Make sure the budget estimate for your online store or B2B ecommerce implementation is properly prepared!

What will you find in this article?

Ecommerce implementation budget checklist
Why did I create such a checklist?
The checklist
What is the result of not quoting the above points?

Ecommerce implementation budget checklist

I have prepared a checklist consisting of 11 points you should check when receiving a quote for an ecommerce project implementation.

These 11 points, which should be included in the quote and are often omitted, are:

  1. production launch stage
  2. bug fixing during User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
  3. pre-implementation analysis with prepared user stories and acceptance criteria
  4. cost of third-party modules
  5. software licenses
  6. adequate time allocated for testing and project management (should account for about 20% of the time developers need to work on the project each)
  7. execution of integrations
  8. graphic design work (bespoke design or template prepared in at least two resolutions)
  9. meetings and cost of travel
  10. server configuration, environments, and hosting
  11. training

That’s all when it comes to a straightforward answer and a checklist for verifying whether the quote you’ve received is complete.


Why did I create such a checklist?

Many individuals deciding on ecommerce implementation, whether it’s based on Sylius, Shopware, or even Magento, encounter the problem of new costs arising during or after the completion of the implementation.

Sometimes these are minor costs, and sometimes they’re larger, but the issue is that they were not anticipated when the quote was received.

It’s common for a discussion between an ecommerce director and an ecommerce agency implementing the online store to go something like this: the ecommerce agency says that they need to train employees, which will cost extra.

The director replies that there is no mention of training in the quote. The agency explains that they didn’t write about training, but it would be necessary.

In the world of ecommerce, there is often a misunderstanding regarding when an online store implementation is considered complete. Many ecommerce managers do not have a clear understanding of when this occurs.

Is it when the entire site is coded and handed over for testing? Or does ecommerce implementation end only when the site has been tested, corrected, and made available to the end users?

These are two different project development stages. This means that bringing the project to one or the other point will require an entirely different budget. The lack of precise determination of this at the start often leads to situations where ecommerce implementation estimates do not include bug fixing during testing (and therefore it’s not a complete implementation budget).

Typically, implementation is carried out on a Time & Materials basis, meaning that corrections will be additionally chargeable. Additionally, it is necessary to launch the service in a production environment. This refers to the moment of the switch when the old service is replaced with the new one.

This also generates additional costs, and this stage is often not anticipated in offers and quotes.
As a result, an ecommerce manager who received a quote for the implementation at 37,500 EUR / USD may find themselves in a situation where the final quote increases by another 20,000 EUR / USD due to several tasks not included in the original quote, which still have to be completed for the service to start functioning.

The checklist

The situation where you’re not sure whether the quote you received is complete is not pleasant.
To solve this problem, I have prepared a simple checklist. It will help you verify whether the quote you received is complete. I included elements that are most often omitted in quotes (and that can be quite costly).

Statistically, in 9 out of 10 offers, one of these points will be missing, and therefore, it won’t be quoted. As a result, the offer will be cheaper, and the implementation budget will be lower.

However, that cost will certainly appear later, so it’s better to know immediately how much something will cost you, instead of finding out in a few months when the project is already underway.

I believe the practice of omitting certain costs is not okay. On the other hand, companies investing in a new ecommerce engine pay a lot of attention to costs, so they become susceptible to the “window dressing” practiced by ecommerce agencies.

Let’s now move on to this checklist. I hope it will solve many problems and from now on, you won’t be surprised by the cost of implementing an open-source online store.

Production launch stage

The first point is the quote for the production launch stage, which I have already mentioned.
Usually, ecommerce agencies quote the implementation of an online store up to the point of handing it over for tests. You must test the store and then launched into production by the agency.

The cost of this process depends on the technology, ranging from several to even hundreds of hours. This is a substantial expense. Considering that the hourly rate of a given ecommerce agency might be 65 EUR / USD, we are talking about a potential several thousand EUR / USD in additional costs.

If this stage is not quoted in the agency’s offer, ask for such a quote. This way, you’ll know what cost you will have to face.

Corrections during User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

The second point is related to the previous one and concerns bug fixing made during testing. At the stage of ecommerce implementation, there is something called User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

In the ecommerce market, it is generally accepted that this means the moment when the service is handed over to you and you test it and check its operation.

