GPC Data

Example project sizes, timelines and costs

Consider the following examples as rough comparisons between project types, not guidelines for any one of them. All of these costs are based on an assumed rate of $100/hour (US) for a professional Access developer. Many developers charge more; a few do a decent job for less. Your project might fit one of these profiles, or it might not fit any of them comfortably.

Do It Yourself. Or Not.

Keep in mind that your a Do-It-Yourself project may take longer than these benchmarks.

If you decide to do the work yourself, a safe estimate of time would be to double these amounts. And, of course, the hourly rate would be based on the value of your time, which may be less than that of a professional software developer doing this kind of work. Or it might be even more.

A small Access to Access database project which takes about 30 to 50 hours to complete, could cost between $3,000 and $5,000 if you hired a professional developer. In that range, you might find projects using a handful of tables, and a small number of forms for input and retrieval of data, with maybe three or four reports. Not much complex logic can be implemented at this level. Most things are going to be accomplished with out-of-the-box, native Access functionality. Don't expect application automation (i.e. interacting with Excel or Word) at this level.

In this range you're going to get a bicycle or tricycle, maybe a small electric scooter.

Fortunately, Access is really good for such projects. That's one reason it's so popular still.

A larger Access to Access, or Access to SQL Server, database project, where a professional developer would have to expand a database to support multiple users and add functionality to control shared procedures might take 80 to 144 hours or more, and cost between $8,000 and $14,400 or more. Most of the projects I've worked on myself were this size and larger. If you need to incorporate complex business rules into the interface, encoding that logic adds to the time required to build and test that Access database. You might see some basic automation in these applications.

In this range you're going to get a custom motorcycle, or perhaps even a small sedan.

A very large database project involving a SQL Server database and extended functions in the Access interface, could take more than twice as long and cost twice as much, or even more. For example, a database built to track financial transactions for a medium-sized organization, which involves journaling of transactions, monthly and quarterly reporting, along with sophisticated auditing, could take 450 to 600 hours to plan, design, build, test, and implement. The more complex the business rules, the more coding is involved in making sure the database reflects all of your data accurately. Plan on spending $45,000 to $60,000, or more for a team of professional developers.

In this range you're going to get a nice fleet of small vans to carry your workload.

Projects involving migration to a "cloud" database solution, e.g. SharePoint or a "cloud-based" SQL Server database, will normally take longer to implement than comparitive desktop databases, and, therefore, cost more. But there are too many considerations to be much more specific.

Other Considerations

Database Project Duration vs Project Hours

Based on an 8 hour workday, an estimate for 5 days of work means about 40 cumulative  hours on the design, development, testing and installation of the database. I imagine that you might find it hard to devote that much time each day to the project, unless it becomes your sole job for the duration of the project. So a 40 hour project might actually take 3 or 4 weeks to complete. As the saying goes, "Stuff happens." If you have a tight deadline, you need to understand that up-front. Again, plan accordingly.

Outside Specialists

Because of my years of experience, and my contacts in the software industry, I can call in technical experts in several specific areas, e,g, SharePoint, should the need arise. If I were leading the project, I would bill their time to you at the rate they charge me. You should keep that in mind as you commit yourself to the project. Expert help is available, at a cost. It might be more efficient than toughing it out yourself, though.

Progress Checks

Regular progress checks are part of the process for database projects that will take more than a few days. You need to know that you're on track in meeting your requirements.

Database Software License Costs

You will need to own, or purchase, MS Access™ licenses from Microsoft for each workstation where the full version of Access is used. Alternatives are available, including the Free Run-Time. Call or email me to discuss your options .

You'll find more information on the Frequently Asked Questions Page

Fixed Bids

Fixed bids are dangerous to both the client and the developer. They leave no room for contingencies and modifications as the project progresses. Except for VERY small jobs (under 10 hours), they're not in the business model of many professional developers. If you decide to go outside your own organization for help, don't go here.

©Copyright 2010-2019 Grover Park Consulting. All Rights Reserved.

*The Pre-Engagement Conference is one to one-and-a-half hours during which we explore your needs and decide if we should move ahead to a contract. Normal hourly rates apply after that.