Time and Material vs Fixed Price: What’s the Best Pricing Model for Your Software Development Project

QTeam Solutions
4 min readJan 10


Software development projects are like snowflakes. They come in different shapes and sizes. That is why when it comes to the financial aspects of such projects, small and medium enterprises must decide between two major pricing models: time and material and fixed price.

Each model has its own advantages and drawbacks, but knowing the differences can help you choose the most suitable pricing model for your software development project.

Time and material pricing

Time and material pricing is exactly what it sounds like. You pay for the time that the development team spends on the project. This is a flexible option that allows for changes and adjustments to be made as the project progresses. If the scope of the project changes, or if unexpected issues arise, you can simply pay for the additional time required to address them.

One of the main benefits of time and material pricing is that it allows for a more collaborative relationship between you and the development team. You have the ability to give feedback and make changes as the project moves forward, and the development team has the flexibility to make those changes without worrying about sticking to a strict budget. This gives you as a client more freedom to tailor the project to your specific needs.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to time and material pricing. One is that it can be difficult to estimate the total cost of the project upfront, which can make it hard for clients to budget accordingly. It’s also possible for the project to drag on longer than expected, leading to higher costs for you as a client.

You can limit this by having regular budget talks with your software development provider and having a limit with regard to the amount of money you are willing to spend for the entire project as well as for each major milestone. You don’t need to spell this figure up front because it then becomes a fixed price project but it is important that you have an idea of how much you are willing to invest.

Fixed price projects

Fixed price projects involve setting a specific budget for the project upfront, and the development team agrees to deliver the project within that budget. This can be a good option you want a clear understanding of the costs involved and prefer a more predictable approach to budgeting.

One of the main advantages of fixed price projects is that they can provide a clear and concise plan for the project, including a timeline for completion and specific deliverables. This can be helpful for those who have strict deadlines or who need to know exactly what they’ll be getting for their money.

However, fixed price projects can also have some potential drawbacks. The main one is that they can be inflexible, as it’s difficult to make changes or adjustments once the project has begun. This can lead to frustration for both you and the development team if unexpected issues arise or if the scope of the project changes.

So, which is the right pricing model for your software development project?

Ultimately, it comes down to your specific needs and goals. If you prefer a more collaborative approach and are willing to be flexible with your budget, time and material pricing is the right choice. But if you need a clear understanding of costs and a set timeline for completion, fixed price pricing is a better fit.

It’s also worth considering whether you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. If you have a detailed plan and know what you want, fixed price pricing is more suitable. However, if you’re not sure exactly sure or if you expect the project to evolve as your business evolves, time and material is the way to go.

Consider your options and also involve your software development partner into the discussions if this the first time you are starting down this road.

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QTeam Software solutions has been helping companies big and small develop or upgrade their software solutions. And we can do the same for you. If you want to find out more about the impact of our work you can check out what some of our other clients have to say about working with us.

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Originally published at https://qteam.solutions on January 10, 2023.



QTeam Solutions

Our team delivers complex digital solutions in industries like e-learning, e-commerce and social media marketing