Know the questions to ask potential SI’s when getting a quote

Know the questions to ask potential SI’s when getting a quote

You’ve decided to replatform. But there are so many options, and so many prices – how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal? We get it. You like a good deal. Who doesn’t? You’re keen to start loudly and emphatically ordering the extra guacamole at lunchtime, because of all the money you’ve saved by opting for the cheapest possible quote.

Quick note of warning though, before we let you off into your avocado-filled heaven: those companies offering impossibly cheap services? Tantalisingly waving in front of you a deal that seems too good to be true? Sadly, the industry is full of clients still waiting for sites that are yet to materialise.

Suddenly, that low, low initial cost seems slightly more expensive, what with the cost of poor delivery, as well as the inevitable the opportunity cost missed by this extended time line. Looking back on it, a more reputable company is looking more and more like a better deal…

A few words to the wise:
  • Watch out for “The Ryanair Model”: although the initial quote for the seat is delightfully low, by the time you’ve paid for all those ‘hidden extras’, you’re looking at a much steeper quote. (And not enough leg-room).
  • A good quote is like a good conversation: long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to retain interest. When asking for your quote, be as clear as possible: both with the exact scope of what you want quoted but also with the things you don’t want to be quoted. This should help to reduce the suppliers’ assumptions. (And you know what they say about assumptions…)
  • Caveat emptor: be sure to get enough detail to understand the scope of the quote properly, in case you need to challenge it later.
  • Seems too good to be true? I hate to be the bearer of bad news (wait til my upcoming post on the Easter Bunny) but before you snap up that low, low offer, make sure to ask yourself: Why is this cheap? Are they only able to use one type of technology? What is their resource model? Are they buying your business? Do they believe in their own service?
  • Don’t get hoodwinked. You’ve plumped for the cheapest option. Seems good, right? Now you can finally start saying yes! when they ask you if you want to add guacamole. Just before you begin your new life of avocado-based happiness, quickly check: where is the delivery resource based? Are they cheap because they’re abroad/ is everything offshore? You want a partner where face-to-face is possible quickly, especially with their technical teams. Are they English-speaking? Do they have the relevant domain experience?
  • Just like in that yoga class you keep swearing you’re going to attend, (if only it wasn’t so distractingly close to the pub), flexibility is key. Make sure that when you get your quote, there’s in-built flexibility. After all, better to begin by building in contingencies around the initial cost than later be met with a nasty surprise. Ideally, get a line item quote which appropriately caveats the variance risks that should be used in contingency planning. You can read about the importance of building a contingency into your project budget in our blog ‘Contingency Budgets – The eCommerce Elephant In The Room‘.
Buy Cheap, Buy Twice

Often you get what you pay for and what seems a cheaper option can end up causing a raft of problems and costing as much, if not more, than the more expensive option. By knowing the right questions to ask, you are in a much better position to make a measured assessment of the costs presented to you.


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