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When you go to a mechanic to have your car fixed do you tell them what tools to use and how long the repair should take?
No... you go in with a well formulated problem statement.
Start with that.
Then describe what you want the system to do in as much detail as you think is needed to get what the client wants.
Once you know what you want then you take it to the developers and they will contribute their piece to the negotiation.
be careful of getting mired in up front documentation because every project has its own level of necessary documentation
I would contact a local FileMaker Business Partner
They have experience in FileMaker and can most probably help you out.
Companies that are FBA Platinum and/or have Certified FileMaker Developers have proven themselves to be good FileMaker developers
What is the problem? Why is it a problem? Is it really a problem? Why? Can't they fix it with Excel? Why not? How about a web-based solution? Surely a web based solution exists. Why not use one of those?
Answer those questions and you've got your objectives for the project. That's what you want to give to the developer(s).
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- estimated number of hours for the job
- plugins or tools necessary
Get the client to set a budget. Immediately you'll know whether there is money to develop something bespoke in FMP or whether to look around for a an existing system that can be purchased, whether to get open source stuff, or whether they are just dreaming.
I would take a step back and look at a book like "Code Complete" (and other resources) to understand what software projects are all about, common mistakes made, and some estimation ideas.
Software project specification/estimation is a field all in itself -- in larger companies, there are teams that do just that.
HOPE THIS HELPS.