1. Billed by the hour
Know that just like any professional service, whether you are on a fixed-price package or time & materials arrangement, software development companies ultimately work off billable hours.
Make sure to work with those who approach their cost structure with transparency. Typically, the hourly rate will scale depending on the size and specifications of the project.
2. Be practical with your scope
Having a strong sense of your objectives in pursuing a software solution will eliminate unnecessary embellishments. Reflect on what you want for your business now, and in the future. Ideally, a practical solution can be developed to solve immediate needs, with options for future elaboration.
3. Know your scope and stick with it
It is imperative to know and understand your project scope well and try your best to stick with it. It pays off to spend a bit more time upfront to define a concrete scope; that way your developers don't waste time refining or rebuilding work for the same requirements.
4. Participate in the development process
While developers can be exceptionally competent, the direction of the project is up to you. Understand and communicate your objectives. The more you speak with the team and refine the work, the better the outcome. It minimizes the risk of rework and aligns expectations.
5. Control your changes
Everyone loves changes, especially when they start to see something tangible. The general rule of thumb is, requesting changes early on in the process is much more economical than later in the process.
Another hot tip is to make sure you bundle your list of changes together, rather than sending it piecemeal. It can take roughly 15 minutes for a software developer to recover from each interruption. Therefore it's more economical for time and money.