This is a bit of a rant, so I apologize ahead of time.
Software development is a crazy blend of art, science and luck. I’ve compared it to painting in the past and I still think that’s one of the better comparisons out there. It is difficult to build a software application that solves a problem, addresses technical challenges, and is intuitive and simple to use.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that software development is expensive. And the higher the skill level of the developer, the more well-known the developer, or the more specialized the skill set, the more expensive it will be. Art follows a similar cost pattern. A Picasso is going to cost more than something by a local art student. Fair or not, that’s the world we live in.
Booked is free and open source and will continue to be. I choose to release it free of charge because I enjoy giving back to a community that has given me so much. I also do a fair amount of custom software development for Booked. This development is not free, but I make every attempt to charge a reasonable fee for my expertise and time.
In some ways open source has spoiled us. It can give the perception that software development is easy and cheap. Most software developers – open source or not – are highly skilled experts in their field.
If you have a custom table built by and expert carpenter it will cost more than the particle board table that you pull off the shelf at the local Ikea. If you reach out a developer for custom software development be prepared for it to be costly. After all, you’re getting a solution expertly crafted to solve your problem. I know I’ll pay a premium for that.