The purpose of a commercial offer is to convey a solution to help the customer decide how to implement his or her product to solve a specific problem. This document has to be reasonable in length and contain a series of key points in order to answer as many questions as possible the customer might have regarding the implementation of the product.
The key points any commercial offer for custom software development should include, regardless of the chosen type of the pricing model, are:
The commercial offer should clearly state what are the main responsibilities of both the supplier and beneficiary. This will allow both parties to know what they are agreeing and also what they have to do in order to complete the project in the time and budget presented in the commercial offer.
A commercial offer for custom software development services should present the main technologies that will be used to de complete the project. The technologies should not be described in much detail, but they should be mentioned.
The supplier should include what resources will work at the implementation of the project, and what resources should be allocated by the customer in order to finish the project in the mentioned conditions of the commercial offer.
In this part of the offer the cost details should be presented along with applied discounts in case they exist and any conditions for current pricing, if they exist.
The communication plan should present how the contact with the customer will be done. This includes asking and answering questions, reporting the development progress, etc.
This point should cover warranty description, maintenance and support, training and any other service the supplier will provide after the implementation of the product, along with the conditions in which these services are provided.
There are three more key points a fixed price agreement offer should include:
This section should present the main features of the product needed to be developed and any conditions of implementing these features.
The features that will not be implemented should be explicitly stated, in order to avoid any confusion.
In case of a fixed price model the complete description of the phases, deliverables and schedule is essential, while the customer will know what and when to expect results from the implementation phase.
These last three points can be included in a time and material agreement, but the level of detail used to present them is directly related to the clarity of the project scope before the offer is created.