I've been asked to write a mobile app for a business I have connections with, and I've been trying to decide what I should charge. One thing I came up with was to research what other companies would charge for such a service, but all the ones that have the 'online estimators' are really over-the-top expensive and the companies obviously don't cater for the same clientele as I do.

I found a company that does, and they offer free quotes, however I'm wondering if it would be unethical to ask them for a quote in this scenario given that I do not intend to use their services, therefore effectively wasting their time. Is this unethical, or otherwise frowned upon?

  • 2
    Not sure if this question really belongs here but I am interested in the answer.
    – Alternatex
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 7:26
  • 12
    Whenever someone asks Is it unethical ? the answer is Yes, and you know it is, don't look to me to help you salve your conscience. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 7:57
  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not a conceptual question about software development or software engineering. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 9:10
  • 3
    A more suitable place to ask this question: freelancing.stackexchange.com
    – Apfelsaft
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 12:06
  • 1
    This question can't be answered because ethics are very personal.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


Yes its unethical, you are wasting their time.

But its also impractical.

  1. You can only do it once or twice before they stop talking to you.
  2. The price they offer will reflect their business model and might not work for you. Ie they might sell stuff cheap to drag customers into another product
  3. The price they offer you wont be the same as the one they offer your potential customer. Even if the service is very comoditised the price will reflect how much they think they can get out of the customer.

Of course you have to research your market, but you are better off being fairly honest about it. Attend some events, ask people what they think of the market at the moment, buy them a drink, is everyone buying cheap stuff? Are people paying lots for custom things etc how much did they buy their last X for? do they think it was good value? Etc

In your particular case though it should be fairly easy. Estimate how long it will take and then check out the job boards to see how much it would cost to get a contractor with your skill set for that amount of time. Add a bit on if you are assuming any risk

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