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Miser Pays Twice: The Problem With Paying Too Little For Development

The average large software project goes 66% over budget. This often happens not because of paying too much, but rather, by trying to pay too little.

If you go too cheap, you will often wind up paying twice: once to build the project, and again to fix it.

The best way to avoid this problem is to adopt the right mindset. Custom software is usually something you want to prioritize quality for. It is, after all, usually intended to be an asset. It will provide value to your business for a long time.

Pick Two: Fast, Cheap, or Good

There’s a law that applies to almost every industry on the planet: you can’t get something that is fast, cheap, and good at the same time. But you can pick whichever two of those you want.

This is obviously true in the case of restaurants. Fast food is fast and cheap, but it’s not good for your body.

And it’s just as true for software development. Founders and business leaders who need custom software face a wide range of options- everything from cheap freelancers to expensive large development firms.

The cost and quality associated with these options vary widely. A freelancer on Fiverr might be super cheap, but they are not likely to do the same level of work as a full, dedicated team of experts. At the same time, hiring the most award-winning development team in your state will probably result in amazing results, but it might not be within your budget.

Problems with sacrificing quality

All too often, people decide to sacrifice quality in favor of saving a little money. Unfortunately, this frequently backfires, and they wind up having to pay way more than they would have if they had hired a quality team in the first place.

Software development is not like food. There’s nothing wrong with eating a little fast food every now and then, especially if you are in a hurry. But you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a situation where you could only eat fast food for a very long time.

With software, you should be thinking long term. Ideally, a custom software solution will be something that you use for several years, continuing to maintain and update it over time. If you buy poor quality development, you will get stuck with poor quality code.

Many of our clients come to us because they initially got a freelancer or cheap development team to make their project, and quickly discovered that it didn’t fit their needs. We get called in to fix or, occasionally, completely redo the project.

In the end, going with cheap over good often results in higher overall costs. You pay twice for bad work.

Sometimes, the cost is more than just that of building the application. If you receive an unsafe or faulty program, that could cause problems that ruin your reputation, such as the loss or corruption of customer data. 

When does it make sense to pick fast and cheap?

With all things in life, there are exceptions. For very specific circumstances, it would make sense to ignore quality and pay as little as possible for software.

This really only happens for very simple projects with little to no consequence. These are often temporary band-aids, intended to work for a limited amount of time and then thrown away.

One famous example would be the program that launched AppSumo. The founder, Noah Kagan, paid a freelancer $50 to write some basic code that helped connect to PayPal. The point of this was to simply verify that he could get 200 sales- after that point was reached, he quickly moved on to build a more sophisticated version of the business.

That’s an extreme example. Most MVPs are more complicated, but for that situation, all Kagan needed was a fast and cheap piece of code.

How JetRockets ensures quality without breaking the bank

JetRockets is a hybrid development company. Part of our team is in Brooklyn, part of our team is in Batumi, Georgia, and part of our team works remotely from around the world.

This model enables us to do high-quality work at reasonable prices. Because some of our team lives in countries with a low cost of living, our overall prices are slightly lower than a fully onshore US company. But all of our programmers are highly skilled and have years of experience, ensuring that our clients get high-quality work.

Do you have an idea for a new mobile app, website, or custom application? We’d love to talk!

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