I am preparing my first cost estimate for a project as a freelance software developer, and I am wondering if there are templates or examples available to help me get started.

I understand that a spreadsheet with the tasks, time required, and pricing is the bulk of the report, but I need to submit a full report. Is there a report or template available that includes the typical language and layout for a software development cost estimate?

So far, we are at a 0.5 release, and I am providing an estimate to bring the product to a 1.0 release. I plan to detail all steps in between, such as 0.6, 0.7, up to 1.0. It is a community project for a non-profit, so there will be volunteers and possibly paid consultants contributing to the project.

I have already been working on the project for ~3 months, and I need to provide a cost estimate to bring it to completion. The budget is ~$15,000 over 6 months for myself and paid consultants, and a ~$5,000 equivalent volunteer contribution at $50/hr (basically the estimate includes 100 hrs of volunteer time). I will be building a CMS and other features for an existing web application that I have been working on.

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1 Answer 1


I guess you need to do the planning of your remaining work from the beginning. There are templates, but if you can use a tool like MS project you can quickly come up with the cost estimation. First you need to break your balance project work into manageable work packages. And then check the individual tasks involved and who is going to execute them and at what rates. (i.e. hourly rates). For time estimates, you can use techniques like 3 point estimate to be accurate on your estimate, but since this is a not a complex project you can use your own expert judgement to come up with time estimates.

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