February 28, 2019

How to read a Website or Mobile quotation.

How to read a Website or Mobile quotation.

This time we will cover a high-level view of what to expect when receiving a website or mobile quotation from your agency. Digitization is making it inevitable for managers to scale up their tech knowledge and digital expertise. This time, we will focus more on the paper-work side of things, the quotation.

A typical website or mobile quotation would differ from one page to one hundred pages. Pretty much the quality of a programmer between worst and the best in the market. Only this time, more pages do not mean it is the best. I hope this will help, for someone who does not have the experience of dealing with a vendor. So let's get to it.


This is a brief introduction to the proposal. It clearly states the purpose of the project. For example, you might have a project for creating an eCommerce website for B2B or B2C. What is the website or mobile application trying to accomplish at the end?


The document should clearly state the vendor is using a which methodology on development. To name a few, lean development, waterfall, agile, scrum. One should google them up to get a basic understanding of their pros and cons.

Wikipedia - software development process

User Story

A dictate the customer journey within your application. It illustrates how a typical user will enter into the UI / UX flow, what features and options are made available to perform a certain function with the application. It could be as simple as writing out the story in text form to a more visual wide frame and layout demonstration. Do not be surprised if your vendor does not present you with the full deck. It takes efforts to work the wireframe and layout with the customer.


The vendor should clearly list out the features that will be available for the application. Usually, parts of it are illustrated inside the user story. However, you should receive a full feature list for your frontend and backend. Pay attention to every detail of this before you go ahead with it. What is not mentioned on the feature list, work of scope or specification is usually out of scope. Meaning extra charges, if you want it before you enter into a contract.


Generally speaking, it will be pricey if you are looking for a custom build service. For a standard feature, there are numerous SaaS providers out in the cloud. Make sure you get a few quotes from different grades of companies. I would advise not to choose the cheapest. Coding is craftsmanship. A good developer or a good team deserves the premium. It will cost you much less then the figures you calculated on paper.

"The difference between the average software developer and the best is 50:1;"
Steve Jobs - The Lost Interview

Payment Terms

Payment terms are usually layout as per milestone achieved. Consisting of
1- initial deposit for confirmation (~40% of the total project cost)
2- upon UAT for the release of testing (~30% of the total project cost)
3- final payment for completion (~30% of the total project cost)

Again, you are free to negotiate these terms with your vendor. For ad hoc tasks, it is usually charged per man-day basis. for example, a certain task will require 1 man day to complete. They will specify the man-day cost e.g. HKD4,000 per man-day for 3 man-days.

For example

HKD4,000 x 3 MAN DAYS = HKD12,000.00

Source Code

There should be an ownership clause for the source code developed for your project. Under normal business dealing, I would advise the customer to ensure the entitlement of their project. The customer should have full ownership of the source code.


Even if you have the ownership of the source code. It would be wise to have a maintenance plan with the vendor. The vendor is the original source of the program, they know better than anyone else how it operates. It is also true, very often, the MVP players left the agency. And no one knows what's going on afterward.

Anyhow, do reserve some time for your own development team to go through the code, study them before you cut out your agency.