Updated: Aug 16, 2019
So I'm about halfway to being in a position where I can launch my app 'Pocket Estimator' and the thought has only just occurred to me that maybe it would be wise to record my journey for anyone else who has an app idea but isn't sure how to bring it to fruition.
I had just completed a 14 hour stint to complete pricing a project on behalf of a friend/client. My friend had already purchased the property and I had obtained planning permission on his behalf to convert the property from an old bakery into 6 apartments. I had finally completed my estimate by which time it was nearly 3am (work hard play hard right). I was so pumped from all the caffeine and the knowledge in knowing the price of the conversion would eat into my clients profits substantially which could easily sour the investment. This is when I started to wonder, how is there not a way for people to check the cost of their plans (or at least get an estimate) before they make such risky investments. It then made me think of all the past projects I've worked on; many of which were small extensions and renovation projects. How many of these projects came to a swift halt once the quotations came in? How much time and money was wasted on drawing up plans, obtaining planning permission or projects that couldn't be completed because funds had run dry? How many times have builders under priced a job and then stung people with sky high rates half way through?
I started researching. I downloaded any and all estimating apps in the Playstore and Appstore (it's already 3am so why not just keep going). Turns out the few there are, are next to useless and only perform basic functions but would require users to know hourly rates for trades and the cost of materials which makes the app a calculator at best. So I got thinking, domestic projects consist of a small selection of component types. Houses and extensions are all generally constructed in the same way. You typically have a flat roof or a tiled pitched roof, the same can be said for nearly all aspects of your project where the general construction is the same but the finishes vary. There is a huge data base of prices per meter squared for nearly all aspects of a build project available, but unfortunately this is made far too complicated, expensive and is not easily accessible. I now knew there was definitely a gap in the market and I had the an idea that could solve a real issue. By this point I knew I should go to sleep. It was 5am and my idea would still be here in the morning right? Wrong, in my experience if you fail to act on an idea, a vision, or a desire the moment you have them then it will slowly fizzle away and live amongst the thousand other dead ideas that you never pursued.
I picked up an old envelope, turned it over and started to scribble down my ideas. How it would work, what are the functions I would need, what it needed to produce and so on. The process allowed me to think in a linear motion. I wasn't jumping around with my thoughts anymore because any idea was tested against relevance to the structure I had now created, how it would fit in and most important of all how intuitive it would be because I hate apps that are overly complicated to use so I wouldn't want to create the very thing I hate.