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We are often asked to provide quotes or respond to RFPs. If the request doesn’t include a budget, we can’t. Why? It is a little bit like asking how much a house costs. Where is the house? How big is the house? What construction materials are used?

On the other hand, if you told me you had a budget of $50,000 I’d already know that you aren’t thinking of a house is a major metropolitan area. You wouldn’t be thinking, probably, of a modern home but you might be thinking of a breezy 3 season affair on the coast of Belize … which is also fine. The budget is just information, and it broadcasts expectations in and of itself. I don’t want to spend time putting together a $350K budget for a house in suburban Washington, DC when you don’t even think that’s what you need … here are some very broad strokes around budget ranges that we see.

10-15K – this is an interface refresh, a simple, integrated website, or a code review. It may also get you some basic product management set-up, operational support, or a helpdesk skinned and automated. It might buy you a simple prototype, some API set-up or some life cycle support consulting.

15-25K – this could get you some simple branding, a somewhat robust web presence, and a technical plan. This budget could buy you a sophisticated prototype, a fair amount of data planning and management, automation between cloud applications and mobile readiness.

25-50K – 25-50K could get you some new features, some code revamp, and a new UI/UX for a simplistic product. It might also buy you a few months of support planning and execution, training, and documentation or end-to-end product management that you’d then take over and manage.

50-100K – 50-100K can buy you a simple MVP, a simple commercialization plan, or a fair amount of go-to-market strategy. It’d also buy you interface changes, code revamp, a technical plan and full lifecycle support planning and management.

100K + – for larger budgets (it’s all relative) the sky is the limit. It is harder to say what these levels of a budget will buy. The expectations are not confined by a dollar figure, therefore it is impossible to say what it could potentially buy.

These are just rough back-of-the-napkin sketches I might share with you over lunch were you to ask my advice about what to pay for something. It all depends on who you hire and what you expect of the results, but usually – there are ballparks.

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