You test it based on User Stories and acceptance criteria that were prepared during the discovery phase, i.e., the pre-implementation analysis. Alternatively, you click through the service and look for errors if the discovery phase was not properly executed.

You check if the basic processes work. For example, whether clicking “Add to Cart” actually adds the product to the cart, whether it is added in the correct quantity, whether the shipping cost summary looks correct, etc.

During these tests, it may turn out that there are errors or unfinished functionalities. In such a case, the ecommerce agency will need to take action.

Often quotes do not take this aspect into account, meaning the fact that during UAT, the ecommerce agency may have to make corrections or fill in gaps. If you don’t have this included in your offer, it is worth asking the agency to add this cost and estimate how much it might cost.

Pre-implementation analysis

The next point is pre-implementation analysis. It should accurately describe the scope of implementation and establish the criteria that each functionality must meet so that both parties – you and the ecommerce agency – determine that it has been realized according to the agreements.

If you don’t have such an analysis, it can lead to a situation where during the implementation of your online store, for example, a product card is coded, but its design may not meet your expectations.

The pricing spot is an area of the product card that contains information about the price, discount, and availability, and enables the addition of the product to the cart. For example, you might imagine that the crossed-out price, the one before the discount, will be presented in a specific way. You might want savings information next to it, e.g., “you save 5 euros”.

However, in reality, there is only a crossed-out price and the final price, without savings information. In such a case, you turn to the agency with a note that something is wrong. The agency replied that the initial agreement was to include information about discounts, but it was not specified how exactly it was to be presented.

As a result, the agency considers the task completed correctly. However, you disagree and ask for corrections. The agency agrees but informs you that the corrections will cost 6 hours of work.
If you consider the entire online store, it is extremely complicated.

The possibility of misunderstandings regarding each functionality is enormous. If these misunderstandings would be dozens or even hundreds, the additional budget could rise, for example, by 40% compared to the offer you received at the beginning.

That’s why at the beginning, the agency should prepare a pre-implementation analysis. These documents should accurately describe both user stories and acceptance criteria.

If the pre-implementation analysis does not include user stories and acceptance criteria, ask for their quote. Without them, the budget for implementation may be exceeded.

Third-Party modules

It is worth noting that agencies often use third-party modules, and you bear the cost of the licenses for these modules.

If you have 20 modules that will be used in your implementation, but there is no price next to them, ask for information on how much that cost of licenses will be.


The same applies to the cost of licenses for ecommerce engine. Ecommerce agencies can use both software with paid and free licenses.

For example, Magento is available in the Community Edition version, but it can also appear in the Adobe Commerce version, which is paid.

At some point during the implementation, you will need to purchase this license, sometimes at the beginning, and sometimes closer to the end of the implementation.

If licensing costs are not included in the implementation, and the ecommerce agency plans to use the licensed version, this can be a big problem, because a cost that was not previously anticipated will appear.

So be sure to check carefully if licensing costs are included.

Testing and Project Management

The next aspect to consider is time for testing and managing the project. Usually, prices are determined based on specific sums and amounts that relate to work on a specific functionality.

For example, implementing newsletter signup is 2 to 3 hours of work. After calculating the hourly rate, say at 50 EUR / USD, it ranges from 100 to 150 EUR / USD. This is the cost of the developer’s work.
In addition, managing the developer’s work requires the engagement of a project manager from the agency and a tester who will check whether the newsletter signup works correctly.

The time allotted for project management and testing individual functionalities is usually calculated as a percentage of the original developer’s work. So to the developer’s work time, say 2 to 3 hours, you must add a certain percentage.

The minimum level that guarantees proper project management and testing by a manual tester is 20% of the total time of all developers assigned to the implementation of an online store.
This time should be additionally allocated for project management and another 20% for testing.

If you plan on testing around 5% or 10%, then you’re only checking functionalities very superficially and certainly not performing full tests of individual elements that have been coded by developers.

Check what percentage of the total sum of developers’ work constitutes project management and testing in your case – they should each account for 20%. If they are less, ask the ecommerce agency to raise this value, because practice shows that you usually can’t go below 20%.


Another aspect is the quote for integrations. Often, under the “integrations” line, there is a note that integrations will be precisely quoted during project implementation after familiarizing themselves with the element.

