My question concerns pricing and I hope someone here will offer us the benefit of their experience. A friend is moving from avid autodidactic tinkerer to professional web app developer this week (knock wood ). His first project is a calculator to help engineers compare energy and emissions savings of various motors, allowing the results to be emailed from the app or a chart to be generated.
My frustratingly fruitless research indicates that apps like that start at $20K. He's nervous about what to request for his first app and wants to open negotiations at $10K or less. Your thoughts? What do apps like this typically cost companies when outsourced? If it matters, my friend is in the UK.
The developer had a meeting today and the interested firm (which makes fan motors, is my understanding) wants to move forward and are assembling specs to that end. They actually wants to offer the app as a product/service for their clients, with future e-commerce integration. That strikes me as something more valuable (meaning priced higher) than an app just for their engineers to use in-house. Any further thoughts?
Most entrepreneurs are nervous asking market value for their product. Almost every entrepreneur would do better charging more than they are charging.
In this particular business, if you're correct that similar products sell for $20,000, that's probably because there's a fairly limited audience for this kind of thing, and it's likely to be the kind of business where you have to distribute the costs among a small number of potential customers... this is probably not the kind of thing every household buys.
The biggest problem is not setting a price -- it's finding customers. If you are finding customers that are excited about the product and are used to paying $20,000, you should certainly charge $20,000. If you're not finding customers at all, lowering the price isn't going to help. If your early customers prove to be very cost-sensitive or demand lower prices, you can always lower the price. But before that happens, I would hesitate to advertise a low price, because it (a) sends a signal that the product may be inferior and (b) can be very hard to raise later.
For more on pricing software, see
Obviously a low price makes selling easier. But before thinking numbers you might consider the various ways of selling software:
Obviously #4 should cover your entire costs and include sufficient profit. This leads to a potentially (too) high price and/or small return. In the other variations you can think more mid or long term. This is also more client friendly but you have a risk that they stop using your software. In cases #1-#3 be careful with uploading it to their webspace. Consider hosting it yourself to protect your intellectual property (sourcecode).
Related things to consider to justify a lower price: