Use Your Imagination to Envision What You Want Before Asking for a Quote

{4:25 minutes to read} It Will Save Time and Money for Everyone Involved 

Imagine that you run a successful luxury home design and construction business. You meet a prospective client who just sold her high-tech company and wants to use the proceeds to build a new home for her growing family. 

“We are expecting our 4th child, so it’s got to have at least 5 bedrooms,” she tells you. “I need to know how much it will cost to build because I’m speaking to a few other contractors and want to make a decision by next week.” She ends the conversation abruptly, gives you her business card and asks you to email her a quote by tomorrow. 

I get these types of requests—i.e., quotes to build custom software that my development teams specialize in—on a regular basis. Like our hypothetical homebuilder, I’m usually left in a quandary. I’d love to win the business, but how do I provide a quote for a client who only has a vague idea of what she needs? After all, how can I tell how much it costs when I don’t know what it is? 

I don’t want to be too aggressive with a low estimate just to win the bid if it won’t cover the costs of what the prospect is likely to really want or need. However, I also don’t want to scare off the prospect with a price that’s more realistic, but could well be higher than what competitors are quoting. 

Use Your Imagination to Envision What You Want Before Asking for a Quote by Michael Bendit

The problem for our hypothetical home builder, and for me, lies in the fact that our prospective client hasn’t used her imagination to really figure out what she wants. A savvier buyer would spend some time thinking about everything her new 5-bedroom house would have—like Tevye who sang about his dream house in Fiddler on the Roof

I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,

Right in the middle of the town.

A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.

There would be one long staircase just going up,

And one even longer coming down,

And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

Granted, most of us don’t burst into song like Tevye, but jotting your ideas on paper or sketching out what your dream house or dream software application will look like is a great way to start. If you are still stuck, try answering the following questions in as much detail as possible, before you ask a software development team for an estimate:

i)  Who are my target users, and do they have different needs/behaviors?

ii) What are the most important reasons for each of your target customers to use your system?

iii) What are the best comparable or competing sites/apps and what about them do you find compelling?

iv) Who will be administering the system, and what type of management tools will they need?

With solid answers to these questions, you will be in a much better position to get what you really dreamed of from your software development team.

If you are still at a loss, don’t be shy about reaching out. I’d be more than happy to help you get started.

Michael Bendit


Michael Bendit
Managing Director
Software Development Resources Inc.
111 Eighth Avenue,
Suite 1500
New York, NY 10011


Contact Us

  • Software Development Resources Inc.
  • 111 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1500
    New York, NY 10011
  • Email
  • 888-447-1591

Follow Us On

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

*= required field