Indeed, you can’t very accurately quote integrations before conduciting pre-implementation analysis. However, after consulting with an ERP provider, one can provide certain estimates that may be crucial for you when choosing a partner for ecommerce implementation.

The costs of implementing integrations can amount to even 1/3 of the entire ecommerce implementation costs. Therefore, it is worth being prepared for this and not being surprised by such an amount in the middle of implementation.

So, if you notice that the integration costs in the offer amount to 0, you should ask the agency what it plans to do in this regard and whether it could at least preliminarily estimate the costs of implementing integrations.

Graphic design

Next, check whether graphic designs have been quoted according to your assumption.

First, only one resolution is often included in the quotes. Remember that there should be at least two breakpoints, i.e., a mobile and a desktop version. This is the minimum that should appear. If there are not two resolutions, ask for a quote for an additional resolution.

The second aspect is to check whether the e-commerce agency has included in its offer the realization of graphic designs according to your requirements, not just the modification of a ready-made template.

If you want a bespoke design, it cannot be realized in 10 hours. If you expect a bespoke design, ask if the ecommerce agency will create a project for you from scratch, not just slightly modify a template.

This is often the source of misunderstandings – an ecommerce agency may provide a price in the offer for a slight modification of a third-party template. Then, when they show you the first graphic designs, you may be surprised by how they look.

You believe the agency should not use a standard template but design a bespoke graphic design that effectively converts. The ecommerce agency claims you did not reach a full agreement, and the offer only included a small modification of the template.

You reply that you still don’t want a template modification but the implementation of a bespoke graphic design. Suddenly, it turns out that the budget for the whole project significantly increases because bespoke designs must be prepared first, and then everything has to be coded from scratch.

The budget for the whole project may increase by approximately 30% or 40%. So check how your graphic designs have been quoted, whether they have at least two break points and whether they align with your requirements.

Maybe you wanted a store based on a template – no problem, but make sure the quote was prepared according to your expectations.

Meetings and traveling

Another aspect is the costs of meetings and travel. They are often additionally paid and not included in the offer.

Add this amount to the quote to find out how many of these meetings there will be and how much they will cost. If the project takes a long time, it may turn out that this sum will be several or tens of thousands of EUR / USD.

Server configuration and environments

Another element often not included in quotes is the configuration of servers and environments on those servers.

You have all the quotes and the coding for the online store, but now you have to place it on a server. Configuring a server and implementing the test, pre-production, and production versions of the store are important steps that should be included in the costs.

Make sure to verify if these costs are included in the offer. Also, check if you must bear hosting costs during the implementation.

Some agencies use their servers, eliminating these costs for the client, but purchasing hosting may be necessary in some cases. For example, if hosting costs 500 EUR / USD a month and the implementation lasts 9 months, the cost will be 4,500 EUR / USD.


The last point to consider is the training on the administration panel of the online store.

After the store is implemented, at least a short, two-day training session will be necessary. Make sure this is included in the offer. If not, ask for a quote because it is an essential element of the process.

What is the result of not quoting the above points?

As you can see, there are many points to consider. I often come across offers that do not include quotes for half of them.

The ecommerce agency you work with may sometimes forget to include certain costs. Sometimes, the unquoted elements can amount to even several hundred thousand euros.

If you want to be sure that your offer and quote from the agency include all costs and that there will be no additional surprises during the implementation, check the offer according to the checklist.

Talk to agencies about potential cooperation and ensure all costs are included. It may sound dramatic, but trust me, many offers do not meet any of the points on the checklist. Often, the offer is quoted at an absurdly low price, but half of the costs, which are sure to appear, are not included.

Later, additional costs accumulate when the contract is signed, and the project is underway. It’s not even about whether you can afford these extra costs, but about the fact that it’s unpleasant to be surprised by a budget increase for implementation, for example, twice, just because the ecommerce agency did not inform you about the obvious (in its opinion) costs that you will have to bear.


In summary, I recommend using this checklist when reviewing offers for ecommerce implementation, most often in open-source versions.

The link to the checklist can be found under this link.

If it ever disappears, please contact us using the contact form. Of course, if you have other questions regarding the ecommerce implementation budget, you can write directly to me on LinkedIn.

Growcode Ecommerce Blog / Ecommerce / Ecommerce implementation budget checklist