| Estimating a custom WordPress plugin work is a skill, like any other, that is developed over time. The total time depends on the number of moving parts and integrations that the plugin has to have. Sometimes a small change can add an additional 20-50 hours to complete.
If you don’t take the time to properly scope and estimate the project there is a huge risk of scope creep and the project going over budget and overtime. It will drain your energy and the client will miss their business goals. This would also hurt your reputation and credibility.
To avoid such a situation requires you to think about all the tasks and subtasks. That will require asking lots of questions and trying to figure out the hidden assumptions. Everybody assumes things. It’s better to check the client if they expect something to happen automatically after an operation is done.
It’s good to approach the estimation in two steps.
Step 1: Provide a range to check if the client has enough budget.
The first one is to guesstimate and provide a range. For example if the custom plugin would cost between $5,000 and $15,000 it’s good to let the client know. If they are OK with that range you can go and try to be more specific.
This way you will test the client and see if they have the budget necessary for the plugin development.
What often happens is that you spend 3-10 hours compiling a detailed project scope and the client says, no thanks or cancels the project.
Step 2: Detailed task list
You can create a text file with the tasks that the project will require.
Then you can use our Free Estimate Template Generator to generate an excel file and fill it out.
You can find it here:
It’s important to use the base estimate and add 30% of time/budget for unexpected things that may popup or if the original implementation is not that efficient.
What is also good is to wait after you have itemized the task list and not rush to send it. I am sure it’s really tempting to cross yet another item from your todo list but I highly recommend that you wait a little go for a walk or sleep on it.
That way your mind will think about the tasks and will warn you if you have forgotten an item or two.
This idea will save you many hours. Trust me.
Another good idea is to provide two quotes. One basic one and a polished one with more features.
Then let the client decide. I guess 30-50% of the clients will go with the full featured quote.
You’re welcome 🙂
What is your approach when estimating a custom WordPress development work?
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