I have a client who wants a web app built for their business. I build web apps. We have had a couple meetings and I have put together some mockups. They are operating on the assumption that the software tool they need doesn’t exist. They told me they’ve done research and there isn’t anything available “off the shelf” to fill their need (I asked the first time we chatted).
I am just ready to start coding, and I went and did a search of my own to see if similar software exists. I found 2 options that not only do exactly what my client wants, but they do more and are incredibly affordable (compared to me custom building something).
Now my question: Do I tell my client? I’ve put in a couple days of work between research and putting together some designs, and I haven’t been paid for it. I don’t believe that just because an app already exists you can’t be successful building a similar one, but I do feel that if my clients knew about these other options they wouldn’t be paying me to build anything.
UPDATE: I did chat with the client as recommended here. I came to find about some critical functionality which they wanted and was not available in any of the existing options. We may try and do some kind of integration to leverage existing software, as well. It was a good discussion to have, certainly.