What is Discovery?

Simply put, Discovery starts with your app development company meeting with your team to find out what your requirements are.


  • why you need an app (what business challenges will it solve)
  • who will use the app, and to do what
  • needed features and functionality
  • and so on

Your developer then takes all this information and creates a blueprint (scope of work) for your app. This ensures everyone is clear on what will be built.

In short, your app developer needs to know WHAT they are building. And you need confidence that they get it, and aren’t just slinging around numbers in order to win your business.

Providing a quote without knowing exactly what they are building is like throwing darts, while blindfolded, after having one too many drinks, and while dodging an incoming paintball gun assault.

You don’t want that.


Why Discovery is Important

In order to provide you with the quote or estimate you want, your developer needs to know exactly what they are building. 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 take you to on 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 you’ll want, and until they know, taking guesses at prices is incredibly misleading and risky.

How Long Does Discovery Take?

Depending on the complexity of your app, the Discovery (and blueprint creation) 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 or more?



Regardless of whether it can happen before or after you receive a quote, the Discovery process is the first phase of any (properly executed) custom software build.

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