I have a client who has an "idea" of his project "that is in his mind". He said he is not going to share any details, knowledge, and ideas until we have a contract because as he's saying "he's worried about someone stealing his ideas". However, in our first meeting on the client side, I think I got a global overview what he wants to have (generally). Now he's awaiting my offer and that's where I stack on to prepare it to him including price.

Should I just prepare an offer on the knowledge I have? For instance I know he wants an application to create an article/edit it, associate with some elements blabla... However, we haven't talked about details, how this information should be inserted by users etc.

Should I propose just my view generally and prepare an offer with price how I see this and how this could be done giving general information on an offer and final price? However what about details, should them be on this offer or just general list and later on we should talk about this? I am bit confused. Please of your advice.

P.S If that's wrong place to ask please advice where shall it be opened.

  • 1
    Run. At lunch on Saturday, one of my self-employed friends said, "You shouldn't be in business if you're not prepared to fire your customer." You think you have a good idea of what he is imagining, but if it isn't committed to paper, then it will change in his mind. Take an honest look at the risk you're running. If it does change, will all the work you have done at that point be worthless?
    – MCW
    Feb 12 '18 at 13:10

With this kind of situation, the only quote I would provide is an hourly cost, my weekly availability, and maybe my total duration I'd be willing to commit.

In other words, time and materials. If unacceptable, walk away.


You could spec out what you propose to do, and extras will be priced once you know what their scope is:

  • X screens that do 1, 2, and 3

    • Extra screens will be priced after they are spec'd out
  • X database fields and queries that do A, B and C

    • Extra fields and more queried to be priced after spec'd out
  • Thanks for you answer. Could you advice in what form should it be provided, in uch kind of simple offer or with images as well? Would love to see example or whatever. Besides when client agrees should we then sit together to get more details which would be an entry point to make detailed offer? Please of advice.
    – JimmyJimm
    Feb 11 '18 at 15:43

One option is to give a list price, the actual total value will be calculated based on those prices when the project is completed. For example :

simple maintainance form = X

complex maintainance form = 2*X

very complex maintainance form = 4*X

Simple report = Y

Complex report = 2*Y


Propose a per sprint price

Fixed price is out

You seem to have a high-level understanding of the work to be done. What you don't know is what bells and whistles he will want. Depending on that, the project cost can vary.

Establish your project management credibility

  1. MVP: Recommend building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and putting it in the hand of selected end-users to get early feedback. Any idea is just a hypothesis. It needs to be validated. He will thank you for this later.
  2. Indicate roughly how many sprints an MVP might take: This is for discussion purposes. It can be more or less depending on what features he wants in the MVP.
  3. Indicate roughly how many sprints the final product might take: This is for discussion purposes. It can be more or less depending on what features he wants in the final product.
  4. Client can stop the project at the end of any sprint: You will produce a shippable increment at the end of each sprint. Client can call off further work at the end of any sprint. You deploy the work done in that sprint and wrap-up the project.
  5. Similar projects you have done before: List similar projects you have done before to support your rough estimates in 2 and 3.
  6. Client will need to set aside time: To remain heavily engaged with the team for the duration of the project.

Establish your technical capabilities

  1. Recommend the technology stack: And why you think this stack is best suited for this type of work.
  2. Propose key team members: At least a technical architect and their experience in this line.

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