I have seen many project opportunities that were “lost” due to the customer choosing the lowest bid without taking into consideration the costs involved to maintain the application or the skill level of the developer. I used quotes on the word “lost” because we often see these types of projects make their way back to DSA in order to fix the problems the original “lowest bid” developer could not solve.
Setting the trivial projects aside for now, the total cost of ownership often is dependent on decisions made very early in the planning process. For example, “What type of architecture should be used?” or, “What toolkits could or should be used?” An inexperienced developer may charge less, but their lack of experience may limit their ability to discern the impact of early decision making.
Research has shown that the cost to correct a flaw is lower when issues are identified and corrected earlier in the process. Problems discovered later in the project may, and often do, result in major rewrites to correct the discovered flaws.
I have often been asked to take on the task of “making it work” after others have failed on a number of occasions. I recall one instance when I was presenting a design, the lead engineer asked, “Why is this so much more complicated than the old way?” My answer… “The old way, by your own admission, simply did not work. This time we will do it right!”