12. Do you have a survey budget?

This is a fairly critical question – if you simply have no budget, you’ll definitely be looking at free software. There is certainly free software available, but it’s only available on the cloud and typically only for surveys that you’ll be running online – you’re unlikely to find free software that can handle paper or mobile surveys.

Be realistic when working out a budget for your survey(s) and don’t forget to include staff training even if it’s time to follow an online training video; it’s still a cost that needs to be included. If you’re only planning a one-off survey, it’s far easier to work out the likely costs of your time, your expenses, and how much you’ll likely need to spend on software. If, however, you’re looking at taking on software for more regular surveys, try and budget for 3 years. Software suppliers all have such different pricing models – some charge monthly, some charge annually, often with volume limits that can at first appear sufficient; but soon work out to be expensive once you exceed them. Some suppliers only rent their software. Others charge a one-off fee and the software is yours to keep. Technical Support is rarely free forever; it’s often included for a period of perhaps 1, 3, or 12 months, and then chargeable after that.

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