Is there a service to help you scope out a web project?

As someone who isn't a professional developer but very interested in getting a side project off of the ground.

Does anyone know if there is a good service where I can work with a developer to flesh out my concept and help me get an estimate for how much a project like this might cost?

Even if its a ballpark figure i.e. $5k, $20k, $50-100k, $100k+


"based on everything you've described, this is the technology stack that may be worht looking into"

Or is something like this not going to exist because the discrepancy between developers/agencies is too large?

  1. 3

    You're welcome to send something to me and I'll give you a very rough estimate and direction. That's what I do.

    That will cost you nothing unless you want to go further

    email: [email protected]

    1. 1

      Thanks Jesper, will do!

  2. 3

    As a programmer, its common for friends, family & colleagues to come up with a new idea and ask me a similar question (e.g. how much time will it take / how much will it cost).

    I personally find that it can take anywhere from hours to days for me to define the scope of a project and provide an estimate (of course, I can say something off the cuff, but it won't be very accurate).

    Given the quote would be provided with no expectation of being accepted - there would need to be an amount charged just to create the quote in the first place.

    My (unvalidated) hypothesis is that very few people would be willing to pay $200+ just to get a quote.

    Of course, I'm happy to be proven wrong!

    1. 1

      Yes that's what I find interesting about this kind of stage.

      Anyone can have an idea, and sometimes they don't even want to do the work so are looking for a bogey quote to just keep their mind busy continuing to play a "what-if" game. But this wastes the developers time as they aren't likely to go through with it.

      I'm sure some are serious but there's a pretty big gap between an idea and an MVP. I always hear "it surely can't cost that much to get an app built which just does {insert single function here}" and then they might spend a couple of hours with a sales person from a dev shop and get quoted $50k+ and have no idea if this is a fair price.

      I like the idea of filtering idea people from people who actually want to move forward with a project so charging $200 could be an interesting gate to have to get through. Then you also get an "estimate" from someone who is less biased about trying to win your bid.

  3. 2

    A developer or agency will LOVE you if you show up with a set of items already broken out by priority and relative complexity.

    I recommend spending 30 minutes on https://www.lightcat.io/ or some similar tool, to put together something like this:

    1. 1

      Thanks for the suggestion! Looks like a great tool and you're exactly right. Trying to minimize time wasted going through these "basics" with developers. I guess they will still have to mark down "complexity" from their side of things but its a good exercise.

      1. 2

        Yep. And their preferred unit of complexity might be story points, or calendar weeks or person-hours.

        Regardless, it's terrifically helpful to take the first stab. It shows you're prepared to have conversations about all those things.

  4. 2

    Here is my suggestion.

    Write a short description about your project. What service(s) it provide, the target audience, the expected traffic.

    Write the list of pages that you think you will need

    front end

    • login
    • account info
    • ...


    • login
    • user list
    • ...

    You can post this here or Reddit or other places for recommended tech stack and ask for the reason.

    1. 1

      Right! This is getting down the path of the question that I'm asking. Some standardized scope development process.

      Essentially, there are known knowns like what you have mentioned, then known unknowns which I need help on, and then unknown unknowns which would be great if they are brought to my attention by a more seasoned developer.

      1. 2

        You need to start somewhere. Put all the info in a Google Doc, then keep asking for feedback and put in all new info in the doc. The more you ask, the more you will fill in the blank, flushing out the known unknown and unknown unknown through other people's expertise & experience.

        By putting all the info in a doc, you are providing all the info in one place for the next person to be totally informed. Otherwise, any person helping you will only get a portion of the whole picture or you have to spend a lot of time to explain everything again.

        When you have filled in most of the blank, you can use the doc to get a quote for implementation. However, it may be challenging for you to get a good & realistic pricing if you are not technical and are not be able to evaluate the proposals well enough. If your site is simple enough, then the result & expectation should not deviate too much though.

        1. 1

          "However, it may be challenging for you to get a good & realistic pricing if you are not technical and are not be able to evaluate the proposals well enough. "

          Yep! That's what I'm trying to solve or understand how other people solve this.

          1. 1

            There is no simple process. The best price with quality result will be by someone who has done it before. Find someone who has built something similar.

  5. 2

    Hey @stusim, I can help you flesh out the scope and budget for your project. Email me at [email protected]

    1. 1

      Thanks Paras, appreciate the offer, will do!

  6. 2

    You could try Upwork. You’ll get tons of quotes by posting there.

    Also, be sure to hire the person if the price is right. It would be unfair (even if it’s legit) to post there just to get free quotes.

    1. 1

      Yes very familiar with Upwork and have found some great people on there for other jobs. You are right in that's my issue is that I don't want to waste peoples time. Especially in this early stage of a project where I might have an initial budget in mind but might not want to make the hire right away.

      Thanks for the thought though!

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