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Software dev pricing is weird since it is so easy to grossly undercut yourself or overprice yourself by an entire order of magnitude.

I can certainly sympathise with people who have sent reasonable estimates and have received somewhat borderline insulting responses like "Wow, I could buy a used car for that!" or "That's nearly what my plumber charges!".

However in a certain sense I can't help but feel the industry has brought this upon itself. I remember ~2000 when websites were a new thing.

There were contractors around who would happily go in and quote very large sums of money for really very small amounts of (often very poor quality) work. Since the market had not really had a chance to self-adjust it's prices yet people would often just accept these costs without understanding what they were buying.

I remember a popular tactic being for designers to literally rip the HTML for a competitors website, switch the logos around and come back with a $10,000 bill.

So naturally the smart teenagers with a lot of free time to learn saw an opportunity to rebuild these websites better for the price of a few pizzas. This taught the market that costs could be significantly lower and also that the correlation between price and quality was very loose.

These kids also figured out the value of sharing code and ideas with each other, leading to a sort of open source renaissance.

Now that those teenagers have grown up and have to feed their families during a global recession those in developing nations are basically pulling the same trick on them that they had pulled back in the day.

You also have the added problem that there a sort of "iceberg" going on here. For example one can build an impressively featured website in around an hour simply by uploading one of the popular CMS and shopping cart systems to a shared webhost and copy pasting some content.

Of course, once you do such a thing you will get the familiar "this is great buy wouldn't it be ever greater if this drop down menu just sort of did this? I mean this entire thing took you an hour , so that change should take like 10 seconds right?" , "Well actually, I will need to develop a custom module to do X and then interface with Y so it's probably 4-8 hours depending.."

At that point it might be hard to convince a customer that you are not somehow trying to pull a fast one..




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