Estimating WordPress development work is difficult business.
Your client might think there is magic involved to churn out feature rich sites in little to no time.
I need a clone of Facebook. My budgets is $100.
The key to running a successful development business is to accurately estimate your projects. And that involves getting into a lot of detail and being honest with your client and yourself about what you can do and why you need to learn on the fly. And needing to learn on the fly is ok. No one knows it all.
Taking the time to build a solid estimate will benefit both you and your client in the long run. And prevent the dreaded change order. 😈
Here are 3 areas that tend to blow up a budget when estimating WordPress development.
Working with Third-party Code
Does your client want to integrate with several APIs? If they’re APIs you aren’t familiar with be sure to pad your numbers. Even the best developers can blow their budget thanks to poorly written or maintained API documentation.
Maybe they had a previous developer build an integration they’d like to modify. But until you have the code in hand assume it is undocumented and requires a Rosetta Stone to decipher.
It’s the same as renovating an old house. You hope everything was done to spec but until you rip the walls open you don’t know if you’re going to find a plumbing system held together with duct tape. Plan accordingly because it’s almost never hardwood underneath the carpet.
Vague requirements tend to crop up in projects. Typically there is some portion of the project that has been overlooked.
Vague requirements are the leading cause of scope creep while estimating WordPress development projects.
A warning sign of vague requirements can crop up on WordPress projects as “We’ll just use a plugin for that.” Which roughly translates to, “We’ll wait until the deadline is days away and then decide this plugin doesn’t do what we actually would like.”
Back to our house metaphor a builder wouldn’t start renovating a bathroom with a plan that’s just, “we want a new bathroom with a shower.” Dig in to get the details. It’ll save time in the long run.
Which brings me to revisions. There will be revisions. It’s human nature, especially in web development projects, to change your mind once you see something in action.
Make sure your development projects include time specifically for dealing with revisions and feedback. And then double it.
Estimating WordPress development projects is a skill that can only be learned by doing. As you perform more and more estimates you’ll get s better idea for how fast you and your team work. Just watch out for these 3 common pitfalls and you’ll be better off.