A simple question deserves a comprehensive answer, because you’re not going to pick up on all the variables that go into providing a contextualized answer. Consider even the simplest of questions such as “How many planets are there in our solar system?”
Simply replying “eight planets” avoids so much background information as well as the evolution of thought into what a definition of a planet is, which has resulted in planets being kicked out of the club. (#TeamPluto.)
So when it comes to the question of whether to pay your Salesforce Commerce Cloud integrators per hour or per project, we’re first going to have to iron out the complexities. And the core of this question depends very much on the spec.
For the uninitiated out there who are not exactly sure of what a spec is, this is what it is: before any code is built, a document is written up that defines the details of the product in a highly specific format. It lays out the process of the project with each and every step. Much of the influencing factors in answering the per hour or per project question for your Salesforce Commerce Cloud integrators stem from the quality of the spec.
If the spec is something that the tech integrators have gone through a million times (well, perhaps not that many, let’s say at least 50 times) and implemented without any major setbacks or unwanted consequences, then it’s probably best to pay them per project. Because you know exactly what you’re getting and they know exactly what they’re doing.
However, if you are working with tech integrators who have not come across the specifics of your project before, or have periphery knowledge of a number of the key details of the project, then it’s a better approach to pay them per hour because the spec is not going to be clearly defined.
But let’s dig a little deeper and discuss the pros and cons of each pricing model.
Pros of per project
This pricing model is actually the most common among mostly established tech tech integrators, which is considered to clearly define the project scope; if you know what services you are after, then paying for a tech integrator to carry them out per project is going to clearly define the price you pay.
This feeds into a second plus for per project pricing, which is that when a fixed amount is agreed upon you are able to budget for it in advance. (Your accountant is going to be so pleased with you!) Having a fixed bottom line provides you with the protection against a potential ballooning budget.
And finally, it provides more fuel for motivation so that your tech integrators complete it correctly and in good time. Because if the project isn’t done on time then they’re going to have to spend extra time without making any more money.
Cons of per project
Despite the benefits of per project payments, they also provide clients with more limited flexibility. The spec is set in stone and the tech integrators are going to stick to it. If the project needs to naturally grow beyond the spec, then it’s going to either not be done, or cost you more money — money that you did not anticipate for, and perhaps not budgeted for.
Pros of per hour
This type of pricing model is most common for support services, yet there are many companies, consultancies, and tech integrators that are beginning to offer per hour rates, especially for larger projects.
Pricing per hour provides much greater flexibility so that you can get in touch with your partners and ask them to fix specific aspects of your site. If a bug crops up, you can get them to fix it — even if it’s outside of the scope of the spec.
Cons of per hour
If you believe that it is likely for a product to grow beyond its original scope, then it’s going to cost even more, without knowing exactly the total cost. If within the spec you have requested a certain function, perhaps you’re unaware of exactly how many man- and woman-hours it is going to take to implement.
It is also the unpredictability of the cost which makes it difficult to compare with other offers from other tech integrators. Imagine receiving one proposal from one agency regarding your Salesforce Commerce Cloud tech team which is paid per project; then you receive a different proposal for the same project to be paid per hour. It’s going to be difficult to accurately compare these disparate methods.
Flexible price and structure
If you’re having difficulty choosing which pricing method is best suited for your project, then consider a tech integrator that gives you the flexibility on whether you prefer a pricing structure per hour or a pricing structure per project.